"I Make Decisions I Know Will Cause Me to Lose Support" AOC Spills All on Build Back Better
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke candidly on an Instagram live about the Bipartisan Infrastructure plan (which she voted ‘no’ on) and her hopes for the Build Back Better act (BBB).
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke candidly on an Instagram live on her personal IG about the Bipartisan Infrastructure plan (which she voted ‘no’ on) and her hopes for the Build Back Better act (BBB), which was supposed to be tied in to BIF. The behind-the-scenes is quite revealing…here’s the transcript.
What it do? Hey, everyone.
So, we had this absolutely wild infrastructure vote last night, and if you're watching TV or seeing stuff, punditry...People might be like, oh, my God. Like all this drama. What I try to do as much as I can with you all is that regardless of whether you agree with me or regardless of whether you disagree with a decision or things like that, my goal is always to give you all maximum transparency and let you see what was going on in terms of the chess pieces on the board and what was actually happening behind the scenes so that you can actually think about what you would do if you were put into a similar position, because a lot of times there are votes that happen on the floor and you'll read in–or you'll see...You watch TV or you see media...
And the only thing that gets covered is that a vote happened and who voted for it and who voted against it. And so, for example, there was an infrastructure vote last night, and you will see a lot of people in mainstream media or punditry, et cetera, and framing this essentially as, "if you vote for it, you are mature and smart, magnanimous and good."
And if you voted against it, "you are petulant, dumb, selfish or bad."
It's not to say that it's the opposite. It's not to say that...But it's to say that what happens when in the process of legislating is legislating is always more complex than that. So, let's talk about what happened. Let's start with...And like, I've been thinking about what I was going to talk to you guys about on this. And there's so much throughout the process, and it'll probably be a little Ping pongy, so bear with me...
But, I want to talk to you about what went into it, what went into that and what was happening in the process. So, let's start with the beginning. In the beginning, we elected Joe Biden on an unprecedented platform, and it was unprecedented in a lot of ways. As folks know, he was not my first choice in the primaries. He probably wasn't a lot of your all's first choice in the primaries.
But, we all knew the fascist threat that is in front of this country–that was in front of this country and continues to be in front of this country. And what we could do is our best in that situation.
I believe that the President understood–now President, but then-candidate–understood that in order for us to defeat what was happening, this precipice of fascism, we needed everybody. We needed everybody. We needed affluent white suburban folks to vote. We needed poor people to vote.
We needed young people. We needed communities of color. We needed cities. We needed suburbs. We needed rural areas.
We need everybody, right? And in order to do that, I would say that his kind of natural base was already suited towards more moderate, more privileged, et cetera. He had that. He needed...
And also, it wasn't just...I don't like dividing people up into, like, progressive and moderate and this and that because the reality is that people are really complex and we're individuals and some people may have more moderate views in some ways and have really radical views in other areas.
But listen, we start off and we start off this infrastructure vote. Rather, we elect a President on an unprecedented infrastructure platform.
Now, earlier this year, it was really important to all of us that this infrastructure plan passes through. And there was an effort during the summer by Republicans and Joe Manchin, Senator Sinema, et cetera, to pull out into a separate piece of legislation, the pieces of the infrastructure plan that were, quote, unquote physical infrastructure, bridges, roads, things like that. And they say, okay, this is something we can get Republicans and Democrats on, like, okay, cool. Go for it. To us, we were like, okay, if we want to separate these, like, in concept, if you want to separate them in order to get Republicans on board in concept, like, sure.
But what we're really concerned about is that we are having a class crisis in this country. We have a crisis of wages, we have a crisis of lack of health care, of lack of child care, of Social Security, Medicare, like all of these things. This is also infrastructure, too. And that's not like a joke. It's not a rhetoric.
It's not any of that, right? But Moreover, when it comes to infrastructure, we need to address the climate crisis. And there are folks in politics that want a win and wins are really important. And I will tell you this entire time, I was willing to vote for this bill if it was paired with Build Back Better, because with this infrastructure bill, there are unprecedented climate investments, which I support EVs, public transit, et cetera.
There are also a lot of giveaways to the oil and gas industry. And there's a lot of folks that would say, "had to pass this, what we have to do," et cetera. And that's the thing we are and continue to be willing to pass this with the Build Back Better Act, because when we talk about the unprecedented climate investments in this infrastructure package, what people don't understand is that they have been linked...Like these policies, a lot of them are almost half policies where the other half is in Build Back better.
