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AOC Calls Out Corporate-Funded Dems Kneecapping the Build Back Better Plan

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made her case in an appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show.

It’s another hellish week on Capitol Hill, where the Biden administration’s agenda continues to be hamstrung by two lobbyist-funded democratic senators: Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. In what is clearly a flaw in our democracy, these two clowns can singlehandedly derail the already-popular platforms that they (and Biden) ran successfully on in 2020.

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In an appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show, outspoken progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez laid out the issues at stake and her hopes for the party to rally to pass both pieces of legislation. And while the media is framing this debate as conservative Democrats vs. progressive Democrats, the reality is that it’s literally a handful of people standing in the way of historic change. And without the support of both sides, neither bill will pass.

There’s the infrastructure plan, a watered-down compromise penned by Sinema and Manchin to provide a base level of roads and bridges renovation. Then there’s the wildly popular $3.5 trillion dollar Build Back Better plan, which provides all the social infrastructure we desperately need, i.e. clean energy, universal childcare, expanded Medicare, affordable housing, etc.

AOC said, “We have a vast majority of Democrats, about 96 percent, that are in agreement of the entire agenda. Now, a very small handful of Democrats, about 4 percent of the party, are trying to essentially split these two priorities up you know, and I personally don’t think it’s an accident that the ones that a lot of lobbyists love are in the much smaller, underfunded bill, that don’t make prescription drugs easier to buy and more affordable, etcetera.”

Earlier in the year, Democrats agreed to split Biden’s agenda into the two bills, tying them together as a compromise for everyone to get what they want. But now, this 4 percent of the party is reneging on their promise to vote for the reconciliation bill aka the Build Back Better.

AOC continued, “what they [the 4 percent] want to do is split them apart and force a vote on the first one. Because we have such narrow margins in the Senate and the House, you know, the read that we have is that they’ll just dump the second one, leave the other one out to dry, and just never actually vote on it. And so the way that we bring our two parts of the caucus together is by saying, ‘You know what? My bill is bound up in your bill, and your bill is bound up in my bill.’ So, do I love this very, what I would argue, conservative underfunded bill? No, but I will vote for it if we pursue them both together.”

AOC reiterated the importance of keeping the bills tied together, saying “I want to be very clear about this: if we vote on this under-funded too-small infrastructure bill alone, instead of voting for it with the rest of the president’s agenda, if we vote for it alone it could make our climate crisis worse, and it risks being the only or the last substantive piece of legislation we will pass.”

And her fellow progressives agree, saying that they will not vote for infrastructure without the reconciliation bill.

(image: screencap/MSNBC)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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