Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, speaks during a press conference outside the US Capitol on February 7, 2019. SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted furiously about the short time given to lawmakers to review the spending bill passed at speed by Congress on Monday. 

Representatives had only a few hours to read the 5,593-page, $1.4 trillion government spending bill, which was published in the afternoon and passed the same night.

It was an “omnibus” measure that included a $900 billion COVID-19 stimulus package, along with a host of other spending measures. 

AOC pointed out that there was no way lawmakers could have read the whole thing, and said the process was serving the American people poorly.

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Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez described the voting process on the legislation containing the COVID-19 stimulus bill as “hostage-taking” after representatives were given only a few hours to read 5,593 pages of text. 

Congress on Monday passed a $1.4 trillion government spending bill includes as a subsection a package of $908 billion in COVID-19 economic stimulus, agreed after months of tense negotiation.

The final text of the legislation was released only on Monday afternoon. The House vote took place at 9.08 p.m., while Senators took until almost midnight to pass it.

Both chambers overwhelmingly passed the bill, and, despite her objections, Ocasio-Cortez also voted in favor.

The New York representative tweeted an Hollywood Reporter article which said that provisions in the bill would make illegal video streaming into a felony.

She said: “This is why Congress needs time to actually read this package before voting on it.

“Members of Congress have not read this bill.”

“It’s over 5000 pages, arrived at 2pm today, and we are told to expect a vote on it in 2 hours. This isn’t governance. It’s hostage-taking.”

Ocasio-Cortez argued that time for public scrutiny – not just for lawmakers – is just as important.

“Members are reeling right now bc they don’t have time to consult [with] their communities,” she wrote. 

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Broad summaries of the top-line items in the COVID-19 relief bill had been widely shared, including matters that have been part of public debate for weeks – like sending $600 stimulus checks to Americans and the scale of unemployment insurance. 

But the full spending bill contained measured that had not previously been widely shared. These included aid for several countries and provisions for race horse owners, sexual abstinence programs, and the Space Force.

Lawmakers have debated COVID-19 relief measures throughout the summer and fall. But much of the progress towards the final shape of the deal has been made in the last two weeks, necessitating extending the deadline twice to prevent a government shutdown. 

The bill passed in the House by 359 votes to 53, including a yea from Ocasio-Cortez. Around two hours later, it passed the Senate with a substantial majority, and as of early Tuesday was awaiting President Donald Trump’s signature. 

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