Freshman Democrat Congresswoman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been making unrivaled waves since she became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress last November. And it’s not just her age that is grabbing headlines. It’s a combination of her beliefs, her background, and her plan for the future that have really captured the attention of the nation at large, and her recent call for a salary bump for Congress is raising the eyebrows of Democrats and Republicans alike. Read on to see her proposed plans.
AOC, as she has become known, has a background many can relate to, struggling financially to afford housing, famously tweeting and telling the New York Times this past fall that until her congressional salary kicked in, she wouldn’t be able to pay rent. Perhaps this particular experience led her to her recent plight to get higher salaries for congressional staffers, announcing that her own staff would all be getting salaries of no less than $52,000 per year, a figure that is well above average.
But Ocasio-Cortez went further than just wanting the pay hike for staffers and has rolled out more info surrounding her newest calls for higher wages for actual members of Congress via Twitter, saying “raising staffer pay helps get money out of politics” and added that increasing the pay of members of Congress could be beneficial in that same way.
Same w/ member pay.
Members are paid more than avg – but job reqs 2 residences + we can’t take tax deductions for work costs.
No one wants to be the one to bring up increases, so instead ppl take advantage of insider trading loopholes & don’t close them for the extra cash. 🤷🏽♀️— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 13, 2019
Perhaps fueling AOC’s fervor is the recent headlines featuring members of Congress on both sides taking extra benefits. Republicans have their own scandals with Rep. Chris Collins, who was charged with insider trading and Rep. Duncan Hunter who was accused of using campaign funds for personal expenses. And the Democrats have theirs with Sen. Bob Menendez being charged of accepting gifts from a wealthy doctor in exchange for political influence. Menendez has since been cleared but Ocasio-Cortez points to these and other examples of money in politics as something she would like to see eradicated.
So while AOC might have a strong case in some aspects, a new poll from BUSINESS INSIDER has found that Americans see things differently. Check out some of the findings below.
- 55% of respondents want congressional salaries to be cut.
- 17% of respondents thought congressional salaries were just right.
- 9% of respondents want to increase congressional salaries.
While the majority of Americans would like to see a CUT in congressional salaries, one of the most telling things in this survey’s findings is the fact that Americans don’t actually know that Congress makes. When asked how much money they thought members of Congress earn in a year, Americans were off by quite a bit, with a median guess of $132,500 as compared to the actual salary of $174,000.