US
AOC Slams Conservatives on Infrastructure Bill
Joe Biden needs near-unanimous support from progressives in Congress to pass ambitious infrastructure plan

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had words for her conservative colleagues in Congress as she left Washington for last week's recess. "As negotiations for the infrastructure package continue," wrote Ocasio-Cortez in an email to constituents. "It is becoming increasingly clear that many conservatives have no interest in serving communities that need the most support."

Ocasio-Cortez, 31, is the most-famous progressive, the most-famous millennial, and the most-famous Latina in American politics. She arrived in Washington as a freshman in the last Congress after defeating Joe Crowley - a top Democrat in the House of Representatives - by running on a socialist ticket in her New York City district, which includes parts of Bronx and Queens.

"Democrats welcome Republican collaboration where there is agreement," writes Ocasio-Cortez, "but this doesn't mean that President Biden should be limited by Republican policies, particularly when we have a House majority, 50 Democratic senators, and the White House."

I'm hopeful that the White House and Senate and House leadership will move forward with a package of bills that will meet the moment we're in. - Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has few votes to spare in the lower chamber of Congress, where Democrats hold a slim majority and every Republican is almost certain to oppose virtually any legislation that finally makes it to the floor for a vote.

Any defections in Pelosi's Democratic Caucus, especially from a member as high-profile as Ocasio-Cortez, would likely spell doom for Joe Biden's infrastructure plan in the House, which returns to Washington from a two-week recess at 6:30pm on Monday, July 19th.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer has even less room to maneuver when it comes to delivering the Democratic Caucus in the upper chamber. The Senate is evenly divided with high-profile Democratic defections that torpedoed the recent voting rights legislation to combat a nationwide campaign of restrictive voting laws by Republican majorities in state legislatures.

The Senate is due back in the Capitol a week before the House, returning this Monday (July 12) at 3pm for a week where infrastructure bill negotiations will at the top of the agenda for Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has promised a campaign of all-out obstruction against the entire Biden White House agenda, just as he did to Biden's Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.

A vote on a version of the infrastructure bill that President Biden supports is expected on the Senate floor as early as July 19th, but can only succeed with virtually unanimous support of progressives in Congress like Ocasio-Cortez.


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