Ocasio-Cortez bemoans congressional ‘sh–show’

(The Hill) — After three years on Capitol Hill, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) has delivered a grim assessment of Congress and its inner workings, calling Washington’s legislative process a “sh–show” of missed opportunities. and ill-conceived plans.

In a long and wide-ranging interview with The New Yorker’s David Remnick, Ocasio-Cortez — the most prominent voice in the far-left ‘Squad’ — criticizes President Biden as unassertive, Republicans as undemocratic, and the media as sensational .

But she reserves some of her harshest words for her own caucus leaders, particularly when it comes to the legislative strategy-making process.

“Honestly, it’s a shit show. It’s outrageous, every day,” she told Remnick for the story, published Monday.

“Some people maybe get used to it or are numb to the many different things that can be broken,” she added. “But you lean into that idea so much that there are adults in the room, and in some ways there are. But sometimes being in a room with some of the most powerful people in the country and seeing how they make decisions – sometimes they’re just susceptible to groupthink, susceptible to self-delusion.

Ocasio-Cortez cited the debate surrounding the bipartisan infrastructure bill during its passage through Congress last year as an example. Initially, House Liberals blocked the proposal passed by the Senate, insisting that the House first approve a separate, larger package – the $2 trillion Build Back Better Act – which includes a host of development programs. education, climate and family benefits at the center of Biden’s domestic politics. agenda.

Yet after a months-long stalemate — and in the face of growing pressure from moderate Democrats in both chambers — Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) changed course and introduced the infrastructure bill on her own. It marked a major victory for Biden, but the Build Back Better Act has stalled ever since.

“People really believe that passing the infrastructure plan that day, that week, is the most important decision of the presidency, more than voting rights, more than the Build Back Better Act him itself, which contains the vast majority of the president’s actual plan,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

“You kind of sit in the room and watch people prepare for a decision. It’s a fascinating psychological moment that you watch unfold.

Ocasio-Cortez declined to criticize Pelosi, or any other executive, by name. But she seemed to welcome the coming generational change at the top of the party — at every level — whenever Pelosi and her top lieutenants decide to step down.

“It’s not even just a question to the President. This is a matter of our caucus,” she said. “I wish the Democratic Party had more rocks. I would like our party to be able to really support bold leadership that can tackle the root causes.

Ocasio-Cortez is no stranger to challenging Democratic brass. She arrived in Congress in 2019 after a stunning primary victory over Representative Joe Crowley (NY), a 20-year veteran Democratic lawmaker whom she accused of being too comfortable with lobbyists and other Washington insiders. at the expense of workers. A year into Biden’s tenure in the White House, she shifts some of that criticism onto the president, saying he’s been too reluctant to use his executive authority in the face of congressional inaction.

“The president has not used his executive power to the extent that some would say is necessary,” she charged.

Ocasio-Cortez acknowledged the narrow Democratic majority in the Senate, saying some things are, indeed, “out of the president’s control.”

“But I think there are some things under the president’s control,” she added, “and his hesitation over them has contributed to a situation that’s not as optimal.”

For starters, Ocasio-Cortez is urging the president to act unilaterally to forgive some student loan debt — a move that would not only benefit the country economically, she argued, but help Democrats in the upcoming midterm election. -mandate.

“It’s entirely in his power,” she said. “And I can’t stress how the Biden administration’s reluctance to pursue student loan forgiveness has demoralized a very critical voting bloc that the President, House, and Senate need to have any chance of preserve one of our majorities.”

Ocasio-Cortez also had harsh words for Republicans, accusing the GOP of exploiting the politics of white grievances, both in their efforts to overturn former President Trump’s 2020 election defeat, and their opposition to the news. voting protections aimed at countering the new state-based voting. limitations. If the Republicans are successful, she claimed, there is “a very real risk” that the country will no longer be a democracy in a decade.

“What we risk is having a government that perhaps presents itself as a democracy and can try to pretend that it is, but that it is not,” he said. she stated.

“We are never beyond hope,” she continued. “But we’ve already seen the opening salvos of this, where you have a very targeted and specific attack on suffrage across the United States, especially in areas where Republican power is threatened by evolution electorates and demography. You have a reactionary white nationalist politics that is beginning to gain critical mass.

In Washington and New York, much speculation swirls around Ocasio-Cortez’s future. Although she is only 32, she is among the most recognizable lawmakers in Congress – a social media superstar with a legion of liberal followers – fueling predictions that she could soon run for the Senate.

But if that’s her intention, Ocasio-Cortez isn’t showing any of her cards, saying only that she’s constantly evaluating how best to empower workers. This could lead her to quit elected office and take up activism, she acknowledged. But she also pointed out that, for all her frustrations, the work that goes on every day on Capitol Hill has real value.

“There are times when I’m cynical and…I’m just like, ‘Man, maybe I should just, like, learn to grow my own food and teach other people how to do that!’ she says to Remnick. “But I also reject the utter cynicism that what’s happening here is fruitless.”

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