Did Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Forget to Vote for Her Own Green New Deal?
Memes that claim Ocasio-Cortez failed to vote for her own bill, known as the “Green New Deal,” appear to have been made by people who fundamentally misunderstand the American political system.
Across a photograph of Ocasio-Cortez (with a pejorative term “stamped” on her forehead), it read:
THE FACE YOU MAKE WHEN YOU LOSE 0-57 THEN RELIZE YOU DIDN’T EVEN VOTE FOR YOUR OWN BILL.
An upside of the comments was that nearly all those displayed at the top pointed out obvious factual errors in the meme:
Yall do realize AOC is in the House of Represenatives, and not The Senate, which is who voted.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez introduced the Green New Deal (House Resolution 109) [PDF] in the House of Representatives on February 7 2019, alongside Sen. Ed Markey. The legislation was referred to successive subcommittees, landing with the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources five days later. No votes in the House of Representatives (where Ocasio-Cortez serves) occurred as of the meme’s circulation in March 2019.
As commenters observed, the meme made a very specific vote tally reference: 57 votes against, and zero in favor — the tally of a vote in the Senate on March 26 2019. Senate Republicans called for a vote without any debate, discussion, or testimony and in protest, Senate Democrats almost exclusively voted “present” to protest what they described as a “sham vote.” Consequently, Democrats moved to “block” the vote rather than earnestly voting on what they maintained was political theater:
The vote was doomed to fail even before it began both because Republicans hold the majority in the Senate and because many Democrats announced their plans to vote present ahead of time. In remarks before the vote, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said that Republicans are not taking the warnings of climate change seriously.
“We’re not going to stand for sham bills that the other side is all voting no on. They know what a trick and joke and sham that is, so does all the American people,” Schumer said in a speech on the Senate floor just before the vote began. “But we are finally talking about the issue, and that is great because climate change is not a joke. It’s not a hoax, it’s a crisis and that’s why we’re doing these things.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to force the vote in order to put Democrats up for reelection and those running for president in 2020 in a tough spot politically.
The meme claiming Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez “didn’t even” vote on her own Green New Deal resolution either misunderstands or misrepresents the circumstances of the only vote that actually took place. Ocasio-Cortez, a Congresswoman, and Markey, a Senator, jointly introduced the legislation in February 2019. In March 2019, Sen. Mitch McConnell rushed a vote on the resolution, and Democrats — who did not necessarily dislike or disfavor the legislation — voted “present” to protest McConnell’s actions. Ocasio-Cortez was ineligible to vote since the vote occurred in the Senate.