Kathy Willens / APNew York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez makes a point during a debate against opponent Michelle Caruso-Cabrera ahead of New York’s June 23 primary on June 17, 2020, in the Bronx borough of New York. (Kathy Willens / AP)
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York lost her bid to restrict federal funding for the U.S. military to recruit teens by a wide margin on Thursday.
The Democrat proposed amending the annual defense spending bill to effectively ban military branches from interacting with potential recruits via video game streaming services, including Twitch, Fox News reported.
The amendment sought to block funds allocated by the bill from being used by “the Armed Forces to maintain a presence on Twitch.tv or any video game, esports, or livestreaming platform,” according to The New York Times.
Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal was rebuffed by a 292-126 vote in the House.
Branches of the U.S. military can thus continue to interact with potential recruits online through e-game platforms such as Twitch.
Ocasio-Cortez championed her proposal on Twitter before voting was underway.
“Imagine trying to explain to your colleagues who are members of Congress what Twitch is,” she wrote.
“Some context for a few folks getting upset at this: Congress is voting on legislation regarding Twitch today.
“It’s totally fine if you don’t know what Twitch is. But tech literacy is becoming an growing need in Congress so we can legislate to protect people’s privacy, etc,” she added in a series of tweets.
“When our legislative bodies aren’t sufficiently responsive to tech, then that means we don’t have the tools required to protect people.
“This is partially why companies know way more about you than you may even be aware of – bc it’s legal, and Congress is struggling to keep up.”
Ocasio-Cortez appeared to find a silver lining in her defeat.
Do you support the military’s use of video game streaming platforms to reach recruits?
“The good news: a majority of the Dem party supported this amendment.
“That’s a really solid start for this being the first time this issue has been brought before Congress,” she wrote after the House voted nearly 2-1 against her amendment.
“We’ve made great strides since *that* Senate FB hearing, but we’ve got a lot of room to still improve!” Ocasio-Cortez concluded.
In a statement earlier this week, Ocasio-Cortez accused the military of using popular video games to target disadvantaged young people.
“Whether through recruitment stations in their lunchrooms, or now through e-sports teams, children in low-income communities are persistently targeted for enlistment,”she said.
The Democrat said after being inundated with recruitment pitches, “the military stops feeling like a ‘choice’ and starts feeling like the only option for many young, low-income Americans.”
In an interview with Vice, Ocasio-Cortez attacked the military for using video games to contact potential recruits about the life options available to them.
While the United States Marine Corps does not have an online game presence, the Army, Air Force and Navy each operates Twitch accounts.
Ocasio-Cortez scolded the latter four branches in her Vice interview.
“War is not a game, and the Marine Corps’ decision not to engage in this recruiting tool should be a clear signal to the other branches of the military to cease this practice entirely,” she told the outlet.
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