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. Tony 140

    Where is the pay CZAR when we need him? I bet these guys are thankful that their pay isn't tied to their performance.

    July 2, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  2. Poser

    The numbers may seem big for the top folks in the WH but people with similar responsibilities in the private sector make 10-20 times those salaries. Compare the WH numbers against the CEO and top ten VPs at Goldman Sachs for example. Most or all fortune 100 corporations will have huge numbers too.

    Fiscal budget hawks really need to focus on Defense, SS, medicare, and the interest on the debt. That accounts for 80% of total gov't spending. Trimming WH salaries as a solution to our budget problems is like using an ant against a nuclear weapon.

    July 2, 2010 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  3. Archyle

    just a sickening example of how these people we vote for spend more on thier own salaries than the GDP of many countries. Most all of the higher ranking white house, congressional and Judicial officials are independently wealthy anyway, so why do they need an extra eighty to four hundred thousand dollars a year. This last year alone President Obama's salary went to pay the taxes on the five million dollars he made through private interests. So, we are paying our taxes to pay thier taxes...man, I wish I was an elected official, why do these people need lobbyists to give them all that extra stuff? does anyone else know this is wrong?

    July 2, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  4. Michael

    The pay is pale compared to what the President and Prime Minister of Singapore earns – roughly $2 Million dollars. Yeah ... google it. Population of Singapore – 3-4 million people. Population of USA 300-400 million. While the population of USA is 100 times more, the President earns 75% less. Go figure.

    July 2, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  5. Angie

    Yes, but with jobs like that, they shouldn't be doing it for the money, they should do it for their country. Sort of like being a teacher or a cop. 400k is not much for a US president, but almost 200k for a staffer is way too much.

    July 2, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  6. TOTUS 4 PRESIDENT

    Let's be real here. These guys, especially those related to the Chicago thug syndicate, are (and will be) making gazillions. It's just not reported, you can bet much of it is and will be hidden offshore, and of course tax free...

    July 2, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  7. Dameon

    I'd love to earn that much for doing close to nothing! /end sarcasm.

    July 2, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  8. Fed Up

    That's what you get when you're on the dole. High salaries and nothing to do to earn it other than look pretty.

    July 2, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  9. Shawn

    I think Obama needs his salary cut...because he sucks at his job, he should be fired...they need to cut staff back at the white house, would save us all money, starting what we pay the president....

    July 2, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  10. Dale

    Get real..... Everyone that goes there comes out millionaires. Wonder how? All are crooks.

    July 2, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  11. Get A Grip

    "Just how much can you make at the White House?"

    Well, now this is an easy one.

    ANSWER: Too much starting with Obama and his administration. And lets not forget all those 'perks' they have.

    July 2, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  12. JJ

    When you consider the hours these folks work – 24/7/365 – they really aren't making a whole lot of money.

    July 2, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  13. Fed Up Wth Dems!

    We pay Axelrod and Gibbs $172,000 each to lie to us every time they open their mouths. Amazing!

    Why is Axelrod's position a paid position anyway? He serves no purpose other than to spread the dictator's propaganda. His salary should be deducted from the President's salary.

    July 2, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  14. Sarah, the baby seal basher

    You can make six times that amount if you take all the Corporate bagmoney payoffs being handed out by lobbyscum.

    July 2, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  15. CBR

    I congratulate the President in holding the line on pay for White House Staffers. I just wish more employers and bosses would do the same.

    What a boost that would be to the economy.

    July 2, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  16. Nobama

    No wonder the White House is so out of touch with the rest of America when it comes to jobs and government spending.

    July 2, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  17. Blaum

    469 staff members...

    Barry is trying to off-set the unemployment disaster on his own!!

    Can't wait to vote you out, Barry.... you're a terrible president.... fyi...

    July 2, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  18. Brian - Seattle

    Considering the level of stress and long hours people in the White House work, I think their salaries are actually pretty low. Not to mention the cost of living there is pretty high and 50k won't get you much as it would elsewhere.

    One thing many people do not realize is that working as a public servant is a thankless job, which is more difficult than a majority of private sector jobs. Not to mention that most of them have a master's degree or Ph.D. to even get a starting position and those are not cheap.

    Don't read too much into this. The people working in Washington as public servants aren't doing it for the money.

    July 2, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  19. Benedict Obama

    unbelievable how much these puppets make, meanwhile there are real Americans who can't find work because our jobs are getting outsourced.

    July 2, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  20. phoenix86

    A total waste of taxpayer money, as the White House is getting paid to work against the citizenry.

    July 2, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  21. Yocheved

    I was shocked to see how little salary Obama's chief advisors are paid for what has got to be the most important job in the U.S. It clearly shows that these people are fully dediicated Americans working selflessly for the greater good, motivated I am sure, by an outstanding President who also works selflessly for Americans, despite all of the insane criticisms that are heaped on him.

    July 2, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  22. Seattle Girl

    That's a pretty paltry sum for the world's most difficult and thankless job. President Obama deserves a raise!!! =]

    July 2, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  23. Beverly - NYC

    $400,000 For the leader of the free world, when CEO's who bankrupt the nation make millions while whining about it. We are getting a bargin with Obama. Bush/Cheney were definitely overpaid forthe lousy job they did.

    July 2, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  24. Willy Brown

    For the sheep who was hoping this clown and his gang was going to give you a new horizon well all you got stuck with was the change out of those outrages salaries

    July 2, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  25. Frederick Jayne

    I have been watching all the news channels for Senator ROBERT BIRDS funeral of which has so little on about him.All news channels are a discrace that more is not on about one of the true Americans who spent his entire life working for the good of the American people and the people of West Virignia

    July 2, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
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