AOC Only Democrat To Vote Against Spending Bill. The Reason: Immigration – Progressive New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC, was the only Democrat to vote against the $1.7 trillion government spending bill that was passed on Friday. It comes following intense debate about the merits of the bill, with the Republican Party split on the decision.
What Is the Spending Bill?
The spending bill passed this week provided funding for essential government operations and also provides further assistance for Ukraine.
Known as the “Omnibus,” the spending bill is designed to see the government through the fiscal year 2023.
Specifically, the bill provides funding for non-defense and domestic programs to the tune of $772.5 billion.
It also sets aside $858 billion for defense funding, as well as $45 billion in aid to Ukraine and NATO allies.
An additional $40 billion is also allocated for natural disaster relief.
Why It’s Contentious
Republicans didn’t want to pass the bill, and instead wanted a short-term funding bill that would keep the government open until mid-January.
House Democratic leadership opposed the idea, given the Democrats still have an advantage in the House ahead of the next Congress.
In January, Republicans will take control of the House and would theoretically be able to draw up a new funding bill that favors their own legislative agenda.
During an appearance on Fox News this week, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy explicitly stated that Republicans wanted the short-term spending bill because we are just “14 days away from having a stronger hand in negotiations.”
On Wednesday, Republicans attempted to disrupt the passing of the legislation by attempting to add new provisions for immigration policy. Republican Senator for Utah Mike Lee attempted to protect the Trump-era Title 42 policy, which allows immigration to be scaled back on public health grounds. The policy was introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic and gave more power to authorities on the southern border to turn away illegal migrants crossing the border.
Despite Republican objections, however, 18 GOP senators passed the bill in the Senate on Thursday and it was promptly passed in the House on Friday.
Why AOC Voted No: Immigration
AOC’s objections are very different from the concerns raised by Republicans, and in some respects, the total opposite.
In a statement, Ocasio-Cortez said that she didn’t support the bill because it was too strongly in favor of immigration enforcement.
Specifically, Ocasio-Cortez claimed that it contained provisions for “dramatic increases in surveillance, border patrol forces, and militarized spending after years of deeply disturbing conduct.”
While Ocasio-Cortez provided no evidence of wrongdoing by border agents, many of whom say that the Biden administration has prevented them from doing their jobs, she did make clear her commitment to defunding ICE.
“I campaigned on a promise to my constituents: to oppose additional expansion and funding for ICE and DHS — particularly in the absence of long-overdue immigration reform,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor.