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Secrets From Congress

6 Things We Just Learned About Congress, Straight From a Former Intern

Ever wondered what goes on day-by-day in Congress? So have we. Luckily, one Reddit user who says they just finished up an internship with Congress has heard our prayers and decided to answer them. This week, user HombreSinNombre96 went ahead and (drunkenly, per their words) posted a new Ask Me Anything thread:

Just finished interning in Congress a few weeks ago, AMA! from AMA

Some of the questions, naturally, came from trolls: "On a scale of one to John Boehner how big of scumbags are the people there?" one user asked. But a few serious questions came in as well, and the former intern offered a handful of rather insightful answers. Curious about the sh*t-talking, the pay, and the other things that might come up in the presence of our esteemed representatives? Here are the top highlights from the thread.

1. The Internship Was Not Paid

If you think the government will shell out for its intern employees, think again. "No, it was not paid. :( Which is some actual bullsh*t, because I worked my f*cking ass off; every day I'd wake up at 5:30 am, get to D.C., work 8-9 hours depending on if we were in session, and then get home at 7:30 pm."

2. Congress Staffers Don't Actually Make That Much Money

Another misconception about the government: that all officials make bank. After all, the President has $400,000 salary, plus $50,000 for expenses and $100,000 for travel. As for the people further down? "If you think staffers make a lot of money, that is definitely not the case lol."

3. Allegedly, Congress Really IS Working Toward Wise Spending

The prevailing myth is that the government is blowing money on useless things for no reason. "Believe it or not, Members of Congress really do try to spend tax money wisely. A common question they ask is "do we really need to spend money on bill X?"

4. The Representatives Actually Provide Some (Very Random) Additional Services

When they're not arguing about the future of America, representatives can do all sorts of fun things. "Services provided are things like free tours of the Capitol, the ability to book White House tours . . . In addition to that, if you're having an issue with a federal agency you should definitely call the Rep's district office . . . The district office can help you (or at least try its best) with things like fighting the Veterans' Administration to get your benefits, or get your passport expedited, or try and help with things like social security."

5. There's a Lot of Sh*t-Talking, but at Least They Aren't Doing Anything Shady

Bet you thought government workers don't act like a bunch of high school mean girls. But, guess what? This is as catty as any other office space can (sometimes) be. Even so, there's a silver lining. "There was a lot of sh*t talking behind peoples' backs which really turned me off. I never saw anything unethical go down though as far as taking bribes from lobbyists etc."

6. If Your Representative Is From the Opposite Party, There's Basically Nothing You Can Do but Wait

Being a Democrat in a conservative area or vice versa is even harder than you think. "If you're a Republican in a district where a Democrat represents you, no amount of railing against Obamacare will get him or his staff to change their position supporting Obamacare, thus you basically have to deal with not having your interests represented in Congress at all."

Image Source: Getty / Win McNamee
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