AP NEWS

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez threatens primary challenges to Dems who vote with GOP

March 1, 2019

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said moderate Democrats who vote with Republicans are “putting themselves on a list” to be targeted in their re-election bids.

The freshman Democrat from New York made the threat after a House vote on a bill Wednesday that would expand background checks for gun purchases.

However, 26 moderate Democrats voted for a last-minute provision from Republicans that would require U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be notified should an illegal immigrant attempt to buy a weapon. The provision passed, although Democratic leaders opposed the amendment.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s spokesman, Corbin Trent, said she made the comment because the legislation supports ICE, which the congresswoman has been a huge opponent of.

“She said that when activists ask her why she had to vote for a gun safety bill that also further empowers an agency that forcibly injects kids with psychotropic drugs, they’re going to want a list of names and she’s going to give it to them,” Mr. Trent said, referring to ICE.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s message was more of party unification, saying, “We are either a team or we’re not, and we have to make that decision.”

Many lawmakers disagreed with Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s position, saying they serve people, not a party.

“I always feel responsible for what I vote for,” Democratic Rep. Jefferson Van Drew, who defected on the vote, told The Hill. “And if I believe something makes sense, I’ll vote for it. if I think it doesn’t make sense, I won’t vote for it if it’s [a Motion to Recommit] or anything else.”

“We certainly understand the situation that the new members feel, and we’re just trying to remind them this is a procedural tool of the minority,” said Rep. Katherine Clark, vice chairwoman of the House Democratic Caucus. “They have to remember that ... the very essence of it is to put them in awkward positions.”