"People across the country are going hungry, COVID is set to explode, and Mitch McConnell dismissed the Senate last week," Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted Monday. "I don’t know how these people can sleep at night. I really don’t."
Cruz accused Democrats of repeatedly blocking a scaled-back stimulus proposal backed by the majority of Senate Republicans.
"Why is your party filibustering $500 billion in COVID relief?" the Texas Republican asked. "And Joe Biden is cheering them on. Thinking that blocking relief somehow helps Dems win Georgia."
Ocasio-Cortez, alongside other House Democrats, previously voted to pass the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act in May, and a scaled-backed $2.2 trillion legislation in October.
"The House doesn’t have filibusters, @tedcruz," she fired back. "We also passed several COVID relief packages to the Senate that not only include >$500 billion, but also prioritize helping real people as opposed to Wall St bailouts the GOP tries to pass off as 'relief.' Nice try though."
The bill, figured back by Democratic leaders, included federal unemployment benefits, funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, a key small business rescue program, money for schools and liability protections for businesses.
Cruz replied: "AOC seems not to know there are Democrats in the Senate. Or that Joe Biden (also a Dem) is publicly calling on Senate Dems to continue filibustering COVID relief because he thinks it will help them win Georgia."
Congress has struggled for months on end to reach an agreement over another round of emergency relief for families and businesses still reeling from the pandemic after they passed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act in March.
While there is broad support among members of both parties to pass another coronavirus relief bill, they disagree sharply over the size and scope of it. With just eight legislative days left in their calendar, it's increasingly unlikely that lawmakers will be able to strike a deal before the year ends.
Key policy differences, including funding for a virus testing plan, aid to state and local governments and tax cuts for low- and middle-income families, have confounded lawmakers since May, and they remain no less of a challenge in the wake of the 2020 election.
A perilous time for the U.S. economy, as approximately 12 million Americans will be left with no income the day after Christmas after two federal jobless aid programs created in March expired.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a program created to provide jobless benefits to gig workers and others typically not eligible for benefits, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which extends state unemployment benefits an extra 13 weeks, are both set to lapse at the end of the year.
Job losses remain elevated, and as COVID-19 cases surge across the country economists are increasingly warning of a bleak winter.