“Fox & Friends” weekend co-host Pete Hegseth slammed the move, calling it “socialism and communism on display” and mockingly urged her to give some of her own salary to her staff.
Lawmakers each have a budget for operating and staffing their respective offices and can set salaries accordingly. Last week, the Democrat from New York said jobs in her office would start at $52,000/year.
“It’s likely one of the highest entry-level salaries on the Hill,” she wrote on Twitter on Friday. “We pinch pennies elsewhere, but it’s worth every dime to pay a living wage.”
Wages at the higher end are lower, maxing out at $80,000 in her office, Roll Call reported, well below the $154,634 that is the median pay for a chief of staff on the Hill.
“Fox & Friends” blasted her for it.
“She is going to redistribute the money appropriated to her congressional office to make sure that the entry-level staffers get a fair share of money,” co-host Griff Jenkins said. “Here’s the problem: You’ve got to find a way to get money to pay the entry-level people so she plans to take that from the chief of staff.”
Hegseth chimed in:
“Your entry level intern is making 52 grand, while your chief of staff ― who has a very important role in a congressional office ― now is capped at 80, as opposed to the actual market rate on Capitol Hill which is closer to $150,000. So everyones’s between 52 and 80. It’s actually socialism and communism on display.”
In a longer clip posted on Mediaite, Hegseth took Ocasio-Cortez to task over her $174,000 congressional salary.
“She should probably redistribute some of that,” he said. “Will you share some of that money, Miss Congresswoman, with the rest of your staff who is not making as much as you?”
The “Fox & Friends” team also seemed to have a problem with the fact that Ocasio-Cortez’s office, like all offices of lawmakers, was funded by the government.
“It’s not like she earned the money,” Jenkins said. “She’s just redistributing it.”