- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized President Joe Biden for not using his executive powers.
- She said meaningful legislation won’t pass moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema.
- “The President has a responsibility to look at the tools that he has,” she told The New Yorker.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York argued that President Joe Biden has a duty to look at every option to help the American people — including his executive power — in an interview with The New Yorker’s David Remnick.
“The Presidency is so much larger than just the votes in the legislature,” said the congresswoman from New York. “The President has not been using his executive power to the extent that some would say is necessary.”
Her remarks nodded to moderate Democratic holdouts Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona who have managed to block key legislation in Biden’s Build Back Better agenda — which originally included, in part, free community college, 12 weeks of paid family leave, and key climate change provisions.
While she acknowledges that there are certain outcomes outside of Biden’s control, she also argues that “there are some things within the president’s control, and his hesitancy around them has contributed to a situation that isn’t as optimal.”
She said she doubts that any legislation “that will significantly and materially improve the lives of working people” would make it past Manchin and Sinema.
“The President has a responsibility to look at the tools that he has,” she argued.
To her, this includes student loan cancellation. The Biden administration has argued that this has to be done through legislation.
“It’s entirely within his power. This really isn’t a conversation about providing relief to a small, niche group of people. It’s very much a keystone action politically. I think it’s a keystone action economically as well,” she said.
She argued that the “present political moment” is critical and that lawmakers are running out of time to “do everything that we can.”
In the wide-ranging New Yorker interview, the progressive politician also reflected on leaving the “shit show” halls of Congress for mass movements, the state of American democracy, and how her New York constituents are often overlooked.
A representative for the congresswoman did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.