AOC pushes back at Pelosi, says House speaker’s belittling of progressives ‘puzzling’

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., fired back Tuesday at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., saying she found remarks by the leader of their party’s caucus “puzzling” after Pelosi dismissed her and three other progressives who’d voted against a $4.6 billion border aid package at the end of June.

Pelosi defended her efforts to ratchet up support from Congress for more funding for border aid, requested by President Trump and ultimately passed by the House with bolstered efforts to protect and enhance the treatment of migrant children despite lack of support for the legislation from Reps. Ocasio-Cortez; Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.; Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.

“All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” Pelosi told The New York Times this past Saturday. “But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people, and that’s how many votes they got.”

“It’s not even the four of us. It’s like ‘These ones,’” Ocasio-Cortez responded Tuesday. “What the speaker said… it’s not true. It’s just wrong… as progressives, it’s okay not to vote for the legislation to make a point.”

The House accepted the Senate-drafted bill, much to the dismay of many Democrats who saw it as a win for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

“At the end of the day, Mitch McConnell is going to Mitch McConnell,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I did not believe for a minute McConnell was going to pass the House bill… the House bill was dead on arrival.”

Ocasio-Cortez also said her vote on the border aid package was not indicative of how she’d vote on an upcoming defense bill to bar U.S. troops from being sent to the border.

“I’m not tying my (defense) vote to my vote on the border… they are two different chess pieces,” she said.

The freshmen’s pushback was seen as the latest in attempts to challenge Pelosi and push the ideology further to the left, including the introduction of the Green New Deal and pushing for a $15 minimum wage.

“I don’t think $15 is enough in New York City,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “We were for $15 ten years ago.”

She went on to urge moderate Democrats to push for progressive change even in districts where they’ve felt the ideas may be unpopular with constituents.

“Every member needs to represent their district well. I’m not here to malign anyone… there’s this false narrative that progressive issues are losing issues in swing districts… we have to expand the electorate,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

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