Taking to Instagram, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) complained about the cost of working in Congress, despite earning six figures a year.
One of the requirements of working in Congress is that lawmakers occupy a residence in Washington, D.C., and one in the state they represent.
Ocasio-Cortez lamented that this requirement was exacerbating “class dynamics” within Congress while causing or worsening economic distress for those who can’t afford two residences.
The New York Democrat also called out the lack of support in the form of a “stipend or per diem” for lawmakers, stating: “It’s insanely expensive, there is no stipend or per diem for it, and you’re not allowed to write it off even though your job forces you to have it. This creates real class dynamics in the House.”
Ocasio-Cortez also claimed that “many” lawmakers slept in their offices, despite the risk of getting caught that could end up “bad for many reasons, including violations.”
The $174,000 lawmakers earn hasn’t changed since 2009. Before, lawmakers’ salaries would increase automatically according to the cost of living, but since 2010 Congress has voted not to accept the increase.
Ocasio-Cortez lamented the cost of rent and the struggles of campaigning, expressing that the cost of maintaining a residence is “so so much.”
She then revealed that she had “to find a new apartment in NYC soon and I’m STRESSED. Rent is wild and the idea of [apartment] searching and moving while legislating and campaigning is yikes.”