Democratic colleagues of Rep. Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) snubbed the first-term lawmaker in a secret ballot, denying her a seat on a powerful congressional committee.
The progressive lawmaker will not sit on the House Energy and Commerce Committee after losing out to Long Island Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Politico reported.
AOC chastened by colleagues
Ocasio-Cortez is without question one of the most famous and controversial members of Congress, and the most notable face of the party’s left-wing not named Bernie Sanders.
While popular in what Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) once disparaged as the “Twitter world,” fellow Democrats issued a vote of no confidence to the progressive firebrand in the privacy of a secret ballot.
The Steering and Policy Committee voted 46–13 against Ocasio-Cortez, Politico reported, choosing former prosecutor Rice for a seat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee after weeks of private lobbying efforts by both candidates. Reports suggest that Ocasio-Cortez alienated potential allies.
According to Politico, Democrats at the meeting complained about her efforts to reshape the Democratic Party in the mold of her far-left, socialist agenda by primarying incumbents. “I’m taking into account who works against other members in primaries and who doesn’t,” said Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), who faced one such challenge.
A member of the committee told Axios that the freshman Democrat had just not put in the work to make connections, but they acknowledged that the vote “would have been very different” if it were not private, in a nod to AOC’s influence.
Rice, for her part, said it was an “honor” to be chosen, according to The Hill.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee has the “broadest jurisdiction” of any committee and covers issues like climate change, a top area of concern for Ocasio-Cortez.
Ocasio-Cortez called for new leadership last week in an interview with The Intercept, even as she said she doubts she could do Pelosi’s job, and she hasn’t been shy about criticizing Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s “hazy” platform and choices in senior staff.
On Friday, the congresswoman said that she is taking the defeat in stride and suggested that she has no regrets about trying to nudge the party to the left.
“It’s tough, always,” she said, according to Fox News. “You always kind of shoot high and you don’t always get what you want and that’s, you know, I think totally understandable.”