What's the salary for White House staff?
June 29th, 2012
05:25 PM ET

What's the salary for White House staff?

It's one of those awkward questions that everyone really wants to know but few want to ask: what's your salary?
Well, if you're a White House employee your salary is public record. Since 1995 the White House has been required to supply Congress with the title and salary of every White House office employee. The list shows the president's top advisors including –Valerie Jarrett, Jack Lew, David Plouffe, Tom Donilon, John Brennan, Jay Carney, Nancy-Ann DeParle, Denis McDonough and Kathryn Ruemmler among others– all top out at $172,200. (here's the complete list)

Topics: White House

soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. donnie

    and this is a big deal? to who ?

    June 29, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Michael B.

      Well, it shows that the women in the White House make considerably less than their men counterparts because Obama has a war on women.

      June 29, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
      • Ian

        Yeah right – and which parallel universe are you sipping KoolAid in? Exactly what constitutes Pres Obama's "war on women"? The right to choose? Supreme Court appointments? Cabinet appointments? ...................

        June 29, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
      • Pander express

        It doesn't show squat.
        That list does not indicate tenure. It does not indicate pay grade. In fact there are names on it that you have no way of knowing whether it is a male or a female.

        June 29, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
      • Bill in Florida

        Nice try liar. Go back to Faux.

        June 29, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
      • HRPuckinfutz

        The Republicans, the Tealiban, and the Catholic church want to take away the reproductive and other healthcare rights of women, and you say that OBAMA is waging a war on women? Typical blind cow following the herd into the abyss.

        June 30, 2012 at 7:11 am |
      • frisbe

        bill in florida, you be the liar, go back to hell.

        June 30, 2012 at 10:50 am |
      • Martha in CF

        I think you meant the Republican party......

        June 30, 2012 at 11:12 am |
      • frisbe

        No, Martha, I meant hell; you just don't like Bill and don't want him there with you.

        June 30, 2012 at 11:19 am |
      • ThinkAgain

        Here's the subset CNN quote; both men and women are listed, so your point is false:
        "The list shows the president's top advisors including –Valerie Jarrett, Jack Lew, David Plouffe, Tom Donilon, John Brennan, Jay Carney, Nancy-Ann DeParle, Denis McDonough and Kathryn Ruemmler among others– all top out at $172,200."

        June 30, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
      • Pander express

        IT doesn't show anything. Nothing.
        That list does not indicate tenure. It does not indicate pay grade. In fact there are names on it that you have no way of knowing whether it is a male or a female.

        June 30, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
      • jean2009


        July 4, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Lies, D@mned Lies, and Statistics

      (Responding to 'California'):
      Looking at just the first 50 names on the list, 28 women are paid $2.1 million compared to 22 men who are paid a total of $1.8 million. This averages out a lot closer to parity than the rest of the country at large. Looking more closely at the first 70 or so names, we see that "Analysts" are paid $42,000/year regardless of gender, "Special Assistants to the President for Legislative Affairs" are paid $102,000/yr, regardless of gender, and "Staff Assistants" are paid $42,000/yr, again regardless of gender.

      CNN appears to have collected the data for an interesting article, then forgotten to actually find the story.
      Try analyzing the data you presented, compare it to previous administrations, and in the words of the late Don Hewitt, "Tell me a story."

      June 30, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
      • Bill

        Well said!

        July 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Hannah


      July 2, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  2. Michael B.

    "What's your Salaray" Lol

    June 29, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  3. Scott

    We're paying John Favreau $172K a year to write speeches for Obama?

    June 29, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • jean2009

      He does a rather good job... don't you think?

      July 4, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  4. California

    One thing for sure is they pay women less than men. War on Women? You Betcha.

    June 29, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Newmoon2

      Really... I just did a quick check on the first job listed "Press Assistant". There are about a dozen of them. There are both men and women in that role and ALL of them make $42K per year. Same with the next job title "Associate Press Director"... one man/one woman, both paid the same. Rather than call you a liar, let's just say you're uninformed.

      July 2, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  5. California

    Democrats are above the law. To big to jail.

    June 29, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • ThinkAgain

      Wow, you listen to Fox AND can type! CNN should have also listed the salaries for the GW Bush staffers.

