Ocasio-Cortez attacks Biden on climate change policy, Biden says he's 'never been middle of the road'
Ocasio-Cortez criticizes Biden's reported 'middle ground' climate change policy.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has ramped up her criticism of former Vice President Joe Biden's reported “middle ground” climate change policy approach as part of his 2020 presidential campaign.
"I will be damned if the same politicians who refused to act then are going to try to come back today and say we need a 'middle of the road' approach to save our lives," Ocasio-Cortez said at a Green New Deal rally Monday night. .
Biden shot back at a campaign event in New Hampshire on Tuesday.
"I've never been middle of the road on the environment," he told reporters. "Tell her to check the statements that I made, and look at my record and she'll find that nobody has been more consistent about taking on the environment and a Green Revolution then I have." Biden said he's been talking about climate change since 1987.
He added, "I don’t think she was talking about me."
Ocasio-Cortez made her comments as the closing speaker at at a rally in Washington, D.C., marking the final stop on a "Road to a Green New Deal Tour," co-headlined by one of Biden's rivals, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
She attacked what a recent Reuters report characterized as a “middle ground approach” that Biden is working on as an alternative to Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed Green New Deal.
Biden has not publicly released a climate change proposal. However, according to the Reuters report, Biden is currently drafting climate change policy that "will appeal to both environmentalists and the blue-collar voters who elected Donald Trump.” The plan will reportedly focus on initiatives such a re-joining the Paris Climate Agreement and "regulations on emissions and vehicle fuel efficiency." He has said he will reveal his plan in a speech later this month.
The freshman Democrat criticized "conservatives on both sides of the aisle" who have not signed on to support the Green New Deal bill.
Although she never mentioned him by name, Ocasio-Cortez' reference to "politicians who refused to act back then" appeared aimed at Biden when she spoke about the inaction of Congress following the 1989 history-making testimony of James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Biden was in the Senate when Hansen told Senate lawmakers that global warming was real, already happening and posed a serious threat.
These latest criticism by Ocasio-Cortez followed a tweet she posted Friday in which she called Biden’s reported climate change proposal a “dealbreaker.”
"This is a dealbreaker. There is no 'middle ground' w/ climate denial & delay," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. "Blaming 'blue collar' Americans as the main opponents to bold climate policy is gas lobbyist 101," she added. "We’re not going to solve the climate crisis w/ this lack of leadership. Our kids’ lives are at stake."
T.J. Ducklo, the national press secretary for Biden’s 2020 campaign, pushed back against the report on Friday tweeting that ”Reuters got it wrong.”
“@JoeBiden has called climate change a "existential threat," and we look forward to discussing his plan to address it in a meaningful and lasting way in the coming weeks,” Ducklo tweeted.
Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal is wide-reaching proposal that calls not just for a massive overhaul of the nation's energy sector over the next 10 years, but also investments in the country's education, infrastructure and health care systems and a redesign of the entire U.S. economy. Progressives in the Democratic party were quick to embrace the deal, while other moderate Democrats, such as Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va, have publicly criticized the bill.
Currently, six of the 2020 presidential candidates have co-sponsored the Green New Deal including Sens. Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar.
ABC News' Christopher Donato and Molly Nagle contributed to this report.
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