'I will swallow all of my distaste': Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez embraces partnership with Ted Cruz after discovering shared anti-lobbying views on Twitter

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ted Cruz have formed an unlikely alliance to try to bar former members of congress from working as lobbyists.
  • “It’s super bizarre, really weird, never thought in my life that one of my first pushes would be alongside Ted Cruz,” she said in an interview with the Young Turks Rebel HQ, posted Thursday.
  • The two formed the alliance after discovering in a Twitter exchange they shared similar views on former lawmakers working for lobbying firms after they leave office.
  • “Bipartisanship means, OK, I will swallow all of my distaste in this situation because we have found a common interest,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, has discussed the unlikely legislative alliance she’s formed with Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, in their push for changes to congressional lobbying.

The lawmakers on Tuesday announced that their legislative teams were meeting to discuss a measure that would see members of Congress barred from taking part in lobbying work after leaving office.

“It’s super bizarre, really weird,” she said in an interview with the Young Turks Rebel HQ, published Thursday. “Never thought in my life that one of my first pushes would be alongside Ted Cruz.”

“I think it really shows what the true spirit of not being partisan is,” she added. “Bipartisanship doesn’t mean let’s come together to go to war and lower taxes on the rich, but bipartisanship means, OK, I will swallow all of my distaste in this situation because we have found a common interest.”

It was during an exchange on Twitter that Ocasio-Cortez and Cruz – who have been poles apart on most political issues – discovered they shared common ground in their views on the Washington lobbying industry.

“If you are a member of Congress + leave, you shouldn’t be allowed to turn right around&leverage your service for a lobbyist check,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted on May 30.

“I don’t think it should be legal at ALL to become a corporate lobbyist if you’ve served in Congress,” she added. “At minimum there should be a long wait period.”

Cruz tweeted hours later: “Here’s something I don’t say often: on this point, I AGREE with @AOC.”

He continued: “Indeed, I have long called for a LIFETIME BAN on former Members of Congress becoming lobbyists. The Swamp would hate it, but perhaps a chance for some bipartisan cooperation?”

“If you’re serious about a clean bill, then I’m down. Let’s make a deal,” replied Ocasio-Cortez, who has committed to fighting the influence of dark money in US politics since her election in November.

There are already multiple bills seeking to prevent members of Congress from becoming lobbyists after they leave office,Vox reported, but critics have identified loopholes that might allow former lawmakers to work for lobbying firms in an advisory capacity – meaning they aren’t directly registered as lobbyists.

“The real question here that we’re trying to figure out in this collaboration is how far he’s willing to go,” Ocasio-Cortez said of Cruz. “Is this just about the letter of the law, or is he serious about really banning lobbying in spirit?”

“I’m really looking forward to seeing where and how far they’d be willing to move on that, but I’m encouraged,” she said.

Some congressional experts have warned that crafting a bill broad enough to combat the issue may be virtually impossible, and would most likely face legal hurdles, Vox and The Hill reported.

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