House Speaker Nancy Pelosi named far-left “Squad” members to a congressional committee that will give them the ability to influence Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s administration, leading some to believe that is why they supported the aged lawmaker’s reelection.
The California Democrat-appointed Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), and freshman Cori Bush (Mo.), a former St. Louis-area BLM protest organizer, who posed for a photo with the expanding “Squad” after being sworn in on Sunday.
Ocasio-Cortez, or “AOC” as she is also known, recently was denied a request for an appointment to the House Energy and Commerce committees, likely because of her authorship and backing of the Green New Deal, which some economists have estimated would cost tens of trillions to implement and decimate the U.S. energy industry.
Instead, Democrats voted 46-13 to appoint Rep. Kathleen Rice, also of New York, because she is considered more of a centrist on those issues, the New York Post reported.
Nevertheless, being on the House Oversight and Reform Committee will provide Ocasio-Cortez, 31, a self-described Democratic socialist, as well as her left-wing colleagues, a platform “to push Biden and his appointees on adoption or implementation of policies across the federal bureaucracy,” the Post reported.
Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, and fellow ‘Squad’ member Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) sat on the oversight committee for the past two years. But during that time, major actions taken by the House including President Donald Trump’s impeachment were handled by other committees — Judiciary and Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Before President Trump’s 2016 victory, the Oversight and Reform Committee was very active under GOP leadership, often conducting high-profile investigations into alleged illegal activities and corruption.
Under Democratic control following the 2018 midterm elections, the panel has conducted probes of Trump administration officials including Postmaster General Louis DeJoy last year regarding cost-saving reforms he implemented ahead of the 2020 election, as well as several hearings regarding the president’s immigration enforcement policies.
The oversight panel is dominated by big-state Democrats. Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York chairs the committee, and Rep. Katie Porter of California was reassigned to the panel by Pelosi “for her emotive interrogation of witnesses” last year, the Post reported.
Ocasio-Cortez has said she supports Biden but said on Sunday the Democratic Party’s extreme left will “have to push” his administration “hard.”
“This whole thing, ‘We can’t cancel student loan debt,’ is not gonna fly,” she said, according to the Post.
Her comments came in response to a statement from Biden, who told the Washington Post earlier, that he wasn’t certain a president had the authority to simply cancel what could be more than a trillion dollars owed to the federal government.
“It’s arguable that the president may have the executive power to forgive up to $50,000 in student debt,” he said. “Well, I think that’s pretty questionable. I’m unsure of that. I’d be unlikely to do that.”
Prior to Pelosi’s reelection as Speaker, Ocasio-Cortez warred with Pelosi and made it clear she actually favored new, younger, more left-wing leadership moving forward. As such, some see her appointment to a committee that can wield major influence within the administration as compensation from Pelosi for her support.
“Now we know why AOC voted for Pelosi for speaker,” one Twitter user observed in response to a post from NBC News’ White House correspondent Geoff Bennett announcing Pelosi’s new Oversight and Reform Committee appointments.
Now we know why AOC voted for Pelosi for speaker.
— Collin Parsons (@collinparsons22) January 6, 2021
Pelosi was re-elected to a fourth term as Speaker by the narrowest of margins — 216 votes to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) 209.
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