By Sasha Ingber (NPR)
“Let’s make a deal,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.
“You’re on,” agreed Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
The two lawmakers who have often been at odds found common ground in a place that often highlights polarizing opinions: Twitter. That’s where Cruz and Ocasio-Cortez vowed to set aside their differences and work on new lobbying restrictions for lawmakers. Now an unlikely coalition is forming around their joint effort.
It started when Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Thursday morning that members of Congress shouldn’t be allowed to become corporate lobbyists.
“At minimum there should be a long wait period,” she wrote. Ocasio-Cortez cited a statistic from Public Citizen, in which the advocacy group reported that among former Congress members who move to jobs outside of politics, nearly 60% start lobbying or otherwise influencing federal policy.
It didn’t take long for Cruz to chime in.
“Here’s something I don’t say often: on this point, I AGREE” with Ocasio-Cortez, Cruz stated. He went on to say that he has 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?” he asked.
By early afternoon, Ocasio-Cortez said she would co-lead a bill with Cruz — if there were no “partisan snuck-in clauses, no poison pills.”
Cruz, who has previously argued with the freshman Democrat on Twitter, agreed.
At least one politician from each side of the aisle came forward to support the pact: Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, tweeted, “IN,” and Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, offered to lead or co-sponsor a bill in the House.
Craig Holman, who lobbies on ethics, campaign finance and lobbying on behalf of Public Citizen, told NPR that it is “heartening” that Cruz and Ocasio-Cortez moved to bridge the deep partisan divide.