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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), listens during a press conference introducing the Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act of 2021 on March 18, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Anna Moneymaker/AFP via Getty Images)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), listens during a press conference introducing the Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act of 2021 on March 18, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Anna Moneymaker/AFP via Getty Images)

Ocasio-Cortez Says Biden Infrastructure Plan 'Needs To Be Way Bigger'

"This is not nearly enough," the New York Democrat said of Biden's $2.26 trillion proposal.

Kenny Stancil

With President Joe Biden expected to unveil the first part of his jobs and infrastructure plan from Pittsburgh later on Wednesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is warning that the White House's $2.26 trillion proposal does not come close to meeting the scale of the unemployment, inequality, and climate crises facing the nation and world.

"This is not nearly enough," the New York Democrat tweeted Tuesday, adding that the spending proposed in Biden's American Jobs Plan is "spread out" over nearly a decade.

By contrast, Ocasio-Cortez noted, the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress earlier this month in an effort to provide relief amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic "was $1.9 trillion for this year alone, with some provisions lasting two years." 

The progressive stalwart added that the Biden administration, which has vowed to "Build Back Better," needs to embrace a much more ambitious agenda for an equitable and green economic recovery.

Ocasio-Cortez is far from alone in criticizing Biden's jobs and infrastructure plan.

As Common Dreams reported Tuesday, Biden will be greeted upon his arrival in Pittsburgh on Wednesday by four billboards from progressive advocates urging his administration to "go big" and "go bold" on recovery, in part by supporting the Transform, Heal, and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy (THRIVE) Act. Officially announced Monday by a group of Democratic lawmakers, the bill builds on a resolution introduced last September by a coalition of labor and social justice groups.

While the Washington Post reported that Biden's two-part package could possibly top $4 trillion, the THRIVE Act proposes investing $10 trillion over the next decade in renewable energy, clean mass transit, and sustainable retrofitting and construction—creating over 15 million well-paying union jobs while advancing economic and environmental justice.

Greenpeace USA Climate Campaigner Ashley Thomson said Wednesday in a statement that "our movement has already handed President Biden the plan he needs to end the unemployment crisis, combat climate change, and deliver a just, equitable recovery from Covid-19: the THRIVE Agenda."

The THRIVE Agenda has been endorsed by more than 100 members of Congress and 300 unions, racial justice organizations, and climate groups.

"We will not settle for anything less. This is a moment for the president to be bold, and to listen to the wisdom of the very communities that organized to put him in office," said Thomson. "Instead of wasting billions of dollars every year subsidizing fossil fuels, our government should be investing in the renewable energy economy of the future."

During more than 100 "Time to Thrive" events, communities across the country on Wednesday will remind Biden and other elected officials that in the wake of the coronavirus-driven economic crisis, they have a once-in-a-generation chance to build a more egalitarian society that prioritizes public health.

"Not only can we avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis, we can create a world in which our health and our families come before corporate greed," said Thomson.


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