Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fears President Biden’s massive social spending bill will be gutted in the coming days after the Democratic Party’s left wing gives up its ‘leverage’ by joining the moderates and voting in favor of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, his office said in a letter to voters.
Ocasio-Cortez was one of six House Democrats, all members of the “squad” of influential progressives, who voted “no” to the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which will be enacted this week. The six die-hard progressives hesitated after Democratic leaders reneged on their promise to bring in both the infrastructure bill and the spending bill for votes.
In a letter to her constituents in New York’s 14th Congressional District, representatives for Ocasio-Cortez said she believes Congress may have “endangered immigration reform, NYCHA funding and any chance of significantly tackling climate change “by not passing the two bills together.
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“The congressman kept her word and voted against the infrastructure bill, in an attempt to keep these two bills linked,” the letter reads. “She was always ready to vote for the infrastructure bill alongside the BBB, but she could not support the infrastructure bill on her own and risk losing our only leverage for BBB policies including NY -14 is so badly needed. “
The $ 1.75 trillion framework agreement for Biden’s social spending bill includes many initiatives championed by progressives, including more than $ 500 billion for climate action, expanded education and paid vacation. But the high cost of the proposed legislation has sparked skepticism from moderate Democrats in both houses of Congress, including the main roadblock, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.
The Progressive Congressional Caucus agreed to vote in favor of the infrastructure bill after a group of House moderates pledged to vote for the social spending bill as currently drafted in the later the week of November 15th. The House voted to pass the “rule” governing the spending bill reconciliation process last week in a procedural step that precedes a final vote on the bill itself.
The infrastructure bill was a key bargaining chip for Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives, who have long warned that moderates will push for a watered-down version of the spending bill once their priority legislation is passed.
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“The Speaker and House leaders have promised that [Build Back Better] will always pass, “the letter from Ocasio-Cortez’s office added.” We hope they’re right, but how much of the bill survives now that we’ve ceded so much influence is the question. . “