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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Friday released a video in which she detailed some of the legislation and investigations she has led since taking office in 2019. (Image: screenshot/Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)

In Just 'Two-Ish Minutes,' AOC Details Progressive Accomplishments From First Two Years in Office

Often accused of being ineffective by conservatives and centrists, the congresswoman highlighted her work passing legislation, serving her constituents, and leading House investigations into corruption and fraud. 

Julia Conley

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez posted a video to social media Friday offered a detailed list of legislation, congressional investigations, and grassroots organizing she has led since taking office nearly two years ago—an apparent rebuttal to numerous conservatives and centrist Democrats who have dismissed the congresswoman as popular but ineffective.

Other progressives around the world, she said in the video, have recently shared similar videos describing their accomplishments while in office.

"Since I'm coming to the end of my first term in office, I thought we'd try to do the same," Ocasio-Cortez said before running through the work she has done to help represent the interests of people in need of affordable housing, those who are incarcerated, immigrants, and others in her district and across the country.

The congresswoman started the long list with her amendment to the House Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act in 2019, which shifted $5 million away from Drug Enforcement Agency funding to ensure the money went to a bipartisan bill to address the opioid crisis through treatment rather than incarceration and drug enforcement.

Ocasio-Cortez also explained her work to repeal the Faircloth Amendment, which for decades blocked the construction of new public housing units.

"Repeal is key to tackling our housing crisis," the congresswoman said last summer when the measure was included in the House Democrats' Moving Forward Act, aimed at upgrading and decarbonizing the nation's infrastructure. 

Along with Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Ocasio-Cortez authored and introduced the Green New Deal, securing the support of 115 co-sponsors in the Senate and the House.

The congresswoman also authored the Just Society package, which would modernize how the U.S. government measures poverty, make immigrants eligible for federal safety net programs, create programs to help incarcerated people re-enter society after serving their sentences, and offer other kinds of support to struggling Americans. 

All in all, the congresswoman has introduced more amendments to legislation than 90% of her freshman colleagues in the House, and has cosponsored 78 bills including 14 that were signed into law. 

"And that's before we get to our investigations," she said. "My question lines helped pressure Big Pharma into bringing down the price of PrEP to prevent HIV transmission; exposed TransDigm, a defense contractor, into returning $16.1 million in price-gouged profits to the public... We got President Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to state on the record that President Trump was engaging in tax fraud."

During the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, when New York City became the epicenter of the global public health crisis, Ocasio-Cortez and her staff conducted 200,000 community check-in calls; delivered 80,000 meals to families; and ensured teachers, small businesses, and essential workers got 100,000 masks.

The multilingual U.S. Census outreach effort she spearheaded as the Trump administration's citizenship question threatened to depress participation, especially in congressional districts with large Hispanic populations, helped ensure residents filled out the census—and will now secure "over $58 million to our district," Ocasio-Cortez said. 

Though Ocasio-Cortez was a surrogate for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Democratic presidential primary, she immediately set to work to help elect President-elect Joe Biden last spring after he became the presumptive nominee—both by pushing him to adopt a policy agenda which would give millions of Sanders supporters and young voters a reason to support him, and by encouraging voter turnout. 

"I co-chaired the Climate Unity Task Force with Secretary Kerry to help shape President-elect Biden's $2 trillion climate policy," Ocasio-Cortez said. 

The task force convinced Biden to accelerate his timetable for achieving net zero carbon pollution from the electricity sector and to devote more money to transitioning to renewable energy.

"Progressives get the job done," tweeted Evan Weber, co-founder of the Sunrise Movement, in response to Ocasio-Cortez's video.

Recently, the congresswoman has found unique ways to engage with voters by hosting matches of the popular online game Among Us on her Twitch platform. 

During a game last month, she talked to Canadian New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh about policies in Canada which invest in the wellbeing of working people, while raising over $200,000 for people facing eviction and food insecurity amid the pandemic.

That effort followed her first public Among Us game in October, in which she urged young people to vote for Biden and asked British players to explain the benefits of their country's National Health Service. One political observer called the event "biggest get out the vote rally of 2020." 

Ocasio-Cortez released Friday's video just over a week after conservative Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia accused the congresswoman of being "more active on Twitter than anything else" while also claiming that the U.S. government cannot afford its popular, 55-year-old Medicare program, much less expand it to all Americans—despite mounting evidence to the contrary. 

"I find it amusing when politicians try to diminish the seriousness of our policy work, movement organizing, and grassroots fundraising to 'she just tweets,'" Ocasio-Cortez said at the time. 

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