Ocasio-Cortez, Bush criticize lack of diversity among negotiators on latest infrastructure deal

Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.)
Greg Nash

Reps. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday called out the lack of diversity among the large, mostly white bipartisan group of senators that worked to reach a deal in infrastructure talks on Wednesday.

“Is this the Bipartisan Infrastructure Group or the audience at a Kid Rock concert?” Bush wrote in a tweet along with a photo of the bipartisan group of white Senate negotiators and the hashtag “#NegotiationsSoWhite.”

Ocasio-Cortez, who has criticized the lack of diversity among the group in recent weeks, again condemned the absence of members of color on Wednesday.

The New York Democrat also responded to comments from Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who helped lead the group of bipartisan senators in negotiations and said she did not support the $3.5 trillion price tag on the spending bill.

“Good luck tanking your own party’s investment on childcare, climate action, and infrastructure while presuming you’ll survive a 3 vote House margin – especially after choosing to exclude members of color from negotiations and calling that a ‘bipartisan accomplishment,’” Ocasio-Cortez wrote.

Later on Wednesday, the Senate voted 67-32 to begin debate on a bipartisan infrastructure package hours after senators and the White House announced they had struck a deal.

The vote came weeks after Biden and 10 senators at the center of the group announced they had reached an agreement on a framework for the trillion-dollar spending package.

At the time, the bipartisan framework for the deal prompted pushback from progressives who were disappointed it left out a number of key Democratic priorities.  

Following the deal’s announcement last month, Ocasio-Cortez said the lack of diversity among the “bipartisan coalition” conveyed “perfectly” which communities “get centered and which get left behind when leaders prioritize bipartisan deal making over inclusive lawmaking.” 

Ocasio-Cortez said bipartisan deals prioritize “delivering the most impact possible for the most people,” which she added is why a “bipartisan package alone isn’t acceptable.”

“The exclusion & denial of our communities is what DC bipartisan deals require. That’s how you get GOP on board : don’t do much/any for the working class & low income,or women, or poc communities, or unions,etc. We must do more,” she said.

The New York Democrat also remarked on the same photo Bush shared of the infrastructure group earlier on Twitter, writing, “A lot of times, ‘bipartisan agreements’ are just as defined by who people in power agree to exclude than include.”

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Kyrsten Sinema
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