Ocasio-Cortez opens door to potential deal with Republicans on compromise speaker candidate
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., on Wednesday refused to rule out supporting a possible compromise candidate for speaker of the House as Republican drama showed no sign of dying down.
The progressive leader sounded like she was looking to play Capitol power broker as she floated the prospect of Democrats being given control of some House committees in exchange for backing a Republican to take the speaker’s gavel.
“I mean, hey, if we could get some chairs,” Ocasio-Cortez told reporters.
Ocasio-Cortez also said Democrats would demand a prospective compromise speaker agree to raise the debt ceiling to avert a national default along with “a combination of” other issues.
The third-term lawmaker who represents chunks of Queens and the Bronx emphatically ruled out supporting embattled Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s bid for speaker.
McCarthy fell far short of winning a needed majority in three votes Tuesday, leaving Republicans to face another humiliating day of drama Wednesday. He lost in the fourth vote.
The longtime GOP insider insists he won’t pull the plug on his troubled campaign but a small group of far right-wing rebels say they won’t budge either.
All 212 Democrats have voted in lockstep for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, who took over the Democratic leadership in a smooth transition from former House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California.
The first-in-a-century drama on Capitol Hill opens the door to a raft of unprecedented outcomes.
The long-shot idea that Ocasio-Cortez floated would involve Democrats joining moderate Republicans to support a compromise candidate in exchange for a package of concessions.
One potential candidate is former Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., a moderate who retired before the midterms after being placed in a tricky race by redistricting.
Most insiders believe there is little chance of such a cross-party deal because Democrats have little incentive to bail Republicans out of their damaging intramural feud, which they believe spotlights GOP dysfunction.
Any Republicans who join Democrats would also face intense anger from the party’s right-wing base of supporters, making it even more unlikely.