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AOC says Republicans have been ‘killing time for months’ as infrastructure talks stretch on with no end in sight

Many Democrats are wary about the GOP sucking up time on infrastructure, similar to what happened with the Obamacare talks a decade ago. ...
AOC alexandria ocasio cortez
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized the slow pace of infrastructure talks with Republicans.
  • The "bipartisan effort" is more of a "delaying action," she told reporters on Tuesday. "It's been enough."
  • Many Democrats are wary about the GOP sucking up time, similar to a decade ago with Obamacare.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York ripped into Republicans for the slow pace of infrastructure negotiations, arguing they're sucking up the limited time Democrats have to use their thin majorities. Congress is set to adjourn for a monthlong summer recess within weeks.

"They've been killing time for months and and at this point, I believe it's starting to get to a point where this bipartisan effort is seeming to serve less on investing in our infrastructure and serving more than ends up just delaying action on infrastructure," she told reporters on Tuesday. "It's been enough."

The infrastructure negotiations took a hit over the weekend, when Republicans scrapped a provision to step up IRS funding from the $579 billion bipartisan agreement after fierce criticism from conservatives. Democrats are simultaneously preparing to advance a $3.5 trillion party-line bill in the coming weeks.

Ocasio-Cortez previously warned of this outcome in late June, when she criticized Republicans for wasting time and "negotiating in bad faith."

Now the bipartisan group – evenly divided between five Republicans and five Democrats – is scrambling to come up with another revenue source to ensure it's fully paid for, a top Senate GOP demand. The blueprint would upgrade roads, highways, bridges, and broadband connections.

Some Democrats are wary about the bipartisan talks, given the proposal will lack tax hikes on the rich as well as the climate and social initiatives they want. Notably, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell hasn't publicly stated whether he supports the plan.

"Of course that's what they're doing, it's a slow-walk,"Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio told Insider on Tuesday, citing what he called "feigned outrage" from Republicans on funding the IRS. "They're gonna slow-walk this. Understand McConnell doesn't want a bill, he wants Biden to fail, he wanted Obama to fail."

Many also cite failed efforts to draw Republican support for President Barack Obama's healthcare reform efforts in the summer of 2009. The law, known as the Affordable Care Act, eventually passed without any GOP votes.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has set a crucial vote for Wednesday to kick off debate on the infrastructure plan. But Republicans in the bipartisan gang are pushing back against what they view as an arbitrary deadline.

Multiple Republican negotiators of the bipartisan deal are asking for more time.

"It's hard to vote for a bill that's not yet written," Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, one of the negotiators, told Insider. He said he would probably vote to oppose advancing the blueprint given they are still finalizing details on revenue sources.

"My hope is that Senator Schumer will delay the vote until next week," Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, another Republican negotiator, told reporters on Tuesday.

Schumer appears ready to give the talks more time. "It's only a signal that the Senate is ready to get a process started," he said from the Senate floor.

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