Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has advocated for paying Congressional staffers a "living wage." She made sure her staffers were making no less than $15 an hour. Now, she's decided to cap their salaries at a maximum of $80,000 a year. But here's the catch: there's no word on whether or not she's going to cap her $174,000 congressional salary to the same threshold she set to herself, the Washington Examiner reported. If AOC decides not to cap her salary, she would be making around twice as much as her staff.
From the Examiner:
Congressional staff salaries take up the bulk of each office’s Members’ Representation Allowance, or MRA. MRAs, which the Congressional Research Service said averaged $1,368,520 in 2018, are also used to cover other official office expenses and franked mail expenses.
The House members’ congressional handbook prohibits using personal funds on franked mail, but it states that any other money spent over their MRA allocation will be paid out of the member’s personal funds.
The cap AOC has placed is far below the $154,634 average salary for congressional chiefs of staff and $177,292 maximum staff salary allowed by law.
It's important to note that her chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, may actually benefit from cap "because it allows them to dodge financial disclosure requirements required by law for staffers who earn more than $126,148 per year."
By law, those who make more than $126,248 a year must submit public financial disclosure forms that detail outside income they earn, stock investments, debt, and gifts or paid trips that they are given by outside sources.
Ocasio-Cortez has advocated for higher MRAs so Congressional offices can pay the lower end employees (interns and staff assistants) a higher minimum wage of at least $15 an hour.
Maybe AOC should consider literally putting her money where her mouth is and capping her own salary. Oh wait. That'd mean she wouldn't be allowed to live in luxury apartments.