October 01, 2020

Castro, Zeldin Statements on Introduction and Markup of Department of State Student Internship Program Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (D, TX-20), Vice Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Chairman of its Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, and Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, released the following statements after the House Foreign Affairs Committee advanced their bipartisan legislation guaranteeing financial support and paid internships at the U.S. State Department:

“Internships are an important steppingstone for young Americans who aspire to a career in foreign policy, yet the vast majority of internship opportunities at the U.S. State Department are unpaid. Without an income, thousands of people are excluded because they cannot afford to live in our nation’s capital or at our diplomatic posts overseas. This barrier disadvantages those with modest means, disproportionately people of color, and exacerbates the lack of diversity in diplomacy,” said Chairman Castro. “Our bill requires the State Department to transition to paid internships and provides student interns with a basic salary and financial support. Our State Department must reflect all of us, which is why this legislation has strong bipartisan support. No matter where you’re from or how much money you have, you deserve the opportunity to pursue your dream of becoming a diplomat.”

“The State Department should have a workforce that reflects the diversity of our great nation as they represent the United States on the world stage,” said Congressman Zeldin. “By providing paid internships at the Department of State, more students from across the country will be able to follow their interest in foreign affairs and pursue a career in public service. It’s an honor to work with Chairman Castro on this bipartisan legislation, which requires no new Congressional appropriation, to make these students’ dreams a reality.”


This legislation would require internships at the State Department to be compensated and provides authorities to the Department to provide housing and travel for individuals who are interning far away from the location of their internship or abroad. These measures would open up these internship opportunities to individuals of all backgrounds and means and is part of the nationwide effort to ensure that interns are paid for the work they do.

You can view the full legislative text here.