New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday voiced support for Congress members receiving raises – for the first time since 2009 – as a means to prevent them from having a reason to keep “dark money loopholes open.”
The freshman representative tweeted the message following Democrats’ decision to stop an initiative to raise lawmaker pay on Monday amidst opposition, saying they would review the proposal.
Ocasio-Cortez told Fox News on Monday that the $4,500 pay bump in question – which would take effect next year – was “not even like a raise,” and said that everyone should get cost of living increases to “accommodate for the changes in our economy.”
Automatic cost of living increases were suspended in 2010 and pay hasn’t been raised since 2009, when members received a 2.8 percent increase in their salaries.
If lawmakers had received those annual pay raises, however, their salaries would currently be around $210,900, according to data from the Congressional Research Service. In inflation-adjusted terms, lawmakers’ salaries have decreased 15 percent since 2009.
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle moved to prevent the pay increase throughout recent days, citing things like the budget deficit and high debt levels. American workers, too, have experienced wage stagnation in the aftermath of the economic crisis.
The average salary for senators and representatives is $174,000, but others get paid a bit more. The Senate and House majority and minority leaders, for example, each receive $193,400 – as does Sen. Chuck Grassley, R.-Iowa, president pro tempore of the senate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., gets $223,500.
Ocasio-Cortez has recently been stumping for minimum wage increase for tipped and hourly workers, too. She is among a number of Democrats that support raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
She was also one of the first lawmakers to commit to paying her interns at least $15 per hour.