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KPN

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Member since: Tue Mar 25, 2014, 01:18 PM
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Banks weigh whether to embrace or avoid Ocasio-Cortez

Barely a month into the new Congress, financial lobbyists in Washington are already strategizing how to handle the star power of rookie Democrat lawmaker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The Democratic Socialist and Wall Street critic joined the 60-member House Financial Services Committee in mid-January and more than a dozen lobbyists interviewed by Reuters say the 29-year-old activist and former bartender is too high-profile to ignore.
Richard Hunt, chief executive of the Consumer Bankers Association, said he had not encountered a lawmaker like Ocasio-Cortez in more than 20 years in Washington. “She has the ability to influence unlike a lot of other freshmen.”

An economics major and self-confessed “science nerd,” Ocasio-Cortez campaigned on issues that put her at odds with the financial industry, including separating commercial and investment banking, breaking up large banks, and forgiving student debt. Central to her campaign has been the rejection of corporate campaign dollars, closing off a traditional avenue for industry access and influence on Capitol Hill. Now lobbyists fear that her enlarged platform will help the first-term junior lawmaker push her ideas into the mainstream and are trying to figure out how best to respond.

Several lobbyists told Reuters they believed they could isolate Ocasio-Cortez and other progressives on the financial services committee by building coalitions with moderate Democrats, such as fellow New York Representative Gregory Meeks, and centrist Republicans.

[link:https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-banks-aoc/banks-weigh-whether-to-embrace-or-avoid-progressive-firebrand-ocasio-cortez-idUSKCN1PV27N|


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