Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez May Have Been Elected to Congress But She Still Can’t Afford DC Rent

New York Democrat candidate for Congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez listens to Michigan Democratic gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed speak at a press availability after a campaign rally the two held on the campus of Wayne State University July 28, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan.
Photo: Bill Pugliano (Getty Images)

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may have shaken up the world, having gone from a bartender to Congresswoman-elect, but she may not have been ready for the thoroughly gentrified Washington D.C. rent.

The 29-year-old told the New York Times on Wednesday, that she won’t be getting paid for the first three months that she’s in Congress and as such it’s making it almost impossible for her to find an apartment.


Ocasio-Cortez, who won New York’s 14th Congressional District, told the Times that she was working on her move to D.C. but added that the situation she was in was “very unusual because I can’t really take a salary. I have three months without a salary before I’m a member of Congress. So, how do I get an apartment? Those little things are very real.”

She added that she and her partner were “squirreling away and then hoping that gets me to January.”

After the story went viral, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted about the situation.

“There are many little ways in which our electoral system isn’t even designed (nor prepared) for working-class people to lead. This is one of them (don’t worry btw - we’re working it out!),” she wrote.


Look, after that three month-waiting period—which, why and the hell does it take three months for Congressmembers to get paid? Maybe we should write to Congress about this—Ocasio-Cortez will make $174,000 per year.

But D.C. has long been on the “rent is way to goddamn high” path. According to NBC News,“The median rent for a one-bedroom in D.C. is $2,170. That gives D.C. the seventh-highest rental costs in the country.”


Ocasio-Cortez became a national darling after declaring she was running for office. She has now become the youngest woman ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The democratic socialist defeated Rep. Joseph Crowley, the No. 4 Democrat in the House. Her victory shocked her as much as it shocked the political establishment. She clapped her hands to her mouth on live TV as she watched the results at her campaign watch party,” NBC News reports.


And for the next three months, at least until her baller salary kicks in, Ocasio-Cortez is still one of us.

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About the author

Stephen A. Crockett Jr.

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.