The House passed a bill that would have secured $2 billion in funding to fortify Fort Pelosi, formerly known as the United States Capitol — but it didn’t come without some muted opposition from “The Squad.”
The vote was ironic in that all Republicans were in opposition, while almost all Democrats voted for more walls and policing around the Capitol complex. According to the Washington Examiner, Pelosi squeaked the measure through by just a single vote after three “Squad” Democrats tried to block her in a blindsiding move.
But perhaps more interesting was that some of the party’s most fervent advocates of “defunding the police” joined Pelosi, as journalist Glenn Greenwald points out. No less than Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) had the power to kill the bill — but chose not to.
Pelosi gets her $2T despite pushback
Critics fear that Pelosi’s bill, as Republican Darrell Issa (CA) noted, will “militarize” the People’s House permanently after it has been surrounded by menacing fencing for months since a riot there on Jan. 6. Among other things, the new bill would create a “Quick Reaction Force.”
At least for a moment, it appeared that some progressive ideologues — after a year of chanting “defund police” — just might band together with Republicans to block it. A handful of them — Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Cori Bush (D-MO) — did raise objections, the Examiner notes.
The three protested the bill for failing to address “the underlying threats of organized and violent white supremacy” and an implausible “disparity” in how police have treated Capitol protesters and Black Lives Matter activists.
“We cannot support this increased funding while many of our communities continue to face police brutality while marching in the streets, and while questions about the disparate response between insurrectionists and those protesting in defense of Black lives go unanswered,” they said, according to the Examiner.
In reality, some protesters from the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol are in solitary confinement, and one was shot dead by a cop despite being unarmed. At any rate, the lawmakers deserve some credit for bucking the party.
Militarizing the Capitol?
In the end, the bill passed 213–212, the Examiner reported, as AOC joined Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) in voting “present,” which is decisive in a tight vote like this.
“Had any of these three Squad members voted ‘no’ instead of ‘present,’ then the bill would have been defeated,” Greenwald noted.
“Just months after they all explicitly demanded that the police be defunded for everyone else, they acted to knowingly enable a bill that would massively increase police funding for their own benefit,” the journalist added.
Indeed, this seems to be a matter of “policing for me but not for thee.” Thursday’s vote made one thing clear: despite their rhetoric over the last few years, Democrats are not opposed to walls and policing in principle, only for normal Americans who they despise.