On Monday, she said that when she went to a "dive spot in D.C. for some late night food," she talked with the staff.
The percentages were even lower in the House, as only 8 percent of House Republicans opted to pay their interns compared to 3.6 percent of House Democrats.
Cortez made national headlines just days ago when she bizarrely suggested the Pentagon could largely finance her $32 trillion "Medicare for All" proposal. I chatted up the staff.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a newly elected US House representative, called out her future colleagues in Congress, including Democrats, for paying their low-level staffers salaries below the "living wage" and for employing unpaid interns, even as members of Congress are paid multiple times more than the average American.
"Time to walk the walk", the Democratic Congresswoman-elect tweeted on Tuesday. "SEVERAL bartenders, managers, & servers now worked in Senate + House offices", she tweeted.
Ocasio-Cortez was immediately corrected by various critics on social media, but her greatest rebuke came from the Washington Post fact-checker, which gave her their greatest error rating of "four Pinocchios" for her claim. Ocasio-Cortez ran on a platform advocating for a $15 baseline minimum wage, and called the current situation a "disgrace".
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"It is unjust for Congress to budget a living wage for ourselves, yet rely on unpaid interns & underpaid overworked staff just bc Republicans want to make a statement about 'fiscal responsibility, '" she added in another tweet.
Areport in 2017 from non-profit group Pay Our Interns found that in the House, just 8% of Republicans and 3.6% of Democrats pay interns.
She shared a tweet that there are no apartments under $1,000-a-month on Capitol Hill- something that an intern making "zero dollars" would of not be able to afford without financial backing from their families.
On Monday, Pay Our Interns tweeted a screenshot of an ad for an unpaid press intern to work for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.
From 2019, both the Senate and the House will have funds to pay interns.