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'Very weak': Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticizes Kevin McCarthy amidst government shutdown fight

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., speaks during a news conference with Democratic lawmakers about the Biden administrations border politics in January.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., on Sunday knocked House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., as a “very weak" leader while the country faces a looming government shutdown.

Asked on CBS’ “Face the Nation” whether she would support a potential effort among some conservative lawmakers to oust McCarthy from his role as speaker, Ocasio-Cortez cautioned that Democrats would “have to cross that bridge when we get to it.”

“Speaker McCarthy has been very weak,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I think that he has also engaged in just absolutely terrible decision making for the American people, from continuing to try to cement denying the right to an abortion among women, to policy that denies the reality of climate change, to basic fiscal irresponsibility and recklessness.

The New York lawmaker said she believes there are “grounds” against McCarthy, but she also called Republicans, who currently control the House, “chaotic” as a whole.

“We do not want chaos to reign in Washington either,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., has threated to file what is known as a motion to vacate, a move that would eject McCarthy from his role as speaker. But during a closed-door meeting earlier this month, where tensions reportedly boiled over among House Republicans, McCarthy virtually dared his detractors to try to force him out of his job.

The strain comes as lawmakers stare down a Sep. 30 deadline to keep the government funded and avoid a shutdown. House Republicans have stalled while the right flank of the party has insisted on hardline measures being included in spending packages, moves that already have no chance in the Senate, which is currently controlled by Democrats.

If the government does shut down, tens of thousands of congressional staff will go without a paycheck for the duration, and swaths of federal employees will be furloughed. Other impacts can range from government food assistance benefits being delayed, national parks closing and more.

Contributing: Ken Tran and Savannah Kuchar, USA TODAY

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ocasio-Cortez calls McCarthy 'very weak' in government shutdown fight