And so the drawdown provisions in this infrastructure plan do not get enabled or unlocked unless we pass Build Back Better.
My main concern is that we may have just voted...If passing BIF alone without Build Back Better. My main concern is that we just locked in the United States to increases climate emissions. And it's not a popular thing to say. It's something you'll get a ton of attacks on mass media and all of this. But, there is "are you willing to accept less than what you wanted," which frankly, we do all the time and these accusations about how we're petulant and always holding out and don't understand the big picture and all this other stuff...
I'm constantly taking votes where I accept less than what we wanted. It is a part of electoral politics. But what I've been very concerned about this entire time is are we going to lock in emissions increases? And there will be folks and there's going to be a lot of folks saying this doesn't do that. And there's a lot of funny math around emissions. People will just count, for example, CO2 emissions, and they don't count methane emissions and things like that.
And I have said this in closed doors. I have said this to our caucus. I have said this, expressed thi,s to our speaker. I have said this to everybody. This? I cannot vote to increase our emissions without a commitment to draw them down. And a lot of the people making these decisions aren't going to be here in 2050 and in 2060. We are.
And so we need a commitment to draw them down.
People want to say, like, a no is a protest and immature and all this other stuff. And I first want to say, first and foremost, I congratulate the President. What he is doing right now is extremely difficult because we want to enact bold policy that impacts the lives of every single person in this country. The position he is in is not easy because we want him...this whole country wants him to do that in a time when our political margins are more narrow than ever before.
We have one of the narrowest margins in the House in US history. We have a 50/50 Senate.
The position he is in is very, very difficult. And for him to pass such large legislation in such a difficult time, that is an accomplishment. And I am not here to say that the folks who supported this bill are bad. I do not speak poorly of anybody, any of that. I'm not here to trash that.
But this entire time, we said...And I made a promise to my community, to my community, the community that has elected me. And I'm aware that I represent a lot more people than just the folks that live in my pocket of Queens and the Bronx. But the fact of the matter is at the end of the day, every two years, I have to go back to New York's 14th Congressional District and ask them to trust me to represent them and their interests. And all of this week, if you live in our community in New York 14, you all have been calling me.
You all have been on Zooms with me. Literally, I'll go on Zoom with a group of five constituents that represent communities that we advocate in Jackson Heights and in Parkchester and all over the place.
And they'll say, Well, what do you think about that? What do you think about this? And I actively consult with my community all the time. Out there, everywhere, beyond my home, people may think or speculate about what motivates me or what my ambitions are and all this other stuff. And I think it's really hard to believe, but for some folks...And really hard to accept for some folks, because we have just been conditioned to believe that everyone who's elected is always just trying to scramble to be somewhere else or do something bigger.
I'm good. I've been elected as the youngest Congresswoman in American history. It took over 200 and something years for this country to elect a woman in her 20s to Congress. We done started it with men in their 20s, okay?
So like, three, four years ago, I was a waitress in a bar. I have already accomplished more than I had ever dreamed was even possible in my life. So this isn't about that. Okay?
You all said, do not allow a path to citizenship to die. Do not allow paid leave to die. Do not allow childcare to die. Do not allow precaid to die and do not lock in increased emissions.
Yesterday, the Progressive Caucus worked really hard, and I want to hand it to Primala Jayapal, because her leadership in this has been incredible.
There are Republican votes for this bill, and there were Republican votes for a reason...For a reason. And so it got to a point where we needed to make sure that we translated...If this was going to pass, we had to translate it into a commitment... Into a commitment...On doing things for working class people. And Primala Jayapal secured that commitment. She got a commitment from House moderates. Throughout this day and throughout this process, people say...I would argue that within our caucus, one of the issues that we have had is trust and trust is not built in the big moments.
Trust is built in the little moments. Trust is built in process. And I think one of the issues that we had yesterday, for example, is we had a commitment that we are going to vote on the rule to allow BBB to proceed first. That there was going to be a statement, because here's the issue. We were ready to vote on Build Back Better this week. We were ready to vote on both of them this week.
Like Monday and Tuesday, we were ready to vote on both of them and send them both out. And then at the very last minute, there was a group of six people saying, now, all of a sudden, we need a CBO score, a Congressional Budget Office score. The problem with that is that they're saying we need this for fiscal responsibility. This is for childcare, universal pre K, all of this other stuff. And so we want to wait on this.
We're ready to vote for both. [The “six”] “We want to wait on this. We want a CBO score on this. And while we wait for that, by the way, we want to vote on this bill right now that we know increases the deficit.” I want you all to know…