As President Donald Trump continues to throw a temper tantrum and threaten a government shutdown if he doesn't get billions of dollars to build his infamous border wall, Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) turned to Twitter on Friday to challenge the GOP trope that the federal government simply doesn't have the money to implement bold progressive policies such as Medicare for All or a Green New Deal.
Spending legislation advanced by the Republican-controlled House Thursday night would allocate $5.7 billion to the wall, but that bill—at odds with a Senate-approved measure that lacks wall funding—seems unlikely to get through the upper chamber without Trump's favored "nuclear option" of changing the Senate rules.
As the threat of a government shutdown looms, the incoming congresswoman highlighted the other ways—from increasing teacher pay to replacing water pipes—that lawmakers could spend the money:
And just like that, GOP discovers $5.7 billion for a wall.
What if we instead added $5.7B in teacher pay?
Or replacing water pipes?
Or college tuition/prescription refill subsidies?
Or green jobs?
But notice how no one’s asking the GOP how they’re paying for it. https://t.co/jXdm1w9bpy
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) December 21, 2018
Stony Brook University public policy and economics professor Stephanie Kelton, a former chief economist on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, responded to Ocasio-Cortez by homing in on one of the key policy items backed by the incoming representative, tweeting: "Congress authorizes the spending. Period. The mechanics of paying for a
#GreenNewDeal are exactly the same."
Notice how it’s all about finding the VOTES. It’s how *everything* is paid for. Congress authorizes the spending. Period. The mechanics of paying for a #GreenNewDeal are exactly the same. https://t.co/EuJUfRrVck
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— Stephanie Kelton (@StephanieKelton) December 21, 2018
A Green New Deal, supported by climate advocates nationwide and a growing number of House Democrats, would couple measures to address the global climate crisis with policies to create jobs and a more just economy. While Ocasio-Cortez has called for the creation of a House Select Committee to craft such a deal, top Democrats including presumptive House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.) have been accused of trying to kill it.
Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)—which endorsed Ocasio-Cortez's successful bid to oust long-time Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) last summer—responded to news of the potential $5.7 billion in border wall funding with a focus on healthcare. Along with a rising portion of the public, both DSA and Ocasio-Cortez support Medicare for All—a proposal championed by, among others, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that would guarantee healthcare for all Americans.
Meanwhile, 30 million people still don’t have healthcare https://t.co/KEAaDAiTm3
— DSA for Medicare for All (@dsam4a) December 21, 2018
Washington Post reporter Jeff Stein responded to Ocasio-Cortez with some figures—suggesting that the U.S. could implement universal pre-K or provide coverage to more than 800,000 uninsured Americans with the money the House GOP wants to give Trump to bolster his anti-immigrant policies and fulfill one of his key campaign promises:
With $5.7B, you could:
-- Cover 852,017 uninsured Americans
-- Fund universal pre-K plan (options b/w $2B-$12B)
Granted you'd want these be recurring expenses rather than annual, but GOP also wants $25 billion for wall
-- Repairing Flint's water pipes: $55 million https://t.co/c4Gkht3kFV
— Jeff Stein (@JStein_WaPo) December 21, 2018