For politically-minded interns, a gig in Rep. Ro Khanna’s congressional office just got better. Khanna said he will pay his incoming class of interns a $15 an hour wage.
“The House has a new fund for internships. This is a welcome change & long overdue. Like many other offices, we will be paying our interns at least $15 an hour,” Khanna tweeted Wednesday. “This will ensure that young people of different economic backgrounds will be able to pursue public service internships.”
On Tuesday, Social Democratic Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she would pay her interns “at least” $15 an hour. Khanna appears to be following suit. Both serve on the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Khanna is vice-chair.
Congress recently reinstated a fund that allocates $20,000 per congressmember for a maximum of four interns.
Since his election in November 2016, Khanna had not paid his interns. Neither did East Bay Reps. Barbara Lee and Eric Swalwell. A surprising fact since cities in each of the congressional districts have moved to raise the minimum wage in recent years.
Just last night in Fremont, which is represented by Khanna and Swalwell, the city council moved closer to an accelerated schedule to potentially raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. Whether it is approved sometime in January, however, is uncertain.
Not paying congressional interns is actually the norm in Congress. Just 8 percent of House Republicans and 3.8 percent of House Democrats paid their interns, according to a 2017 report. In the Senate, 51 percent of Republicans and 31 percent of Democrats paid a wage to interns.