On Wednesday, Chris Hayes had a wide-ranging interview with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
CHRIS HAYES (HOST): One of the challenges President Joe Biden faces in our current information environment and a Donald Trump media environment is how to communicate just how much this administration, Democrats, and Congress have actually gotten done. It has been a lot. For example, the last two years have been the most productive years for U.S. climate efforts. We are still not on a trajectory to meet our Paris climate targets. But for the first time, it actually seems like they have a shot at making it. Almost entirely thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, passed without a single Republican vote. One of the people who first championed the early version of the climate plan is Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Carcez; she joins me now.
Congresswoman, it is great to have you one. One of the things I encounter in social media-dominated spaces where most of the people under 30 get their news is that there is a kind of, really intenseMorrison, and kind of negativity that just sort of comes with eight meanings, more than anything. But it shapes people’s real politics. And when I tell people that emissions are at all-time lows and solar deployment is setting all-time highs, people don’t know we’ve actually had a pretty good few years on climate stuff.
CONGRESSWOMAN ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yes. It almost feels like when you remind folks of that. They think you are being a buzzkill for the buzzkills. But it is important for us to communicate that we are winning. This is not just about a political context; this isn’t even about cheerleading the president, although his leadership, willingness to work, and making climate a priority are important to note. This is really about’s story of peoples movements winning. This is about frontline activists winning. This is about young people, you know, like the Sunrise Movement, bird-dogging senators, and making this issue front and center and completely politically unforgettable, and politically urgent that we passed the largest U.S. federal climate investment in American history. That has translated already to nearly a quarter million jobs that have already been created, of 9 million jobs that are estimated to be created in the next several years.
ON HOUSE LEADERSHIP AND THE MAYORKAS “IMPEACHMENT”:
HAYES: I have got to ask you about just the hill the last few days. It has been crazy and weird. And what do you make of the Mayorkas’s impeachment and the fact that it is the first attempt to impeach a cabinet secretary in 150 years, and they must count the votes, and they will try again on Tuesday? What do you think about it?
AOC: I mean, let’s just call a spade a spade, here. Republicans are dealing with not their first choice speaker. Not their second-choice speaker. Not their third-choice speaker. They are dealing with the speaker that they could get. And that they could agree on. That means an individual that does not have experience in party leadership, that is a relative newcomer when it comes to the tenure of members you are used to seeing when they typically get the speaker’s gavel, and that means that the experience in vote counting is not entirely up to the standard that we usually see in a speakership. You are also dealing with the fact that this is an impeachment without merit. Secretary Mayorkas has demonstrated absolutely no evidence for an impeachable offense. It is completely politicized; it imperils the republican zone swing district members to force a vote on something that’s so clearly without merit that I think you see what happened last night, all of that coming together. The fact that they think that Democrats owe it to republicans to give them their accounts, our attendance counts is laughable. It really speaks to the fact that you are working with people who are not used to being in this chamber.
HAYES: They were mad that Al Green was going to be wheeling back in scrubs from abdominal surgery.
AOC: And you didn’t expect Al Green to be doing that, you don’t know who Reverend and Representative Al Greene is. He will do that. [laughter]
HAYES: He will do that, as demonstrated yesterday. That is a good point.
HAYES: I want to ask a question about something the Congressional Budget Office. You tweeted this…
…because I have been maddened by the discussion of immigrants, which I feel the entire discussion is that “they are coming to take your stuff; there’s only seven slices of pizza in America, and everyone that comes is going to take one of those pieces, and you’re not gonna have any.” And the Budget Office basically said today, we are readjusting our projection of GDP growth, up by seven trillion, and also, we are reviewing the U.S. government money to reduce the deficit by a trillion, because of immigration, higher net immigration; you tweeted like “guys, we are not talking at all about the positives that immigrants bring to this country.”
AOC: Absolutely. It is actually completely nonsensical that we do not talk about the enormous blessing, economic blessing that immigrants and immigration represents to the United States of America. And a lot of folks sometimes think that this is a certain kind of immigrant. Like college-educated or technical visas, all immigrants that we are seeing, this is the CBO estimate, immigration writ large is yielding enormous economic benefits to the United States. And we will bring this out even finer. If you are a caregiver, if you are a baby boomer, if you are someone who cares for someone who is aging, we currently do not have the economic or social structural capacity to take care of our seniors. We will increasingly not have that if we, quote-unquote, lock up our border and shut down migration. The thing that has distinguished U.S. economic performance from other countries like Japan or other developed economies is the fact that are pro-immigration policies allow us to continue in our economic growth, whereas similar countries with anti or more closed border policies to experience economic stagnation when they submitted themselves to this xenophobic border panic narrative that Fox News, frankly, seeks to pedal and instill in so many people.
ON ISRAEL/GAZA FUNDING BILL:
HAYES: Quickly, in the last 20 seconds, I know that you are a “no” on the supplemental for Israel, barring some strings attacks on that aid. He said that we were receiving a Gaza slaughter. How many Democrats are in the position? Is there a rough count of how many no’s there are in the caucus?
AOC: What I will say is that the grassroots activism around a bilateral cease-fire is working. There are four more members, perhaps publicly visible, who have a lot of trepidation around voting for an aid package that contains (A) no humanitarian aid, and (B) I think we are crossing a rubicon on unconditional aid to the Israeli government. We have Leahy laws on the books that prevent US aid from funding gross human rights violations and we are seeing a level of depravity in Gaza that is becoming morally untenable to support.
HAYES: Congresswoman Cortez, thank you very much.