Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) railed against the U.S. Senate after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) singlehandedly torpedoed the Build Back Better bill.
The New York Democrat appeared Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” where she expressed frustration with the process for passing legislation through a narrowly divided Senate.
“This idea that we’re going to refit it to Joe Manchin’s liking, the bill has already been retrofitted to Joe Manchin’s liking,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Let’s make that extremely clear. The climate ambitions have been reduced because of Joe Manchin. We have had, for example, the minimizing of Medicare expansion. Much of that is also thanks to Joe Manchin, and we need to really make it very clear that this bill, this framework was signed off by Joe Manchin, and so this is a Joe Manchin Build Back Better Act, and so this idea that we’re going to go back to the table and give him the pen again for a bill that he has already — has his ink all over makes very little sense. I think in terms of that road, we really need to take an assessment of that, because this has been — being strung along has been the path this entire time, this entire year, and so there’s that part aside, but I think also, you know, as an institution, it is important that the Senate, I think, step up in its governing culture.”
“I know that may seem vague, but things that,” she added, “there are certain reforms that can be made within the culture of the Senate, and decisions that are made within the Senate that can make it harder to do this, and to make the environment harder.”
The congresswoman offered withering criticism of Manchin for waiting until the Senate had adjourned for a holiday break to announce that he would not support the legislation.
“It is not lost on me or, I think, many other members of Congress that Joe Manchin had a conversation with the president 48 hours before his announcement,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “The Senate adjourned on Friday, and then he waited until everyone was on vacation to say, ‘No, I’m not going to vote for this.'”
“He waited until there was a moment of minimal pressure when he didn’t have to go back into the Senate, when all of this stuff was happening,” she added. “This is a very calculated timing, and if the Senate reconvenes, what that allows us to do, whether it’s the Senate reconvening early, I believe Sen. [Chuck] Schumer just announced that they’re going to at least have a special caucus. But when we reconvene and we say, ‘No, no, no, we’re not going to let people play these games anymore because they are relying on norms of the old boys club, and we have to break those cultural norms that the Senate is very entitled, very privileged and very protected,’ and say we are not going to allow that deference to membership just because of the self-importance of the institution. We need to govern, and we are going to actually have consequences, and the concern is that if there are no consequences to this kind of betrayal of working families across the country, of the president of the United States, of the party that one is a part of, then it encourages more egregious behavior like this, which will make it impossible to govern.”
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