Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell chided Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in an interview with Fox News Channel Thursday, after AOC had suggested McConnell was waiting for a Senate Democrat to die to take back control of the chamber.
The Kentucky Republican said AOC’s ‘big complaint is with her own party.’
‘The agenda of the particular member of Congress you’re referring to is not in the middle,’ he said. ‘I don’t think she could sell her agenda to their own party, much less find it any kind of appeal for that on my side.’
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, captured on the Senate subway on Thursday, chided Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez after she said he was ‘run[ning] out the clock’ for a Senate Democrat to die to take back the chamber
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggested to Senate Democrats on Wednesday that they drop the bipartisan negotiations and start passing bills while they’re in the majority
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Wednesday afternoon that Dems were ‘burning precious time’ by trying to negotiate with Senate Republicans
Ocasio-Cortez suggested to Senate Democrats on Wednesday that they drop the bipartisan negotiations and start passing bills – either using reconciliation or by revising the filibuster rules – while they remain in the majority.
‘During the Obama admin, folks thought we’d have a 60 Dem majority for a while. It lasted 4 months,’ the New York Democrat tweeted. ‘Dems are burning precious time & impact negotiating w/GOP who won’t even vote for a Jan 6 commission.’
‘McConnell’s plan is to run out the clock. It’s a hustle. We need to move now,’ she said.
Ocasio-Cortez was referring to the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy, a Democrat from Massachusetts, who died in August 2009, seven months into Obama’s tenure.
Kennedy’s seat was won that January, in a special election, by Republican Sen. Scott Brown, killing the Democrats’ 60-vote filibuster-proof majority.
Among the oldest members of the Senate are Democrats including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who turns 88 this month, 81-year-old Sen. Patrick Leahy and 79-year-old Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The Democrats currently have 50 votes in the Senate and a tie-breaker at their disposal with Vice President Kamala Harris.
Breaking a filibuster, however, takes 60 votes.
McConnell said the only way legislation AOC backed would get passed would be if the Democrats nearly had a super-majority.
‘Well, to satisfy that particular member of Congress, I think the Democrats would have to have 60 votes in the Senate and all of them would have to be as far left as she is,’ he said.
Fox News’ Bill Hemmer didn’t directly ask McConnell about the death dig, but instead asked him if he believed the filibuster was secure.
‘Well, I think a significant number of Democrats have indicated we’re not going to change the rules of the Senate in order to advance a radical left-wing agenda that the American people didn’t vote for,’ McConnell answered.
‘So when you have a 50/50 Senate, I think you need to look for things you can agree on,’ the Republican leader continued. ‘And as I indicated earlier, we had six major bills so far this year passed on a bipartisan basis where we worked together and we met in the middle.’
McConnell used the filibuster for the first time this Congress to ensure a bill that formed a 9/11 style commission on the January 6 Capitol attack didn’t pass.
Other House-passed legislation stuck in the Senate includes voting rights bills, the pro-LGBTQ ‘Equality Act’ bill, gun control legislation and the George Floyd police reform bill.
President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan – which hasn’t been taken up in the House – is also being held up by bipartisan negotiations.
Earlier Wednesday, AOC insisted Biden and the Senate Democrats would be ‘setting the planet on fire’ if they kept ‘playing patty-cake’ with the GOP by removing climate proposals from the $1 trillion infrastructure plan.
The New York Democrat shared a tweet from Sen. Martin Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat, that warned, ‘An infrastructure package that goes light on climate and clean energy should not count on every Democratic vote.’
‘Yep,’ AOC said, adding, ‘Mitch McConnell and the Koch brothers are not worth setting the planet on fire for.’
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dashed off two tweets agreeing with Sen. Martin Heinrich that an infrastructure package that ‘goes light on climate and green energy’ proposals may not attract every Democratic vote
AOC also tweeted Wednesday that President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats should assess whether it’s worth ‘playing patty-cake’ with GOP senators, as they’ve threatened to block voting rights legislation and want a narrower infrastructure bill
‘I know some Dems may disagree with me, but that’s my unpopular opinion of the day,’ Ocasio-Cortez continued.
She also blasted the Biden administration’s continued push for bipartisanship.
‘Pres. Biden & Senate Dems should take a step back and ask themselves if playing patty-cake w GOP Senators is really worth the dismantling of people’s voting rights, setting the planet on fire, allowing massive corporations and the wealthy to not pay their fair share of taxes, etc,’ Ocasio-Cortez wrote.
AOC was joining a chorus of progressives in Congress who were warning Biden that every Democratic vote may not be guaranteed.
Heinrich had linked to Politico’s interview with Biden’s National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy that was headlined, ‘Infrastructure plan could omit some climate proposals.’
AOC encouraged President Joe Biden to act unilaterally and cancel student loan debt for Americans
Sen. Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii, shared the same interview on Twitter.
‘Just a gentle, friendly reminder that the executive branch doesn’t write the bills,’ Schatz said.
The more moderate Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet also suggested he could hold out his vote if climate change proposals are omitted.
‘Colorado and New Mexico share a watershed. I agree wholeheartedly with my friend [Sen. Martin Heinrich],’ Bennet tweeted.
AOC has made climate change one of her key issues, rolling out a ‘Green New Deal’ proposal during her first weeks in office in 2019.
On Wednesday she also encouraged Biden to unilaterally act on canceling student loan debt.
‘Additionally, the Senate blockages make Biden’s unwillingness to act on student loan debt – something he can do *without* Congress but hasn’t yet – all the more glaring,’ AOC tweeted. ‘#CancelStudentDebt is 1 of the few, rare opportunities Biden has to go big w/o the Senate. He needs to take it.’
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