• Ocasio-Cortez made her declaration in an Instagram chat with rapper Fat Joe
  • Ocasio-Cortez was closely aligned with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who endorsed Biden after giving up his quest for the Democratic presidential nomination
  • Ocasio-Cortez is urging Biden to move closer to the progressive agenda

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she plans to vote for former Vice President Joe Biden, the first time she has declared support for the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee by name. Ocasio-Cortez has been a vocal critic of Biden’s stand on various issues, saying they do not go far enough in evening the playing field for those not in the top tax brackets.

“In November, I’m going to be voting for Joe Biden,” Ocasio-Cortez said late Wednesday in an Instagram chat with rapper Fat Joe. “But that’s what I’m going to be doing.”

Ocasio-Cortez was a surrogate for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who officially endorsed Biden last week. Sanders acknowledged in late March he had little chance of gaining enough delegates to secure the Democratic presidential nomination and urged all Americans to support Biden.

Ocasio-Cortez has said she never actually has spoken with Biden and urged him to take a more progressive stance.

“I would love to see the vice president clarify and deepen his policy stances on certain issues. But aside from that, I think it’s incredibly important we support the Democratic nominee in November,” she said in an interview with Politico.

Biden has been making overtures to the left to appeal to Sanders’ supporters.

Ocasio-Cortez is a strong proponent of Sanders’ universal healthcare plan while Biden favors fixing and strengthening the Affordable Care Act and lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 60 from 65. She also backs the Green New Deal while Biden supports more moderate moves. Biden’s student debt forgiveness plan also does not go as far as Sanders’ plan.

Ocasio-Cortez has made a distinction between endorsing Biden and just voting for him in November, saying policy differences should not be brushed aside for the sake of party unity.

“The whole process of coming together should be uncomfortable for everyone involved — that’s how you know it’s working. And if Biden is only doing things he’s comfortable with, then it’s not enough,” she said in a New York Times interview.