This is the best way that Ocasio-Cortez shows that she is ‘the real deal’


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) led by example again this week by announcing that she is paying her congressional staffers a much higher salary, and she called out Republicans for not doing the same.

The freshman lawmaker has long supported a living wage to lift Americans out of poverty, and she’s putting her money where her mouth is by using her congressional office budget to focus on raising staffer salaries in defiance of Republican refusal to pay their own staffers fairly while taking a $174,000 salary for themselves.

Unfortunately, many Twitter users attacked Ocasio-Cortez for making sure her staffers are not struggling to make ends meet, accusing her of stealing taxpayer dollars instead of paying her staffers with her own salary. As she would go on to explain to her critics, the money comes from the amount of money provided to each lawmaker to spend in their office as they see fit, whether it be for travel expenses, supplies, or salaries. Even Republican lawmakers receive this stipend. Ocasio-Cortez chose to invest it in her staffers.

And the reason why this is so important, which Ocasio-Cortez went on to point out, is because staffers who struggle to get by could be vulnerable to being monetarily influenced by lobbyists with deep pockets.

It’s all too easy for a lobbyist to pay a staffer a bribe in exchange for pushing one piece of legislation over another or enticing a staffer to become a lobbyist who will have access to a lawmaker they used to work for. By paying her staff a fair salary, Ocasio-Cortez is preventing such influence from poisoning her office, enabling her to focus on the agenda her constituents elected her to fight for in Congress, which includes the Green New deal and enacting a 70 percent marginal tax rate on the rich. Her staffers, meanwhile, will be more loyal and work harder because they don’t have to worry about paying the bills.

It’s not only an effective strategic move, but it’s also a compassionate one that makes Ocasio-Cortez a champion for the American people. Because in the end, her fight to pay staffers more is part of her fight to make sure all Americans get paid a living wage. Actions speak louder than words, and Ocasio-Cortez is screaming from the rooftops right now while Republicans continue to demonstrate that they only care about themselves and their wealthy donors.

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