Heard on the Hill

Capitol Hill Staff Is Sleepier Than Last Year, So Far

Survey shows staffers are working longer hours in the 115th Congress

Late nights are part of working on Capitol Hill, especially in the 115th Congress.

Just more than a month into this Congress, 66 percent of self-identified staffers say they’re going to bed later than they were last session and 57 percent said they’re waking up earlier.

Of the 100 respondents to Heard on the Hill’s Survey Monkey poll, conducted from Feb. 8-13, seven said they are getting only four hours of sleep a night while one said two hours.

The most common answers were five to six hours, while one fortunate responder said he or she got nine hours of sleep a night.

Eight respondents said they are working about 10 more hours a week than they were working in the 114th Congress. One said 12 more hours, three said 15 more hours, one said 20 more hours and one said 30 more hours.

On a daily basis, the two highest answers were five and four hours more a day than last Congress.

Others said they worked the same amount as last Congress or roughly the same.

Occupations differed among the respondents: 21 percent worked for a Senate Democrat, 10 percent worked for a Senate Republican, 17 percent worked for a House Democrat and 23 percent worked for a House Republican.

Others said they worked for the Senate sergeant-at-arms, the Senate Disbursing Office, the secretary of the Senate, a House committee or on the Senate floor. One had a nonpartisan Hill job and one had a nonpartisan Senate job.

Twenty percent said they would rather not say where they worked.

Answers varied when asked if their bosses are working longer hours than the last Congress. Dozens said no or not sure, one said his or her boss worked 24 hour day, and one made reference to the overnight speeches in the Senate.

One outlier response: “My boss doesn’t do anything.”

Last week, while voting on President Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks, especially the controversial Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Democrats spoke in protest throughout the night and Republicans scheduled votes for the middle of the night or early morning.

The survey was released through Twitter the morning after Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren was shut down by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell while speaking on the floor about the Sessions nomination.

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