New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said there is “urgency” to try to get as much included in coronavirus stimulus talks because it could be the last chance for a meaningful relief bill if Democrats do not control the Senate once President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
The Democrat told CNN’s David Axelrod on an episode of “The Axe Files” that was released Thursday that if a package is passed with limited assistance, and Democrats don’t win the Senate runoff elections in January, she has “very real doubts about any willingness or appetite that he would have to work with a Biden administration to pass what would then be a third bill.”
“I believe that once the moment Biden gets inaugurated, I think we’ll start hearing from Republicans, ‘Oh, this is all in the past. People are reopening their businesses.’ I mean, they were denying how bad it was when we were in the full swing of it and are in the full swing of it,” she said. “And so that is also, I think, adds the urgency of trying to get as much as we can right now, because unless we win in Georgia, a third bill is not promised, and even if we’re able to accomplish one, we don’t know how generous it will be.”
Congressional leaders have signaled they’re getting closer on an agreement and although details are being ironed out, it is expected to include a new round of stimulus checks, small business loans and money for vaccine distribution. Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus have pushed leadership to include stimulus checks and unemployment resistance in the coronavirus relief measure, and Ocasio-Cortez has said that she would not vote for a bill that does not include it.
Ocasio-Cortez, who previously said she believes there should be “new leadership” within the Democratic party, also told Axelrod she is open to voting for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for another term in the role.
“I am prepared to vote for her as an option. And I think what’s important, though, is that we don’t just give our votes away,” she said. “I think when people talk about the politics of the House — and I’m sure you’re well, well aware — and this isn’t just a personality contest, right? This is an extremely, extremely difficult job. And that requires wrangling an entire caucus, some of which have members who, you know, are very conservative.”