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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rips Biden; has 'distaste' but is working with Cruz on lobbying ban

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders rallied support for the Green New Deal on Monday night
Time

WASHINGTON – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez didn’t hold anything back in an interview released Thursday by The Young Turks, taking on former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential bid and her “distaste” for conservative GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, who she is hoping to work with on a bill banning lobbying by former lawmakers. 

In the interview with the liberal media outlet, the freshman lawmaker, who has quickly become a social media star since taking office in January, took issue with Biden’s claim that he has the most progressive record of any candidate running in the 2020 presidential race, taking issue specifically with his reported support of the Hyde Amendment, a measure that blocks federal funding for abortion in most cases. (Later Thursday, at a Democratic Party event in Atlanta, Biden announced he no longer backs the decades-only funding prohibition.) 

“The term progressive is getting hijacked so much that people just think it means Democrat now and not all Democrats are progressive,” said Ocasio-Cortez, a progressive and self-described Democratic Socialist. “I’m sorry but if you’re going to come out and say you support the Hyde Amendment, which prevents us from funding clinics like Planned Parenthood. That’s not progressive.”

An unlikely duo: Ted Cruz agrees with Ocasio-Cortez: There should be a ban on lawmakers becoming lobbyists

More: Biden faces backlash from 2020 Dems for stance on Hyde Amendment

Elizabeth Warren: Biden wrong for continuing to support Hyde Amendment

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  • Former US Vice President Joe Biden leaves a rally organized1 of 81
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She added: “If your pride is being a moderate, centrist candidate then go out and say that. Say ‘I’m proud to be a centrist,’ ‘I’m proud to be funded by Wall Street.'” 

“Say it. Own it. Be it, but don’t kind of come out here and say you’re a progressive candidate but at the same time not support repealing something as basic as the Hyde Amendment.,” Ocasio-Cortez said. 

At a Thursday evening gala in Georgia, Biden told a crowd that he no longer could support the amendment. “If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent” on others who are trying to limit abortion access, he told the crowd. 

Biden’s reversal came after widespread criticism from fellow Democrats, including other 2020 candidates. 

During her interview with The Young Turks, Ocasio-Cortez was also asked about her back-and-forth comments on Twitter with Sen. Ted Cruz about working together to stop former lawmakers from working as lobbyists. 

“Our legislative teams are meeting so we’re gonna see how far we can push this,” Ocasio-Cortez said.

Of lawmakers who were part of the 115th Congress from 2017 to Jan. 3 who are working outside of politics, 59% now work for “lobbying firms, consulting firms, trade groups or business groups working to influence federal government activities,” according to an analysis by Public Citizen, a progressive think tank and advocacy group.

Currently, House members are banned for one year from lobbying after leaving office, while senators are barred for two years.

She said one problem her office has identified is loopholes that don’t require lawmakers to register as a lobbyist, even while doing consultant work for a lobbying firm. Ocasio-Cortez said while she’s “encouraged” by working across the aisle with the Cruz, a Texas Republican and key ally of President Donald Trump, she acknowledged how “weird” it is for her, one of the most vocal left-leaning lawmakers in Congress, to work with such an outspoken conservative. 

“It’s super bizarre, really weird. I never thought in my life that one of my first pushes would be alongside Ted Cruz,” she said. “I think it really shows what the true spirit of not being partisan is.” 

“Bipartisanship means, OK, I will swallow all of my distaste in this situation,” Ocasio-Cortez said, starting to laugh, “because we have a common interest.” 

Contributing: Rebecca Morin

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez , with Sen. Ed Markey, D-MA., delivers remarks on the ‘Green New Deal’ resolution during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 7, 2019. The resolution emphasizes massive public investment in wind and solar production, zero-emission vehicles and high-speed rail, energy-efficient buildings, and smart power grids, as well as ‘working collaboratively’ with farmers and ranchers to move towards sustainable agriculture techniques. SHAWN THEW, EPA-EFENewly-elected House Members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, left, and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL), center, and Abby Finkenauer, D-IA, right, huddle from the wind and cold as they arrive to gather at the U.S. Capitol for a class photo on Nov. 14, 2018. Jack Gruber, USA TODAY

