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There’s Batman and Robin, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, and then the Walmart yodeling boy and Brother Nature. Could Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) be the next dynamic duo?
The political adversaries have agreed to take on D.C. lobbyists in what could be the most unexpected political partnership in history.
The scenario unfolded after Ocasio-Cortez called for a lifetime ban on former members of Congress becoming lobbyists, on Thursday.
“I don’t think it should be legal at ALL to become a corporate lobbyist if you’ve served in Congress,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter.
If you are a member of Congress + leave, you shouldn’t be allowed to turn right around&leverage your service for a lobbyist check.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 30, 2019
I don’t think it should be legal at ALL to become a corporate lobbyist if you’ve served in Congress.
At minimum there should be a long wait period. https://t.co/xMu9Mwmdm6
While the tweet received widespread support from Ocasio-Cortez’s base, the message was also praised by the conservative senator.
“Here’s something I don’t say often: on this point, I AGREE with @AOC,” Cruz tweeted. “Indeed, I have long called for a LIFETIME BAN on former Members of Congress becoming lobbyists.”
Arguing that “the swamp would hate it,” Cruz questioned whether the rare political agreement with Ocasio-Cortez could lead to bipartisan cooperation.
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? https://t.co/jPW0xkH2Yy— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 30, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez quickly responded by stating that she would team up with Cruz on the condition that the bill remains free of any hidden partisan language.
“If you’re serious about a clean bill, then I’m down. Let’s make a deal,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “If we can agree on a bill with no partisan snuck-in clauses, no poison pills, etc–just a straight, clean ban on members of Congress becoming paid lobbyists–then I’ll co-lead the bill with you.”
.@tedcruz if you’re serious about a clean bill, then I’m down.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 30, 2019
Let’s make a deal.
If we can agree on a bill with no partisan snuck-in clauses, no poison pills, etc - just a straight, clean ban on members of Congress becoming paid lobbyists - then I’ll co-lead the bill with you. https://t.co/AZTbmdSexv
Judging by Cruz’s response, it appears that the unlikely duo could soon begin working to close the revolving door between Congress and K Street.
“You’re on,” Cruz replied.
You’re on. https://t.co/S3TBfNeO3Q— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 30, 2019
Despite the politicians’ opposing ideologies, the proposed alliance received endorsements from anti-lobbying groups and other lawmakers.
Despite disagreeing with much of Ted Cruz’s politics, the consumer advocacy organization Public Citizen praised his promise to work with Ocasio-Cortez.
“While we don’t agree with Ted Cruz on much, we’re glad to hear that he’s serious about cracking down on Washington’s revolving door,” the nonprofit tweeted. “No lawmaker should be cashing in on their public service by selling their contacts and expertise to the highest bidder.”
While we don’t agree with Ted Cruz on much, we’re glad to hear that he’s serious about cracking down on Washington’s revolving door.— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) May 30, 2019
No lawmaker should be cashing in on their public service by selling their contacts and expertise to the highest bidder. https://t.co/nTZn4JobxL
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) also expressed his willingness to support a bill crafted by the two lawmakers.
IN.— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) May 30, 2019
This is not the first time for either politician to speak out against the lobbying industry. In early May, Ocasio-Cortez decried corporate lobbying after witnessing it up close. In 2015, Cruz demanded, “no more government of the lobbyists, by the lobbyists, and for the lobbyists.”
Mikael Thalen is a tech and security reporter based in Seattle, covering social media, data breaches, hackers, and more.