“We’ve set up joint committees together to deal with how we would deal with everything from the [coronavirus] all the way down to education, the criminal justice system, the new Green Deal, etc.,” Biden told Las Vegas TV station KLAS on Tuesday. “We have, you know, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez. She is on one of the panels.”
Ocasio-Cortez authored the House version of the Green New Deal and was elected to Congress after unseating a member of the House Democratic leadership in 2018. She draws the ire of conservatives and has frequently sparred with President Trump via social media.
Ocasio-Cortez will act as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) representative on a climate policy panel, said Lauren Hitt, a spokeswoman for Ocasio-Cortez. Sanders, a liberal icon, suspended his campaign and endorsed Biden last month, and the two pledged to work together on policy through a set of six committees they said they would jointly create.
“She believes the movement will only be successful if we continue to apply pressure both inside and outside the system,” Hitt said. “This is just one element of the broader fight for just policies.”
Ocasio-Cortez backed Sanders in the Democratic primary and stood by his side at some of the largest rallies he held during his bid for the presidential nomination.
She has not formally endorsed Biden, but she has said she plans to vote for him. As of the middle of last month, the two had never spoken.
On Wednesday morning, Biden’s campaign released a full list of the panels and who will be on each one. Former Secretary of State John Kerry, a top Biden surrogate who raised eyebrows in Iowa by privately musing about potentially running for president himself, will be the other co-chair of the climate panel.
He negotiated the Paris Climate Accord intended to reduce global production of greenhouse gases. President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the agreement, but Biden has pledged to re-join it if elected president.
A panel on health will be co-chaired by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who wrote the House version of a Medicare-for-all proposal. Biden does not support this plan, though many on the left are pushing him to embrace the proposals principals.
One on criminal justice includes former Attorney General Eric Holder.
Leaders from three of the four largest public service unions are also participating on other panels, which cover topics including education, immigration, the economy,
Biden mentioned Ocasio-Cortez Tuesday evening after being asked whether the Democratic Party would unite. “The good news is that Bernie has robustly endorsed me,” Biden said. “I’m working with Bernie and with his people.”
Biden also suggested that liberals who didn’t back him in the primary were unfamiliar with his campaign message.
“What they’re finding out now that the nomination process is de facto over — they’re finding out positions I have on an awful lot of things were not accurately characterized and they’re feeling more comfortable,” Biden said.