Ocasio-Cortez Turns on Her Party After Rogue Dems Defy Pelosi on Gun Measure

The new face of the Democratic Party might be turning into a headache for some of her own allies.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Democrat who has vaulted into fame for her progressive politics, is making things uncomfortable for Democrats who split with the party line on a gun control measure in the House.

And she’s doing it very publicly.

In a Twitter post on Saturday, Ocasio-Cortez turned on members of her own party who voted with Republicans to add a provision for illegal aliens to a gun control bill mandating universal background checks on all firearms transfers.

Republicans introduced an amendment that would require that the bill include Immigration and Customs Enforcement being notified if an illegal alien attempted to buy a gun.

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had implored Democrats to vote against the amendment as part of a “blanket policy” to oppose Republican procedural motions, according to The Hill.

In a news conference on Thursday, Pelosi told reporters she wanted members of her conference to deny Republicans even a symbolic victory. The amendment eventually passed, according to The Daily Caller.

“Vote ‘no.’ Just vote ‘no,’ because the fact is a vote ‘yes’ is to give leverage to the other side, to surrender the leverage on the floor of the House,” Pelosi said after a closed-door meeting of House Democrats, according to The Hill.

But 26 Democrats voted with the Republicans on the measure, likely fearful of having to explain in the next election why they were apparently protecting illegal aliens.

Do you think Democrats will start firing back at Ocasio-Cortez?

“I vote my district,” Rep. Conor Lamb told The Hill on Thursday.

The Pennsylvania Democrat represents a largely conservative area of western Pennsylvania, where gun rights are strong.

At that Democrats’ private meeting, Ocasio-Cortez told Democratic moderates they were putting themselves on a “list” to face primary challenges in 2020 from more progressive liberals, according to The Washington Post.

In a Twitter post on Saturday, Ocasio-Cortez continued her criticism.

“Mind, you, the same small splinter group of Dems that tried to deny Pelosi the speakership, fund the wall during the shutdown when the public didn’t want it, & are now voting in surprise ICE amendments to gun safety legislation are being called the ‘moderate wing’ of the party,” she wrote.

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“We can have ideological differences and that’s fine. But these tactics allow a small group to force the other 200+ members into actions that the majority disagree with. I don’t think that’s right, and said as much in a closed door meeting.”

However, Ocasio-Cortez denied she was planning to support primary challengers to Democratic incumbents in the next election cycle.

“If you’re mad that I think people SHOULD KNOW when Dems vote to expand ICE powers, then be mad. ICE is a dangerous agency with 0 accountability, widespread reporting of rape, abuse of power, + children dying in DHS custody,” she wrote. “Having a D next to your name doesn’t make that right.”

If that’s not a threat to a primary, it’s certainly not an endorsement.

Every Democrat in Congress knows the kind of national audience Ocasio-Cortez is commanding these days, and know how important she has become to the progressive wing of their party.

Even if Ocasio-Cortez isn’t threatening a primary battle, she could well be giving Democrats in swing districts a headache all the way into the 2020 election cycle.

UPDATE: On Friday, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez denied that she had intended to threaten House members with primary challenges, according to The Washington Examiner. However, The Examiner also reported that ‘Ocasio-Cortez’ own spokesman said she warned she and other Democrats would try to primary any party members who vote this way.’

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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.
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