Here’s Why AOC Voted “No” to the Spending Bill – When progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or AOC, chose to vote “no” on this week’s huge $1.7 trillion spending bill, she caused a stir by being the only Democrat to oppose the measure.
The fact that Democrats are just weeks away from losing control of the House meant the spending package was particularly important for the White House.
Still, AOC’s opposition was out of line with arguments put forward by Republicans.
While AOC was clear that her opposition to the spending package was driven by what she saw as a strengthening of America’s border security, a statement published by the New York Democrat reveals that she opposed the legislation because it did not include last-minute immigration measures that her fellow Democrats didn’t support this time.
“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 about the 4,000-page bill on Friday.
She added that, for this reason, along with the “dramatic increase in defense spending” which goes beyond what the president asked for, she couldn’t back the bill.
Ocasio-Cortez also claimed that her constituents in the Bronx and Queens continue to “bear the brunt” of the current immigration system – not the influx of illegal aliens, but a system that she says “criminalizes, detains, separates and traumatizes families.”
What Did AOC Propose?
The New York representative then listed off a series of provisions she had attempted to insert into the bill last minute – a move that House Democratic leadership likely knew would lose some essential votes in the House.
Specifically, Ocasio-Cortez said that she had requested $500,000 for “new immigrant community empowerment” in Jackson Heights, New York.
An additional $3 million was also requested for “clean energy workforce development and supportive services,” as well as $400,000 for the “Make the Road New York,” a left-wing immigration nonprofit.
Ocasio-Cortez also backed massive new investments in infrastructure in New York, including $1 million set aside for Westchester Square Plaza’s highway infrastructure, $1 million for a new “worker’s operation center” at the New York Botanical Garden, and $1 million for New York City’s Department of Transportation to improve Astoria Boulevard.
An additional $2.4 million was also requested for the Neighborhood Housing Services of Queens nonprofit.
The House passed the $1.7 trillion spending bill on Friday, rejecting House Republicans’ proposals for a short-term funding bill to see the government over until mid-January.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.