Opinion| Self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was angry on Thursday after moderates sided with GOP Republicans on an ICE amendment to a gun bill, threatening to put them “on a list” to challenge in primaries.
An angry House Speaker Pelosi condemned around 2 dozen moderates, urging them to see her side. “We are either a team or we’re not, and we have to make that decision,” Pelosi stated, two sources who were present but were told not to publicly speak about the comments stated.
Ocasio-Cortez seemed to act in a more cut-throat manner.
Corbin Trent, a spokesman for the New York Democrat, stated that she told her colleagues that any Democrat who swayed toward the Republican agenda “are putting themselves on a list.”
“She said that when activists ask her why she had to vote for a gun safety bill that also further empowers an agency that forcibly injects kids with psychotropic drugs, they’re going to want a list of names and she’s going to give it to them,” Trent continued, speaking about the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
A bill meant to expand federal background checks for those purchasing guns caused the turmoil. Twenty-six moderate Democrats sided with GOP Republicans to amend the law, to add a provision that would require that ICE be told about any illegal immigrant looking to buy a firearm.
Leftists who have pushed for the abolition of ICE and for the department to stop conducting large deportation operations were unhappy.
The Washington Post reports:
The Democratic infighting reflects a fractured caucus and diverse freshman class, with dozens of moderates elected in districts that President Trump won in 2016 at odds with hard-charging liberals. The split has exposed divisions among Pelosi and her top lieutenants, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) and Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (S.C.), over the party strategy to keep its newfound majority.
Republicans have capitalized on the divide, using legislative tactics to split politically vulnerable moderates from the party leadership. In the coming months, votes on health care, the environment and spending bills could cause more extreme breaks in the Democratic ranks.
While the party’s left wing has gotten outsize attention for its aggressive moves to push Democrats in their direction, the splinter faction is made up of the party’s moderates — many of them freshmen taking their first congressional votes.
They insist they are not going to be dissuaded from voting with their districts, and many are warning that majority control is at stake.
“It’s this class of members that got elected that are the reason we have the majority. Many of them come from these [moderate] districts, and their promise to their constituents was that they were going to put people over politics,” co-chairman of the Blue Dog Coalition (a moderate group)/Democratic Florida Representative Stephanie Murphy stated.
Representative Xochitl Torres Small “reacted sharply to Ocasio-Cortez’s comments,” according to the Washington Post.
Republican leaders explained that there shouldn’t be any changes made to the procedure to recommit. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy spoke to the media on Thursday saying there “would be a nuclear option” and “would leave a stain on this majority just two months in.”
“Never once did we discuss, did we bring up the option or even entertain the idea,” he said regarding the GOP’s previous majority. “Less than 60 days into a majority, they want to silence a minority? That is wrong.”