AOC says Dems can 'likely' push Biden in 'more progressive direction' if elected

She noted that Sen. Bernie Sanders is reportedly concerned that Biden is not far left enough

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., expressed optimism that progressive Democrats can “likely” push Joe Biden further to the left if he’s elected president.

She noted that Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, is reportedly concerned that Biden is not far left enough, an assessment she said she agrees with.

"We're different people, and clearly I, in the primary, one of the reasons why I was supportive of Senator Sanders was because of how progressive his stances are, but, you know, the primaries are over, and right now what is most important is to make sure that we ensure a Democratic victory in November and that we continue to push Vice President Biden on issues from marijuana to climate change to foreign policy,” Ocasio-Cortez told “Just the News” in an interview Tuesday.

"I think, overall, we can likely push Vice President Biden in a more progressive direction across policy issues," she said. "I think foreign policy is an enormous area where we can improve; immigration is another one.”

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Ocasio-Cortez acknowledged intra-party disagreement but emphasized she wouldn’t try to “undermine” Democrats.

“There are some areas where we just fundamentally disagree, but that's OK," she said. "I think it's important to acknowledge that we can have, in some cases, very large disagreements — it doesn't mean that we're trying to undermine the party or undermine each other. It means that we're trying to do what's best for people in the country."

Ocasio-Cortez described the Biden campaign as “pretty stubborn” on health care reform. Biden calls for a building up Obamacare with a federally run public option, where Ocasio-Cortez’s wing of the party is pushing Medicare-for-All. Ocasio-Cortez said a public option is at least better than the current system.

"One concern I'd say that I have with a public option is that it very easily allows insurance companies to just kind of bump off their more expensive patients onto a public option, thus making an increase in the costs on a public option and kind of them keeping healthier people that require less insurance coverage for themselves," she said.

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"The whole purpose of insurance is to even out those costs, which is why I believe single-payer is a better policy, so in terms of that we do disagree," she added. "But either way, I do think that a public option is likely a better scenario than we have right now."

She recognized she’d need a “mass movement” on Medicare-for-All to convince the former vice president to support it.

"We'll see what progress that we're able to make on issues like immigration and criminal justice reform," she added.

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Ocasio-Cortez said she would also push for “full legalization” of marijuana.

"But, you know, we will hash those out," she said. "Our main priority is to make sure that the vice president is successful and victorious in November so that we can have those kinds of conversations in the first place from a more effective stance with him in the White House."

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