- Progressives are continuing to push for a larger social spending infrastructure package.
- On Twitter, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said a $1 trillion package is likely not enough to be impactful.
- Intra-Democrat squabbles over the size and scope of an infrastructure package already torpedoed one vote.
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is once again making it clear that progressives want to go big with social infrastructure spending, even amidst pushback from the moderate wing of the party.
On Twitter, she wrote that a $1 trillion bill would come to just about $100 billion every year.
“That’s the annual budget for NYC alone, but spread thin for everyone in the US. Do you think that’s enough to be impactful? To be widely felt in people’s lives? It’s not. Sufficiency is the bare minimum,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote, implying that $1 trillion falls below her acceptable minimum.
Indeed, New York City’s most recent budget was just shy of $100 billion, according to The City.
Infrastructure talks are currently at an impasse as Democrats hash out how much they’re willing to spend on party-line social spending, in addition to the $1 trillion bipartisan package. That has already been passed by the Senate, meaning it just needs to pass the House. Facing unified Republican opposition to the other measure, Democrats are debating a party-line bill of $3.5 trillion, which may be cut two-thirds in size.
For months, progressives in the House, including Ocasio-Cortez, have stressed that they’ll only vote on a bipartisan infrastructure package if it moves in tandem with the larger social package, which contains major progressive priorities like affordable childcare, climate spending, and a Medicare expansion.
When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tried to bring forward an unlinked vote on the bipartisan package, progressives pushed back. Ocasio-Cortez said she wouldn’t vote for it unless she got “new information.” Sen. Bernie Sanders urged House progressives to vote it down “until Congress passes a strong reconciliation bill.”
Ultimately, the vote on the bipartisan package was delayed. President Joe Biden stepped in, endorsing progressives’ desire to move the two bills simultaneously – while also suggesting a smaller price tag of $2 trillion. On Monday, Biden took aim at key moderates Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who have both attracted ire for pushing back against the size of the party-line social spending package.
Manchin, for instance, said just months ago that he would be willing to spend up to $4 trillion on an infrastructure package. Now, his topline is $1.5 trillion.
Even $3.5 trillion is lower than some progressives Democrats wanted. Sanders drafted a $6 trillion proposal; Ocasio-Cortez has said she wants $10 trillion. Regardless, it seems that progressives will keep fighting for as much spending as they can.
“We’re taking on the entire ruling class of this country,” Sanders said on ABC’s This Week about the $3.5 trillion package. “Right now the drug companies … the health insurance companies, the fossil fuel industry are spending hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to prevent us from doing what the American people want. And this really is a test of whether or not American democracy can work.”