AOC threatens to vote down moderates’ bipartisan infrastructure deal unless she gets ‘new information’

AOC alexandria ocasio cortez
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told Politico she’s planning on voting against the bipartisan infrastructure deal.
  • Progressives have said for months the roads-and-bridges bill must be passed in conjunction with another social spending bill.
  • Now, the social spending reconciliation package seems imperiled or on hold as Democrats negotiate.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she’s planning to vote against the bipartisan infrastructure deal struck by moderate Democrats unless she gets “new information,” she told Politico on Tuesday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has lately prioritized passing the bipartisan deal ahead of the larger reconciliation package championed by progressives after signaling for months she would pass them jointly. That’s a change from June, when Pelosi told reporters, “there ain’t going to be an infrastructure bill unless we have the reconciliation bill passed by the United States Senate.”

Ocasio-Cortez said some of her colleagues aren’t happy with Pelosi’s recent turn, though she wasn’t sure how many would also vote down the bill, according to Politico reporter Heather Caygle.

Progressive lawmakers have threatened to refuse to support the $US1 ($AU1) trillion infrastructure deal unless the House takes up a $US3.5 ($AU5) trillion social spending package – which includes investments in several sectors, including healthcare, childcare, and climate change – at the same time, Insider previously reported.

Pelosi has said that the House will vote on the bipartisan measure this Thursday.

For months, Ocasio-Cortez has warned that progressives would not allow the bipartisan deal to go through without the reconciliation package. In July, she said at a town hall that House progressives were “standing up” and “will tank the bipartisan infrastructure bill unless we also pass the reconciliation bill.”

The $US1 ($AU1) trillion bipartisan package has already passed the Senate. Importantly, while it would infuse capital into roads, highway, bridges, and broadband, it doesn’t include the care-economy and “human infrastructure” measures that Democrats like Ocasio-Cortez have thrown their support behind.

Instead, measures like paid leave, affordable childcare, and universal pre-K will be tucked into the $US3.5 ($AU5) trillion reconciliation package. But that massive spending package has run into intra-party resistance. Sen. Joe Manchin, an influential Democratic moderate, has told Politico that there’s “no timeline” for that package, and that he’s “always said pause.”

According to Axios, the House Democratic caucus met on Monday to discuss the path forward, with several moderates reportedly calling on other members of the caucus “​​to accept the political reality of the Senate.” The meeting came after Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke with President Joe Biden, with Pelosi reportedly urging the caucus for unity.

Progressive Rep. Ilhan Omar told the New York Times that she would like for moderates “to make their demands clear” regarding the larger package before progressives threw their support behind the pared-down bipartisan package. Omar said that the bills are linked, telling the Times: “They have to be linked in order for anything to pass the House.”