Newly-elected New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced she will pay her interns $15 per hour, in what she calls an effort to “walk the walk” and have her policies match her political viewpoints.
Continue Reading Below
Ocasio-Cortez, who is calling on other lawmakers to raise pay for staffers, would be considered a generous boss in the nation’s capital, where plenty of interns go unpaid.
A 2017 study by an advocacy group called Pay Our Interns found that 51 percent of Senate Republicans offered paid internships, compared with 31 percent of Democrats.
Meanwhile, young staffers in the House of Representatives had dismal pay prospects: Only 8 percent of Republicans – or 19 of 238 – paid interns, while 3.6 percent of Democrats, or 7 of 193, did so.
The study also concluded that internships in D.C. cost $6,000, on average.
A list of who was not paying young staffers included lawmakers like California Sen. Kamala Harris, Virginia Democrat Mark Warner and New York Democrat Chuck Schumer – all of whom have voiced support for raising the federal minimum wage.
Sen. Mark Warner’s office told FOX Business it is offering paid internships, which are available to certain applicants with “demonstrated financial need.” Compensation rates are $13.25 per hour. A spokesperson for Sen. Schumer told FOX Business that, as of January, the office will offer "eligible interns" a stipend.
Notable Republicans on the list include Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
A spokesperson for Sen. Cruz told FOX Business that he is paying his interns, though declined to say how much or whether all interns are included.
Spokespersons for Sens. Harris and Rubio did not return FOX Business’ request for comment.
Another lawmaker who is “walking the walk”– Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders – also pays interns $15 per hour, his office confirmed to FOX Business. California Rep. Ro Khanna announced on Twitter Wednesday that he will be paying young staffers at least $15.
Both the House and Senate allocated millions of dollars to pay funds into a spending bill earlier this year, which would go into effect in 2019.
This story has been updated.