Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the newly elected House representative, is continuing her crusade to not only change the way business is done in Congress but to pull back the curtain on the fugaziness that takes place on Capitol Hill.
On Tuesday, Cortez took to Twitter to bash both sides of the aisle for underpaying their overworked staff and relying heavily on work from unpaid interns.
“This week I went to dive spot in D.C. for some late night food. I chatted up the staff. SEVERAL bartenders, managers, & servers *currently worked in Senate + House offices,*” she wrote. “This is a disgrace.”
Cortez then vowed to pay her interns at least $15 an hour, and this, folks, is what happens when you elect a hardworking woman from New York who actually worked to make ends meet. She’s not even an official member of Congress yet and she’s already pulling back the lid on how Congress functions.
“Many members of Congress were born into wealth, or they grew up around it,” she told Bon Appetit last month. “How can you legislate a better life for working people if you’ve never been a working person?”
So Ocasio-Cortez is demanding that other Congress members follow her lead and actually “walk the walk,” noting on Twitter, “Very few members of Congress actually pay their interns. We will be one of them.”
The Cut notes that a 2017 report (pdf) from nonprofit group Pay Our Interns found that only “51 percent of Republicans and 31 percent of Democrats in the Senate pay their interns. And in the House, only 8 percent of Republicans and 3.6 percent of Democrats do.”
Ocasio-Cortez also tweet-shamed the fuck out of Congress members by letting the world know how elected officials take the bag and spread it out amongst everyone but the interns.
Which means that Congress members choose not to pay their interns so they can spend that allotment of wealth somewhere elsewhere.
Business Insider reports:
House members are paid between $174,000 and $223,500 a year, and 40% of senators and representatives are millionaires, according to a March 2018 Roll Call report. The median American household income was $59,039 in 2017, according to the census.
Ocasio-Cortez wasn’t finished. She added in another tweet: “It is unjust for Congress to budget a living wage for ourselves, yet rely on unpaid interns & underpaid overworked staff just bc Republicans want to make a statement about ‘fiscal responsibility.’”
And it looks like Ocasio-Cortez is already starting to see results. The Cut notes that “earlier this week, Pay Your Interns tweeted a screenshot of an ad from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office seeking an “unpaid press intern.” Schumer’s spokesperson later told Rolling Stone that the ad was “made in error,” and that starting in January, the office will ‘offer a stipend to eligible interns.’”
We see what you’re doing Ocasio-Cortez, and we like it!