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6 Ways Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Is Already Being A Pain In Joe Biden’s Ass

(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
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President Joe Biden is nearly two months into his term in the White House, and he’s already faced repeated challenges from both sides of the aisle.

Conservatives have been a thorn in the side of the Biden administration so far by threatening not to confirm some of his Cabinet nominees, halting executive orders in the court system and pushing back on his most ambitious legislative ideas. However, several nuisances have emerged from Biden’s left, as well. Here are six times Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and “The Squad” have already been a pain for Biden.

Drawing Attention To ‘Kids In Cages’

The Biden administration is facing criticism for continuing a policy at the border of detaining unaccompanied minors in immigration facilities. When former President Donald Trump’s administration continued this policy, which started during the term of former President Barack Obama, many Democrats attacked it as “inhumane” and characterized it as “kids in cages.”

The Biden administration has pushed back on similar attacks now coming from some on the right who have commented on the apparent hypocrisy.

“This is not kids being kept in cages. This is a facility that was opened that’s going to follow the same standards as other HHS facilities. It is not a replication. Certainly not,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki at a briefing Tuesday. (RELATED: Psaki Won’t Say If Biden Agrees With Kerry That There Are ‘Only 9 Years Left’ To Save The World From Climate Catastrophe)

Ocasio-Cortez went after the Biden administration for the policy anyway. “This is not okay, never has been okay, never will be okay – no matter the administration or party,” she tweeted. She then went on to advocate for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement as well as the Department of Homeland Security.

Blowing Up The ‘Unity’ Message

Biden stressed the importance of healing the country on the campaign trail. Since coming into office, he has emphasized, at least rhetorically, the importance of working across the aisle and moving past the divisive Trump era.

Ocasio-Cortez has given conservatives ample reason to doubt the sincerity of Democratic calls for unity. In recent weeks, she has engaged in high-profile public feuds with multiple Republicans, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace. Ocasio-Cortez also suggested that Trump supporters should have their statements and actions “archived” so people can be held “responsible for their behavior” in the future.

Pushing For Bigger Stimulus Checks

Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill includes $1,400 stimulus payments to a significant portion of Americans. When combined with an initial $600 check sent near the end of the Trump administration, the total direct relief sent in the latest stimulus effort would be $2,000. However, some have criticized Democrats for not proposing standalone $2,000 checks, which is what Democratic Georgia Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock campaigned on in their January runoff elections. (Big Business Endorses Biden Rescue Plan In Letter To Congress)

Fellow Squad member Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar called for the Biden administration to begin sending monthly $2,000 checks to all Americans until the COVID-19 pandemic ends. Ocasio-Cortez has criticized Democrats, including the Biden administration, for not pushing harder for $2,000 checks.

“$2,000 means $2,000. $2,000 does not mean $1,400,” she told The Washington Post.

Demanding Increased Student Loan Debt Relief

The Biden administration has advanced a student debt relief plan that would forgive $10,000 of student loan debt. Some Democrats have said that isn’t enough.

Chief among them have been Squad members Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Presley. Ocasio-Cortez criticized Biden’s plan, saying, “Biden’s holding back, but many of the arguments against it just don’t hold water on close inspection.” Presley added that the president has the authority to cancel student debt “with the stroke of a pen.”

Attacking Crucial Swing Votes In The Senate

Ocasio-Cortez has made news by publicly sparring with Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, particularly on Biden cabinet nominees. Manchin has emerged as a critical linchpin in the Democratic Senate majority, and has already shot down several progressive proposals. (RELATED: Senate Committee Delays Hearing For Neera Tanden As Confirmation Grows More Unlikely)

Furthermore, the progressive No Excuses PAC, which was founded by two aides to Ocasio-Cortez and has supported her runs for Congress, has said it is targeting Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema with upcoming primary challenges.

Shrinking The Democrats’ House Majority?

Some Democrats think the progressive rhetoric of Ocasio-Cortez and her allies cost the party congressional seats in the 2020 election, thereby weakening the majority available to help the Biden administration pass progressive legislation.

“We lost races we shouldn’t have lost. Defund police almost cost me my race because of an attack ad. Don’t say socialism ever again,” said Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger after the Nov. 3 elections.

Democrats’ majority in the House of Representatives shrunk to only a handful of seats, and Spanberger wasn’t alone in blaming that on The Squad. However, the events did give the likes of Ocasio-Cortez and Omar more power; if the four squad members combine with other progressive members such as New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman or Missouri Rep. Cori Bush, they would have a voting bloc large enough to prevent any legislation from passing.