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Ocasio-Cortez: Biden jobs plan doesn't 'match the vision' he put forward on climate change

"There are a lot of areas that demand a lot of expansion," Ocasio-Cortez said of Biden's infrastructure and jobs plan after reintroducing the Green New Deal.

Updated: April 20, 2021 - 11:01pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Calling for a "bigger and bolder" infrastructure and jobs plan from President Biden, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said the federal dollars in the $2 trillion proposal don't match the "vision" the president has put forward on climate change. 

"There are a lot of areas that demand a lot of expansion," the New York Democrat said in an interview after reintroducing the Green New Deal on Tuesday.

"The problem," said Ocasio-Cortez is that while "the aims of this infrastructure bill are great," the "dollars that they put in don't match the vision they have advanced.

"So if they want to actually advance and do what they say they want to do with this bill, they need to actually fund the ability to do it." 

Biden's plan seeks to "build, preserve, and retrofit more than two million homes and commercial buildings, modernize our nation's schools and child care facilities, and upgrade veterans' hospitals and federal buildings." 

Ocasio-Cortez provided the housing portion of the American Jobs Plan as an example of a provision that doesn't go far enough.

"One area, for example, is on housing," she said. "They've declared a $40 billion investment nationwide for all public housing in the United States; $40 billion dollars is what the New York City Housing Authority needs alone.

"So if they want to actually rectify the fact that people don't have hot water, or the fact that people don't have heat in wintertime, what they actually need to do is use the dollar amount that actually meets that goal, which gets to about anywhere between $70 and $100 billion. And then once they actually pick that number, then they can do the thing that they say they want to do." 

Biden's jobs plan, which includes renewable energy initiatives, hasn't been drafted into legislative language yet.

Ocasio-Cortez joined Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and other progressive Democrats to reintroduce the Green New Deal. Markey said he wants to see Biden go further than what he has proposed as part of the jobs plan so far. Ocasio-Cortez said the Biden administration's "approach" to climate change in the jobs plan is "commendable, and we have to go bigger and bolder than that as well."

She also said, however, that the Democratic lawmakers were not introducing the bill at this time because they think Biden's infrastructure and jobs proposal doesn't go far enough to address climate change. 

"We're introducing it because the people demand that we introduce it," Ocasio-Cortez said during a news conference about the Green New Deal. "We ran on this promise. We're fulfilling our promises and we're going to continue fighting for economic and environmental justice. This has nothing to do with politics."

Markey was asked if he and Ocasio-Cortez are in communication with the White House about the jobs and infrastructure proposal.

"We are in constant communication with the White House in terms of the boldness that we want to see in this plan," he said. "We want, obviously, for Republicans to come forward. We want them to support something that matches this incredible set of intersecting crises which we're facing in our country, but if they don't come forward then we have to pass it with reconciliation, with 51 votes, and beyond that we have to repeal the filibuster in order to ensure that we have the capacity to be able to deal with the problems that we're facing."

He added that "this is our FDR moment."

Republicans such as House Minority Whip Steve Scalise have said they oppose Biden's jobs proposal in its current form.

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