Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is warning that progressives in the House will block a bipartisan infrastructure package unless Democrats pass a separate spending bill that includes an immigration reform provision.
During a virtual town hall event on Thursday, the progressive star said, “People across the country elected Democratic majorities. They elected a Demcoratic president. They elected a Democratic House majority. And they elected a Democratic Senate.”
“And so what that means is that Republicans are not in charge of dictating what policies we pass and what policies we don’t pass. And the idea that we would be limited by a bipartisan deal is laughable. It is laughable,” she continued.
Watch the video below:
Rep. @AOC (D-NY): “House progressives are standing up … We will tank the bipartisan infrastructure bill unless we also pass the reconciliation bill.”— The Recount (@therecount) July 16, 2021
“If [Senate Dems] try to strip immigration reform … child care, climate action, etc., then we’re at an impasse. It’s a no-go.” pic.twitter.com/8SigfTCz2t
The New York Congresswoman’s comments come as lawmakers are in the process of hammering out a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a separate spending bill that includes more Democratic priorities.
Democrats in Congress have linked the passage of the bipartisan bill with the $3.5 trillion spending bill.
Most legislation requires 60 votes to pass the Senate. However, Democrats are looking at using the process known as budget reconciliation to pass the separate spending bill with just Democratic votes.
Reconciliation would let Democrats pass legislation in the Senate with just 50 votes, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote, providing no margin for Democratic defections.
As The New York Times reports, the bill would “vastly expand social and environmental programs by extending the reach of education and health care, taxing the rich and tackling the warming of the planet.”
Democrats also want to include a provision that would create a pathway to citizenship for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, immigrants with temporary protected status, and immigrants who qualify as essential workers.
At least 10 Republican senators would have to vote for a bipartisan infrastructure package for it to pass the chamber. But the introduction of the massive reconciliation bill has sparked concerns that Republicans may withdraw their support for the infrastructure bill.
However, Ocasio-Cortez says that Democrats in the Senate must pass the reconciliation bill with all of their priorities in it. Otherwise, House progressives will vote against the infrastructure bill.
“House progressives are standing up… We only have a four-vote margin in the House,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “We have made the stand and we said, ‘We will tank the bipartisan infrastructure bill unless we also pass the reconciliation bill.’”
She continued, “And so it goes both ways right? If Manchin and in the Senate, if they approve our reconciliation bill, we will approve their bipartisan bill. And if they try to strip immigration reform, if they try to claw back on childcare, climate action, etc., then we’re at an impasse. It’s a no-go.”