AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spent Monday and Tuesday jabbing at each other over the lack of a national COVID-19 relief bill.
The tiff began after Ocasio-Cortez, a vocal Democratic member of “The Squad,” tweeted: “People across the country are going hungry, COVID is set to explode, and Mitch McConnell dismissed the Senate last week. I don’t know how these people can sleep at night. I really don’t.”
This drew the ire of Cruz, who responded: “Why is your party filibustering $500 billion in COVID relief? And Joe Biden is cheering them on. Thinking that blocking relief somehow helps Dems win Georgia.”
Ocasio-Cortez then explained: “The House doesn’t have filibusters, @tedcruz. We also passed several COVID relief packages to the Senate that not only include >$500 billion, but also prioritize helping real people as opposed to Wall St bailouts the GOP tries to pass off as “relief.” Nice try though.”
Cruz then accused Ocasio-Cortez of ignoring the fact that Democrats are in the Senate, too.
AOC then said, “You know in the House, when we don’t have the votes to pass something, we work on the bill until we pick up the votes to pass it. That includes GOP votes – & yes, GOP have voted for my leg too. The Senate should try it sometime! People are going hungry as you tweet from vacay.”
Ocasio-Cortez continued tweeting on the subject, saying: “If you want to know why COVID relief is tied up in Congress, one key reason is that Republicans are demanding legal immunity for corporations so they can expose their workers to COVID without repercussions. Dems don’t want you to die for a check. That’s what we’re fighting over.”
The sparring session comes after months of zero movement on COVID-19 relief for the country. When Congress returns next week, there will be just 10 working days to discuss and pass any possible bills before the new Congress is sworn in.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lays the blame at the feet of Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“Over six months ago when we passed the Heroes Act, Leader McConnell said we need a pause. We need a pause. Well, I would hope that for him, the pause can come to an end. Nearly 200,000 people have died during that pause, so we’re asking him to come back to the table,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi hopes to pass a $2 trillion package, while McConnell’s package is much smaller, at around $500 billion.
Should the Democrats and Republicans fail to meet an agreement, the responsibility will be passed on to the Biden Administration once president-elect Joe Biden is official sworn in on Jan. 20.