Biden
The White House

Who Is the Highest Paid Employee at the White House?

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Biden
The White House

It Takes a Village

Running operations at the White House is expensive — $50 million a year, the highest that budget’s been in history Forbes says. The Biden White House employs a staff of about 570 people (not including caretakers for the building and grounds). That includes 22 at the top of the salary range ($180,000) and 64 at the bottom ($48,000, mostly assistants or deputy assistants). The top two salaries belong to “detailees,” or experts the White House has borrowed from other agencies to address important policy issues. For the record, the president’s annual salary is $400,000; the vice president makes $235,100. Here’s a look at who makes up the top tier of White House employees (as of a July 1 report to Congress). In addition to their listed titles, they all carry the designation of  assistant to the president (except detailees Molly Groom and Elizabeth Hone).


Related: Hard-to-Believe Facts About the White House

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office located in Silicon Valley
Sundry Photography/istockphoto

Molly Groom

Position: Policy adviser for immigration

Annual Salary: $185,656


Groom was a deputy chief counsel at the Office of Chief Counsel for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services before being detailed to the White House to help guide the administration’s immigration policy decisions. Politico says she’s one of 26 detailees on the White House staff.


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Entrance to Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C., USA.
JHVEPhoto/istockphoto

Elizabeth Hone

Position: Senior policy adviser for broadband

Annual Salary: $183,164


Hone is on loan from the Federal Communications Commission, where Politico says “she helped schools and libraries get high-speed internet.” Expanding those services across America is a top policy priority for the White House. She also was a consumer protection attorney at the Federal Trade Commission for more than 10 years.


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Katherine Bedingfield
Wikimedia Commons

Katherine Bedingfield

Position: Director of communications

Annual Salary: $180,000


Bedingfield has a long history with President Biden, managing communications for him as vice president and during his 2020 campaign for president. There’s been speculation she could become the next press secretary when Jennifer Psaki departs for a job at MSNBC.

Jill Biden
The White House

Anthony Bernal

Position: Adviser to the first lady

Annual Salary: $180,000


Bernal was Jill Biden’s chief of staff from 2017 to 2019 and earlier worked with Vice President Al Gore’s office. He also was a deputy campaign manager for Biden’s 2020 campaign. “Bernal’s allies and enemies alike say that his loyalty to the first lady is absolute,” Politico says.


Related: Who Is the Highest-Paid Public Employee in Your State?

Brian Deese
The White House

Brian Deese

Position: Director of the National Economic Council

Annual Salary: $180,000


The Middlebury College and Yale Law School graduate serves as the president’s top economic adviser, coordinating policymaking for domestic and international economic issues. He was a senior adviser to President Barack Obama and involved in the auto industry bailout and Paris Climate Agreement before becoming the head of BlackRock’s sustainable energy division, Investopedia says.

Jennifer O’Malley Dillon
Wikimedia Commons

Jennifer O’Malley Dillon

Position: Deputy Chief of Staff

Annual Salary: $180,000


The veteran political strategist became Biden’s campaign manager in March 2020, just as COVID-19 was forcing candidates to change campaign tactics. She also worked on campaigns for Barack Obama, Beto O’Rourke, John Edwards, Tom Daschle, Mary Landrieu, and Al Gore. 

Michael Donilon
Getty Images / Chip Somodevilla / Staff Photographer / Getty ImagesNews

Michael Donilon

Position: Senior adviser to the President

Annual Salary: $180,000


The former chief strategist for Biden’s 2020 campaign, the media consultant and pollster has a long history with the president, working as a counselor to Biden during the Obama administration, Ballotpedia says. The Boston Globe calls him “Biden’s White House ‘wise man,’” helping shape what the White House says and does.

Anne Filipic
Getty Images / Paul Morigi / Freelance Photographer / Wire Image

Anne Filipic

Position: Director of management and administration and director of the Office of Administration

Annual Salary: $180,000


An alum of the Obama White House, where she served as deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, Filipic also held roles as deputy executive director of the Democratic National Committee, deputy director of intergovernmental affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, president of the nonprofit Enroll America (aimed at increasing the number of Americans taking advantage of the Affordable Care Act), and worked at the Obama Foundation.

Jonathan Finer
The White House

Jonathan Finer

Position: Principal deputy national security adviser

Annual Salary: $180,000


The Havard and Yale grad and Rhodes scholar was a foreign and national correspondent for The Washington Post before becoming a White House Fellow in 2009, Ballotpedia says. He also worked in the Obama administration for now-Secretary of State Tony Blinken, who was a deputy national security adviser at the time. He also served as a speechwriter for then-Vice President Biden.

