Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) took to Instagram Stories to explain why she was the lone House Democrat to vote against reopening the government. Her move came as a surprise as the government shutdown, now in its 34th day, continues to cripple the nation and divide politicians in Washington.
Ocasio-Cortez said that she voted against a short-term bill because it provided funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Ocasio-Cortez represents parts of Bronx and Queens that include a heavy Latino population, some of whom have reservations about or are fearful of ICE's immigration raids. Her vote had her siding with 183 Republicans rejecting the resolution. 223 Democrats and six Republicans voted for the measure.
"Most of our votes are pretty straightforward, but today was a tough/nuanced call," Ocasio-Cortez wrote. "We didn't vote with the party because one of the spending bills included ICE funding and our community felt strongly about not funding that."
Ocasio-Cortez also voted "no" on a larger appropriations package that would provide funding for agencies through the end of the year. That package, however, did not provide funding for the Department of Homeland Security, and it's unclear why she voted against it.
The representative, who became the youngest woman ever sworn into Congress, was recently criticized by left-wing activists in her party for supporting a measure earlier this month to fund the Department of Homeland Security, including ICE, through September.
Response to her latest move has been rather mixed.
There's no end in sight to the shutdown, which is the longest in American history, and was triggered after President Donald Trump refused to sign a stopgap funding bill that would have avoided a shutdown altogether because Congress declined his request for $5.7 billion in funding for a proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Yesterday, Trump caved to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's request that he postpone his State of the Union address until after the shutdown is over. Ocasio-Cortez praised Pelosi, saying, "IOUs don't pay the bills."
Two competing plans to open the government (one Republican, with funding for the wall; the other Democratic, without funding) failed in the Senate as expected, sending legislators back to square one. Friday marks the second consecutive paycheck federal workers have missed since the shutdown began.