Democratic House Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is quite easily one of the most prominently known congressional lawmakers, and yet it’s becoming more and more apparent that she is definitely not the most well-liked. Even those in her own party are now questioning just how good she is for Democrats and their caucuses.
And this hesitation by her own could not be expressed better than Illinois Representative Cheri Bustos’ repeated answer on the New York congresswoman being “good” for the Democratic caucus.
On Sunday, CNN news anchor Victor Blackwell asked Bustos the rather straightforward question, “Is she (AOC) good for the Democratic caucus in the House?”
However, Bustos was unable to give a definite answer to each of the four times the question was asked of here.
After the first time, Bustos said, “She has a lot of followers. I have respect for her.” And she added, “She brings a new voice to Congress.”
Note, this is neither a “yes” or a “no.” Instead, it is a blatant dodging of the question.
Now, it is crucial to understand that, currently, AOC is quarreling with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee or DCCC, of which Bustos is the chairwoman. The committee’s purpose is to help House Democrats in their campaigns and races for congressional seats across the nation. In exchange for this help, the committee charges fundraising fees to those it gives aid to.
Miss Ocasio-Cortez is one such representative. However, she is now refusing to pay those dues, which in her case, amount to $250,000.
This refusal comes after the DCCC’s new policy change that states it “will not conduct business with, nor recommend to any of its targeted campaigns, any consultant that works with an opponent of a sitting Member of the House Democratic Caucus.” Basically, it means the committee will blacklist any of their staff or vendors who help congressional newcomers run against sitting Democratic members.
AOC and others such as Arianna Presley, Pramila Jayapal, and Ro Khanna believe this a move that is “divisive” and “harmful to the party.” In addition to not paying her fees, the prominent New Yorker is calling for small donors to stop giving to the DCCC and the party and instead give directly to individual swing candidates.
So we can see why Bustos might have a slight problem with AOC at the moment, and why she and her progressive cohorts ideas are further splitting the party.
However, CNN host Blackwell was not satisfied with Bustos’s answer and so continued to press her, repeating the question. Bustos once again deflected, saying, “Look, we’ve got members from all different spectrums. I respect her and she brings a new voice, and I think that’s always welcome.”
Blackwell then said, “It’s interesting, I have the chairwoman of the DCC whose job it is to support incumbents, and Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez is one. I’m asking you just a straightforward question: Is she good for the Democratic caucus in the House?”
Bustos replied, “Look, she brings a voice. We have members from all different spectrums of the Democratic party.” And she added, “Look, I come from a district that (President) Donald Trump won. My politics are somewhat different than hers, but she brings a voice that’s welcome. And I have great appreciation for that.”
Blackwell then said, “She (AOC) raised more money in the third quarter of 2019 than any other Democrat in the House, including the speaker of the House. She has given, as she counts, $300,000 to other incumbents, including some in swing districts, and I’m asking the chairwoman to the DCCC if this member, who is right not in the top 10 of House members raising money, if she’s good for the caucus.”
He added, asking, “You can’t give me a straight ‘yes’ or ‘no’?”
“Look, I have respect for all 235 Democrats in our caucus. She is bringing a new voice. The fact that she has raised unbelievable amounts of money and the fact that she just announced that she’s willing to help our candidates who need – who could benefit from that financial help – that’s welcome. And, look, you’re asking a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question. I’m a former reporter, Victor, so I understand what you’re trying to get at,” Bustos said.
“Yes, I’m trying to get a simple answer,” said Blackwell.
Bustos then ended the interview with, “I have respect for her, I welcome her into our delegation, and I’m very happy that she’s willing to help our candidates.”