On Monday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez complained about the possibility that she might not receive a $4,500 pay raise – which she referred to as a cost of living adjustment – and even went as far as to draw a comparison between members of Congress and individuals who work for minimum wage. Ocasio-Cortez currently earns $174,000 year.
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Ocasio-Cortez’s comments were spurred by a recent report by Gregg Re of Fox News that noted that members of Congress had not received a cost of living adjustment during the past nine years. Re also reported, according to a report by the Daily Wire, that many Democrats fear that accepting a $4,500 pay increase might not be perceived well by their constituents, particularly as the next election draws near.
Chad Pergram of Fox News spoke with Ocasio-Cortez on Monday. He asked the congresswoman about the possibility of not receiving the $4,500 pay increase.
“You know, it 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 members service after people leave because, because precisely of this issue,” said Ocasio-Cortez in response. “So, it may be politically convenient, and it may make you look good in the short term for saying, ‘Oh, we’re not voting for pay increases,’ but we should be fighting for pay increases for every American worker.”
“We should be fighting for a $15 minimum wage pegged to inflation so that everybody in the United States with a salary, with a wage, gets a cost of living increase.”
“Members of Congress, retail workers, everybody should get cost of living increases to accommodate for the changes in our economy and then when we don’t do that it only increases the pressure on members to exploit loopholes like insider trading loopholes to make it on the backend,” Ocasio-Cortez added.
“And that’s my issue, is that it’s superficial, you know, can vote against pay increases all you want, it’s in my opinion voting against a pay, voting against a, it’s not even like a raise, it’s a cost of living adjustment.”
“So, you can vote against a cost of living adjustment all you want, and it’ll look good on its surface but it will, every cost-of-living adjustment that, that gets bypassed, is voting to increase the pressure to exploit loopholes and legal loopholes to kind of lean on other ways to enrich oneself through service,” said Ocasio-Cortez.
“And so my whole side of it is like, it may not be optics, it may not be great optics, it may not, like, look the best in terms of your opponents could use it as a political, exploit as a political issue, but in substance, you might as well be transparent about a cost-of-living increase.”
— Molly Prince (@mollyfprince) June 11, 2019