AOC: Democrat Leaders, Not Only Manchin, to Blame on Build Back Better (MSNBC/"Morning Joe")
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Monday, 20 December 2021 09:30 AM
Sen. Joe Manchin's announcement that he won't be voting for the Build Back Better Act, after months of negotiations, was an "egregious breach of the trust of the president" and is the outcome House progressives were warning about when they demanded that the spending bill be passed at the same time as the bipartisan infrastructure plan, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Monday.
But the bill's likely crash is not only the fault of Manchin, D-W.Va., the New York Democrat told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
"We have every right to be furious with Joe Manchin, but it's really up to leadership in the Democratic Party who made the decision to get us to this juncture and how we're going to move forward," Ocasio-Cortez said. "I think right now that Democratic leadership has a very large number of tools at their disposal, the president particularly. It's really about time that we take the kid gloves off."
Ocasio-Cortez pointed out that the infrastructure plan passed with all Democrats voting for it, but also that the plan had several fossil fuel subsidy giveaways, and that "Manchin is a known ally of the fossil fuel industry."
Further, child tax credits and climate change legislation were separated into the Build Back Better Act, as were the "real actions that are going to protect us from climate change," said the congresswoman.
With the bill likely not coming up for a vote in the Senate until next year, and not passing unless Manchin changes his stance, the child tax credit will expire at midnight on New Year's Day, said Ocasio-Cortez. When combining that with Biden's announcement about not extending the deadline on student loan payments and the "untenable situation of voting rights," all of that is "completely unacceptable, she added.
"Our leadership needs to step up," she said. "I do not believe that the situation is beyond repair, but it's going to take a different kind of thinking."
Ocasio-Cortez also called on the Senate to vote on the Build Back Better Act, despite Manchin's comments and said that it is beyond time for a vote to be taken on voting rights legislation. However, for that to happen will take institutional change in the Senate, including on the filibuster, she added.
"Just the fact that you can go on Fox News and say I don't feel like voting for this, and having that and not schedule a vote, the idea that would happen in the House of Representatives is unheard of," she said. "We need to create a governing environment in the United States Senate, make it tough, don't go on vacation. Come back. Call the vote. Stand in front of your constituents and say no, I'm going to take dollars. I'm going to take the food out of your kids' mouths. Make them take that vote."
It is a "farce" for Manchin to say he can't explain the bill to his constituents in West Virginia when the measure has already been written to his liking, Ocasio-Cortez added.
"This idea that we're going to go back to the table and give him the pen again for a bill that has his ink all over makes very little sense," she 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."