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House Dems Hoping to Stifle Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Are Only Hurting Themselves

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12.01.2019

The 116th Congress has only been in session for a week, but some senior Democrats are already dismayed by one new kid on the block. In a Politico report published Friday, several members criticized Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the record – an unusual choice, especially when the target is a freshman who’s had little chance to establish herself as a lawmaker. “I’m sure Ms. Cortez means well, but there’s almost an outstanding rule: Don’t attack your own people,” said Representative Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat from Maryland. “We just don’t need sniping in our Democratic Caucus.” Ocasio-Cortez has publicly criticized the party, often on Twitter, for what she sees as its entrenched centrism.

Politico went on to explain that senior Democrats are put off by more than Ocasio-Cortez’s Twitter account. Some Democratic representatives objected to a grassroots campaign to put the congresswoman on the powerful Ways and Means Committee, and were affronted by her opposition to new House rules that include pay-as-you-go or PAYGO restrictions. PAYGO requires the House to match any new spending with proportional cuts, and critics generally consider it an obstacle to the welfare expansions that left-wing Democrats like Ocasio-Cortez are likely to favor.

Some conflict between Ocasio-Cortez, a democratic socialist, and senior Democrats, who are generally to her right, was inevitable. But the criticisms included in the Politico piece were not framed in ideological terms. “She needs to decide: Does she want to be an effective legislator or just continue being a Twitter star?” said one........

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