AOC calls Biden’s agenda ‘a little hazy’ as president-elect fills out his cabinet

On Thursday, Ms Ocasio-Cortez, 31, who is part of a group of progressive Democratic congresswomen, known as the “squad”, told reporters that Mr Biden’s cabinet needs “a more cohesive vision,” according to The Hill.

The president-elect has vowed to have the “most diverse Cabinet” ever in the US, and over the last few weeks he has picked multiple officials who would make history if confirmed by the Senate.

Alejandro Mayorkas would be the first immigrant and Latino person to be the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, while Neera Tanden would be the first woman of colour to be the director of the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Xavier Becerra as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and Janet Yellen as treasury secretary, would also be the first Latino person and woman respectively to run their departments.

Many of the appointments served under the Obama administration, when Mr Biden was vice-president, while popular progressive politicians, such as Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders look unlikely to be nominated for a role.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez said on Thursday that she is struggling to understand “the overall message” from the president-elect with “this entire Cabinet put together.”

“You have an individual appointment here, an individual appointment there,” Ms Ocasio-Cortez said on Wednesday.

“We can wrestle about whether they are bold enough or ambitious enough, especially given the uncertainty and what kind of Senate we’re going to have,” she continued.

“But aside from that, I think one of the things I’m looking for, when I see all of these picks put together is: What is the agenda? What is this overall vision going to be? And to me, I think that’s a little hazy,” the 31-year-old added.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez asked reporters: “What is the mandate here?” and added: “I just think that’s something that we’re looking to see is — it’s something that I hope will be pushed.”

A majority of the president-elect’s nominees for his cabinet need to be approved by the Senate, and he is already facing criticism from both Republicans and Democrats, including Ms Warren, for his pick of general Lloyd Austin for defence secretary.

Under US law, the defence secretary has to have been retired from military service for at least seven years before they can take the job, but Mr Austin only left the Army in 2016.

This means that he will need to first be approved by Congress, before his nomination can then be put before the Senate. If approved, he would be the first Black US defence secretary.

Biden transition spokesperson Sean Savett told The Independent: “Amid the crises facing the country, President-elect Biden is building a team of qualified and competent leaders to get things back on track and advance his bold agenda to build back better.

“Each of these nominees are forward-thinking, crisis-tested and experienced, and they are ready to quickly use the levers of government to make meaningful differences in the lives of Americans and help govern on day one.”

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