Ocasio-Cortez: Spending plan needs to pass soon or it will be ‘difficult’ for Democratic leaders ‘to get votes on anything’
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said in an interview published on Sunday that the Democrats’ social spending package needs to pass soon or bills supported by the party’s leadership might not be backed by progressives.
“I think the stakes are really, really high,” Ocasio-Cortez told The New York Times.
“The entire reason that the Progressive Caucus gave their votes [for the infrastructure bill] was based on direct promises from the president, as well as direct promises from more conservative Democratic holdouts. And from House leadership as well,” she continued. “So if those promises don’t follow through, it’s going to be very, very difficult for them to get votes on anything moving forward, because the trust that was already so delicate will have been broken.”
The New York progressive said that the process of passing President Biden’s Build Back Better legislation has been “demoralizing” because “there were enormous promises made.”
“And this is where I have sounded the alarm, because what really dampens turnout is when Democrats make promises that they don’t keep,” she added.
“With the bipartisan infrastructure plan, there’s all of these headlines going around. And I understand the political importance of making a victory lap. But I think that the worst and most vulnerable position we could be in is to over-promise and under-deliver,” she added.
Ocasio-Cortez also said that Biden could use executive orders to address issues including student loans, the climate and immigration.
“So why are we taking this as a legislative compromise, when the opportunity is so much greater, or when Biden could do this stuff with a stroke of a pen, and is just reminding us that he’s choosing not to?” she asked.
House Democrats scored a win late last week after they passed their social spending bill, which includes renewable energy tax incentives, paid family leave and child care subsidies.
Democrats are now bracing to see how it will be amended in the Senate, with lawmakers in the upper chamber taking up the bill after the Thanksgiving break. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has previously said he has not been supportive of paid family leave through reconciliation.
The Hill has reached out to Ocasio-Cortez’s office for comment.