Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is promising to put her money where her mouth is when she settles in her new role as representative to New York's 14th district next month.
Using her favorite social media platform of Twitter to deliver the good news, the future New York representative said that unlike other members of Congress who misinterpret intern help as free labor, she is vowing to pay her interns for their services.
Time to walk the walk.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) December 5, 2018
Very few members of Congress actually pay their interns. We will be one of them. https://t.co/BuKCDSai0K
"Very few members of Congress actually pay their interns. We will be one of them," her tweet read.
She then called out her colleagues on the opposition regarding their stance on masking "fiscal responsibility" by employing an underpaid staff.
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.”— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) December 3, 2018
If that’s the case, they can cut down on staff to pay them well. Or raise the MRA.
The next day, Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, confirmed to the Washington Post that the incoming representative would pay her interns "at least" $15 per hour.In a celebrated move, Ocasio-Cortez was very transparent to her nearly two million Twitter followers, revealing the amount congressmen are given for operations needs, explaining what the funds are supposed to cover.
Each member of Congress gets around $1.2 million (give or take a bit) for their entire operating budget. That’s supposed to cover all salaries (DC and district), rents for district offices, travel home, tech devices, services, contracts, etc.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) December 5, 2018
Members decide how it’s all spent. https://t.co/TUbN72m01x
"That’s supposed to cover all salaries (DC and district), rents for district offices, travel home, tech devices, services, contracts, etc," her tweet read.
Pay Our Interns, a website aimed at discussing the disparity between a substantial congressional budget and the lack of funding for staff, released that a 2017 report, detailing that "just 51 percent of Republicans and 31 percent of Democrats in the Senate pay their interns." As for the House, only 8 percent of Republicans and 3.6 percent of Democrats provide a paid internship experience. This revelation was first reported on by The Cut.
In a tweet on Monday, Pay Our Interns also called out long-time Senator Chuck Schemer (D-NY) for posting a job description looking for an "unpaid intern."
After considerable backlash, a spokesman for the senator spoke with Rolling Stone and said the ad was published "in error," and when the 116th Congress assumes office on January 3, 2019, they will be paying their interns.
1. @SenSchumer came to Congress in 1969, as a *drum roll* PAID INTERN ($1,800/mth). source: https://t.co/WfLwJb63UH— Pay Our Interns (@payourinterns) December 3, 2018
2. As a the minority leader he has always had the funds to pay his interns.
3. He's receiving $65,000 to pay his interns for 2019. #cutmycheck #payourinterns pic.twitter.com/1VpbiqWHD5
Blavity fam, if you would like to be a part of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's team, there are plenty of open positions for your consideration. Positions are based in both the Bronx, New York and Washington, D.C. If you find a posting you fit the qualifications for, you can apply here. Best of luck!
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