      June 30, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
      • Ray E. (Georgia)

        I ain't making nearly enough money. Could you loan me a million until my brother straightens up. He's a Hunch Back. Oh, I forgot. The Liberals and democrats want to run the country but they want the republicans and conservatives to pay for it. For at least the last 75 years the Liberals have been runnning the country. We have a 16 Trillion Dollar debt to show for it. Any more good ideas??

        June 30, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
      • livingston1

        Ray – maybe you could earn more if you stopped using the word 'ain't'. Just a thought.

        July 2, 2012 at 7:49 am |
      • jim

        Are you blaming Bush. It sounds like your blaming Bush. jerk.

        July 2, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
      • jean2009

        @Ray That is because when we let the GOP run the county they screw up the economy ...run it off a cliff and create soup lines.

        BTW The bulk of that massive unfunded debt you are talking about, happened under Reagan and Bush II.
        I wouldn't even consider bringing up the subject of the national debt if I were a rethugliklan...it is a fact that the GOP/teathugliklans obviously can't handle the truth or you would know the UN-FUNDED policies of George W. Bush are at the heart of our current problem. He never saw a war he didn't want to charge on the national credit card.

        July 4, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Ash

      When a GOP VP still gets paid in billions each year for taking America to war, GOP has no business talking about democrats...

      June 30, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
      • jean2009


        July 4, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • michael

      But, at least, Democrats know the difference between the words "to" and "too."

      July 1, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  6. HenryB

    Why on earth is this story posted? Did something happen to get Lesa Hansen from CNN all worked up or is there nothing else important to talk about? Sheesh.

    June 29, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Frank Marshall Davis

      CNN's ratings are at rock bottom, I think they're trying to change things up to get more viewers.

      June 30, 2012 at 6:34 am |
    • Kate Legler

      While, by law, the public has a right to know the salaries of Federal Employes, CNN's posting this is deliberately designed to raise ranker over the size of the White House Staff and the salaries of those at top tier/grade of their position which is based on position description, complexity and duties. Most of those with higher incomes are talented people with talents and skills that would bring them far more income in the private sector. And, many of them have up-rooted their lives to move to DC to accept an appointment and position that may not last more than 4 years with only a possibility of a total of 8. I've quite watching anything CNN. I guess I am going to have to quit reading it, too. .

      June 30, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  7. BS

    $38 Million a year for staff

    June 29, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  8. Tessa K

    Oh for cripes sake people, it's posted EVERY year, you just happened to stumble on it this year....you want transparency and then when you get it you whine..../sigh

    June 29, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  9. bcrunner

    Sure!! I am sure when Obama came into office, with the country about to fall off the cliff, he checked everyone's salary to make sure women made less.... What kind of question is that?? I am sure salaries were set a long time ago... And, by the way, didn't federal employees get a 5% or 10% paycut a couple of years ago???

    June 29, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
  10. Canadian

    You're a trusted advisor to the President and a National Security Advisor and you only make $172 G's.........ouch.

    June 29, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  11. Larry L


    Democrats are above the law. To big to jail
    Above the law? I've noticed your comments and always avoided wasting time responding. You're not only wasting people's time glancing at the stupid remarks – but you're missing a chance to go out and learn something! Remember – "Fox News – the more you watch the less you know!".

    June 30, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • frisbe

      Larry, the more you watch other news networks the more BS you know (hence your ignorance and BS postings), get the true facts on Fox!

      June 30, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  12. Brian R

    If you actually take the time and read through the various wages/salaries and associate them with their specific jobs you will notice that the wage discrepancy that a couple suggest is fairly non-existent. It looks like about 10% are over paid though.

    June 30, 2012 at 6:49 am |
  13. JinFL

    I'm sure these salaries were established way before Obama came into office. I just didn't know that the White House employed so many. I wonder which President in the past had the most employees?

    June 30, 2012 at 7:35 am |
  14. USN,Ret

    What is the cost for Health Care for Congress ?

    June 30, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • jean2009

      You should know since currently they are covered under the Federal Employees Health Care Plans like the same as Navy retirees.

      In 2014, they will be covered under the Affordable Care Act insurance plan they select.


      July 4, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain

    CNN should list the salaries for the GW Bush counterparts ...

