- AOC accused some of her colleagues of opining on her public banking bill without even reading it.
- "If I made comments that very publicly demonstrated that I didn't read the legislation I was discussing, I'd be embarrassed."
- She accused a conservative expert of mischaracterizing the Public Banking Act as a "government takeover."
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accused some of her colleagues on the House Financial Services Committee of failing to read her public banking legislation during a hearing on the issue on Wednesday.
"When I first got to Congress, I thought, man, people definitely study what they're talking about here," she said. "Then I got here and realized that people don't even - a lot of my colleagues don't even read the bills that they are commenting on."
She claimed that some critics of her Public Banking Act, which she introduced with Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib last fall, were "making lots of statements that have nothing to do with the legislation" during Wednesday's hearing. It's unclear which lawmakers or experts she was referring to.
"Frankly, you know, if I made comments that very publicly demonstrated that I didn't read the legislation I was discussing, I'd be embarrassed, but that is an aside," she said.
A video clip of her comments was viewed 1.7 million times on Twitter as of Thursday afternoon.
The New York Democrat went on to make a case for her bill, which would support the creation of public banks to be used by state and local governments, businesses, and individuals. Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, and other advocates of public banking argue that it would offer services to low-income and marginalized communities that are disproportionately unbanked and targeted by predatory lending and other discriminatory practices.
The congresswoman also defended the legislation against conservative critics, who argue a public banking option would be inefficient and stifle market competition.
"Here on planet Earth, though, this bill is about providing a public option for financial services - an option, not a government takeover," she said. "This is not about a government takeover of all banking services in the United States."
The congresswoman later tweeted the clip of her speaking at the hearing and reiterated her criticism of lawmakers who don't read legislation they take stances on.
"Apparently it is too high of a bar to expect Republican members of Congress to, you know, actually read the bills they're talking about, but nevertheless it went very well!" she wrote.
-Forbes (@Forbes) July 22, 2021
Correction: An earlier version of this story said Ocasio-Cortez addressed John Berlau in her comments, rather than Ameya Pawar. Both delivered expert testimony at the hearing.