Ocasio-Cortez Signals Mistrust as Reason for Infrastructure Vote
(Bloomberg) -- Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez signaled mistrust of the legislative process that led to the passage of President Joe Biden’s $550 billion infrastructure bill, explaining why she and five other progressive Democrats cast dissenting votes.
Ocasio-Cortez said Saturday she’s concerned whether moderate Democrats would keep their promise and vote to advance the Build Back Better Act, a $1.75 trillion social spending and tax package, now that the House has backed a bipartisan infrastructure bill and sent it to Biden for signature.
“We need folks who are willing to go on the record, and say this doesn’t feel right and we’re going to hold you accountable,” Ocasio-Cortez said during a live broadcast on Instagram.
House passage of the public-works plan followed weeks of intra-caucus wrangling, with progressives demanding that Democratic leaders to keep the two bills in lockstep.
“And so frankly these ‘no’ votes really, really rack up the temperature on leadership to deliver on paid family leave, to deliver on relief for immigrant communities, to deliver on all of these things,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Friday’s deal involved passing the infrastructure bill with some Republican support, while moderate Democrats won a pledge for the Congressional Budget Office to analyze the cost of the larger tax and spending measure before the House votes on it.
A CBO analysis on the public works package suggested it would add $256 billion to the federal deficit over a decade.
“If you’re claiming you don’t want to allow Build Back Better to proceed unless you can get certainty on the deficit, to demand that you have a deficit increase bill at the same time,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “It doesn’t add up. It’s weird.”
Democratic Representatives Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, Cori Bush and Jamaal Bowman joined Ocasio-Cortez in voting against the bill on Friday.
While congratulating Biden for winning passage, Ocasio-Cortez said: “There were so many aspects to this that were concerning to me.”
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.