Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Calls GOP Effort To Bail Out Corporations 'Shameful' In House Speech On Coronavirus Stimulus Bill

Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called Republican efforts to provide relief to corporations dealing with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic "shameful" during a speech she delivered Friday in the House chamber before it passed the $2 trillion fiscal stimulus bill.

"Hospital workers do not have protective equipment. We don't have the necessary ventilators.... What did the Senate majority fight for? One of the largest corporate bailouts, with as few strings as possible, in American history—shameful," the freshman congresswoman from New York said in her attack on Republicans.

"The option that we have is to either let [families] suffer with nothing or to allow this greed of billions of dollars, which will be leveraged into trillions of dollars, to contribute to the largest income-inequality gap in our future," she continued. "There should be shame about what was fought for in this bill and the choices that we have to make."

Ocasio-Cortez, who represents Queens and parts of the Bronx, pointed out that 13 people died overnight in Queens' Elmhurst Hospital of complications from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. She said that her "community's reality is this country's future if we don't do anything."

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed Friday in the House by voice vote, meaning there was no recorded vote, despite the objections of Republican Representative Tom Massie of Kentucky. The bill will allocate $100 billion for hospitals and health care providers, provide $750 million to food banks and send $1,200 to every American who makes $75,000 a year or less.

The bill gives $500 billion to corporations, not as a stimulus but as financial relief while states across the country keep nonessential businesses closed in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. The CARES Act was signed into law by President Donald Trump late Friday afternoon.

The bill passed in the Senate with unanimous consent, meaning all Democrats voted in favor. But Ocasio-Cortez's speech singled out only Republican senators.

Democrat Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who is running against Ocasio-Cortez in the June 23 primary, tweeted: "People in The Bronx & Queens are suffering. I was at Elmhurst Hospital last week; I saw the pain & talked about it while AOC was playing politics. She can grandstand on the floor of the house & complain, but this is a time for unity & strength. We need results now, not politics."

People in The Bronx & Queens are suffering. I was at Elmhurst Hospital last week; I saw the pain & talked about it while @AOC was playing politics. She can grandstand on the floor of the house & complain, but this is a time for unity & strength. We need results now, not politics.

— Michelle Caruso-Cabrera (@MCaruso_Cabrera) March 27, 2020

Newsweek reached out to Ocasio-Cortez's office for a response to Caruso-Cabrera's tweet but did not hear back before publication.

As of publication, New York has 44,635 confirmed cases of the virus and 519 deaths. The state currently has enough ventilators for those who are hospitalized because of COVID-19. Governor Andrew Cuomo said in his daily coronavirus briefing that New York has 5,000 ventilators and that there are now 1,583 patients in intensive care units, who need the devices.

Cuomo noted that New York is expecting the largest influx of patients to occur in 21 days. The state will need 30,000 ventilators if the projections are correct, he said.

House Votes On Stimulus Package To Counter Coronavirus Economic Impacts
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez leaves the U.S. Capitol after House passage of the fiscal stimulus bill known as the CARES Act on March 27. Win McNamee/Getty