Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sent a letter to her constituents Friday explaining why she wept during a House vote this week on a stand-alone provision to fund Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system.
The House voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to approve the Iron Dome provision after Democratic leadership was forced to pull it from a broader spending bill because lawmakers from the party's progressive wing objected, including Ocasio-Cortez’s fellow members of “the Squad”: Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley. Tlaib accused Israel of human rights abuses and war crimes during Thursday’s debate on the House floor.
During the vote, Ocasio-Cortez changed her vote from 'no' to 'present' and appeared to be in tears on the House floor, which she confirmed in her Friday letter.
“Yes, I wept,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “I wept at the complete lack of care for the human beings that are impacted by these decisions, I wept at an institution choosing a path of maximum volatility and minimum consideration for its own political convenience. And I wept at the complete lack of regard I often feel our party has to its most vulnerable and endangered members and communities — because the death threats and dangerous vitriol we’d inevitably receive by rushing such a sensitive, charged, and under-considered vote weren’t worth delaying it for even a few hours to help us do the work necessary to open a conversation of understanding.”
Ocasio-Cortez added she felt the "rushed" bill happened outside regular order, and she asked House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer to delay the vote, a request he denied.
She wrote that she objected to both the substance of the bill and the process to pass it because she feels that “for far too long, the U.S. has handed unconditional aid to the Israeli government while doing nothing to address or raise the persistent human rights abuses against the Palestinian people.”
In remarks on the House Floor Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who supported the measure, said the Iron Dome is “a purely defensive system, designed to safeguard all civilians living in Israel,” adding the funding “simply continues and strengthens this support.”
Ocasio-Cortez wrote Thursday’s vote “wasn’t the first time people’s wellbeing was tossed aside for political convenience, and sadly I do not believe it will be the last.”
“To those I have disappointed — I am deeply sorry. To those who believe this reasoning is insufficient or cowardice — I understand. To those who asked me to quell the volatility of this moment in our community, which constituted the majority of constituent feedback our office received - I hope we can take this moment and opportunity to more deeply engage in and grow a true, substantive movement of community support for human rights around the world - which includes cherishing and respecting the human rights of Palestinian people,” she added.
In addition to Ocasio-Cortez, her fellow Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia also voted 'present' on Iron Dome funding.
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Original Author: Kate Scanlon
Original Location: 'Yes, I wept’: AOC explains why she cried over Iron Dome vote