AOC isn’t quite sold on the budget deal — at least not yet.
As Democrats gathered Thursday to hear Biden’s pitch to a high-stakes caucus meeting, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) warned that an informal framework deal would not be enough to win the support of her and other progressives.
“We need to have a certainty, either through legislative text (or) agreements, that we can trust,” AOC told the News as she walked into the meeting. “We need something a little bit more than just something on the back of an envelope.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) (Kevin Dietsch/)
The progressive lawmaker said she and other progressives are wary of having the goalposts moved again after a months-long process that has seen their dreams of a much bigger package chipped away by objections from powerful Democratic moderates.
AOC skeptically compared the back and forth with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) to a children’s party game.
“There’s been so many changes in this process, so many people … doing the Hokey Pokey: one foot in, one foot out,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “So we need certainty that we’re going to be able to deliver for working people.”
Despite the tough talk, AOC did offer the crucial concession that progressives could open to agreeing to a deal without the specific text of what Senate moderates will approve.
“Legislative text is one mechanism of us getting there,” she said. “I think we’re open to other mechanisms, but it needs to be something a little bit more than a back of an envelope.”
For weeks, House progressives like AOC have insisted that they will not support a separate $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan without also passing the bigger social spending plan that they say is even more important to working people.
The so-called Build Back Better plan started at $3.5 trillion but has been whittled down to about half that as moderates object to various provisions, most of which are very popular with the American people.
Progressives worry that once they give their stamp of approval to the bipartisan plan, Manchin and Sinema and others may seek more concessions on the other plan or even torpedo it all together.
The concerns are especially acute because the two kingmakers have taken turns shooting down various plans for paying for the plan, including a new tax on billionaires.Internet Explorer Channel Network