Obama reportedly warned freshman Democrats to expect tough questions about their ambitious progressive policies

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stands in front of a 'Green New Deal' sign at the Women's March in January 2019.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stands in front of a ‘Green New Deal’ sign at the Women’s March in January 2019.
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Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

  • President Barack Obama encouraged a group of freshman Democrats on Monday to continue to put forth ambitious policy proposals while considering their costs, according to the Washington Post.
  • While the former president didn’t name any specific policies, the Post reported that many members in the room thought Obama was referring to the Green New Deal and Medicare For All.
  • Obama told members to continue to put forth ambitious ideas, but also prepare to explain to their constituents how much their policies will cost and how they specifically plan to fund them.

President Barack Obama encouraged a group of freshman Democrats during a Monday night meeting to continue to put forth ambitious policy proposals while considering their costs, according to a report from the Washington Post.

“He said we [as Democrats] shouldn’t be afraid of big, bold ideas – but also need to think in the nitty-gritty about how those big, bold ideas will work and how you pay for them,” one person paraphrased Obama as telling the group to the Post.

While the former president didn’t name any specific policies, the Post reported that many members in the room interpreted Obama to be referring to bold, sweeping legislation like the Green New Deal, introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey, and Medicare for All.

Progressive Democrats in both Congress and the campaign trail for 2020 are embracing progressive policies, but some more moderate representatives from swing or conservative districts are concerned about being associated with expensive policy proposals.

Nearly all the 2020 candidates who identify themselves as parts of the progressive wing of the party are lining up behind the Green New Deal, as well as policies that would guarantee universal healthcare coverage.

Read more: Rick Perry, a champion of oil and gas, doesn’t think Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should be ‘pushed aside’ over her Green New Deal

People who attended the gathering described Obama’s remarks to the Post not as “deficit scolding,” but as general advice to members to be prepared to explain to their constituents how much their policies will cost, and how they specifically plan to fund them.

Members in the room described the meeting to the Post as a “casual and friendly” occasion and told the Post that Obama mainly focused on policy, not addressing special counsel Robert Mueller’s report into his nearly two-year-long investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election or whether Trump should be impeached.

Rep. Haley Stevens of Michigan, a freshman class co-president and former Obama administration official, told the Post that Obama said “there’s often time nuances to policymaking and that it takes time,” adding that Obama “told stories about passing the ACA, and how that took a lot of conviction and, ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell,’ and how that took a lot of time.”

Read more at the Washington Post»