Congressional Democrats want a $15 minimum wage – but pay their interns nothing

Progressive members of Congress have rallied around the Raise the Wage Act, which would raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2024. But they may want to fix a glaring income inequality issue in their own offices first.

Of the nearly 190 members of Congress co-sponsoring the $15 minimum-wage legislation, the vast majority don’t pay their own interns a penny. The analysis, conducted by the right-of-center Employment Policies Institute, found that only 10 of the co-sponsors of the bill offer their interns any compensation whatsoever, usually in the form of a stipend.

Minimum-wage jobs and internships are, of course, different things. People support families on the former, while the latter aren’t permanent and are mostly aimed at students trying to gain professional experience and bank some extra money (sometimes to pay for their college education).

But there’s a principle of fairness around both.  Carlos Vera, founder and executive director of the non-profit bipartisan group Pay Our Interns, said it was hypocritical for the Democrats pushing for a $15 minimum wage to expect their own interns to work for free.

“I think it’s important to practice what you preach and ensure that your values are aligning with your actions,” said Vera.

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