Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will co-chair a task force for Joe Biden’s campaign on climate change, a source with direct knowledge of the planning tells CNN, a move that adds progressive credentials to the former vice president’s effort to unify the party ahead of the general election.
The group is one of several task forces being formed to bridge the divide between the polices of Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who ended his White House bid last month.
“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,” Biden said Tuesday in an interview with News8 in Las Vegas.
Ocasio-Cortez spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said in a statement that the congresswoman made the decision to join the task force “with members of the Climate Justice community – and she will be fully accountable to them and the larger advocacy community during this process.”
“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,” the statement said.
The task forces — examining a variety of areas from the economy to criminal justice to health care — were announced when Sanders endorsed Biden last month.
“It’s no great secret out there, Joe, that you and I have our differences, and we’re not going to paper them over. That’s real,” Sanders said when he endorsed Biden. “But I hope that these task forces will come together utilizing the best minds and people in your campaign and in my campaign to work out real solutions to these very, very important problems.”
Ocasio-Cortez had previously signaled that she would support Biden’s presidential bid in November but said that the process of uniting the party behind his campaign should be “uncomfortable for everyone involved.”
“And if Biden is only doing things he’s comfortable with, then it’s not enough,” the freshman congresswoman from New York told The New York Times last month.
Instead of “throwing the progressive wing of the party a couple of bones,” Ocasio-Cortez said the conversation should be about “how we can win.”
“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 told the paper.
“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.”