Apr 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

AOC and Biden teams are in talks


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.) Photo: Scott Heins/Getty Images

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) told Politico Playbook on Wednesday that her team and former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign are having "policy conversations," and a source familiar told Axios that AOC and Biden have not yet spoken directly.

Why it matters: The freshman representative hasn't endorsed Biden, and in a New York Times interview published Monday, Ocasio-Cortez said the “process of coming together should be uncomfortable for everyone involved.”

  • She told Politico "it's incredibly important that we support the Democratic nominee in November."

Another source familiar with the conversation disputed the characterization that it was a policy discussion and described it instead as “opening the lines of communication.”

The big picture: Ocasio-Cortez previously endorsed and campaigned for Sen. Bernie Sanders, who dropped out of the race last week. He endorsed Biden on Monday.

  • The progressive congresswoman told Politico that Biden, as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, needs to "clarify and deepen his policy stances on certain issues, like health care and climate change.
  • Last week, Biden rolled out two new policies that incorporate part of Sanders' agenda into his own platform: A plan to lower the Medicare age to 60 and forgiving student debt for low-income and middle-class individuals.

Between the lines: That's not enough to satisfy AOC, who many see as the heiress to the progressive movement. Lowering the Medicare age isn't "going to be enough for us," she told Politico, adding she wants something "much more ambitious."

  • Biden's climate change plan isn't "sufficient" either, she noted. " I'd like to see us really work on that."
  • The New York lawmaker also said she'd like to improve policy on the federal treatment of Puerto Rico, immigration and health care.

What she's saying:

"It's either going to be Donald Trump or Joe Biden that will be elected president in November, and we have to live with the reality of those choices and I know that there may be a lot of folks that are uncomfortable with that."

One more thing: When asked whether she would rule out a primary challenge to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Ocasio-Cortez said it's not something she thinks about "in any serious way, so I don't know."

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include comments from a source about the characterization of the talks.

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