New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has not said whether she will cap her own congressional salary in the same way she has capped the salaries of her staff, according to the Washington Examiner.
Ocasio-Cortez made a point to ensure that no one on her staff would earn less than $52,000—but to accomplish that with her budget, she also had to cap staff salaries at $80,000. Ocasio-Cortez makes $174,000 annually.
From the Examiner's Emily Larsen:
Numerous attempts were made by the Washington Examiner to obtain comment from the New York congresswoman's office about whether she would adhere to the cap, which she says she instituted to be able to pay her lower paid employees a proper "living wage" of $52,000.
But her office declined to respond, and it does not appear Ocasio-Cortez herself has publicly offered to limit her earnings, even if only by donating to charity the difference between her congressional pay and her office limit.
If she doesn't, she will continue to collect more than twice as much as any of her staffers.
Congressional salaries are the largest expense under a congressperson's Members' Representation Allowance. Members of Congress must pay out of their own pockets if they spend beyond the MRA. Ocasio-Cortez has advocated for raising the MRA limit.
To give an idea of the impact of the staff salary cap in Ocasio-Cortez's office: congressional chiefs of staff make an average of $154,634 per year. The maximum salary for a congressional staffer is $177,292. So while Ocasio-Cortez's low-end staffers might be well off, those on the higher end are seriously limited in their earnings potential.
Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, will fall below the $126,148 salary minimum for financial disclosure requirements—something that might be appealing to him considering the FEC complaints he's facing.