Massachusetts, represents Congress at its best, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., is today’s poster child for Congress at its worst and its most dysfunctional.
Up until this week Ocasio-Cortez was a bright-eyed young congresswoman bursting with wacky ideas along the lines of her frequent companion, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who identifies as an independent democratic socialist.
But she took an ugly turn Thursday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced that the House would take up a $4.6 billion Senate bill designed to ease the escalating crisis at the U.S.-Mexican border.
It’s far from comprehensive and hardly ideal — more along the lines of a band-aid covering a gaping wound — but it will offer some relief.
The New York Times' Julie Davis reported, "'In order to get resources to the children fastest, we will reluctantly pass the Senate bill,' Pelosi tells House Democrats in 'dear colleague' letter. And with that, she caves and $4.6B in humanitarian aid will clear Congress today."
Within 10 minutes, the freshman congresswoman exploded.
"Under no circumstances should the House vote for a McConnell-only bill w/ no negotiation with Democrats. Hell no," Ocasio-Cortez said. "That’s an abdication of power we should refuse to accept. They will keep hurting kids if we do."
To be clear, it wasn’t a "McConnell-only bill."
It was one of the most bipartisan measures to come out of the Senate in recent years.
The bill was co-written by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and Co-Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. It was sent out of the Appropriations Committee on a 30-1 vote, and approved Wednesday on the Senate floor 84-8.
But to Ocasio-Cortez it was a "McConnell-only bill."
Earlier Thursday she told a reporter for The Intercept that “I want to see a clean humanitarian bill.” Her main concern was that the bill not include funding for a border wall or fencing. She said, "They should not be using a humanitarian crisis as a bargaining chip."
The measure that the Senate sent to the House included no funding for a barrier, yet she still whined about the "McConnell-only bill."
Ocasio-Cortez also objected to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) housing unaccompanied alien children (UAC) in private facilities until more suitable arrangements could be found.
They have to be housed somewhere, obviously. HHS reported that "the overwhelming majority of UAC are released to suitable sponsors who are family members within the United States (U.S.) to await immigration hearings."
Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, a former U.S. Navy SEAL who lost his right eye in combat, was flummoxed at how much border politics had changed in five short years.
"2014: President advocates for enforcing our sovereignty and curbing illegal immigration. 2019: President advocates for enforcing our sovereignty and curbing illegal immigration, but faces endless criticism for it," he observed. "Securing our border used to be bipartisan. What’s changed?"
He continued, "Our good intentions have led to flawed immigration policies that encourage migrants to take a dangerous journey, and allow human trafficking to thrive. Conditions at the border are unacceptable. People are dying," Crenshaw concluded, "We have to change this. Our system is bad for everyone involved."
Former President Ronald Reagan and Rep. "Tip" O’Neill were about as politically opposite as possible during the 1980s. But they had one thing in common — they were both members of "The Greatest Generation," and as such, knew how to get things done.
Although having little in common, they could still find common ground.
Reagan stated his negotiating philosophy as, "The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally, not a 20 percent traitor."
With that statement in mind, one can easily imaging Reagan and O’Neill sitting in the Oval Office with a tumbler of scotch (neat) in one hand, and possibly a cigar in the other, as they hammer out a piece of future legislation.
But with Ocasio-Cortez it’s either all or nothing — her way or the highway. There’s no negotiating, no middle ground. She could learn a lot from Reagan and O’Neill’s skills —and by following Reagan’s advice she could mature as a person and especially as a lawmaker in the process.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He’s also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports - Click Here.
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