Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., introduced a pair of amendments to a defense appropriations bill that would bar the military from using federal funding to pay for its recruiting efforts in public schools or on digital streaming platforms.
The Democratic socialist claimed that military recruiters target low-income students, which she said is a problematic trend that makes minority and low-income students think they have no other “choice.”
“Whether through recruitment stations in their lunchrooms, or now through e-sports teams, children in low-income communities are persistently targeted for enlistment,” Ocasio-Cortez told the New York Times.
“In many public high schools where military recruiters have a daily presence, there is not even a counselor,” she continued. “As a result, the military stops feeling like a ‘choice’ and starts feeling like the only option for many young, low-income Americans.”
The military “can for some provide a rewarding career,” Ocasio-Cortez continued, but military recruiters stand in the way of low-income students receiving “anywhere near the same information or access to trade schools, college, or other post-graduate opportunities,” she claimed.
The House Rules Committee will consider Ocasio-Cortez’s proposals on Tuesday, but it’s unclear whether they’ll actually receive a vote.
Ocasio-Cortez has criticized the military in the past for its recruitment tactics.
When the Army and Navy began using Twitch, a popular streaming platform, to reach young adults, Ocasio-Cortez accused the services of turning “war” into a “game.”
“It’s incredibly irresponsible for the Army and the Navy to be recruiting impressionable young people and children via live streaming platforms,” she told Motherboard.
“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 said.
Critics pointed out that the military often is the best choice for low-income students, and nothing in Ocasio-Cortez’s amendments could replace it:
Strongly oppose AOC. Military is one of the best options for low income people to earn a living, gain housing and learn life long job skills. What is the bill offering as a replacement? https://t.co/uGwYTjf903
— Clint Watts (@selectedwisdom) July 28, 2020