AOC rips Senate infrastructure negotiators’ lack of diversity: ‘That’s how you get GOP on board’
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U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lashed out on Twitter on Thursday in reaction to President Biden’s announcement of a $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal reached with a bipartisan group of 21 U.S. senators.
The New York Democrat asserted that Biden and the Democrats were able to “get GOP on board” for the deal only by excluding racial and ethnic minorities and their concerns.
Her complaints came just two days after she claimed that a Republican minority shouldn’t have been allowed to assert its position on the Democrats’ voting rights bill.
Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitter thread on infrastructure included a retweeted photo of Biden announcing the deal outside the White House on Thursday, accompanied by an all-White group of 10 of the 21 senators.
“The diversity of this ‘bipartisan coalition’ pretty perfectly conveys which communities get centered,” the New York Democrat wrote, “and which get left behind when leaders prioritize bipartisan dealmaking over inclusive lawmaking (which prioritizes delivering the most impact possible for the most people)”
In subsequent messages, Ocasio-Cortez asserted that having the infrastructure deal be bipartisan wasn’t enough. She argued the plan needed to be more broadly inclusive as well.
“This is why a bipartisan pkg alone isn’t acceptable,” she wrote. “The exclusion& denial of our communities is what DC bipartisan deals require. That’s how you get GOP on board : don’t do much/any for the working class & low income,or women, or poc communities, or unions,etc. We must do more.
She then appeared to blast as complacent those Democrats who would settle for any deal that wasn’t more broadly inclusive.
“That’s why folks can sometimes come across as careless when saying ‘well isn’t something better than nothing?” she wrote.
“For many communities, their not having a seat at the table is a precondition for bipartisan deals to work in the 1st place. & that’s not only seen as normal, but valued.”
The congresswoman’s arguments drew pushback from Twitter users.
“Looking forward to your upcoming Instagram live where you explain why $0 in infrastructure investment is better than $1.25 trillion, actually,” one commenter wrote.
“Looking forward to your upcoming Instagram live where you explain why $0 in infrastructure investment is better than $1.25 trillion, actually.”
“You only care about the skin tones involved,” another writer claimed. “It really isn’t important and makes you a racist.
“What matters is the skills, ability and the qualifications of the people involved to do the job.
“In this case however, they’re incompetent as well as not very diverse.”
It wasn’t clear if any of the Senate’s 11 current members from racial or ethnic minority groups (eight of them Democrats, three of them Republicans) were among the 11 other negotiating senators who did not appear in the photo with Biden.
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., speaks outside the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 in Washington. (Getty Images)
Diversity has long been an issue for the Senate, where the current group of racial and ethnic minority members represents a third of only 33 racial or ethnic minorities who have served in the lawmaking body for all of U.S. history, according to the Senate’s website.
Ocasio-Cortez, 31, now in her second term in the U.S. House, has been on something of a tear against the U.S. Senate of late.
On Tuesday, she blasted Senate Republicans’ successful filibuster of the Democrats’ sweeping voting rights bill, asserting that “a minority of Senators” shouldn’t be able to “block voting rights for millions of people.”
On Monday, she poked fun at U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., for naming his dog Theo after GOP President Theodore Roosevelt.
Earlier this month, Ocasio-Cortez urged Senate Democrats to “move now” on the party’s agenda, claiming their slim majority in the chamber was extremely fragile and might not last through the 2022 midterms.
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