Pelosi Says She Has ‘No Regrets’ Criticizing 4 Progressive Freshmen Who Challenged Leadership on Border Bill

July 10, 2019 Updated: July 11, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she is standing by her comments and has “no regrets” admonishing four progressive freshman members of her party after they voted against the $4.6 billion border aid funding bill in June.

“I have no regrets about anything,” Pelosi said as she was leaving a caucus meeting on July 10, reported The Washington Post. “Regrets is not what I do.”

Pelosi criticized Democratic progressive Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.)—known as “The Squad”—for attempting to defeat the $4.6 billion emergency border aid package after the House speaker decided to back down on efforts to amend the bill because of intense pressure to approve it before the July 4 recess.

The Senate-drafted bipartisan measure, intended to address the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.–Mexico border, subsequently passed Congress on June 27.

Pelosi told The New York Times in an interview published on July 6 that the four members’ style of leadership lacked the influence needed to build a following.

“All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” she said. “But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”

The speaker reiterated this during her comments on July 10.

“Four people voted for the bill. That’s what I said. And no other people followed,” she said.

The border funding package to fund Trump’s humanitarian aid request for the southern border returned to the House after passing the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support, passing with an 84–8 vote on June 26. The House attempted to make changes to the bill on the morning of June 27, stating that it needed more protections for migrant children. But their version of the bill denied most of the much-needed funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and was quickly rejected by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

On the day, Ocasio-Cortez expressed anger over Pelosi’s decision.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at the Diana Center at Barnard College in New York
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at the Diana Center at Barnard College in New York on March 3, 2019. (Lars Niki/Getty Images for The Athena Film Festival)

“We have time. We can stay in town. We can at least add some amendments to this Senate bill. But to pass it completely unamended with no House input? That seems a bridge too far,” the New York freshman said.

Responding to Pelosi’s criticism, Ocasio-Cortez said on July 6 in a post on Twitter that “that public ‘whatever’ is called public sentiment.”

“And wielding the power to shift it is how we actually achieve meaningful change in this country,” she added.

She continued, “I find it strange when members act as though social media isn’t important. They set millions of [dollars] on [fire] to run TV ads so people can see their message. I haven’t dialed for dollars *once* this year, & have more time to do my actual job. Yet we’d rather campaign like it’s 2008.”

She again defended her and her colleagues’ decision to vote against the bill on July 9, saying that it was “OK not to vote for the legislation to make a point.”

“It’s not even the four of us. It’s like ‘These ones,’” she said, reported Fox News. “What the speaker said … it’s not true. It’s just wrong … as progressives, it’s OK not to vote for the legislation to make a point.”

“At the end of the day, Mitch McConnell is going to Mitch McConnell,” she added. “I did not believe for a minute McConnell was going to pass the House bill … the House bill was dead on arrival.”

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