Some conservatives have been praising far-left Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for being the lone Democrat to vote against the $1.7 trillion omnibus bill on Friday, but critics say they’re mistaken to give her any credit.
As previously reported, on Thursday the Senate passed a $1.7 trillion omnibus bill loaded with pork. The following day, the House passed it as well, after which President Joe Biden signed it into law.
Following the House’s vote, some conservatives began praising Ocasio-Cortez for being the only Democrat to “bravely” vote against the omnibus.
@AOC voted against the latest pork bill. We’ve got to give her credit.
— John T. Renfro Medicine Man (@JohnRenfro2016) December 24, 2022
I have to give @AOC credit on this one. Thank you for taking a stand. This is ridiculous.
— Blaine LaBron (@blainelabron) December 24, 2022
Was genuinely happy to hear you voted No on the omnibus bill. Not a fan of yours but always give credit when it’s deserved. Thanks for that
— Moose (@redwings4578) December 24, 2022
I strongly disagree with most of @AOC‘s opinions and actions, but I have to give credit where it’s due: her lone vote against the omnibus bill was admirable.
— JK Chesterton (@1_over_n) December 24, 2022
@AOC for this ONE TIME. I very much oppose most of what you stand for BUT I will give credit when credit is do… thank you for being the lone Dem to vote against the Omnibus bill. Gracias Bori. 🙂
— Fort (@Lucky40rty) December 24, 2022
The problem, critics say, is that while she did vote against the omnibus, she’d spent days beforehand packing it full of expensive pork.
“In the bill for the departments of labor, health and human services, education and related agencies, Ocasio-Cortez set aside $500,000 for ‘new immigrant community empowerment’ in Jackson Heights, New York; $3 million for ‘clean energy workforce development and supportive services;’ and $400,000 to progressive immigration nonprofit Make the Road New York, among other spending,” according to Fox News.
“In the Department of Transportation bill, Ocasio-Cortez backed even more spending, including $1 million to Westchester Square Plaza for highway infrastructure, $1 million to the New York City Department of Transportation for ‘Astoria Boulevard safety improvements,’ and $1 million to the New York Botanical Garden for a ‘worker’s operation center,'” Fox News reported late Friday.
She also reportedly earmarked $2.4 million for the Neighborhood Housing Services of Queens nonprofit.
So then why did she vote against the omnibus after having packed it with pork? Because of its defense spending, as well as its funding of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and its funding of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
In a statement published after the bill’s passage, she explained that she’d campaigned on opposing more spending for these agencies.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released the following statement following her ‘no’ vote on the omnibus spending bill: pic.twitter.com/90HZhhDbCt
— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) December 23, 2022
“I campaigned on a promise to my constituents: to oppose additional expansion and
funding for ICE and DHS — particularly in the absence of long-overdue immigration
reform. For that reason, as well as the dramatic increase in defense spending which
exceeds even President Biden’s request, I voted no on today’s omnibus bill,” she said.
“Our NY-14 community in The Bronx and Queens is one of the most diverse
communities in the world — speaking over 167 languages and representing countries
from all over the world,” she added. “Collectively, our community particularly bears the brunt of an immigration system that criminalizes, detains, separates, and traumatizes families. The dramatic increase in DHS and ICE spending — especially in light of the lack of progress on DACA, TPS, and expanding paths to citizenship — cut against the promises our party has made to immigrant communities across the country.”
Fair enough, but why then did she lobby to include certain spending provisions in the omnibus? Why not boycott the bill altogether?
She explained in her statement that she’d been negotiating the whole time, with the goal being to convince her fellow Democrats to pass each bill piecemeal.
“From the beginning of this negotiation, we made clear to Democratic leadership that
we must keep the practice of voting on funding bills by agency — particularly
controversial agencies like DHS — so that Members would not be forced to betray
one part of their district in service of expediency. We were successful in this approach last year, and looked forward to supporting such a package this year,” she said.
“In that spirit, I worked hard alongside colleagues and advocates to secure many important victories in this year’s government spending package, such as an historic increase in NLRB funding to adequately respond to the growing labor mobilization across the country. Additionally, we secured significant funding for 15 community projects in NY-14, which we worked for months to vet, prioritize and ensure compliance with federal standards. These victories and many more — such as the inclusion of PUMP and PWEA Acts — are hard-fought wins that we proudly support and would proudly vote for.”
But ultimately, her efforts failed and Democrats predictably jumbled everything together, so she voted no.
And so in totality, while it’s nice that she voted no on the bill, critics say she deserves zero credit for the gesture:
She loaded it full of her own pork (MILLIONS) then voted against it as a performance. Nothing to see here. @AOC you’re still trash.
— The Original Leather Canary (@bwatts237) December 24, 2022
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