  • epa07434239 Democratic Representative from New York Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (R) listens to a Congressional staffer during a US House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing, 'Freedom of Information Act: Examining Transparency Under the Trump Administration', on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 13 March 2019. The hearing was held to examine how the Trump administration handles Freedom of Information Act requests.  EPA-EFE/MICHAEL REYNOLDS ORG XMIT: MRX011 of 20
  • Michael Cohen, right, President Donald Trump's former lawyer, walks past committee member Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., center, during a break in Cohen's testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) ORG XMIT: DCPM1042 of 20
  • NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 19: A mural depicting the face of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is displayed on a wall in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, February 19, 2019 in New York City. Street artist Lexi Bella painted the mural of the young New York Congresswoman, who represents portions of The Bronx and Queens. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 775301581 ORIG FILE ID: 11258899853 of 20
  • epaselect epa07364957 US Democratic Representative from New York Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez delivers remarks to activists calling on Congress to enact permanent protections for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders during a protest outside the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 12 February 2019. Immigrants from Honduras and Nepal have filed a class action lawsuit a day earlier alleging the Trump administration and the Department of Homeland Security's ending of the TPS program was 'motivated by racial animus'.  EPA-EFE/SHAWN THEW ORG XMIT: STX024 of 20
  • epaselect epa07351016 Democratic Representative from New York Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (L), with US Democratic Senator from Massachusetts Ed Markey (R), delivers remarks on the 'Green New Deal' resolution during a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 07 February 2019. The resolution emphasizes massive public investment in wind and solar production, zero-emission vehicles and high-speed rail, energy-efficient buildings, and smart power grids, as well as 'working collaboratively' with farmers and ranchers to move towards sustainable agriculture techniques.  EPA-EFE/SHAWN THEW ORG XMIT: STX175 of 20
  • US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, sheds a tear during a press conference calling on Congress to cut funding for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and to defund border detention facilities, outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC, February 7, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images ORIG FILE ID: AFP_1D55JR6 of 20
  • Feb 5, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and other Congresswomen wear white as they listen as President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address from the House chamber of the United States Capitol in Washington.  Mandatory Credit: Jasper Colt-USA TODAY NETWORK ORIG FILE ID:  20190205_sal_usa_5267.JPG7 of 20
  • epa07331942 Democratic Representative from New York Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (C) speaks beside activist Lilly Ledbetter (L) and others during an event with Democratic members of Congress and national organization members to reintroduce the Paycheck Fairness Act, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, 30 January 2019. Democratic members of Congress reintroduce the Paycheck Fairness Act ten years after former US President Barack Obama signed into law the the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The legislation intends to close the pay gap between men and women by requiring equal pay for equal work.  EPA-EFE/MICHAEL REYNOLDS ORG XMIT: MRX028 of 20
  • WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 04: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) (L) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (C) join their fellow House Democratic women for a portrait in front of the U.S. Capitol January 04, 2019 in Washington, DC. The 116th Congress has the biggest number of female members ever while the number of Democratic women in the House has grown from 16 to 89 since 1989. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) ***BESTPIX*** ORG XMIT: 775277340 ORIG FILE ID: 10897712369 of 20
  • {January 3, 2019} 12:17:10 PM -- Washington, VA, U.S.A  -- Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D, NY) greets House Speaker Nancy Pelosi prior to her ceremonial swearing in as a member of the 116th Congress on January 3, 2019. --    Photo by Hannah Gaber, USA TODAY staff ORG XMIT:  HG 137740 Swearing in of 116th Congress 1/3/2019 (Via OlyDrop)10 of 20
  • Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a freshman Democrat representing New York's 14th Congressional District, takes a selfie with Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, D-NH, and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., on the first day of the 116th Congress with Democrats holding the majority, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday,  Jan. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) ORG XMIT: DCSA10511 of 20
  • 11/14/18 11:44:56 AM -- Washington, DC, U.S.A  -- Newly-elected House Members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, left, and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL), center, and Abby Finkenauer, D-IA, right,  huddle from the wind and cold as they arrive to gather at the U.S. Capitol for a class photo. --    Photo by Jack Gruber, USA TODAY Staff ORG XMIT:  JG 137631 Congress photo 11/14/2018 (Via OlyDrop)12 of 20
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez arrives on stage to speak to her supporters during her election night party in the Queens Borough of New York on Nov. 6, 2018. 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New Yorks 14th Congressional district won Tuesdays election, defeating Republican Anthony Pappas and becomes the youngest woman elected to Congress. 13 of 20
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is running as the Democratic nominee for New York's 14th congressional district, talks with reporters after casting her ballot in the 2018 midterm general election at a polling site in the Bronx, New York on Nov. 6, 2018. Voters across the nation are selecting who will represent them on local, state and national levels. 14 of 20
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is running as the Democratic nominee for New York's 14th congressional district, casts her ballots in the 2018 mid-term general election at a polling site in the Bronx, New York on Nov. 6, 2018. 15 of 20
  • New York City congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attends a tour event as part of her congressional campaign, in The Bronx, New York on Oct. 3, 2018. Ocasio-Cortez attended the event as part of her campaign's commitment to cultivate dialogue in the Bronx and Queens.16 of 20
  • Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks with  reporters after her general campaign kick-off rally in the Bronx borough of New York on Sept. 22, 2018. 17 of 20
  • Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talks with supporters during her general campaign kick-off rally in the Bronx borough of New York on Sept. 22, 2018. 18 of 20
  • New York City congressional nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, left, high-fives a young school boy at Public School 019 in Corona, Queens, New York on Sept. 13, 2018. Today voters are casting ballots in the New York State Democratic Primary.19 of 20
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the winner of a Democratic Congressional primary in New York, greets a passerby in New York, Wednesday, June 27, 2018, the morning after she upset U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley in Tuesday's primary election. 20 of 20

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