July 2nd, 2010
10:13 AM ET
4 years ago

Just how much can you make at the White House?

 The top wage-earner at the White House, besides the president, makes just shy of $180,000.
The top wage-earner at the White House, besides the president, makes just shy of $180,000.

(CNN) – Working at the White House includes long days, 7-day work weeks, and a demanding boss who just happens to have his finger on the button.

So what's the going rate to put up with these working conditions?

According to the salary list released by the administration Thursday, 23 White House staffers make $172,000, while two "detailees" – Michael Harsh and Timothy Love – top the list at nearly $180,000. "Detailees" are employees from other government offices who have been assigned to work at the White House for a period of time.

The White House is required to submit an annual salary list to both the U.S. Senate and House.

Most of President Obama's senior aides – including Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, and adviser David Axelrod make $172,000 a year – the same salary they made last year due to a salary freeze the president implemented shortly after taking office.

However, rank-and-file White House staffers make considerably less, with the average salary is $82,700 a year, while the median employee salary is $66,000. The lowest full time salary is just under $38,000 a year.

Obama himself earns $400,000, double the $200,000 President Clinton earned annually during his eight years in office. The president's pay hike went into effect during the presidency of George W. Bush.

In all, the White House employs 469 staff members for a total payroll of nearly $40 million.

– CNN's Alexander Mooney contributed to this report


Filed under: White House
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Bush/Cheney cleanup

    Pres. Obama is earning the money, believe it, Bush/Cheney left a big mess

    July 2, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  2. A choice come Nov.

    I think Pres. Obama is working hard for the money. Keep up the good work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 2, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  3. JOHNNY HARRIS

    Not included ......the first ladies staff of 26....total cost to taxpayers..

    July 2, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  4. munchmom

    No wonder this administration doesn't get the recession.....

    July 2, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  5. Really

    No wonder they are not concerned with improving the economy. It must be tough to scrape by on those wages. They aren't in touch with the everyday person, although they and their blind followers try to claim they are. News Flash... The Republicans are more "every day" type people. Democrats are in bed with Wallstreet and the Elite. Hmmmmm. Someday, people will actually realize this item.

    July 2, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  6. KPATL

    I would love to see a comparison in payrolls between the Obama White house and the Bush White house. Something tells me that I already know who's administration and staff cost more.

    July 2, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  7. CW in St. Paul

    Communist! See, Bush made people work for free! He never spent any money on employees!

    July 2, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  8. doug

    LOL, I'm sure that this is the only income coming in for these Chicago Capone-like thugs.

    Oblagma hate books have got to bring him in a good chunk of change too.

    July 2, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  9. Jeff in Virginia

    These people are responsible for some of the hardest jobs in the country. They deserve every cent.

    To those of you who want to criticize, ask yourself, was it appropriate to pay the same salaries to the employees of George W. Bush?

    July 2, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  10. Spike5

    Given the cost of living in Washington, the very long and exhausting hours involved in being a White House staffer (thank you, 'West Wing,' for showing that to us), and the lost income compared to what most of these people could be making otherwise–well, it's clear that they are truly committed to what they are doing. They deserve a real vote of appreciation.

    July 2, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  11. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "Obama himself earns $400,000."

    Obama may be paid $400,000 every year, but he sure isn't earning it.

    And paying the Prez that much is ridiculous in the first place. His housing, meals, and transportation are all paid for by the taxpayers–it's not like he has much in the way of personal expenses.

    July 2, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  12. Brice

    This is pretty good payrolls by Adminstrations. Obama makes 400k, good for him because I feel that Wall Street and CEOs need to fix their salaries, and should be closer to Obama's salary. Gibbs, Axelrod and Emanuel earns 172k with freeze is good for them because they stand in front of medias almost every day. But what about CEOs that can't stand in front of medias and still make millionaire or billionaire. CEOs know they would give more dishonest and attention by FBI or lawmakers.

    July 2, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  13. Charlie in Maine

    Worth every penny at least in this administration. I could have just flipped a coin and been right more often than George W. BTW with all this talk of "Judicial Activism" Let's not forget the worst case of Judicial Activism ever: That would be the little case of Bush V. Gore. The court never should have heard it. Florida should have finished it's re-count and we would have been saved the pain and embarassment of the" Bush Error"

    July 2, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  14. blr

    Gee- if we fire them ALL – we could add $40M back to pay down the debt, and not miss anything.

    July 2, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  15. Phil

    WH 'Staffers' should take a 50% hit this year (Obama should 'get by on 80K) and donate 1/3 toward paying unemployed Americans unemployment benefits, 1/3 towrd the gulf cleanup effort, and 1/3 toward border security.

    July 2, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  16. Matt Larkin

    40 million ? That's it ? Not too bad considering that some oil and backing execs make 15 million to 30 million +.

    July 2, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  17. Brian

    hey, all in all it's nice to know the entire White House payroll is a little more than what Rush Limbaugh makes in a month.

    July 2, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  18. REG in AZ

    John Boehner continues to be an idiot who is continually focused on his political ambitions above all else and at all costs. He stubbornly and arrogantly is irresponsible and obnoxious in his self-focused concentration to unconscionably criticize without ever offering bipartisan cooperation to address the problems. His whole intent is to to use scare tactics and emotional appeals to manipulate and control public opinion without any sincere concern for his constituents. He is an owned and controlled 'puppet' for Special Interests and the select few who support him and 'pull his strings'.

    July 2, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  19. john

    Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, and adviser David Axelrod make $172,000 a year ....

    They pay more in income tax than what I make in a year..... now that's just all kinds of wrong....

    July 2, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  20. I Love Obama

    and BO earns every penny of his $400,000! Greatest president EVER!

    July 2, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  21. Marry

    For the great work the public gets out of the White House, they get a lot of value for their money!

    July 2, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  22. NVa Native

    Our President who leads our country only makes $400k.
    But Jabba-da-butt (Limpball) and the Beckler make tens of millions of dollars spreading lies and deceptions trying to scare the public into voting against their best interests.
    And for 27% of the American public (fox followers) who are weak minded and want a daddy to tell them what to do so they don't have do that difficult stuff ... you know like thinking and reasoning .... it works!

    July 2, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  23. TimMN.

    And the goverment complained about the salaries of big companies CEO's?

    July 2, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  24. chris

    I really don't have a problem with these salaries...just the people who are getting them.

    July 2, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  25. Allen in Hartwell GA

    I haven't researched it and won't, but figure that any of the top 100 companies with 469 employees would probably have an annual payroll of about $469 million. For all the people clamoring for smaller government, or for privatizing government, this should give them something to think about.

    July 2, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
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