    June 30, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Badboy

      Yeah, I knew it was Bush's fault AGAIN! Bush, Bush, Bush.....that damn Bush! Now try defending Oblameo without
      saying the words "Bush's fault" !! I knew you couldn't !!

      June 30, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
      • Chad L

        It's called perspective without seeing previous salaries you have no idea if these are extremely high or extremely low. I would want to see the salaries for the last 4 presidents/staff.

        July 2, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
      • jean2009

        As I understand it, the federal pay scale has increased for some job descriptions, but there are currently fewer employees.

        July 4, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Badboy

      Yeah, I knew it was Bush's fault AGAIN! Bush, Bush, Bush.....that darn Bush! Now try defending Oblameo without
      saying the words "Bush's fault" !! I knew you couldn't !!

      June 30, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • jean2009

      They did, and Congress has received a list of White House staff salaries every year since 1995. Just another blog piece for the lack of knowledge GOP whiners displaced from FAUX to unload on.

      July 2, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • jean2009


      Above is a link to the salaries for President Bush's 2008 staff as required by federal law...(a report required by congress each year since 1995.) You can also bet it is Rethugliklan whining and crying when they are out of the White House that initated these reports be required.)

      Note: that the top 18 salaries on the Bush 2008 list are for $172,200. each; and the top 20 salaries for the current administration are for the exact same dollar amount $172,200. So the top salary has stayed static for the last 3.5 years.

      And just think these people have had to work much harder than their previous counterparts just to clean up the mess Bush left.

      July 4, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  16. Larry in Houston

    IF romney gets IN – He will do the same as obama is doing – obama has hired all his friends, his wife's friends, his mother in law's friends, ( + all their friends) JOBS -Jobs – jobs. romney will end up with all sorts of czars & all sorts of made up Jobs – ( government Jobs, at that) LOL
    Vote – Democrat – 2012 ( for the middle class working people)

    June 30, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • jean2009

      I'm with you Larry if you want a country that is not fully owned by corporate greed vote..
      Obama-Biden 2012!

      July 2, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
      • Steveo

        Who do I turn to since I don't want a country owned by greedy union cronies and those who which to be my nanny?

        July 3, 2012 at 11:16 am |
      • Steveo

        *wish to be...

        July 3, 2012 at 11:22 am |
      • jean2009

        You could consider moving elsewhere...like Rush.

        July 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • jean2009

      But then you would need to prove their family connections....

      July 4, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  17. GP

    CNN has become the worst in news. They rush to declare the Affordable Healthcare Act unconstitutional and John said openly " They got him" referring to President Obama. I know many republicans, CNN and Fox want him to fail, But President is on the most competent President in modern history. The haters will always fail in their attempt to discredit him and put him, down.

    June 30, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  18. Ed1

    Another good use of our tax dollars not what do we pay for the staff of the first lady.

    Why can't this administration lead by example and stop wasting our tax dollars.

    June 30, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • jean2009

      Really if you haven't boned up on the topic and totally lack comprehension about the subject you shouldn't be posting.
      Jus saying!

      July 4, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  19. David

    Ms. Jansen Could you post the list from W. bush's last for years?

    June 30, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • jean2009


      I could only find this link for Bush's staff salaries the final year 2008.

      July 4, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  20. David

    opps four not for, sorry.

    June 30, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  21. MatthewJ

    From what I see, this is strictly the staff for the President, thus does not include any Cabinet positions or anyone else.

    468 Employees with wages totaling $37,834,589 per year, plus benefits and pensions.

    Not really making any judgements here, just thought those numbers might be handy for one to look at when deciding whether this story has any merit as news, for or against

    June 30, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  22. Badboy

    Looks like we know where to start cutting the deficit spending. These idiots dont do squat all day. Typical liberals sure
    like to spend other peoples money. Especially middle class workers. Democrats always whine about Romney being rich.
    Romney eqarned his money; Obama and his gangsters stole theirs!

    June 30, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • jean2009

      Actually you have that wrong. President Obama earned his money...he wrote books and worked for which he was paid.
      Whereas Gordon Gecko the vulture capitalist stole his.

      July 2, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
      • Steveo

        Since when is investment stealing? You should know better!

