Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., on Thursday blamed Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., for Democrats’ failure to raise the debt limit last year before losing the House majority to the GOP.
Ocasio-Cortez said progressives “were very insistent about avoiding this situation by passing it last year” when asked by reporters if Democrats should have raised the federal government’s borrowing limit when they held majorities in both congressional chambers.
“There were conversations about how Senators Manchin and Sinema would not have been on board for that, and I believe that is why that did not happen,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “But there was absolutely a concerted effort, and I continue to believe it. That’s what should have happened.”
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Congress last raised the debt limit by $2.5 trillion in December 2021, under President Biden and with Democrats in charge of the House and Senate.
While normally requiring 60 votes in the Senate, a deal struck by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., led to it passing 50-49 along party lines.
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Now, the Treasury Department is warning that Republicans and Democrats must reach an agreement to do so again before the government is expected to run out of cash to pay its obligations in early June. But Republicans are calling for a host of concessions in return, including repealing key Biden administration policies, cutting discretionary spending by roughly $150 billion and tightening work requirements for some federal benefit recipients.
Speaking to reporters outside a closed-door caucus meeting on the debt limit, Ocasio-Cortez fell short of praising President Biden in his handling of negotiations with Republicans, though she was quick to lift up her colleagues in Congress.
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“I think, in terms of the House and the Senate, Democrats have been very strong,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “In terms of the White House, I think we could benefit from the president and from folks at the White House, you know, really helping and joining us in amplifying that message.”
“But, you know, right now, I do think that this is a team sport, and Democrats in Congress have been very, very aggressive about being out here and making our case,” she said.
Fox News Digital’s Tyler Olson contributed to this report.