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The Guardian - US
The Guardian - US
Gloria Oladipo in New York

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she will vote against US debt ceiling deal

‘My red line has already been surpassed,’ Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said last week.
‘My red line has already been surpassed,’ Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said last week. Photograph: John Nacion/Shutterstock

The New York Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she would vote against the debt limit deal on Wednesday night, as the 5 June deadline looms.

On Tuesday, the Hill said the office of one of the most high-profile progressives in the US House confirmed she would not support the controversial agreement to raise the debt ceiling, which was agreed by Republicans under the speaker, Kevin McCarthy, and the Biden White House.

Ocasio-Cortez, widely known as AOC, had previously signaled that she would not support the deal.

“My red line has already been surpassed,” Ocasio-Cortez said last week. “I mean, where do we start? [No] clean debt ceiling. Work requirements. Cuts to programs. I would never – I would never – vote for that.”

Several far-right Republicans have also opposed the deal, saying it does not go far enough to cut spending.

Support from Democrats will probably be needed for the bill to pass the House on Wednesday night. But progressive support is split, as some lawmakers raise concerns about work requirements added to welfare programs.

“Some number of progressives, including myself, lean no,” Greg Casar, the Progressive caucus whip and a Democrat from Texas, told Axios.

The progressive caucus chair, Pramila Jayapal of Washington, said on a Tuesday press call the bill contained measures progressives were “seriously concerned about”.

“There will be real harmful impacts for poor people and working people,” Jayapal said, noting that several members had “serious concerns about the environmental justice implications of this bill”.

Other progressives emphasized the need to avoid a default.

“You have to deal with reality in politics,” the Tennessee representative Steve Cohen, a progressive caucus member, told Axios, adding that concerns about the bill’s contents are “totally secondary to keeping the world’s economy … on track”.

The compromise announced on Sunday would suspend debt-limit negotiations through 1 January 2025 and raise the US debt limit from $31.4tn.

The deal includes changes to federal assistance programs, including new work requirements for food stamps access. Unspent Covid-19 aid will be returned to the government.

Several Democrats have criticized Biden for negotiating with Republicans under threat of a default.

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