Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ofNew York warned Sunday about the dangers of congressional Democrats lowering turnout in the forthcoming elections if they weaken their flagship reconciliation program, which right-wing lawmakers already removed. popular programsGlobally, the reduction was approximately $2 trillion.
In interview With the New York Times, Ocasio-Cortez said that “the stakes are really, really high” as the reconciliation bill — known as the Build Back Better Act — heads to the evenly divided Senate, where Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and other conservative Democrats will have additional opportunities to erode the package’s investments in climate action, housing, child care, and other key areas.
“I think that if we pass the Build Back Better Act as the House passed it, that we have a shot to go back to our communities and say we delivered,” said the New York Democrat. “But that’s not to say that this process has not been demoralizing for a lot of folks, because there were enormous promises made. Not just at the beginning, and not just during the election, but that continued to be made.”
“And this is where I have sounded the alarm, because what really dampens turnout is when Democrats make promises that they don’t keep,” she added. “With the bipartisan infrastructure plan, there’s all of these headlines going around. I understand the political importance that a victory lap has. But I think that the worst and most vulnerable position we could be in is to over-promise and under-deliver.”
Ocasio Cortez specifically referred to the lofty promises that accompanied enactment of the $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure law, which includes $15 billion in funding for lead pipe remediation — about $30 billion less It is more than what President Joe Biden originally suggested. The law also includes $25 million in potential subsidies for the fossil fuels industry.
“Let’s not go around and say, ‘We’re going to replace every lead pipe in this country,’ because according to the bipartisan infrastructure plan, that is not going to happen,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “That has not been funded. And if the Build Back Better Act gets cut even further, then that’s definitely not going to happen.”
The New York Democrat’s remarks came days after the House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act, which — in its current form — would invest around $1.75 trillion over ten years in clean energy development, public housingEarly childhood education, hearing assistance for Medicare recipients, and other programs.
The bill proposes a surtax for millionaires, a 15% minimum corporate tax, and a levy on large corporations to fund its investments. plan To lower sky-high prescription drugs prices that was significantly watered down By pharma-friendly Democrats
In the Senate, where Democrats can’t afford to lose a single vote, Manchin is expected to force the removal of a paid leave plan Progressive policy analysts are a good example of this. said It is seriously flawed. It’s unclear which other programs Manchin — backed by the fossil fuel industry and GOP donors — may target.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), meanwhile, is vowing to strengthen the package in the upper chamber by reincluding vision and dental benefits for Medicare and removing the bill’s large tax cut For wealthy households
I am proud of the House of Representatives Democrats who voted for the Build Back Better Act. Now, the Senate has the opportunity to listen to the American people’s demands and strengthen the bill. That’s what we must do. pic.twitter.com/mcmNyoV6bZ
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) November 19, 2021
Speak to the Times, Ocasio-Cortez said that failure to deliver a robust bill — as well as voting rights legislation and other Democratic priorities — could fuel “political nihilism” and reinforce “the idea that nothing we do matters.”
“Democrats have a trifecta and have been unable to pass voting-rights protections,” she said. “People can wring their hands and say ‘but Manchin’ all they want, or ‘but the filibuster’ all they want, but at the end of the day, what people see are the results of their actions and the results of investing their time.”
In addition to Democrats’ legislative efforts in Congress, Ocasio-Cortez also urged Biden to make use of his executive authority to broadly cancel federal student loan debt — a step the president has thus far refused to take, intensifying fears The youth voter turnout may collapse.
“There is an enormous amount of executive action that they’re sitting on that I think is underutilized,” the New York Democrat said. “We’ve got executive action on the table with respect to climate. There are certain things we can do about immigration. So 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?”