Liberal Hollywood icon Susan Sarandon led a protest outside of the Bronx office of Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), AOC, on Wednesday, during which she used a megaphone to call on “the Squad,” to begin delivering on their campaign promises. Sarandon exclaimed, “I’m here to say to the Squad, and especially AOC, who, you know, did make a lot of promises, that we still have faith in you and we would like to see if you have a better plan than we’ve been able to see, please share it.”
This protest was billed as a “Medicare for All” rally, which according to the event page of its organizer, actionnetwork.org, demanded that AOC, “call on Biden to declare a pandemic public health emergency and expand Medicare to every American using Section 1881A of the Social Security Act.” The protesters further demanded that AOC “use every legislative tool available to pass Medicare for all in Congress”, use her “huge social media followings, ability to get press, and celebrity to organize direct actions for Medicare for all”, and that she should put together “a fearless new campaign for single-payer.”
A petition circulated by actionnetwork.org leading up to this protest calls out “the Squad” for failing to push socialized medicine hard enough in Congress. The petition reads (in part):
“You campaigned on Medicare for All. But you didn’t demand a floor vote on it when you had the power to leverage the Speaker vote. You didn’t demand that single-payer be included in the pandemic recovery bill. You moved the introduction of the House bill till after the stimulus bill passed reducing your own leverage. You have never demanded that Biden use Section 1881A of the Social Security Act to expand Medicare to every American by executive action.”
Ocasio-Cortez is a co-sponsor of Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s (D-WA) Medicare for All bill, which was introduced back in mid-March but has languished in the House ever since. President Biden has made it clear that he is picking his battles, and Medicare for All isn’t one of them right now. Most left-wing pundits believe it is highly unlikely, and perhaps unwise, for Democrats to push such a sweeping change in the current political climate with the slimmest possible majority in the legislature.
Consequently, Sarandon emphasized during the protest that she is losing faith in AOC, shouting, “If you have a better plan than we have been able to see please share it… Cause we’re losing hope that you represent us. “
Later in her speech, she added, “It’s so difficult for people that are independent to get elected in the first place – and then to see the very people that sponsored the bill not stand up for it, is very disheartening.”