President Biden has signed the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and a $1.9 trillion social spending bill has passed the House—but Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez warns that her fellow Democrats should be careful about doing victory laps. The progressive Democrat says the base will be alienated and turnout at the next election will suffer if lawmakers make promises they can't keep. "I think that the worst and most vulnerable position we could be in is to over-promise and under-deliver," she tells the New York Times. "So let's not go around and say, 'We're going to replace every lead pipe in this country,' because according to the bipartisan infrastructure plan, that is not going to happen. That has not been funded."
Ocasio-Cortez tells the Times that if the social spending bill fails to pass soon, or is watered down too much in the Senate, the "delicate" trust of the House Progressive Caucus will have been broken and it will be " very, very difficult" for House leadership to get its votes on other measures. She says that unless the party gives her "something to work with," she will have a hard time persuading her constituents in the Bronx to vote in 2022. "Democrats have a trifecta and have been unable to pass voting-rights protections," she says. "And so people can wring their hands and say 'but Manchin' all they want, or 'but the filibuster' all they want, but at the end of the day, what people see are the results of their actions and the results of investing their time."
Ocasio-Cortez says the party leadership made it clear to progressives that "our help and our participation was not wanted or asked for" in the Virginia election —and a "big youth turnout collapse" followed. "The idea that we just accept a collapse in youth turnout—and essentially turn it into a self-fulfilling prophecy—in times when races are decided by such narrow margin points: I think it's ill advised," she says. Chris Cillizza at CNN notes the spending bill is expected to be pared down in the Senate before being sent back to the House for a "rubber stamp" of approval—a move " certain to further alienate AOC and her liberal colleagues from the process." (Read more Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stories.)