        July 3, 2012 at 11:05 am |
      • Cynthia L

        The Daily Beast carries a Vanity Fair report today about Mitt Romney. Here goes, and I quote,....
        A full 55 pages of Romney's 2010 Tax return are devoted to reporting his transactions with "foreign entities".
        Jack Blum, a veteran Washington lawyer and offshore expert says "..this stuff is weird."
        A $3 million Swiss bank account appeared in the 2010 returns, then winked out of existence in 2011.
        Ed Kleinbard, a professor of tax law at the Univ. of So. Calif. says the Swiss acct. "has political but not tax-policy resonance" since it – like many other Romney investments constitutied 'A BET AGAINST the U.S. DOLLAR', an odd thing for a presidential candidate to do. Also, he uses tax havens in Bermuda, Luxenborg and the Caymen Islands.
        Andrea Saul, Romney's campaign spokeswoman said that, the candidate's failure to include his Swiss account in earlier financial disclosures was merely a "trivial inadvertent issue."
        The article reveals a lot more about how Romney made his money and is using the same loopholes, tax evasion methods and channels that the most criminal thieves, trafficers and lowlife use. THE VERY SAME ONES.

        My concern is that we have a candidate who possibly has used and who could use insider trading, unethical practices, and borderline if not illegal methods to enrich himself at the cost of his countries well-being. Would he not 'MAKE THINGS HAPPEN TO DO IT AGAIN' when the jackpot is much larger – like our Treasury?? He's a gamblin' man with his wife's blessing. AND, maybe an axe to grind with America.
        Read it and weep.

        July 3, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
      • Marcos

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        August 2, 2012 at 1:31 am |
  23. joe smith

    look, it's only money..they will print more..

    June 30, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  24. Ray E. (Georgia)

    I took a look at the list. Didn't read it. There's enough people there to strangle a gaggle of mules. No doubt Washington is "Overloaded" with bodies. What is that Law that says if you hire one Staff member you need two on his staff and then those two need twe each on their staff.. After a whils you wonder who does what. BUT, and this is a surprise, It is all Still Bush's fault! You read it here first!

    June 30, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Your Panties in Texas

      Please, define "gaggle of mules". Thanks.

      June 30, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
      • Ray E. (Georgia)

        Well "Panties". I have heard you could tell a Texican a lot but you couldn't tell him much. Now I actually like Texans. Really.

        July 1, 2012 at 10:04 am |
  25. Steve. D

    Are there comparisons to other Presidency's? 38M a year for staff seems excessive to me. Not to mention 468 people.

    June 30, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  26. mkukli1767

    Since you are apparently too ignorant to be able to read or at least comprehend, I'll do the numbers for you:

    There are 468 people on that list. Now, you seem to be implying that the entire Executive Branch of the United States Federal Government should be manned by fewer than that? What is wrong with you?

    No one has yet to claim that anything is Bush's fault here, please stop attacking straw men.

    June 30, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  27. Laura, Boston

    Why do they need all these people. Some of these jobs seem redundant.

    July 1, 2012 at 8:07 am |
  28. Name*Liz Carter

    @HenryB,..I guess CNNs Lesa Hansen was just throwing out a trick bone to the hatefilled, Obama-hating, Grand Old Pitbulls; so they can have something else to chew on!! LOL!! They a hungry, pathetic bunch of animals!! @Larry L, well I guess we took good notes there from the Bush/Cheney/Runsfeld/Rove playbook on that one didn't we?? LOL! Talk about "TOO BIG TO JAIL"!! You got that right!!

    July 1, 2012 at 9:16 am |
  29. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    Is the thermostat at the White House set at 72 all year long???

    You know... WE can't just think that the world will accept that !

    July 1, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  30. Lars

    President salary isn't listed.
    What does a Calligrapher do? I have a font on my computer.

    July 1, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Megamimi

      They push that button for the computer operators so the font will change?

      July 2, 2012 at 8:13 am |
  31. Lars


    July 1, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  32. Megamimi

    If my recollection does not fail, I believe the Obama Administration has grown the White House staff by about 30 to 40 people and increased the budget by $4 million dollars since 2008. Seems a little excessive to me. Perhaps were the Administration sincere about cutting the deficit, they would have reduced the staffing by a commensurate percentage and the budget equally so. However this is a big government guy and were there any question about that, this alarming increase in WH staffing serves only as confirmation. What in the world do they all do?

