Cruz pitches Ocasio-Cortez on bill to make birth control available over the counter

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Defense: Senate panel votes to scrap Iraq war authorizations | Police officer fatally stabbed outside Pentagon ID'd | Biden admin approves first Taiwan arms sale Senate panel votes to repeal Iraq war authorizations America's pandemic of COVID hypocrisy MORE (R-Texas) is looking to join forces with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOhio special election: A good day for Democrats Five takeaways from the Ohio special primaries Shontel Brown wins Ohio Democratic primary in show of establishment strength MORE (D-N.Y.) on legislation that would make over-the-counter birth control legal.

The GOP Texas senator on Wednesday offered to team up with her to create a "simple, clean bill making birth control available over the counter," a move that comes just weeks after he offered to take up lobbyist reform with her. 

"Perhaps, in addition to the legislation we are already working on together to ban Members of Congress from becoming lobbyists, we can team up here as well," Cruz said on Twitter, quoting a tweet from Ocasio-Cortez last week in which she argued for making birth control obtainable over the counter.

Cruz added that he was open to creating a "simple, clean bill making birth control available over the counter," before asking if Ocasio-Cortez would be interested. 

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Cruz and Ocasio-Cortez became an unlikely pairing on an issue involving lobbyist reform earlier this month. The two said that their offices were holding staff-level meetings on efforts to pass a lifetime ban on former lawmakers lobbying.

The collaboration came after Cruz voiced on Twitter that he agreed with Ocasio-Cortez's argument that it should be illegal for former members of Congress to become corporate lobbyists.

“I have long called for a LIFETIME BAN on former Members of Congress becoming lobbyists,” Cruz tweeted in late May. “The Swamp would hate it, but perhaps a chance for some bipartisan cooperation?”

“If you’re serious about a clean bill, then I’m down. Let’s make a deal," Ocasio-Cortez responded. 

A woman's access to birth control is currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, The Independent Journal Review noted. Current regulations stipulate that a woman must receive a prescription from a physician to gain access to hormonal contraceptive pills. 

Ocasio-Cortez's argument regarding birth control comes as many state legislatures pass measures to enforce further restrictions around abortions. The freshman lawmaker has denounced the bills, saying abortion bans are about "controlling women’s sexuality" and "owning women."

"From limiting birth control to banning comprehensive sex ed, US religious fundamentalists are working hard to outlaw sex that falls outside their theology," she tweeted in May. 

Rep. Ayanna Presley (D-Mass.) voiced enthusiasm for Cruz’s support, saying that he should reach out to Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayWhite House trying to beat back bipartisan Cornyn infrastructure amendment The infrastructure bill creates more need for workforce training Democrats consider scaling back new funds to fight next pandemic MORE (D-Wash.) about a bill that’s already been written on the issue. 

“We've always believed affordable, accessible birth control isn't just a women's issue so look forward to you co-sponsoring,” she added, before highlighting the support the bill has received from male lawmakers such as Rep. Ami BeraAmerish (Ami) Babulal BeraBiden walks fine line with probe into coronavirus origins House GOP campaign arm adds to target list Biological ticking time bombs: Lessons from COVID-19 MORE (D-Calif.).

--Updated Wednesday, 4:31 p.m.