Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Criticizes Congressional Colleagues Over Unpaid Interns & Not Paying Living Wage

Democratic Congressional Candidate In New York Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Attends Election Night Party
Rick Loomis / Getty Images

Newly elected congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez slammed her soon to be congressional colleagues for using unpaid interns instead of paying a living wage. She spared neither party in her calling out, too.

According to Business Insider, Ocasio-Cortez, who worked as a waitress and bartender before running for Congress, took her thoughts to Twitter. She wrote, “This week I went to dive spot in DC for some late night food. I chatted up the staff. SEVERAL bartenders, managers, & servers *currently worked in Senate + House offices,*. This is a disgrace.”

She continued in a follow-up 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.’ If that’s the case, they can cut down on staff to pay them well. Or raise the MRA.”

During her campaign, the newly elected congresswoman refused to take corporate donations, and the youngest woman ever elected to Congress has focused on working-class Americans during and after the election. Ocasio-Cortez spoke out about how many people legislating in the U.S. are rich and have no idea what working-class and poor people face in their lives.

Members of the United States House of Representatives earn between $174,000 and $223,500 complete with a benefits package. Some of the latest figures put as much as 40 percent of senators and representatives in the category of millionaires. In contrast, the median income in the U.S. for 2017 came out far lower at $59,039.

Twitter users quickly responded to her slam of the way things work in Washington, D.C. One wrote, “Thank you for pointing this out. Chastising and condescending people who simply want to be paid a livable wage by telling them to ‘work harder’ or by glorifying or normalizing needing endless jobs is just the oppressor’s way of keeping people down. We see through it. Thank you.”

Shortly before Ocasio-Cortez called out her upcoming colleagues, New York Representative Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D) had advertised for an unpaid intern position. After the tweet, Schumer’s office corrected an “error” and explained that the intern would receive a stipend.

While it may seem forward to call out her future co-workers before she even starts her job, the Representative-elect has made no bones about doing things differently than the status quo as she serves her district. As President Donald Trump tends to do, Ocasio-Cortez says precisely what she thinks.

Yesterday, Inquisitr reported a testy Twitter exchange between her and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. In a tweet, she suggested Huckabee leave the untrue statements to his daughter Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who currently serves Trump as the White House Press Secretary.

Before even starting her job, the recently elected Representative has made waves and perhaps also affected some small amount of change because some people suggested that Schumer added a stipend to his intern position due to her tweet.