"Are you fucking kidding?" Senator Murphy told FWIW when reached for comment. "These spoiled little brats should be paying me! They get to watch a brilliant legislator at work, playing the press, squeezing donors —those would be their parents, by the way; they want more money, they should ask Daddy for a bigger allowance — and I don't charge them a cent. In fact, I'm glad you brought this up: I'm gonna start charging for this incredible experience."
At least 174 of the 184 lawmakers who support legislation raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour do not pay their interns, according to a recent Employment Policies Institute analysis.
In the Senate, Senators Kamala Harris, Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker, Chris Murphy and 20 other cosponsors of the Raise the Wage Act hire unpaid interns. In the House, Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Keith Ellison, Maxine Waters and 145 other cosponsors do not pay their interns.
"Hypocrites have been known to hide under a rock, and that's what's going on right now," Varney said.
He pointed out that these internships can have extensive costs for interns - including food, housing, transportation and clothing - and not offering any payment significantly limits the pool of applicants.
"If you don't pay them anything, then you're simply giving jobs to the sons and daughters of the rich," Varney said. "You're giving opportunity to the rich so that they can get in on the ground floor. So pay them something, and open it up to all kinds of people. But they're not doing it."