Democratic socialist firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) isn’t giving up on the prospect of giving herself a raise after her first year on the job, ramping up her defense of a controversial cost-of-living adjustment for members of Congress that was tabled this week after public backlash.
What are the details?
Last week, House Democrats announced a proposed 2.6 percent raise for federal lawmakers, claiming there was wide bi-partisan support for the initiative after a 10-year pause of the automatic annual bump promised by law.
Indeed, leaders on both sides of the aisle have come out in support of re-instituting the raises in an upcoming budget package, meaning rank-and-file members would receive an additional $4,500 boost to their current $174,000 salaries come January.
Ocasio-Cortez has been outspoken in her support for the raise, first telling The Hill such a cost-of-living adjustment should be available to everyone in the country.
On Monday, the New York Democrat argued that the potential pay hike “may not be politically popular to say but honestly this is why there’s so much pressure to turn to lobbying firms and to cash in on member service after people leave precisely because of this issue.” Besides, she told reporters, the raise was only “superficial,” adding, “it’s not even like a raise, it’s a cost-of-living adjustment.”
But by Tuesday, news hit that House Democrats had caved to pushback and tabled the issue, the Washington Examiner reported, prompting Ocasio-Cortez to press further for a raise via Twitter.
The freshman lawmaker explained, “In democratically socialist businesses (like worker co-ops) or methods (like collective bargaining) you actually CAN vote for a worker pay increase. Many do!”
Ocasio-Cortez further insisted she isn’t trying to line her own pockets, but to wage war against dark money in politics and fight “for a living wage for interns + for strong staffer salaries, too.” Several other lawmakers have noted that congressional aides cannot be paid more than their bosses, so raising the salary ceiling would allows raises for staffers.