Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sets $80K cap on staffers’ salaries – but won’t say whether she’ll cap hers too

March 15, 2019

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sets $80K cap on staffers’ salaries – but won’t say whether she’ll cap hers too Image: Video Screenshot

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has made paying her staffers a “living wage” a priority.

To accommodate the wage increase, AOC set an $80,000 salary cap for her staffers. But the progressive upstart’s office won’t say if she will subject her own salary to that cap, according to the Washington Examiner.

AOC won’t cap own salary

AOC promised to raise entry-level pay for her staffers to a “living wage” of $52,000. That’s a 34 percent increase from the $34,000 national average salary for a House staff assistant, according to Yahoo News.

With a salary of $174,000, AOC would be earning more than twice as much as her best-paid staffers if she does not adhere to the $80,000 cap, which she instituted to help pay entry-level staffers more. But the Examiner reported that AOC did not respond to their attempts to get a comment on the congresswoman’s salary plans.

Every member of Congress has a Members’ Representational Allowance to defray official expenses, including staff salaries. House rules require lawmakers to use their own money for expenses that go over the MRA limit. AOC has proposed lifting the MRA amount to help pay her staffers more, but doesn’t seem interested in taking a pay cut to achieve the same end.

The Examiner reported that Ocasio-Cortez’s salary cap is about half the average salary of high-ranking staffers. The max salary is $177,292.

The Examiner previously reported that the cap could benefit members of Ocasio-Cortez’s staff, like her chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti, who is currently facing a Federal Election Commissions Complaint (FEC) over allegations that he improperly transferred $1 million in campaign money from two political action committees (PACs) he founded to two of his private companies, possibly hiding campaign contributions from being disclosed. An $80,000 cap would place him well below the $126,148 threshold at which staffers need to make financial disclosures by law.

Shiny new star

Since her elevation to the national stage, AOC seems to have assimilated comfortably to her new role as the Democrats’ shiny new star. Indeed, despite her radical socialist rhetoric, AOC seems to be following in the footsteps of the party communists who lived the high life while the peasants starved.

AOC’s salary increase would be a boon to low-level staffers living in Washington’s famously expensive housing market, where rent averages more than $2,000 a month. However, it doesn’t seem that AOC will have to worry about her living situation.

Like every true revolutionary, the freshman lawmaker moved into a luxury apartment complex in Washington, where poor people aren’t allowed. This is the same person behind the Green New Deal, which calls for taxing Americans gratuitously to build affordable housing units, on top of a wish list of other socialist agenda items.

The former bartender had said previously that she was worried about being able to afford to live in Washington. Ocasio-Cortez also declined to tell reporters whether she forfeited her salary during the government shutdown, despite calling for lawmakers’ pay to be furloughed before she assumed office in January.

Will AOC subject herself to her own salary cap, or will she make herself an exception? Somebody once said something about socialists and other people’s money. Maybe there was something to that sentiment.

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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.