Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez threatened to tank a bipartisan infrastructure deal if the Senate does not pass a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package.
“We have a deal and the deal is reconciliation for the bipartisan infrastructure,” she told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday. “It was made very clear at the beginning of this process that this bipartisan deal, if it even survives the Senate, the only chance that it has at passing the House is if the House passes the Senate bill and if the Senate passes the House bill, which is largely in reconciliation.”
Democratic Arizona Sens. Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema and Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin have expressed misgivings about the size of the reconciliation package, with Sinema pledging on July 28 not to “support a bill that costs $3.5 trillion.” (RELATED: Squad Rips Sinema For Opposition To $3.5 Trillion Reconciliation Package)
“We can’t just have one body driving the entire legislative agenda for the country and, frankly, 20 senators within that one body. So we need a reconciliation bill if this bipartisan bill — if we want this bipartisan bill to pass,” Ocasio-Cortez continued.
67 senators voted on July 28 to break a filibuster and begin debate on the bipartisan infrastructure deal. Seventeen Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, voted with all 50 Democrats to advance the package.
With the bipartisan bill expected to pass the Senate in the next week, Tapper asked Ocasio-Cortez if she would vote for it.
“If there is not a reconciliation bill in the house and if the Senate does not pass a reconciliation bill, we will uphold our end of the bargain and not pass the bipartisan bill until we get all of these investments in,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“I want to be clear, the investments in the bipartisan bill, they’re not all, you know, Candyland.”
“There are some of these quote, unquote ‘pay fors’ that are very alarming, that we need to see the language on. For example, some of the language around privatizing public infrastructure, putting toll roads, leasing public infrastructure to private entities are very concerning and should be concerning to every American.”
“Bipartisan doesn’t always mean that it’s in the interest of the public good, frankly. Sometimes there’s a lot of corporate lobbyist giveaways in these bills,” she said.
“How many House Progressives do you think are with you on rejecting the bipartisan bill,” Tapper asked.
“I believe a very large amount of the Progressive Caucus. The total amount is about 90. You know, I am not the whip of the Progressive Caucus but what I can tell you is it’s certainly more than three and it is in the double digits absolutely,” Ocasio-Cortez answered.
“Enough to prevent it from passing?” Tapper added.
“More than enough.”