The rent, even for incoming members of congress, is too damn high in Washington D.C.
At 29-years-old, newly-elected congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York’s 14th Congressional District is the youngest woman ever elected to the House of Representatives. She says she also faces the same challenge a lot of people her age deal with: the cost of balancing a job in a new city with paying rent.
In a chat with the New York Times after her historic win on Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez said she can’t afford to move into a D.C. apartment until she gets paid as a congresswoman. That won’t be until January.
From the NYT:
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said the transition period will be “very unusual, because I can’t really take a salary. I have three months without a salary before I’m a member of Congress. So, how do I get an apartment? Those little things are very real.” She said she saved money before leaving her job at the restaurant, and planned accordingly with her partner. “We’re kind of just dealing with the logistics of it day by day, but I’ve really been just kind of squirreling away and then hoping that gets me to January.”
Like a lot of her progressive campaign, Ocasio-Cortez’s comments generated the type of response one would expect from Twitter: They resonated with fellow millennials and prompted unfounded criticism from others.
@Ocasio2018 not being able to afford #DC rent is the most millennial thing ever and I honestly vibe with it! Also goes to show how divorced the system/most elected officials are from normal people that a normal person can’t readily begin to serve without starting out wealthy.
— Will Dawson (@Wil_Im_Not) November 9, 2018
AOC please move to my building in Dupont Circle, it’s cheap and rent-controlled, and I bake cookies on snow days and I’ll let you have some.
— Real Bill Gates (Official) (@funghazi) November 8, 2018
Ocasio-Cortez later assured her Twitter followers that “we’re working it out,” and reiterated her commitment to representing the working class in Congress.
There are many little ways in which our electoral system isn’t even designed (nor prepared) for working-class people to lead.
This is one of them (don’t worry btw – we’re working it out!)
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) November 8, 2018
According to one cost-of-living calculator, housing in D.C. is about 40 percent more expensive than it is in the Bronx borough of New York City, a part of which makes up the district Ocasio-Cortez will represent.
The new Congress, with Democrats carrying a healthy majority in the House and Republicans up a few seats in the Senate, will be sworn in on January 3rd.