AOC Calls Passing Coronavirus Financial Relief Bill 'Imperative': 'This Is the Time For Swift Action'

New York Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told Bret Baier on his Fox News program Thursday that passing the coronavirus emergency financial bill proposed by House Democrats is "imperative."

While agreeing with President Donald Trump on some points of the administration's requests for emergency funding, such as paid sick leave and free coronavirus testing for affected individuals, Democrats have voiced opposition to Trump's proposed reduction of the payroll tax for employees and employers.

Since payroll taxes are used to fund Medicare and Social Security, many Democrats see Trump's proposal as benefiting corporations and not average Americans.

Ocasio-Cortez said that in the face of the coronavirus, the payroll tax should not be the focus of conversation.

"I think what we need to see is what tools we use for what responses," Ocasio-Cortez said. "So, a payroll tax is one thing to be considered when there are certain economic indicators, but right now what we are dealing with is a pandemic. So what we need to do is make sure we are taking swift actions right now to protect doctors, to protect people on Medicaid, to make sure that people can see a doctor and those are the things that we need to be focusing on right now."

"We can talk about a payroll tax later," Ocasio-Cortez added. "You can talk about, debate, all of these sorts of things at another time. But right now is the moment for swift action to make sure we're protecting our elders and our immunocompromised Americans."

Ocasio-Cortez also challenged Trump's oft-repeated statement that the U.S. has the "best healthcare system in the world" by saying that assertion was "something that's up for debate."

"Here, people are scrambling," Ocasio-Cortez said. "It almost seems like the more wealthy and powerful you are, the more able you are to access a test but the rougher a road you've got here, it's going to be a lot more difficult for you to access health care. That's exactly the recipe for disaster in a pandemic."

alexandria ocasio-cortez
New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said passing the Democratic coronavirus emergency financial relief bill was "imperative" Thursday on Fox News. Samuel Corum/Getty

Ocasio-Cortez also lauded South Korea's health care system during the interview, referencing a tweet she made Thursday.

"Want to know one major reason why South Korea has had stellar rapid response and quickly produced & scaled up to 10k+ tests/day? They have a single payer, #MedicareForAll system. We don't." Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. "Please remember why it's so important for us to fight for healthcare as a human right."

Newsweek reached out to Ocasio-Cortez's office for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Trump told reporters Thursday that he didn't approve of the Democratic proposal because "there are things in there that have nothing to do with what we're talking about. It's not a way for them to get some of the goodies that they haven't been able to get for the last 25 years."

However, Trump encouraged unity in his address to the nation Wednesday concerning the coronavirus outbreak.

"We are all in this together," Trump said. "We must put politics aside, stop the partisanship and unify together as one nation and one family."

No specific date has yet been set for Congress to vote on an emergency coronavirus economic package.