Almost anyone entering the workforce knows the eternal dilemma of the unpaid internship: You’re supposedly getting paid in “experience” so that you can eventually attain an actual paying job. The only problem is, “experience” doesn’t pay the rent, and often the only people who can even consider these opportunities are those who can afford to do so…aka those who already have an advantage. Shockingly, the majority of congressional offices rely on unpaid internship programs—meaning the government is helping to perpetuate an unfair system.
But newly elected congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is taking a stand.
The politician has vowed to pay her interns, and she’s also shining a light on the fact that many congressional staffers are criminally underpaid.
Several people on Twitter remarked that there technically are funds for interns, but Ocasio-Cortez noted that the allotted amount doesn’t provide much per person when you break it down.
“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,’” Ocasio-Cortez also tweeted. “If that’s the case, they can cut down on staff to pay them well. Or raise the MRA.”
(The “MRA” refers to the Members’ Representational Allowance, which is the budget each member of Congress receives each session.)
We are loving the dedication, transparency, and passion that Ocasio-Cortez is bringing to her new role, and we cannot wait to see what she accomplishes in the next two years (and the 50 years after that).