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Ocasio-Cortez ‏rebukes fellow Democrats over ‘gotcha amendment’ in gun bill

Sharp words against a measure that pit gun safety against immigration advocacy.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), listens as Michael Cohen, former lawyer for U.S. President Donald Trump, testifies before the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill, on Wednesday, February 27, 2019. (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), listens as Michael Cohen, former lawyer for U.S. President Donald Trump, testifies before the House Oversight Committee on Capitol Hill, on Wednesday, February 27, 2019. (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) took to Twitter on Saturday to criticize an anti-immigrant amendment attached to historic gun control legislation approved this week in the House of Representatives.

On Wednesday, the House voted, 240-190, to pass legislation that requires background checks on all commercial gun sales after decades of inaction on gun control. But there’s a catch.

Prior to the vote, Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) successfully added a provision that would require the FBI to alert Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) when an undocumented immigrant tries to buy a gun.

The Republican-backed provision pit progressives against moderates in the Democrat-run chamber.

The measure is premised on the false notion pushed by President Donald Trump that undocumented immigrants commit crimes at higher rates than U.S. citizens. Even so, 26 Democrats helped Republicans tack the provision onto a gun-control package, approving it by a voice vote. Twenty-two of the 26 Democrats were from districts previously held by Republicans.

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Ocasio-Cortez was among the 232 Democrats who voted in favor of the gun-control legislation, despite the anti-immigrant amendment. She voiced frustration on Twitter, recounting how she had to explain to gun-control advocates during the actual vote that “the gotcha amendment pinned gun safety against immigration advocacy. Its intent was to divide.”

“Mind you, the same small splinter group of Dems that tried to deny Pelosi the speakership, fund the wall during the shutdown when the public didn’t want it, & are now voting in surprise ICE amendments to gun safety legislation are being called the ‘moderate wing’ of the party,” said Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter.

“We can have ideological differences and that’s fine. But these tactics allow a small group to force the other 200+ members into actions that the majority disagree with. I don’t think that’s right, and said as much in a closed door meeting,” she added.

Some lawmakers and pundits have repeatedly criticized Ocasio-Cortez for being a divisive force within the Democratic party. Indeed, many chastised the congresswoman for joining climate-change advocates who held a sit-in last year at then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) Capitol Hill office. At the time, many took this and her opposition against a rules package that undercut progressive bills to mean Ocasio-Cortez is undermining her own party.

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But Ocasio-Cortez ended up supporting Pelosi for speaker, unlike other centrist Democrats, and merely started a conversation about the most ambitious climate-change legislation to date, the Green New Deal. The true defectors of the Democratic party are the “moderate wing,” she alluded to on Twitter. But this doesn’t mean she’s going to target these lawmakers’ seats with primary election challenges, she said, refuting a Washington Post report.

The congresswoman has made it a habit to reveal the inner workings of Congress through social media. She documented the new-member orientation process on Instagram. She also recently tweeted about her ability to personally call constituents because she doesn’t have donors to call, as she doesn’t accept corporate-PAC money.