House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had a message for young, progressive Democrats, including 29-year-old Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY), in a recent interview with USA Today published Monday.
She said that her party needs to come together despite differences between moderates and those pushing extreme progressive policies like the Green New Deal and Medicare for All. She argued that Democrats should find the “boldest common denominator.”
“While there are people who have a large number of Twitter followers, what’s important is that we have large numbers of votes on the floor of the House,” Pelosi said.
As USA Today noted, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has nearly 4 million Twitter followers and even led a social media session for Democrats back in January. Democrats became upset with Ocasio-Cortez's occasional Twitter attacks on her own party as Politico highlighted in January.
Pelosi told USA TODAY that progressive members are “fine” when she informs them that they need legislation that can pass.
“As I say to my own district, ‘You go out and elect 218 people, just like San Francisco, then we can talk,'" she said.
Pelosi has repeatedly distanced herself from Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, initially referring to it dismissively as “the green dream or whatever they call it.”
The current text of the ambitious resolution proposes “overhauling transportation systems in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible,” and “upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability.”
Pelosi criticized the broadness of the proposal in a Rolling Stone interview.
"Now, in terms of the Green New Deal [as conceived], that goes beyond what our charge is,” Pelosi said in the interview. “Our charge is about saving the planet. They have in there things like single-payer and … what is it? Guaranteed income?"
"And then they have, I don’t know if it’s single-payer or Medicare for All," she added. "It’s kind of, like, a broader agenda. All good values, but nonetheless, not what we hope to achieve with this focused, determined, decision-making: You’re either for the planet or you are not."