    July 2, 2012 at 8:12 am |
  33. jean2009

    Actually the cost went down if you read this break down from the previous year overall. But bottom line government pay scale for job description has been run by Congress since 1995 and is part of the CBO report. There is always more to any story the GOP whiners want to push.


    July 2, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  34. mumbledork

    Google White House salaries for a downloadable, readable list as opposed to the one CNN provides in this article. SHAMEFUL.

    July 2, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  35. Newmoon2

    These numbers don't look out of line to me. As a mid-level HR manager for a public utility, these salaries are well within range for the jobs listed in the DC/Virginia area. Should these people make less than the public sector? I don't think so.

    July 2, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  36. Jeff in NC

    This is a real eye opener not so much as a Dem/Rep exposure. It just shows the amount of waste or where custs can be made and should be made. Now, how about a report on what each member of Congress receives along with his staff??

    July 2, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • jean2009

      Wage of Chief of Staff $172,200. Wage for a do-nothing foot draggin' Rethugliklan congressman $174,000. Congress is where I would start eliminating the dead wood...we need to eliminate Bonehead and Can't or as useless government waste.

      July 4, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
  37. Peter

    I'm amazed that we're complaining about the salaries of the White House staff. Compared to the private sector, these individuals (at least the top advisers - Chief of Staff, Press Secretary, and etc.) are grossly underpaid. $172,000 is not a lot of money when you take into account that (1) these jobs are at the highest echelons of our government; (2) the high pressure, 24/7 nature of these jobs; and (3) the sheer cost of living in the D.C. area. Don't we want the people who are running our country and making tough decisions to be adequately compensated so we attract the best and the brightest to lead our country? That is what private companies do - no top executive at a Fortune 500 company is making $172,000 a year. The fact of the matter is that, in keeping salaries low when compared to the private sector, many talented people opt to stay in the private sector and not enter public service, which is a loss for our country.

    July 2, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
  38. pablo

    that works out to about $1,549,800 per year for all those losers. $172200 a year...seriously? It would take me almost 4 years to make that!

    July 3, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Cynthia L

      Maybe you could become the next Financial Genius. You just have to have a good imagination, pretend that you have money, invest it AND MAKE A QUICK WITHDRAWAL – Worked for Wall Street and a particuliar Republican candidate.

      July 3, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
  39. randybuyland

    This would be hilarious if the Pretender-In-Chief and his "posse" and Mooochelle and her handlers weren't driving the United States over a financial cliff....They could ELIMINATE half of these positions but that wouldn't be "fair" or the "right thing to do".....

    July 3, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Cynthia L

      I would rather give Congress a serious pay reduction AND take away their healthcare, just for fun.

      July 3, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • jean2009

      Too late, George W.Bush already drove the economy off the cliff.

      July 4, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  40. rj

    Yawn w/outstretched arms.

    The salaries have been posted in prior administrations and I always read them – and have not been able to draw any conclusions. IMHO – some that make more than me are deserving and others I think aren't so deserving. My views.

    July 3, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  41. Cynthia L

    Read my post above about the Vanity Fair article that the Daily Beast reported on about Mitt's Mysterious Financial Dealings. You can Goolge it or, go to the Daily Beast to check it out. Scary.

    July 3, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  42. Cynthia L

    Google it, as my post is still 'awaiting moderation'. This is not very good news for Mitt right now. Glad we have a chance to have more light shown on his finances. Looks like maybe he and his lawyer have been caught cooking the books. Now what will you do with the info and what is he going to tell us himself.
    Also, the saddest part, for me, is that our government has been attracking foreign tax evaders since 1966 and we are just now hearing about it?? So much for dissing the Swiss. Boo-Hiss.

    July 3, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  43. jean2009


    To find the pay rate lists from 2004 on
    Google; "2004 White House staff salaries report to congress" (or list the year first of which year you wish to review)
    Most of these are posted by the Washington Post...but the White House posts the list for 2010 & 11.

    The above blog article explains some of the reasons behind the reports.

    July 4, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  44. jean2009

    Federal pay grade scale is set by the Office of Budget and Management.


    A Congressman's and Senator's pay grade is: $174,000.
    Chief of Staff or equivalent duties: $172,200

    July 4, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
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    January 26, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
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