Update, 7:32 pm: Ocasio-Cortez posted on Twitter denying the claims made by Politico. She says she did not interact with Pallone as they said.
Original story continues below:
Since the midterms, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, now a Representative-elect, has fought hard to ensure her campaign promises will be delivered. Last week, the incoming freshman showed she wasn’t afraid of stirring controversy when she joined protesters occupying Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s office in support of a Green New Deal.
Her latest confrontation with the establishment happened at a closed-door meeting of House Democrats, where Ocasio-Cortez allegedly got into it over climate change strategy with New Jersey Democrat Rep. Frank Pallone, the incoming chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Politico reports. Pallone, along with other committee members, apparently said they opposed the creation of a new climate panel, arguing that members of his committee could take on the issues around climate change themselves, sources told Politico.
Rep.-elect Ocasio-Cortez and several other progressive freshman fought back against this presumption, telling Pollard and his allies that they ran on the creation of such a panel and didn’t plan on betraying that promise.
Others in Congress say they agree with Ocasio-Cortez’ goals, but aren’t decided on whether the new committee is necessary.
Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) said “a vast majority” of the caucus supports the aims Ocasio-Cortez and her allies laid out, but that it’s just a question of whether working through the standard committee structure is more effective.
“I think that it’s great that [Ocasio-Cortez] put that down,” he told POLITICO. “People appreciate her emphasis on that, but people also believe we have not allowed the committee structure to work in an open and fair way.”
Pallone believes a select committee won’t expedite action on climate change.
“My fear is that if you have a select committee, by the time the select committee gets going, gets appointed and hires staff that it might actually delay what we’re doing,” Pallone told reporters. “We’ve got people who are in charge of these committees who are very progressive and I just don’t see the need for the select committee. I think it may actually delay what the progressives are trying to achieve.”
Despite her participation in the Green New Deal protest, Ocasio-Cortez has recently praised Pelosi’s stance on House climate change strategy. Pelosi created a climate change committee more than a decade ago, and has called for its reinstatement.
Ocasio-Cortez’ spokesperson declined to comment on Politico’s report.
CLARIFICATION: The headline of this piece has been updated to reflect that Ocasio-Cortez denies the conversation reported by Politico took place.