- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez offered praise on Friday for Biden’s infrastructure package.
- She is, however, “pressuring the administration to be a little more ambitious” with it.
- Opponents have called Biden’s infrastructure plan a “radical, left wing, socialist agenda.”
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Friday said President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office have exceeded the expectations of progressive lawmakers.
She particularly lauded the “vision” of Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion infrastructure package, the American Rescue Plan, although she said it was too small.
“However, my concern is that the actual plan, their starting offer that they presented, doesn’t have the numbers necessary to actually do what they say they wanted to do,” she said. “That’s why we’ve been on the side of pressuring the administration to be a little more ambitious.”
Ocasio-Cortez offered overall praise for Biden’s actions since taking office. “I do think that the Biden administration – President Biden – has definitely exceeded expectations that progressives had,” she said during a virtual town hall in response to a question from NY1 television.
She added: “I’ll be frank, I think a lot of us expected a much more conservative administration.”
It was still early to judge whether the Biden administration would be “keeping or raising its ambitions” with future legislation, she said.
Ocasio-Cortez’s comments echoed those made by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a group that has called Biden’s massive infrastructure plan “a welcome first step.”
“To that end, we believe this package can be substantially larger in size and scope,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, caucus chair, said in a statement after Biden introduced the plan.
On the other side of the aisle, opponents have said Biden’s American Rescue Plan proposal included too much spending that ranged too far from traditional infrastructure.
Speaking on Fox Business on Friday, Sen. Ron Johnson said he supported fixing roads and bridges that have been “ignored for far too long,” according to a transcript provided by his office.
But he said, “they’re enacting their radical, left wing, socialist agenda.”
Other leading progressives have defended Biden wide-ranging approach. Sen. Bernie Sanders earlier this month said the country needed to invest in “human infrastructure.”
“Education. Health care. Child care. Good wages. Affordable prescriptions. That’s human infrastructure. Yes, we have got to rebuild this country’s crumbling infrastructure,” he told CNN.
Progressives have also sought more action on the climate crisis. Ocasio-Cortez on Friday again pushed for a Green New Deal, which she said could create millions of jobs. Earlier in the week, she and Sen. Ed Markey reintroduced their plan.
“Historically there has been this tension between environmental – this idea that we have to choose between environmental concerns or jobs or the economy,” Ocasio-Cortez said on Friday.
“You may hear on Fox News or from Republicans who are trying to scaremonger around climate, that stewarding our Earth and transitioning to renewal energies will destroy our economy and kill jobs,” she added.
Biden on Thursday will mark 100 days in office with an appearance in Georgia, the White House said. He’ll participate in a car rally and “highlight how he’s delivered on his promises to the American people,” according to Jen Psaki, press secretary.