If you want 2019 to be all about making positive changes in your life and working to better the lives of the American people, you may want to look into a job in politics. The problem with most civic jobs — such as teachers, council members, working at a non-profit — is that they don’t pay much. In fact, just to get your foot in the door landing an unpaid internship is the only way to go. Thankfully some people are looking out for the common man because they know what it’s like to hustle for money.
Newly elected congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is looking to hire interns and is offering at least $15 an hour.
“Time to walk the walk,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Very few members of Congress actually pay their interns. We will be one of them.”
Ocasio-Cortez, who hasn’t technically started her new job in Washington, is ge changes. Paying her interns is one of them.
According to The Washington Post, a 2017 study found that only 8 percent of House Republicans and 4 percent of House Democrats pay their interns.
The Washington Post also reports that while some senators pay their interns (51 percent to 31 percent); House representatives pay even less (8 percent to 3.6 percent).
This year, however, President Trump has approved a bigger budget for senators, which means they now have money to pay interns.
According to reports, this year money allotted for senators’ staffing increased from $871 million last year to $920 million for 2018. But it’s still their choice whether they choose to use that money for staffing or other costs.
Thanks to Carlos Mark Vera, founder of advocacy group Pay Our Interns, senators are now feeling the pressure to pay their interns.
Just a reminder to everyone: POI was founded by two Latinos who were unpaid interns and had financial hardship when taking those on. Do you believe in what we are doing? Join us and donate your tax-deductible gift today! https://t.co/1ExBL0AwUt
— Pay Our Interns (@payourinterns) December 5, 2018
“I write to encourage your office to take action and use some of the surplus funds to launch a paid internship program,” Vera wrote in a letter to senators. “So that, once again, opportunities on Capitol Hill are open to all young people, and not just those who can afford to work for free.”
Ocasio-Cortez broke down how the funds are used, and how lawmakers are allowed to do what they want with their own budget.
“Each member of Congress gets around $1.2 million (give or take a bit) for their entire operating budget,” she said on Twitter. “That’s supposed to cover all salaries (DC and district), rents for district offices, travel home, tech devices, services, contracts, etc. Members decide how it’s all spent.”
She went on to say that “There’s a little wiggle room—everyone isn’t given the same exact amount, but it’s pretty close. If you’re from a district with high transportation costs, high rents (urban/suburban areas), or both, it can have the potential to pressure wages downward for similar operations.”
She’s basically getting $20,000 to hire four interns. But as she said, she wants to pay them at least $15 an hour.
Are you interested in working for her? Apply here. And good luck.