Following outrage last week after Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) shut out progressives from some of the chamber’s most powerful committees, news that freshman Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Katie Porter (D-Calif.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) are headed to the Financial Services Committee was met with applause.
Congratulating the quartet, Social Security Works called it “scary news for Wall Street and great news for the rest of us!”
The committee’s oversight responsibilities include U.S. banks and lenders, the economy, financial aid to industries other than transportation, insurance, international finance, public and private housing, securities and exchanges, and urban development.
Confirming her appointment late Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that she was “looking forward to digging into the student loan crisis, examining for-profit prisons/ICE detention, and exploring the development of public and postal banking.”
On Wednesday, she followed up by acknowledging the impact that grassroots organizers played in securing progressive appointments:
Last month, tens of thousands of progressives had called on Democratic leaders to appoint Ocasio-Cortez to the Ways and Means Committee—which, as the House tax-writing body, will have significant sway over popular progressive policy items such as Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, and tuition-free public college.
Although those efforts were ultimately unsuccessful, Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow progressive freshmen appear determined to use their appointments to the Financial Services Committee to push for policies on which they campaigned.
While highlighting reports that the appointment of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) to chair the committee is “making Wall Street nervous,” Pressley, on Twitter, reiterated her desire to help those burdened by student debt and threatened with the prospect of homelessness:
Waters—who was appointed after Democrats regained a majority of House seats in November—is an outspoken critic of the Trump administration and has expressed her commitment “to creating opportunities, ensuring fairness, and protecting the economic well-being of all Americans,” but the progressives are expected to push her to ensure that public good wins out over the wishes of the financial sector.
“I don’t take corporate PAC money,” Porter, a protégé of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), told Politico on Tuesday, before appointment were confirmed. “I think we’re going to see some other members put on the committee who don’t take corporate PAC money. This is going to change the perspective on the committee and the issues it chooses to focus on.”
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“Now our movement has a voice to take on the greed and recklessness on Wall Street.”
Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, and Pressley, meanwhile, are all backed by the Justice Democrats, which welcomed their appointments in a series of tweets.
“It’s time to fight for all working people and hold those in power accountable,” the group said. “Now our movement has a voice to take on the greed and recklessness on Wall Street. We’ll fight to protect tenants and families from evictions. We’ll stop them from plundering our communities.”