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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) declared on Monday that the U.S. Senate should be reformed because her party’s far-left faction did not get what they had been promised: President Biden’s “Build Back Better” legislation, a multi-trillion dollar package of new social and climate spending.
Her comments came on the heels of earlier remarks by Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate West Virginia Democrat who vowed he couldn’t support the legislation because he is concerned adding trillions in new spending will worsen inflation which is already at a four-decade high and thus further hurt American wage-earners.
“AOC,” who is reportedly eying Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s seat, railed at Manchin, who not only blocked the legislation but also does not support changing the Senate filibuster rule, which requires 60 members to advance most legislation to debate and a vote.
“…[T]his idea that, again, over time has switched from a talking filibuster to now just being able to stand up and posture and make a threat,” Ocasio-Cortez told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program.
“God forbid that they might actually have to show up and stand or — or sit and actually have to talk and actually live out the threat of their filibuster,” she continued.
“I mean, it is unconscionable the way that the Senate operates. It’s fundamentally undemocratic,” she said, despite the fact that senators are elected by popular vote — though initially, they were chosen by state legislatures until the ratification of the 17th Amendment.
“And now what it’s doing is it’s allowing stripping of people’s voting rights across the country. We are in a crisis. Nineteen states have passed over 33 laws to limit or restrict the right to vote in the United States of America. We are beyond the time for something to pass,” AOC claimed, a reference to mostly Republican-run states that moved to shore up voter integrity after the chaotic 2020 elections.
“And my concern is that even Manchin’s compromise or the fact that he was making statements just this past week, that he was just having conversations with the parliamentarian about voting rights that were illuminating — how has this not happened all year long?” said the House Democrat.
“And so what we really need to do is crack down on the Senate, which operates like an old boy’s club that has a couple of gals in it that have managed to break through, and we need to actually institute some institution — we need to implement some institutional discipline,” Ocasio-Cortez continued.
“If people want to threaten to block ambassadorships, if they want to threaten dysfunction, they actually need to show up and do it. They need to show up and do a talking filibuster,” the self-described Democratic socialist added. “And by the way, that is the compromise, because there shouldn’t even be a filibuster in the first place. And they need to really make sure that we are actually calling people to their threats.”
“And this idea that we can just go on Fox News or go on any — and legislate through television, and say that we are going to threaten to block ambassadorships, or threaten a filibuster or threaten to vote no, have that result in actual institutional inaction is unacceptable,” she said, before imploring President Biden to get more involved.
“And again, it takes the president of the United States who I believe needs to be more forceful on the filibuster. He needs to also lean, I believe, on his executive authority and say if you’re going to get in the way, we’re going to find other ways to do this,” added AOC.
“And it’s either you’re with us or not with us. But this train is moving. And we need to govern. Because the United States house of representatives is delivering an agenda for the people.”
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