Primary challenger Michelle Caruso-Cabrera slammed Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for being the lone House Democrat on Thursday to vote against the $484 billion coronavirus relief package.
The Payroll Protection Plan measure replenishes a small business loan program designed to halt layoffs during the coronavirus pandemic, which ran out of funds last week. The bill also has $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for testing.
“AOC votes against more aid to our overburdened hospitals in the Bronx and Queens and indeed the whole nation,” said Caruso-Cabrera, a former CNBC anchor.
“AOC votes against more coronavirus testing for the Bronx and Queens and indeed the whole nation. AOC votes against aid to small businesses for the Bronx and Queens and indeed the whole nation.”
Added Caruso-Cabrera, “This is outrageous and just plain wrong. Nothing could underscore more clearly why AOC’s anti-democratic party, pro-socialist agenda needs to be rejected once and for all.”
Earlier Thursday, Ocasio-Cortez said the bill didn’t go far enough to help people struggling to pay the rent and other bills.
Last night, the first-term incumbent’s spokesperson released a statement defending AOC’s nay vote – even citing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s complaints that the bill doesn’t throw a life raft to hard-press state and local governments, whose treasuries have been ravaged by plunging tax revenues and emergency costs to fight the COVID-pandemic.
Caruso-Cabrera said “I stand” with Cuomo in backing the bill.
“The bill did far too little for the NY-14 community. As it’s currently run, PPP favors collection of big banks fees and big franchises over community banks and true small businesses, particularly those run by people of color. Wall Street has already made $10 billion off the program through fees while tens of thousands of small businesses are still waiting for an answer on their application,” said AOCs spokeswoman Lauren Hitt.
“The bill also provides no funding for state and local governments. Governor Cuomo harshly criticized this bill and said he will have to cut school funding if the federal government does not step up. Mayor de Blasio has warned that we may have to lay off the very frontline workers who have served us so valiantly during this crisis.”
The statement on behalf of Ocasio-Cortez also said the proposal failed to include “hazard pay for our front-line workers” or health insurance for those who lost their jobs.
The Ocasio-Cortez statement also complained the deal gave “Republicans what they wanted without extracting any real concessions from them” – a shot at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and New York Charles Schumer, the Democratic minority leader.
“Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said he will pass no additional legislation until May 4 at the absolute earliest and has expressed support for letting state and local governments declare bankruptcy. It’s very unclear whether he will support another stimulus, at all,” Hitt said.
Lefty progressives applauded AOC for exposing the bill’s shortcomings.
“This was not just the right vote, but it was also an incredibly brave vote — esp. for a freshman,” tweeted political consultant Rebecca Katz said.
“This package does not even come close to meeting the moment. Everyone knows it. @AOC is the only one courageous enough to fight it.”
AOC’s 14th congressional district has been among the hardest hit in the country by the coronavirus.