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Sen. Bernie Sanders said on NBC's"Meet the Press" on Sunday that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been "a little bit" tough on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her allies.

The big picture: The riff escalated when the speaker criticized the Ocasio-Cortez and three others for having no following in the chamber, only on Twitter. Ocasio-Cortez fired back at Pelosi, accusing her of "singling out" women of color in Congress.

What he said:

SANDERS: Okay. You know, and what Alexandria and other young women and women of color are saying, we have got to reach out to young people. We have to hear the pain of the working class of this country.  And that is causing some political disruption within the leadership of the Democratic Party.  And let me give you one example where I am very concerned.  I have helped lead the effort to expand community health centers.
CHUCK TODD: Yeah.
SANDERS: And right now, there's legislation in the House, the Democratic House, to cut, in real inflation, accounting for dollars, community health centers by 20%.  Unacceptable.  So I ex-- I support, you know, Alexandria's and the other women's desire to bring more people, and especially young people, working-class people into the Democratic Party.  That is the future of the Democratic Party and of this country.
TODD: Do you think the speaker's being too tough on them? 
SANDERS: I think a little bit. ... You cannot ignore the young people of this country who are passionate about economic and racial and social and environmental justice. You got to bring them in, not alienate them. 

Go deeper

Trump threatens to veto Defense spending bill over social media shield

Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Tuesday a threat to veto a must-pass end-of-year $740 billion bill defense-spending authorization bill unless Congress repeals a federal law that protects social media sites from legal liability.

Why it matters: Trump's attempt to get Congress to end the tech industry protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is the latest escalation in his war on tech giants over what he and some other Republicans perceive as bias against conservatives.

The walls close in on Trump

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

With Bill Barr's "Et tu, Brute!" interview with AP, President Trump is watching the walls close in on his claims of fraud, hoaxes and conspiracies.

Why it matters: Trump and his legal team continue to claim election fraud. But the Republican governors of Arizona and Georgia have certified their elections, a loyalist like Barr has weighed in, and lower-ranking officials have taken potshots.

Congress plots COVID pandemic-era office upgrades

oving crates outside Rep. Elise Stefanik's old office Tuesday. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The House plans to renovate members' suites even though staff are worried about an influx of contractors and D.C. is tightening restrictions on large gatherings, some staffers told Axios.

Why it matters: The Capitol has been closed to public tours since March. Work over the holiday season comes as U.S. coronavirus cases spike, Americans beg for more pandemic assistance and food lines grow.