Democratic New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has faced some criticism for her recent tweet praising herself for the salaries being paid to those who work in her office.
“Leadership starts with our choices. That’s why I decided that no one on my staff will make less than $52k/year. It’s likely one of the highest entry-level salaries on the Hill. We pinch pennies elsewhere, but it’s worth every dime to pay a living wage,” she tweeted.
“We think that if a person is working, they should make enough to live,” said Corbin Trent, Ocasio-Cortez’s communications director, according to Roll Call.
However, commentator Dan Bongino noted that it was important to remember that in government, it is not the elected officials but the people who ultimately pay salaries.
“She’s NOT paying this ‘living wage,’ YOU are. Does she really believe her own nonsense?” Bongino tweeted.
She’s NOT paying this “living wage,” YOU are. Does she really believe her own nonsense? https://t.co/tW1WskOCqf
— Dan Bongino (@dbongino) February 23, 2019
Because members of Congress can only spend a fixed amount overall for staffing, Ocasio-Cortez made a decision to cut at the top.
The top pay for anyone in Ocasio-Cortez’s is $80,000, Trent said. Roll Call reported that the median pay for a chief of staff is $154,634.
Lee Drutman, a senior fellow at New America’s political reform program, said that not every office can attract candidates using the pay scale Ocasio-Cortez is using.
“I’m sure there are a lot of people who are really excited to work for her, and who might be willing to forgo some salary for a few years just for the excitement of working for a member who is so hot right now,” he said. “But is that sustainable for the long term?”
The issue was debated Sunday on “Fox and Friends.”
Co-host Pete Hegseth said that he believed the congresswoman’s pay policy was “actually socialism and communism on display,”
Hegseth said the salary structure would mean Ocasio-Cortez’s chief staff will earn a salary below the “actual market rate.”
Hegseth wondered at the end of the show if Ocasio-Cortez would fill that gap out of her own wages.
“She makes $174,000 as a congresswoman. She should probably redistribute some of that will you share some of that money. Will you share some of that money, Miss Congresswoman, with the rest of your staff who is not making as much as you?” he asked.
“Let’s not forget where that money comes from. They are not making that money in her office,” noted commentator Katie Pavlic.
“They’re not running a business where they’re making a profit and money is coming in with revenue. That money comes from taxpayers, and given to her office, and she can move it around. If it was market-based maybe she could pay entry level staffers $52,000 a year given the market value of those positions in the private sector,” she said.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.