AOC won’t say she’ll negotiate with Republicans after Biden calls for compromise

AOC could be on collision course with deal-seeking president-elect

John T. Bennett
Washington Bureau Chief
Sunday 08 November 2020 19:11
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Progressive Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would not say she is ready to negotiate with moderate Republicans even after president-elect Joe Biden used his victory speech to urge the parties to seek compromise.

Asked if she would seek common ground on legislation with “moderate” Republicans, the soon-to-be sophomore member did not say yes. Instead, she said she plans to try helping Democratic Senate candidates in races that have not yet been called  “so we don’t have to negotiate in that manner".

Her resistance to even consider seeking legislation that also could pass a GOP-controlled Senate is in stark contrast to her party’s now-leader, Mr Biden.

“Folks, I’m a proud Democrat, but I will govern as an American president. I’ll work as hard for those who didn’t vote for me as those who did. Let this grim era of demonisation in America begin to end here and now,” he said on Saturday night during his acceptance speech.

“Refusal of Democrats and Republicans to cooperate with one another. It’s not some mysterious force beyond our control. It’s a decision, a choice we make. And if we can decide not to cooperate, then we can decide to cooperate,” he added.

But compromise has not been on the menu in Washington for quite some time.

The administration Mr Biden was a part of, led by then-President Barack Obama, failed to pass much compromise legislation at all.

That was largely due to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who remains that caucus’s boss. He could still be majority leader come January, when a new Senate will be seated. 

Though he and then-vice president Biden were frequently called upon to negotiate must-pass spending bills during the Obama era, the state of their relationship is murky. The Senate GOP leader has yet to congratulate Mr Biden on his apparent victory as Donald Trump is planning a number of legal challenges in swing states with razor-thin vote margins.

Meantime, in a preview of what is likely to be two contentious years on Capitol Hill as Democrats wrestle with controlling the White House and House — and possibly the Senate — Ms Ocasio-Cortez had a rebuke for a moderate House member who warned the party will lose future elections if it moves too far left.

"It's irresponsible to pour gasoline on these already very delicate tensions in the party," she said on CNN. “The conversation is a little deeper than that … everyone who voted for Medicare for all was re-elected. So the conversation is a little deeper than that.”

She was responding to a question about comments made by Virginia Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger on a recording obtained by media outlets. 

“We need to not ever use the word ‘socialist’ or ‘socialism’ ever again … We lost good members because of that,” Ms Spanberger. “If we are classifying Tuesday as a success . . . we will get f***ing torn apart in 2022.”

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