‘Stakes Are Really, Really High’: AOC Warns Senate Changes To Spending Bill Could Meet Resistance In House
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 09: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, U.S. Representative for New York's 14th congressional district, speaks during an event at the US Climate Action Centre during COP26 on November 09, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. Day ten of the 2021 climate summit in Glasgow will focus on Gender, Science and Innovation. This is the 26th "Conference of the Parties" and represents a gathering of all the countries signed on to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Climate Agreement. The aim of this year's conference is to commit countries to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has made it clear that she expects President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better spending package to pass without substantive changes from Senate Democrats.

Ocasio-Cortez, in an interview with The New York Times, complained that the sweeping legislation had already been watered down enough in an effort to appease more moderate members of the party such as West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.

“I think the stakes are really, really high,” she said, pointing out the fact that members of the House Progressive Caucus had been wary of a deal from the start, initially balking at any deal that would allow the bipartisan infrastructure bill to move forward without the passage of the larger spending package being tied directly to that.

“The entire reason that the Progressive Caucus gave their votes [to the recently-passed $1 trillion 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,” Ocasio-Cortez 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.”

Despite her disappointment in what was left out of the Build Back Better package — which passed the House on Friday after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s record-breaking floor speech delayed it overnight — Ocasio-Cortez touted the programs that did make the final cut before the bill was sent off to the Senate.

In addition to plans for universal Pre-K and new standards for lowered carbon emissions, Ocasio-Cortez pointed out the parts of the bill that her team had championed, like high speed rail and the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps — which she claimed would create 300,000 new jobs.

Ocasio-Cortez told the NYT that any substantive changes made in the Senate could potentially trigger another impasse in the House, noting that the Progressive Caucus was likely to view negotiations with both moderate Senate Democrats and the White House as being in bad faith moving forward. Calling the entire process “demoralizing,” Ocasio-Cortez said that they were “not going to take these empty promises anymore.”

She then addressed President Joe Biden’s role directly, arguing that he could — and should — bypass Congress and take executive action if moderate Democrats continued to water down his agenda.

“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.

“There is an enormous amount of executive action that they’re sitting on that I think is underutilized,” she said.

Ocasio-Cortez also warned that a failure to get things done legislatively would likely translate to a failure in the 2022 midterm elections.

Saying that Democrats needed to deliver on the promises they made to their voters, Ocasio-Cortez argued that the party also needed to put more effort into engaging and mobilizing younger voters if they wanted to win.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  ‘Stakes Are Really, Really High’: AOC Warns Senate Changes To Spending Bill Could Meet Resistance In House