AOC says Democrats must take advantage of ‘razor-thin’ House margin after Ken Buck steps down

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told The Independent what she hopes the Democratic party will do as they inch closer to a House majority

Katie Hawkinson
Washington, DC
Wednesday 13 March 2024 19:15 GMT
Representative Ken Buck explains why he isn't running for re-election

The Republican House majority will become even thinner next week as Representative Ken Buck departs several months before his final term comes to an end.

In an unexpected Tuesday evening announcement, Mr Buck — a Republican from Colorado — said he would leave Congress next Friday, rather than retiring at the end of his term as originally planned. Afterwards, Republicans will hold just 218 seats out of 435 in the House, leaving Democrats one step closer to clinching the majority.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York and member of the progressive Squad, told The Independent her party must take advantage of Mr Buck’s early departure.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez said Democrats “have to make sure that that we see that do the best we can to navigate how razor-thin the situation is.”

“Continuing to push some of our priorities that we think can peel some folks off on the Republican side — I think that remains our thinking,” she told The Independent.

Republicans will now hold just a two-seat majority following resignations from three other GOP members in recent months — including former Speaker Kevin McCarthy. With 218 Republicans and 213 Democrats, the GOP can only afford to lose two votes in a party-line contest — that is, only if there are no absences, which is a rare occurrence for the House.

Mr Buck initially planned to leave at the end of his term when he announced his retirement last year. Since then, Mr Buck has blamed his departure on disagreements with the GOP. Earlier this month, he told NewsNation he wanted to step down because he’s not willing to lie on behalf of the party or Donald Trump.

“But really we’re at a time in American politics, that I am not going to lie on behalf of my presidential candidate on behalf of my party,” the Colorado representative said. “And I’m very sad that others in my party have taken the position that as long as we get the White House, it doesn’t really matter what we say.”

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