U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D- Glen Cove) is facing off with House newcomer Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez for a vacated seat on the House’s Ways and Means committee.
Spokespeople for both politicians confirmed to news organizations their interest for the committee.
Ocasio-Cortez is the congresswoman-elect for New York District 14 which comprises sections of Queens and Bronx counties.
Ideologically, the opponents sit on opposite sides of the spectrum within the Democratic Party.
Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the progressive insurgency that made strides during the midterms while Suozzi is the vice-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus, a bipartisan group of 24 Republicans and 24 Democrats.
The Committee on Ways and Means is typically filled by the House’s most senior members and has historically always included a New Yorker, which was most recently fulfilled by Rep. Joe Crowley (D- Queens, Bronx) whom Ocasio-Cortez upset in a primary race.
Ways and Means, the oldest committee in the U.S. Congress handles tax-writing and oversees revenue-related policies, such as tariffs, and programs like Social Security and Medicare.
Many who have sat on the committee have gone on to higher positions of power. According to the committee’s website, 21 house speakers, eight vice presidents, and eight presidents were formerly members of the committee.
A consortium of progressive groups on Long Island sent an email to Blank Slate Media in support of the 29-year-old congresswoman-elect.
The email read “we call on Nancy Pelosi to appoint a progressive champion [Ocasio-Cortez] to the open committee seat.” It added that “when it comes to the type of issues the Ways and Means committee discusses, Tom Suozzi is far to the right of the Democratic base.”
Suozzi confirmed his less liberal views to the Intercept, saying: “Am I fiscally conservative? Yes, I’m fiscally conservative” but noted his progressive leanings on a number of issues such as poverty and immigration.
He told the publication that he is also in support of the Green New Deal, a proposed policy spearheaded by Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) that aspires to quickly cut carbon emissions to reach levels accepted by the Paris Agreement.
Not only a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, but Suozzi is also involved with the New Democrat Coalition which is a group of pro-business Democrats who support growth initiatives and a balanced budget.
He told the Intercept that his experience as an accountant and an attorney gives him the skills needed to be an effective member of the committee. He added that the district he serves was deeply affected by the GOP tax bill, which put restraints on local and state tax deductions.
Representatives from either office could not be reached for immediate comment.