Freshman Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez found an unlikely ally in Republican Sen. Ted Cruz on Thursday.
Ocasio-Cortez shared an analysis from Public Citizen on Twitter that found that close to 60% of former members of the last Congress have taken lobbying jobs or jobs that influence federal policy more broadly. Along with the study, she shared a message that “if you are a member of Congress + leave, you shouldn’t be allowed to turn right around & leverage your service for a lobbyist check. I don’t think it should be legal at ALL to become a corporate lobbyist if you’ve served in Congress.”
At a bare minimum, Ocasio-Cortez suggested that there should be a longer wait period.
The law currently prohibits former Senators from taking lobbying positions for two years after leaving office, while the ban is only one year for former representatives. Despite this, the law is not often rigidly enforced and former members of Congress have exploited loopholes. More than a dozen former members of Congress have joined lobbying firms this year to date.
To the surprise of many, Cruz agreed with Ocasio-Cortez’s concern, writing, “Here’s something I don’t say often: on this point, I AGREE with @AOC Indeed, I have long called for a LIFETIME BAN on former Members of Congress becoming lobbyists.” While Cruz noted that the “swamp would hate it,” he said it could nevertheless serve as an opportunity for “bipartisan cooperation.”
Ocasio-Cortez quickly took Cruz up on the offer. Tweeting at him, she wrote, “if you’re serious about a clean bill, then I’m down. Let’s make a deal.”
She stipulated that they need to agree on a bill that does not contain any “partisan snuck-in clauses” or “poison pills”—just a simple bill that would prohibit members of Congress from becoming paid lobbyists when they leave office. If he agreed to that, she wrote, she would co-lead the bill with him.
Cruz quickly replied: “you’re on.”
Twitter proceeded to serve as a sounding board for other members of Congress to sign on as co-sponsors as well. Democrat Sen. Brian Schatz and Republican Rep. Chip Roy expressed a willingness to team up with Cruz and Ocasio-Cortez.
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