Biden romances Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with a position on task force

(Image: NBC News screenshot)

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may not have formally endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden but that isn’t stopping her from serving on his climate change panel.

The New York Democrat will reportedly co-chair a joint climate change task force launched by Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, her spokeswoman told Reuters Tuesday.

(Image: CBS News screenshot)

“She made the decision with members of the Climate Justice community – and she will be fully accountable to them and the larger advocacy community during this process,” Lauren Hitt said in a statement. “She believes the movement will only be successful if we continue to apply pressure both inside and outside the system. This is just one element of the broader fight for just policies.”

Biden and Sanders announced the co-chairs and members of their joint task forces as they followed up on the agreement made last month when Sanders formally endorsed the Democratic party’s presumptive nominee. Ocasio-Cortez will be joining the other climate change task force co-chair, former secretary of state John Kerry who negotiated the Paris Climate Accord.

“We’ve set up joint committees together to deal with how we would deal with everything from the [coronavirus] all the way down to education, the criminal justice system, the new Green Deal, etc.,” Biden told KLAS-TV in Las Vegas on Tuesday.

“I’m working with Bernie and with his people. And so, and we’ve made some changes. We’ve listened to Bernie supporters and, you know, for example, we have Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, she is on one of the panels,” he said, speaking of the progressive congresswoman and Green New Deal champion.

According to his campaign website, Biden “believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face.”

“It powerfully captures two basic truths, which are at the core of his plan: (1) the United States urgently needs to embrace greater ambition on an epic scale to meet the scope of this challenge, and (2) our environment and our economy are completely and totally connected,” the website states.

A vocal supporter of Sanders during his 2020 presidential campaign, Ocasio-Cortez had indicated she would support Biden in November but has not formally endorsed him.

“And if Biden is only doing things he’s comfortable with, then it’s not enough,” the member of the freshman “Squad” told The New York Times last month.

“I think people understand that there are limits to what Biden will do and that’s understandable — he didn’t run as a progressive candidate,” she said. “But, at the bare minimum, we should aspire to be better than what we have been before. And I just don’t know if this message of ‘We’re going to go back to the way things were’ is going to work for the people for who the way things were was really bad.”

The climate change task force is one of six joint policy committees that Biden and Sanders agreed to work on. Criminal justice reform, the economy, education, health care, and immigration are the other policy areas that will have groups established, according to Politico.

Sanders, who suspended his White House bid last month, praised Biden for working to steer the Democratic Party in a “transformational and progressive direction.”

“In the midst of the unprecedented economic and pandemic crises we face, the Democratic Party must think big, act boldly, and fight to change the direction of this country,” he said in a statement. “I commend Joe Biden for working together with my campaign to assemble a group of leading thinkers and activists who can and will unify our party in a transformational and progressive direction.”

Biden explained that the task forces “will be essential to identifying ways to build on our progress and not simply turn the clock back to a time before Donald Trump, but transform our country.”

The task forces reportedly “will meet in advance of the Democratic National Convention to make recommendations to the DNC Platform Committee” and to Biden, according to a news release from the Democratic candidate’s campaign.

While many on the left celebrated the news that Ocasio-Cortez would be serving on the Biden campaign’s task force, plenty of Twitter users — including his own supporters — slammed the idea.

Frieda Powers

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