New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized President Joe Biden’s reluctance to use executive power as his agenda stalls in the Senate.
Ocasio-Cortez told the New Yorker that Congress had deteriorated into a “shit show” and the Democrats’ only hope of preserving their majority is for Biden to use his unilateral power.
“There are some things that are outside of the President’s control, and there’s very little one can say about that, with Joe Manchin and [Kyrsten] Sinema. But I think there are some things within the President’s control, and his hesitancy around them has contributed to a situation that isn’t as optimal,” she said.
Ocasio-Cortez said Biden has a “reluctance” to use executive power and should use it to make good on his promise to cancel student debt.
“One of the single most impactful things President Biden can do is pursue student-loan cancellation. It’s entirely within his power. This really isn’t a conversation about providing relief to a small, niche group of people. It’s very much a keystone action politically,” she said. “And I can’t underscore how much the hesitancy of the Biden Administration to pursue student-loan cancellation has demoralized a very critical voting block that the President, the House, and the Senate need in order to have any chance at preserving any of our majority.”
AOC doubts Senate moves:
Ocasio-Cortez stressed that she doesn’t expect Manchin and Sinema to go along with legislation that will “significantly and materially improve the lives of working people.”
She also expressed frustration with Democratic leadership in Congress.
“Honestly, it is a shit show. It’s scandalizing, every single day. What is surprising to me is how it never stops being scandalizing. Some folks perhaps get used to it, or desensitized to the many different things that may be broken, but there is so much reliance on this idea that there are adults in the room, and, in some respect, there are,” she said. “But sometimes to be in a room with some of the most powerful people in the country and see the ways that they make decisions—sometimes they’re just susceptible to groupthink, susceptible to self-delusion.”
Concerns over state of democracy:
After Manchin and Sinema sunk the Democrats’ voting rights legislation, AOC told the New Yorker there is a “very real risk that we will not” have a democracy ten years from now.
AOC pointed to the slew of new voting laws passed by Republican-led legislatures.
“You have white-nationalist, reactionary politics starting to grow into a critical mass. What we have is the continued sophisticated takeover of our democratic systems in order to turn them into undemocratic systems, all in order to overturn results that a party in power may not like,” she said, adding that “I think we will return to Jim Crow. I think that’s what we risk.”