A former senior advisor to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reported he left his place on Capitol Hill before this calendar year in big section for the reason that of low shell out amid congressional staffers.
“She’s a fantastic boss and I adored my colleagues,” Dan Riffle, who was a senior counsel and policy adviser for the influential New York lawmaker, tweeted on Monday, “but with two youngsters in daycare I just couldn’t manage the job.”
Riffle was responding to a letter from lawmakers led by Ocasio-Cortez calling for a funds raise for Household places of work to improve workers salaries.
—Dan Riffle (@DanRiffle) June 14, 2021
More than 100 Residence associates signed the letter, addressed to Rep. Rosa DeLauro, the chair of the Household Committee on Appropriations. The lawmakers known as for a 21% spending budget improve “to account for a a lot-required raise in employees pay back and gains.”
The letter reported an raise would be an “vital initially step” in recruiting and retaining a “varied and proficient workforce.”
A report from Insider’s Kayla Epstein this week comprehensive shockingly reduced shell out amid quite a few Capitol Hill staffers and the lengths some go to in order to stay in Washington, DC, 1 of the nation’s most expensive cities, whilst fulfilling their desires of public support.
Junior-level staffers can commence out in the reduced $20,000s to $30,000s in a metropolis the place the regular 1-bed room condominium fees much more than $2,000 a month. Some have resorted to operating second employment.
Riffle reported the exorbitant value of childcare in the town affected his choice to go away Ocasio-Cortez’s office — he instructed Insider that daycare on the personal industry charge about $2,000 to $2,500 a child. With a significant property finance loan as properly, Riffle claimed, the economic justification just wasn’t well worth it.
“Involving daycare, home loan, food, transportation, and other costs, we are mainly treading drinking water right until we can get the youngsters into pre-K, which is no cost in DC,” he reported.
Congressional employees jobs are infamous for their small wages. But in accordance to Riffle, it is really not just the personal sector that features more aggressive pay out.
“Definitely, K Street pays much more than Congress, normally will,” Riffle mentioned, referring to the avenue recognized as a hub for lobbyists and advocacy groups. “That is not for me, but there is certainly tons of nonprofit and regional-govt positions exactly where you do not have to compromise your values or work-everyday living harmony that still pay out much extra than mid-degree congressional professions.”
He mentioned he had taken a new career in community authorities.
Riffle praised Ocasio-Cortez, who has been a vocal proponent of livable wages for employees, supporting a $15 minimal wage and frequently calling out corporations she believes do not offer fiscal security or prospect for their staff members.
“I believe she has also led by instance on the pay back issue,” Riffle informed Insider.
Ocasio-Cortez has been outspoken about employees spend since she took business office in January 2019. She’s said that salaries in her place of work start out at $52,000, pretty much double what some offices pay their most junior staffers.
“I appreciate that the congresswoman applied a nontraditional process in which she pays her chief of team and director-amount positions considerably a lot less than the normal on the Hill, which freed up additional cash to pay to more youthful, entry-degree personnel,” Riffle mentioned.
All through his time on Capitol Hill, Riffle was vocal about the have to have to employ staffers from underprivileged backgrounds, specially at the entry degree, exactly where typically only the rich and elite are in a position to get positions.
He explained that “the way we underpay staff members” would make it “infinitely harder for operating-class people today to make it to Congress and keep there.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s office did not react to Insider’s ask for for comment.
Every congressional business is specified the very same amount of money of funding for workers salaries — it is up to each lawmaker to choose how several staffers they are going to retain the services of and how to pay them.
But as congressional staffers wrap a historically difficult yr with a pandemic, an insurrection, and an economic downturn, bigger wages could be on the horizon.
DeLauro formerly instructed Insider: “A workforce that reflects America’s diversity is vital to a effectively-performing Legislative Department. I glance ahead to doing the job with my colleagues to make sure that Congressional workers payment makes it possible for the Home to recruit and keep a gifted and diverse staff members to aid us have out our vital function.”
This story and headline were current with added context on June 15.