AOC privately demanded votes in her caucus be taken “on the floor or otherwise,” The Hill reported Wednesday.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and other progressives in the House want to vote on the Democratic leadership’s bipartisan $1.3 trillion infrastructure plan that is supported by about 95 Republicans, before the deal gets a “yes” or “no” vote on the Democratic-controlled House floor.
“We are only having the vote now because Leader Pelosi called members and invited them to meet, and she made that decision, like other things,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), the head of the Democratic caucus, told The Hill on Wednesday.
Ocasio-Cortez, the newly elected freshman member of Congress, leaked the letter from five House Democrats complaining about the current leadership’s tone and process, but the leadership contends that the letter was leaked out of the order that it was scheduled.
The letter called on Democrats to “vote on the floor or otherwise” and was signed by five moderate Democrats: Reps. Ed Perlmutter (Colo.), Gerry Connolly (Va.), Mike Doyle (Pa.), Stephanie Murphy (Fla.) and Kathleen Rice (N.Y.).
Democrats have slammed the letter and its timing, as none of the five co-signers voted for Pelosi when she ran for Speaker of the House and all six live in districts that President Trump won in 2016.
They criticized the letter’s timing as giving Republicans an opportunity to frame it as a Democratic threat ahead of an expected fight over the government funding issue that must be resolved by the end of the month.
The deal, which includes $165 billion for the upcoming 2019 fiscal year, along with a range of anti-poverty, mental health and other ideas, was drafted by House Democratic leaders and the White House and has received broad support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
Pelosi and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders are reportedly meeting behind closed doors Thursday to work out final differences in the package.
Leadership has said that if they don’t get a final bill ready by Sept. 30, that will cause the country to default on some government obligations and make it impossible to spend the rest of the fiscal year’s funds.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.