Ron Klain
The White House

Ron Klain

Position: Chief of staff

Annual Salary: $180,000


“Klain has known Biden forever,” says NPR. “He was an intern in Biden’s Senate office, later his chief of staff, the same role he served in for former Vice President Al Gore. Klain oversaw the execution of the Obama stimulus plan, and he’s worked in every modern Democratic presidential campaign.” He also was the White House Ebola response coordinator in 2014-2015 and holds degrees from Georgetown and Harvard Law School.

Regina McCarthy
Wikimedia Commons

Regina McCarthy

Position: National climate adviser

Annual Salary: $180,000


The former chief of the Environmental Protection Agency in the Obama administration was picked to be the first White House climate czar following her time leading the National Resources Defense Council, a nonprofit advocacy group that The Washington Post says “sued the Trump administration more than 100 times, successfully overturning its attempts to delay energy efficiency rules and protections for threatened species.”

Jen Psaki
The White House

Jen Psaki

Position: Press secretary

Annual Salary: $180,000


Facing the media for frequent briefings, Psaki is probably the most visible person on the White House staff — the 34th person to serve as press secretary dating back to the Hoover administration. She previously served as communications director in the Obama White House and was a spokesperson for the State Department. She’s widely expected to leave the White House this spring to host a show on MSNBC.

Bruce Reed
Wikimedia Commons

Bruce Reed

Position: Deputy Chief of Staff

Annual Salary: $180,000


Reed returns to the White House where he was chief of staff for then-Vice President Biden from 2011 to 2013 and later became a senior adviser to his 2020 presidential campaign. He also worked in the Clinton White House as a domestic policy adviser, where Bloomberg notes he had a role in the 1996 welfare overhaul bill.

Dana Remus
Wikimedia Commons

Dana Remus

Position: White House counsel

Annual Salary: $180,000


Remus was a deputy assistant to President Obama and deputy counsel for ethics before becoming general counsel of the Obama Foundation and later taking that same position with Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, according to Ballotpedia. She holds degrees from Harvard and Yale Law School and clerked for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

Steven Ricchetti
The White House

Steven Ricchetti

Position: Counselor to the president

Annual Salary: $180,000


A former chief of staff to Biden when he was vice president in 2013-2017 and the chairman of Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, Ricchetti “has been a key player in Mr. Biden’s life since joining his vice-presidential staff in 2012,” The New York Times says. The former lobbyist also served as a legislative aide in the Clinton White House.

Susan Rice
The White House

Susan Rice

Position: Domestic policy adviser

Annual Salary: $180,000


In her role as director of the Domestic Policy Council, Rice “drives the formulation and implementation of President Biden’s domestic policy agenda, from economic mobility and racial equality to health care and immigration,” says her White House bio. She also served as President Obama’s representative to the United Nations and was national security adviser as well as an assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration.

Cedric Richmond
Wikipedia Commons

Cedric Richmond

Position: Senior adviser to the president and director of the Office of Public Engagement

Annual Salary: $180,000


As the head of the Office of Public Engagement, the five-term congressperson from Louisiana and former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus leads the effort to build a dialogue between the administration and constituents that “ensures that voices are heard and that concerns can be translated into action across the administration.”

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall
Wikipedia Commons

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall

Position: Homeland security adviser and deputy national security adviser

Annual Salary: $180,000


This national security expert who worked in the Clinton and Obama administrations graduated from Harvard and attended Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, Ballotpedia says. She has worked at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and the Georgia Institute of Technology. 

Jake Sullivan
The White House

Jake Sullivan

Position: National security adviser

Annual Salary: $180,000


A key aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the Obama administration, Sullivan was involved in negotiations that led to the Iran nuclear agreement. He also served as a national security adviser to then-Vice President Biden before joining Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign as a senior security adviser.

Neera Tanden
Neera Tanden by Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA)

Neera Tanden

Position: Senior adviser to the president and White House staff secretary

Annual Salary: $180,000


The former president for the Center for American Progress who served in the Clinton and Obama administrations originally was nominated to be director of the Office of Management and Budget. The nomination was withdrawn when it was determined there weren’t enough votes to confirm her in the Senate, and she was appointed as a White House senior adviser. She was also named White House staff secretary in October.

Louisa Terrell
The White House

Louisa Terrell

Position: Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs

Annual Salary: $180,000


Terrell’s career has moved between government and corporate positions, including seven years as then-Sen. Biden’s chief of staff, director of federal policy and strategy for Yahoo, legislative affairs expert in the Obama administration, public policy director at Facebook, and executive director of the Biden Foundation.

Annie Tomasini
The White House

Annie Tomasini

Position: Director of Oval Office operations

Annual Salary: $180,000


Politico calls Tomasini one of “the most influential people in the White House” as well as   “press shy” despite being press secretary for then-Sen. Biden, joining the 2008 presidential campaign and becoming deputy press secretary again when he was vice president. She was Biden’s traveling chief of staff during the 2020 campaign. (Directors of Oval Office operations don’t generally receive the designation of assistant to the president.)


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