February 2, 2023

Ocasio just gave staffers an unprecedented raise. Republicans lost it, and her response is gold

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Freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has been changing the way things are done in Congress since before she was even sworn in, and that clearly isn’t changing anytime soon as she continues to pave new ground and revolutionizes D.C. politics for good.


In what was somehow a controversial announcement today, Ocasio-Cortez declared that she would be paying all of her staffers a minimum of $52,000 a year in order to properly reward her team for their public service and to help them afford to live in one of the most expensive cities in the country. 

Her decision to put her congressionally-allocated money where her mouth is triggered a ridiculous wave of whining and moaning from right-wingers, who were quick to flood the replies and holler “IT’S NOT YOUR MONEY IT’S OUR MONEY” about paying staffers a fair wage but curiously had nothing to say but “fake news!” when it was announced that Donald Trump had spent nearly $100,000 of taxpayer money on golf carts at Mar-a-Lago.

The young progressive addressed her critics with follow-up tweets that explains exactly how Congressional salaries work and made the hugely important connection between the purposefully low staffer pay and the funneling of those staffers into the arms of crooked lobbyists and their wealthy backers:

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The low salary of Congressional staffers is a deliberate attempt to gatekeep access to political influence and opportunity only to those who can already afford to live in Washington D.C. on their own, either from parents or trust funds, thus ensuring that the next generation of politicians represents and shares the same material interests as the ruling elites.

One of the worst consequences of the modern neoliberal capitalist order is the devaluation of any and all labor that doesn’t directly create more wealth or power for the controlling interests and the deliberate leeching away of all economic resources away from anything that might be contrary to those interests.

The teachers who shape your children’s futures, the inspectors who make sure you don’t die from E. coli in your lettuce, the journalists who write the locals news, the nursing assistants who take care of you when you’re lying there and racking up debt in a hospital bed, the staffers who do the heavy lifting in Congress, all the people who do actually do socially productive and beneficial things are all horribly underpaid.

That’s why it’s so important that Ocasio-Cortez is trying to break the cycle of losing our best and brightest minds to enthrallment by the elite and the promises of a comfortable financial future by paying her staffers a decent wage — and reminding us all that it is possible for us to elect politicians who actually follow through with their promises and practice what they preach.

Colin Taylor

Managing Editor

Colin Taylor is the managing editor of the Washington Press. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice, equality, and universal health care in America.

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