Like a lot of progressives, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is losing patience with Senate Democrats as the Biden administration’s agenda on everything from infrastructure to voting rights is stalled at the starting gate because of Republican intransigence and the inability to muster the 60 votes necessary to overcome the current Senate filibuster rules.
Appearing on CNN‘s State of the Union, the New York lawmaker expressed her frustration with the reluctance of her Senate colleagues to ditch the outmoded filibuster framework that is the main impediment to the passage of legislation that will begin to advance progressive goals.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez dismissed the “compromise framework” announced by a bipartisan group of 1o senators last week as far from “the best that we can get” for the country and deflected a question as to whether she would support the compromise if the Biden administration determined that the deal is the best that they could hope to achieve under the current circumstances.
Instead, she redirected the topic to focus on why some Senate Democrats are preventing the Biden agenda from moving forward.
“I do think that we need to talk about the elephant in the room, which is Senate Democrats, which are blocking crucial items in a Democratic agenda … I think, for reasons that I don’t think hold a lot of water,” Ocasio-Cortez insisted.
“I think we really need to start asking some of these Democratic senators where they plan on getting 60 votes. These 10 Republican senators, that there’s a theory that we’re going to get support for that out there, I think is a claim that doesn’t really hold water, particularly when we can’t even get 10 senators to support a January 6 commission,” the progressive congresswoman pointed out.
“Do we settle for much less and an infrastructure package that has been largely designed by Republicans in order to get 60 votes, or can we really transform this country, create millions of union jobs, revamp our power grid, get people’s, you know, bridges fixed and schools rebuilt with 51 or 50 Democratic votes?” Ocasio-Cortez positioned the choices.
The New York legislator didn’t hide her own preference for the best way to move forward.
“I think the argument that we need to make here is that it’s worth going it alone if we can do more for working people in this country,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “With 50 votes, we have the potential to lower the age of Medicare eligibility so that more people can be covered and guaranteed to their right to health care, as opposed to, you know, 60 votes where we do very, very little and the scope of that is defined by a Republican minority that has not been elected to lead.”
It remains to be seen whether any of the most filibuster-friendly Democrats Senators like Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema will be convinced by Ocasio-Cortez’s argument, but it is undeniable that the Bronx-born representative is more concerned with achieving results for the American people than with stroking the egos of her Senate colleagues.
AOC: “I do think that we need to talk about the elephant in the room, which is Senate Democrats which are blocking crucial items in a Democratic agenda for reasons that I don’t think hold a lot of water.” pic.twitter.com/t3ixCCQ6cV
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 13, 2021
Original reporting by Mychael Schnell at The Hill.
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