Democrat Ocasio-Cortez plans to back Biden but wants to see tougher stances


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of Congress’s leading progressives, told Politico on Wednesday she wanted to see former Vice President Joe Biden refine his stances on issues including healthcare and immigration before endorsing him.

Ocasio-Cortez, who had earlier backed fellow progressive U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ bid for the Democratic nomination, said she expected to ultimately support Biden’s bid to unseat Republican President Donald Trump.

“We have to live in the reality of those choices” even if many people would be “uncomfortable” with that, she told Politico. “It’s for me personally very important to be in solidarity with the families that I represent in supporting Joe Biden in November.”

Ocasio-Cortez, who represents a New York City district that has been especially hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, said she also wanted to see Biden, a moderate, clarify and deepen his stance on climate change and Puerto Rico.

An endorsement from Ocasio-Cortez would continue Biden’s consolidation of the party. Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren and former President Barack Obama endorsed Biden this week.

Ocasio-Cortez said members of her team were talking with members of Biden’s camp. She said she would especially like to see Democrats have a more “ambitious” policy on healthcare and climate change.

Ocasio-Cortez, 30, has soared to prominence since her election to Congress in 2018 by defeating an establishment Democrat. She has pushed the Democratic Party to veer to the left ahead of the November 2020 presidential election while becoming a favorite target of Republicans who consider her too radical.

Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Bernadette Baum