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House progressives tout their growing numbers in the chamber at climate rally

 

House progressives touted their growing numbers in the lower chamber during a climate-focused rally outside the Democratic National Committee headquarters on Thursday. 

“Who would’ve thought prior to this year that in 2020 Westchester County would be represented by not one but two Black progressive members of the United States Congress? And the fact is, this progressive movement has been defying expectations every single day,” said Rep.-elect Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.), referring to himself and Rep.-elect Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) at the event.  

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Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOn The Money: Weekly jobless claims fall to lowest level since lockdowns | Retail sales surge in March | Dow, S&P hit new records Ocasio-Cortez says she disagrees with holding up infrastructure over SALT Democrats battle over best path for Puerto Rico MORE (D-N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarNew York Times defends itself against Project Veritas defamation suit Tlaib: US policing 'intentionally racist,' can't be reformed Biden, first lady send 'warmest greetings' to Muslims for Ramadan MORE (D-Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring Democrats brace for new 'defund the police' attacks Bernie Sanders says he disagrees with Tlaib's call for 'no more police' MORE (D-Mich.), Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaLawmakers demand justice for Adam Toledo: 'His hands were up. He was unarmed' Biden can make history on nuclear arms reductions Overnight Defense: Biden makes his Afghanistan decision MORE (D-Calif.) and Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyHouse Republican proposes constitutional amendment to prevent Supreme Court expansion Biden can make history on nuclear arms reductions Democrats roll out legislation to expand Supreme Court MORE (D-Mass.) as well as Rep.-elect Cori Bush (D-Mo.) joined Bowman and Jones in front of the DNC on Thursday. 

Ocasio-Cortez argued that the election of additional progressives showed the power of the movement.
 
“We have champions like Mondaire Jones and Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush that are now being ushered into this wave. It shows that these issues are not a fluke, it shows that they are not a flash in the pan, it shows that they are not a hot new thing what it shows is a deep yearning for climate justice,” she said.

The current and soon-to-be lawmakers noted some differences between themselves and President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden administration still seizing land near border despite plans to stop building wall: report Olympics, climate on the agenda for Biden meeting with Japanese PM Boehner on Afghanistan: 'It's time to pull out the troops' MORE, pledging that they would hold the former vice president to climate change plans he put forth during his presidential campaign. 

Tlaib cautioned that she may not be Biden's favorite lawmaker, adding that she has a different timeline to implement anti-climate change measures. 

“I may not be your favorite member of Congress because my timeline is different ... our folks don’t have another day, another hour,” she said. 

“They have asked you for clean air. They have asked you for clean water. To protect them,” she added. “We’re going to make sure the Biden administration sticks to our timeline.”

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Ocasio-Cortez, meanwhile, stressed holding Biden to a $2 trillion climate and infrastructure plan that he put forth on the campaign trail that included input from both moderates and progressives.

“That’s what our next move is. To make sure that the Biden administration keeps its promise,” she said. 

“Our demand here is to make sure that we keep this promise. That we follow through on a visionary, absolutely unprecedented $2 trillion plan,” she added. “We’re winning. It’s working. ... We’re going to secure the basic tenets of a Green New Deal, a multitrillion-dollar jobs program for climate, for environmental, racial, gender and class justice.”

The rally comes amid tensions in the party between progressives and centrists as moderates members sought to blame progressives for losing numerous House seats on Election Day.

“We need to not ever use the words 'socialist' or 'socialism' ever again. Because while people think it doesn't matter, it does matter,” Rep. Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerOn The Money: Weekly jobless claims fall to lowest level since lockdowns | Retail sales surge in March | Dow, S&P hit new records Democrats brace for new 'defund the police' attacks Anti-Trump foreign policy group releases lawmaker rankings on global affairs MORE (D-Va.), said on a caucus call earlier this month. “And we lost good members because of that.”

However, progressives like Ocasio-Cortez pushed back on this notion, blaming Democratic outreach strategies. 

Tensions have also flared between progressive groups like the Sunrise Movement, which took part in the rally and the Biden-Harris transition over individuals Biden has selected to be part of his White House staff and transition team.