Frustrated Over BBB Demise, AOC Calls Senate ‘Old Boys’ Club’ That Needs a ‘Crack Down’
On Sunday, the Senate failed to pass President Biden’s $1.75 trillion social spending bill, also known as the Build Back Better plan, before the Christmas holidays after Democratic Senator Joe Manchin announced that he would not vote for the bill. His words have outraged members of the ‘Squad,’ Congress’ most left-leaning group.
NY Rep. and Squad member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said on Monday that Democrats need to “crack down” on the “very entitled, very privileged and very protected” Senate, which she compared to an “old boys’ club.”
The lawmaker called Manchin’s refusal to support the Build Back Better (BBB) plan a “farce.”
“It’s a farce in terms of, you know, plain democracy, because I represent more — or just, just as many, or more people than Joe Manchin does, perhaps more,” she said.
However, the population of West Virginia currently stands at approximately 1.8 million people, while New York’s 14th Congressional District that Ocasio-Cortez represents is comprised of about 750,000 people.
Meanwhile, according to Ocasio-Cortez, it’s the House of Representatives that “most reliably delivers the actual will of the majority of people.”
The Democratic lawmaker was particularly critical of the filibuster in the Senate, suggesting opposing lawmakers “might have to actually show up and stand or sit and actually have to talk and actually live out the threat of their filibuster.”
“It is unconscionable the way the Senate operates. It’s fundamentally undemocratic,” she stressed. “What we really need to do is crack down on the Senate, which operates like an old boys’ club that has a couple of gals in it that have managed to break through.”
She called on lawmakers in the upper chamber to adopt “institutional discipline” as she seemed outraged with the fact that Manchin waited for so long before announcing his position, letting the White House and House Democrats hold lengthy negotiations.
“I think what Senator Manchin did yesterday represents such an egregious breach of the trust of the president,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “The Senate adjourned on Friday. And then he waited until everyone was on vacation to say, ‘No, I’m not going to vote for this.’ He waited until there was a moment of minimal pressure, when he didn’t have to go back into the Senate, when all of this stuff was happening. This is a very calculated timing.”
Earlier, progressive Democrats criticized their own party leaders for allowing the separation of the BBB plan from the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, passed in both chambers and signed by the president last month.
On Sunday, Manchin told the Fox News that he would not support the bill., saying he has “tried everything that is possible." In a statement, released after the interview, Manchin said the big social spending would “seriously damage” the country's ability to withstand the coronavirus pandemic and geopolitical threats.
“My Democratic colleagues in Washington are determined to dramatically reshape our society in a way that leaves our country even more vulnerable to the threats we face,” he said. “I cannot take that risk with a staggering debt of more than $29 trillion and inflation taxes that are real and harmful to every hard-working American at the gasoline pumps, grocery stores and utility bills with no end in sight.”
The lawmaker was severely critisized
by his fellow Democrats. While negotiations with Manchin were difficult, the White House hoped over the recent days that they would eventually reach an agreement.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that Manchin's remarks have breached his commitment to find common ground as he came to the White House several days before to submit “a written outline for a Build Back Better bill that was the same size and scope as the President's framework, and covered many of the same priorities.”
“While that framework was missing key priorities, we believed it could lead to a compromise acceptable to all,” she said.
Last week, after speaking with Manchin, Biden said the senator had reaffirmed "his support for Build Better-Than-It funding at the level of the framework plan," which the president announced in September.