Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic socialist Congresswoman-elect from New York, went to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) office for the first time Tuesday to participate in a sit-in with environmental activists demanding a “green new deal” on climate change.
In an unusual move for a newly-elected representative, Ocasio-Cortez joined the members of the Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats to demand that Democrats in Congress draft an action plan on climate change.
She described her break with decorum as a showing of support for the activists and for Pelosi.
“Should Leader Pelosi become the next speaker of the House we need to tell her that we’ve got her back in showing, in pursuing the most progressive energy agenda,” she told those gathered.
She said their activism is not a “pernicious confrontation” but “a celebration of our goals.”
Pelosi responded in a seemingly positive manner later Tuesday and recommended the reinstatement of a Select Committee on Climate Change.
I have spoken with @NancyPelosi about how our commitments to climate change should take shape in the 116th Congress.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) November 13, 2018
Her office has responded quickly, and she has recommended the reinstatement of the Select Committee on Climate Change. pic.twitter.com/LHI6koUto6
Ocasio-Cortez welcomed the move but listed some additional things she and activists would like to see from that committee.
Reinstating the Select Committee is a great decision that I fully support.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) November 13, 2018
These dynamic leaders want to ensure is that the committee:
- Has a mandate to draft a Green New Deal for 100% renewable energy
- No appointed members that accept funding from the fossil fuel industry
She told reporters following the sit-in that she believes Pelosi “really appreciates civic engagement” and that “this is to show that we’re here to back up bold action and that she will be supported in that.”
As to her own support for Pelosi’s bid for speaker, she has yet to commit, arguing that she has to look at the issues.
Ocasio-Cortez declines to answer when asked about whether she will support Nancy Pelosi after attending a sit-in in her office. Says that if there are multiple candidates she will look at the issues that define them. Right now there is only one candidate -Pelosi— Alana Abramson (@aabramson) November 13, 2018
Ocasio-Cortez and Pelosi had a bit of friction after the 29-year-old, far-left progressive unseated fourth-ranking House Democrat Joe Crowley in a stunning primary upset.
Pelosi dismissed the upset as “a choice in one district” telling one reporter, “let’s not get yourself carried away as an expert on demographics and the rest of that.”
Ocasio-Cortez pushed back on that and also argued at the time that there should be new leadership in the party.
“There are a lot of really exciting races with extremely similar dynamics as mine,” she said. “It’s not just one district.”
The support of incoming House Democrats like Ocasio-Cortez would be welcome in Pelosi’s bid for speaker. Dueling letters are reportedly circulating among Democrats with one urging them to unify behind Pelosi and another seeking support for an opposition to her continued leadership.
This post has been updated.