D.C.'s new strange bedfellows: AOC, Ted Cruz partner to drain the swamp

It was a match made on Twitter, where the two sparred as recently as April over the price of a croissant and the minimum wage.
Image: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ted Cruz
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ted CruzReuters/Getty Images

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By Dareh Gregorian

Politics doesn't make much odder couples than this — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ted Cruz struck a deal on Twitter on Thursday to work together on an anti-lobbying bill to stop the infamous revolving door.

Ocasio-Cortez, the self-described democratic socialist from New York, and Cruz, the staunch conservative Republican from Texas, found common ground after the Democrat tweeted out a Public Citizen article on the large number of recently retired Congress people who've taken lobbying or policy-influencing jobs.

"If you are a member of Congress + leave, you shouldn’t be allowed to turn right around&leverage your service for a lobbyist check," Ocasio-Cortez wrote. "At minimum there should be a long wait period."

A short time later, former Republican presidential candidate Cruz tweeted, "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. The Swamp would hate it, but perhaps a chance for some bipartisan cooperation?"

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The freshman Democrat replied "if you're serious about a clean bill, then I'm down. Let's make a deal."

She said if they can agree to legislation "with no partisan snuck-in clauses" then "I'll co-lead the bill with you."

"You're on," Cruz replied.

The unlikely pair quickly lined up co-sponsors on Twitter as well — Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, will team up with Cruz on the bill in the Senate, and Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, will team with Ocasio-Cortez in the House. "And that’s just in a few hours — there will surely be more from both parties to sign on. Nice," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

Cruz has worked across the aisle before — he co-sponsored a bill with another New York Democrat, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, aimed at reforming how the military handles sexual assault — but is also one of many Republicans who've mocked Ocasio-Cortez.

The pair sparred on Twitter in April, after she tweeted about having to pay $7 for a croissant at the airport while workers are being paid less than $15 an hour.

"Oh the humanity! Here's the answer: government-mandated FREE CROISSANTS FOR ALL. And we'll just force the bakers to give all of their time for free. #SocialistLogic #AprilFools," Cruz wrote.

Ocasio-Cortez responded with a tweet that didn't mention Cruz directly: "It’s not an argument against the price of a croissant — it’s about the value of human worth. But I guess that idea is foreign to them since their policies treat people as disposable anyway."