After a tough first few months, more than 60 freshmen from the Democratic Congress had the chance to meet with former president Barack Obama for a pep-talk on Monday.
According to Newsweek, the meeting was arranged by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as an informal meet-and-greet. Reports claim that Obama used the meeting to warn the freshmen about the cost of several policies that have attracted media attention.
“He said we [as Democrats] shouldn’t be afraid of big, bold ideas—but also need to think in the nitty-gritty about how those big, bold ideas will work and how you pay for them,” a person who was present at the meeting reportedly said.
Newsweek noted that Obama did not mention any of the policies by name, but it is believed that he was referring to the Medicare for All and Green New Deal policies.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, addressed cost concerns of the Green New Deal during a speech to the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services and warned that the cost of climate change would be paid whether the bill passed or not.
“As towns and cities go under water, as wildfires ravage our communities, we’re going to pay. And we have to decide whether we’re going to pay to react, or pay to be proactive,” she said.
Although some Green New Deal figures have been thrown around, experts say that it is too early to tell how much the bill would cost.
Despite the ominous words of Obama, he was not there to just lecture the freshman, he was also there to provide support during this tense political climate. Detroit congresswoman, Rashida Tlaib, described meeting Obama in a tweet:
“Barack Obama met with us new members of Congress, and we had a thoughtful discussion about serving our country,” she wrote while sharing a picture of the two of them together. “The best part was when he looked straight at me and said, ‘I’m proud of you.’”
Obama also shared his thoughts on the meeting on Twitter and expressed optimism about this new freshmen class.
“It’s a young, diverse class, stocked with a bunch of my campaign and administration alums who’ve taken the torch. This group is going to be driving progress for a long time to come,” he wrote.
The U.S. Senate recently voted against the Green New Deal bill. In voting “present,” 42 Democratic senators outsmarted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s attempt to get them on the record by voting “yes” or “no.”