Rep. Tenney to Newsmax TV: AOC, Durbin Calling Shots Behind Scenes

Rep. Tenney to Newsmax TV: AOC, Durbin Calling Shots Behind Scenes Rep. Tenney to Newsmax TV: AOC, Durbin Calling Shots Behind Scenes Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., speaks during a news conference with other House Republican members on immigration in Washington on Wednesday, March 17, 2021. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

By Solange Reyner | Monday, 19 April 2021 01:57 PM

Progressives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., are calling all the shots for the Biden administration from behind the scenes, Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., said on Newsmax TV.

Citing President Joe Biden's swift reversal on raising the nation's refugee cap after blowback from Ocasio-Cortez and humanitarian groups, Tenney during an appearance on "John Bachman Now" said AOC "calls the shots, Dick Durbin follows AOC, they go back to Joe Biden and say 'scratch that, let's get back to what the progressives want us to do' instead of the instincts and doing his own fact-finding.

"Ideally, the president should go to the border, he should bring Kamala Harris, our vice president, with him, they should talk to our border agents … and have them tell them what they need to keep our borders safe and secure, which is priority number one, and also to make sure the humanity of what is happening down there, and the inhumane conditions that are being created because of their policies. Everything is a knee-jerk reaction to anything Trump did, whether it was good or bad. It's a disaster."

Biden on Saturday said his administration would increase the refugee cap after the White House faced immediate blowback from refugee groups, and Democrat and progressive lawmakers for initially saying Friday the U.S. would keep the fiscal year's refugee cap of 15,000 and not raise it as Biden had promised to do.

"These refugees can wait years for their chance and go through extensive vetting," Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, said in a statement. "Thirty-five thousand are ready. Facing the greatest refugee crisis in our time there is no reason to limit the number to 15,000. Say it ain't so, President Joe."

"Biden promised to welcome immigrants, and people voted for him based on that promise," Ocasio-Cortez said. "Upholding the xenophobic and racist policies of the Trump admin, incl the historically low + plummeted refugee cap, is flat out wrong. Keep your promise."

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., a member of the progressive "Squad" along with Ocasio-Cortez, tweeted Friday of the initial decision, "There are simply no excuses for today's disgraceful decision. It goes directly against our values and risks the lives of little boys and girls huddled in refugee camps around the world. I know, because I was one."

The Biden administration in February proposed to lift the cap to 62,500.

"We're gonna increase the numbers," Biden told reporters at the Wilmington Country Club after a round of golf Saturday, noting that the situation on the U.S.-Mexico border had complicated things. "We couldn't do two things at once. And now we're going to increase the numbers."

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