Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, responding to a question about Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s op-ed in the Washington Post that warned getting rid of the filibuster would let the party in majority cancel out all legislation supported by the opposition, argued Sunday that legislatures around the world pass bills with a majority all the time and they are “fine.”
“Political systems all across the country, I mean all across the world, pass legislation with majorities and they’re fine, and frankly, here’s the thing, is that Democratic legislation, once enacted, is popular,” the New York Democrat said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
She said Democratic legislation establishing Social Security and the Affordable Care Act have withstood efforts by Republicans to defeat them because they have the support of the American people.
“Our job is to legislate. Our job is to help people. Our job is to do as much as we can. And even if that’s the case wouldn’t it be better to get people health care and voting rights for three years instead of zero years,” she said.
Sinema wrote in her op-ed: “To those who want to eliminate the legislative filibuster to expand health-care access or retirement benefits: Would it be good for our country if we did, only to later see that legislation replaced by legislation dividing Medicaid into block grants, slashing earned Social Security and Medicare benefits, or defunding women’s reproductive health services?”
But Ocasio-Cortez, who’s far-left positions have increasingly swayed Democratic Party leadership recently, said that theory doesn’t hold water.
“I do not believe in the defeatism of saying, ‘We will lose in the future, and that will automatically mean that anything we do now is going to be reversed, so we might as well not do anything now,’” she said.
Progressive Democrats like Ocasio-Cortez are pressuring Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and President Biden to shelve the filibuster to clear the way for Democrats to pass election legislation and to enact other parts of the administration’s agenda.
But some moderate Democrats — including Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin, of West Virginia — oppose the effort.
The filibuster requires 60 votes to pass most legislation, meaning the Democrats, which have narrow control of the 50-50 Senate, must get 10 Republicans to sign on to get anything passed.
By dropping it, Democrats would be able to approve legislation with a simple majority – Vice President Kamala Harris being the 51st vote.
Ocasio-Cortez questioned why the Senate should stick with the 60 vote threshold.
“And so, beyond that, then the argument is, Okay, why 60 votes? Why not stop at 70 votes? Why not need 80 votes to pass any legislation? Why defend a 60 vote filibuster, when the Senate already amplifies minority power, so that the 50 Democratic senators already represent millions and millions and millions more Americans than 50 Republican senators,” she said.
“And so I would argue that 50 Republican senators is already a built in, kind of filibuster-esque firewall,” she said.