New Yorkers reacted with anger Saturday after Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman voted against a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.
The legislation, which garnered bipartisan support in the House and Senate, will bring more than $100 billion to New York to fix the city and state’s crumbling infrastructure.
“New York needs this money,” said Sidibe Ibrahima, a business owner and Democrat from Harlem. “The fact that [AOC] had her own community impacted by the floods, how are you going to go against an infrastructure bill? She should think about the people who voted for her.”
Much of New York City — including AOC’s Queesn/Bronx district — found itself underwater during severe weather events this year. At least 18 New Yorkers died in September as a result of flash floods caused by Hurricane Ida.
Cash to upgrade the city’s sewers and drainage systems to prevent similar catastrophes is included in the infrastructure bill.
Michael Goodman, a retired college professor living in Midtown groused, “I don’t know why she voted against it. For decades New York has given more money than they’ve gotten back. Politics is the art of compromise. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”
Bowman and Ocasio-Cortez were among six Democrats who said no to the bill. The others were fellow “Squad” members Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Cori Bush (D-Mo.)
The progressive duo also took heat from New Yorkers on social media for the vote. “Either they’re chaos agents and seriously politically inept. I don’t see any other alternatives,” said one Twitter user to Rep. Bowman. “Disappointed in my Congressman, whose track record to date I’ve been very proud of. America needed this bill. To vote no is to play more political football with the lives of the American people at large,” said another.
“I think she did her district a disservice,” Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) told The Post. “New York City benefits more than any other part of the country. It’s all hard infrastructure and all things that we desperately need.”
Malliotakis bucked her own party to vote in favor of the bill, joining other statewide Republicans including Reps. John Katko (R-Syracuse), Tom Reed (R-Corning), and Andrew Garbarino (R-Sayville). She added that she has been disappointed with many of her GOP colleagues spreading “misinformation” about the bill and for voting no to simply deny President Biden a win.
Progressives had originally hoped to tie the infrastructure legislation to the more expansive social-spending Build Back Better bill. Price-conscious Democratic centrists refused to consider the latter bill until it got a green light from the Congressional Budget Office, earning the ire of lefty hard-liners like Bowman.
“My conservative colleagues moved the goalpost,” Bowman said Saturday, explaining his no vote. “We were asked to vote only on physical infrastructure at the last hour and to delay the needs and ignore the suffering of our constituents with the weakest assurance that the original agreement would be kept.”
In an Instagram Live video to her followers, AOC explained her vote, saying she was concerned that the infrastructure bill alone put Build Back Better in jeopardy and would increase US greenhouse gas emissions.
“My main concern is … we just locked in the United States to increase its climate emissions,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I did not feel that I had the assurances in that moment to vote to increase US climate emissions for an IOU”
President Biden said he wanted the House to pass his Build Back Better act by mid-November. Malliotakis said she didn’t think so.
“I believe the Build Back Better act as it is is dead,” she said, saying the legislation would sink like a stone now that it’s been decoupled from infrastructure. “[BBB] started at $3.5 trillion, now It’s $1.7 trillion and now they have lost their leverage so it will be knocked down further.”
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