Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Slams Biden's State of the Union Address Over 'Lost Opportunity'
President Joe Biden missed some chances to please Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez during Tuesday night’s State of the Union address
“There were some things left unsaid that we’re really going to have to work on as a party,” she said during a post-speech interview with MSNBC‘s Rachel Maddow, referring to canceling student loan debt.
“The piece on immigration was really just glossed over and we have over 10 — you know, anywhere between 10 to 13 million immigrants in this country that feel desperate for a path to citizenship,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
“We heard, you know, some speaking to Dreamers, but Dreamers want their families to be able to stay. They don’t want to be separated from their parents either,” she said, referring to the children of illegal immigrants allowed to remain in the country due to the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals policy.
“So I think there’s some themes that are left a little bit to be desired for key constituencies in the Democratic base, but the president’s goal was very clear. He was laser-focused on really projecting a theme of unity and I think he’s still stuck to that,” she said.
Answering a question from MSNBC’s Joy Reid, Ocasio-Cortez said there “definitely was a lost opportunity” when Biden spoke on energy but did not embrace her Green New Deal agenda in depth.
“The entire country does support – there is profound bipartisan support – for a long-term shift away from fossil fuels,” she said, claiming that expanding solar and wind energy production would provide jobs for union members.
Ocasio-Cortez said reliance on fossil fuels needs to be abandoned.
“Russia is very, very much reliant on the rest of the world buying its oil. We are releasing oil reserves right now in order to ease that, but we shouldn’t be relying on fossil fuels to begin with and that would really solve a lot of these issues,” she said.
“I think that there’s a lot more to be desired there. [Electric vehicles], while they are great, they are not the main form of transit for millions of people who live in urban or urban-adjacent areas in the United States. And so we need to hear more about our transition to clean energy beyond just, you know, weatherizing our windows, which is incredibly important, and EVs. But we really need to hear more, I think, about mass transit, trains, high-speed rail and renewable energy.”
Ocasio-Cortez further said that refugees from the war in Ukraine should not be treated differently from what she termed as the “refugees” trying to enter the United States illegally on the southern border.
Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan offered a Working Families Party response to the speech, in which she criticized “corporate-backed obstructionists” in the Democratic Party, according to The Hill.
Tlaib also called for abolishing the filibuster in the Senate.
“Some important parts of the president’s agenda became law with the infrastructure bill, but we campaigned on doing even more,” she said. “Roads and bridges are critical, but so are childcare and prescription drugs — and we shouldn’t have to choose.”
As longtime liberal commentator Eleanor Clift wrote at The Daily Beast, some on the left said Democrats turning on Democrats will not help the party.
“Why does any Democrat at this moment think it’s a good idea to attack other Democrats on the night of the President’s State of the Union, it’s insane,” said Matt Bennett, a co-founder of Third Way, a moderate group, Clift wrote.
“They have the mistaken theory that standing up to Joe Biden is going to help them get what they want,” said Elaine Kamarck of the Brookings Institution, according to Clift.
“All it does is alienate all the Democrats they need to make friends of. It’s a wing of the party that wants to act out their fantasy.”
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