It started, as so much does in 2019, with a tweet.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., wrote on Twitter that members of Congress who retire shouldn’t be able to quickly turn around and “leverage your service for a lobbyist check.”
Her message shared a statistic from the nonprofit group Public Citizen, saying almost 60 percent of former lawmakers from the last Congress who work outside government are lobbying or doing similar jobs. At least one face on that list was very familiar to Ocasio-Cortez: former Rep. Joe Crowley, whom she bested in a Democratic primary for a New York City congressional seat last year.
“I don’t think it should be legal at ALL to become a corporate lobbyist if you’ve served in Congress,” the freshman congresswoman wrote. “At minimum there should be a long wait period.”
That’s when things got interesting.
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a conservative firebrand and former GOP presidential candidate in 2016, quoted Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet and said that “on this point, I AGREE” with Ocasio-Cortez. Cruz also admitted it’s rare for him to find common ground with the Bronx native and self-described democratic socialist.
“I have long called for a LIFETIME BAN on former Members of Congress becoming lobbyists,” Cruz wrote. “The Swamp would hate it, but perhaps a chance for some bipartisan cooperation?”
Ocasio-Cortez responded to Cruz on Twitter, saying “if you’re serious about a clean bill, then I’m down.”
“Let’s make a deal,” she continued: “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.”
Cruz responded quickly.
“You’re on,” he wrote.
Soon other lawmakers were signing on as well, including Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, and Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas — making the possible legislation not just bipartisan but bipartisan in both chambers of Congress.
Whether a bill gets written — and gets signed into law — remains to be seen.