Progressive firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York has been rejected by fellow House Democrats in her bid to give her House presence as much clout as her social media presence.
On Thursday, the House Democratic Steering Committee passed over Ocasio-Cortez and instead gave Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice, who also represents New York, a seat on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee.
Rice will be entering her fourth term next year, and Ocasio-Cortez her second.
Rice is more of a moderate than Ocasio-Cortez, who had lobbied hard to win the spot, according to The Hill.
The battle for the seat was not without some drama, Politico reported.
Instead of a consensus decision, the duel between New York Democrats for the committee seat went to a secret ballot vote, with Rice winning 46-13, according to the outlet.
During a video meeting prior to the vote, some Democrats were reportedly adamant against rewarding Ocasio-Cortez, who has worked against centrist Democrats in primaries.
“I’m taking into account who works against other members in primaries and who doesn’t,” Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar said, according to Politico, who cited “multiple sources.” Cuellar was among those who faced a progressive challenger who was supported by Ocasio-Cortez.
Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York did reportedly support Ocasio-Cortez over Rice, however.
An anonymous House Democratic lawmaker told Axios that Ocasio-Cortez “doesn’t have enough relationships. She needs to learn from this.”
But Axios also noted that outside of Congress, Ocasio-Cortez can be a formidable figure.
“The vote would have been very different if it wasn’t secret,” the anonymous lawmaker said.
AOC got what she deserves….. Passed Over! Work with others, Do Not COMPLAIN.
— Doug Goodman (@purpleH2Oski) December 17, 2020
The seat on the panel had been held by Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, who lost a primary to a progressive Democrat backed by Ocasio-Cortez, according to Politico.
The vote produced a round of mockery aimed at Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter.
“It is an honor to be selected by my Democratic colleagues to serve on the Energy and Commerce Committee in the 117th Congress,” Rice said.
The panel oversees policy areas that include health care and climate change.
“New Yorkers deserve a fighter to lower the cost of prescription drugs, address climate change, and improve our drinking water,” Rice said.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues to help the incoming Biden-Harris administration combat the COVID-19 pandemic and build back our economy.”
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