AOC Slams Democratic Colleagues Over Passage of Senate’s Immigration Bill

AOC Slams Democratic Colleagues Over Passage of Senate’s Immigration Bill

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gave an impassioned speech against an emergency funding bill addressing the humanitarian crisis on the southern border to Jake Tapper on Thursday’s edition of The Lead.

Ocasio-Cortez spoke just as the House was busy passing the Senate’s emergency bill after Mitch McConnell refused to consider an earlier House-passed version that included more humanitarian protections for the unaccompanied children arriving at the border and restrictions on how the Trump administration can spend the money.

The House had passed that version earlier in the week, but McConnell ignored it. The Senate then passed its own version without the protections of the House bill before McConnell announced he would not negotiate with the lower chamber on a compromise version. Faced with both a funding deadline, members who want to leave town for the July 4 holiday, and a Democratic Senate caucus that had no more interest in the House bill than the Republicans, Nancy Pelosi caved and agreed to pass the bill, clearing its path for Trump’s signature.

House progressives such as Ocasio-Cortez are livid, as she demonstrated in her conversation with Tapper:

“We didn’t even bother to negotiate. There are House amendments. We could have negotiated again, we could have conferenced, we could have tried to get amendments in, to get humanitarian provisions put in, to get consequences for facilities that abuse kids in. Instead what we’re doing is we’re immediately going to just saying yes to what got passed out of the Senate. These are two completely different dynamics. The Senate, you have a minority Democratic Party there, and here we are the House of Representatives, and we are a House majority. We need to act like it.”

One issue, however, is that the Senate bill passed with 84 votes, which means better than half the Senate caucus favored it. That would indicate there was very little negotiating room for the House in trying to craft a conference bill.

Tapper then asked what kind of a bill she thinks could pass both the House and Senate. Ocasio-Cortez responded:

“I think a pure humanitarian bill could pass. I do not believe that Republican voters are interested back home in preventing kids from getting toothbrushes and toothpaste. Pass just the money for these kids. In addition, if the president wanted to, he could declare an emergency right now and get that money to those kids. Right now what he’s ability to do is put billions from the Pentagon, withhold funds from getting dispersed in Puerto Rico in order for him to build a wall. He will not lift a finger in the same capacity in order to get toothpaste to the kids.”

Trump could perhaps do this. That he doesn’t would suggest he and his voters are not in fact interested in it.

The problem with advocating for the Senate to negotiate a humanitarian bill is assuming that anyone over there is human. This latest bill, from AOC’s point of view, would seem to put the lie to that assumption.

Watch the video above, via CNN.

Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.