Ocasio-Cortez backtracks on Amazon NYC headquarters, top aide says she 'welcomes having a community process'

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's top aide, Saikat Chakrabarti, said the congresswoman would likely back Amazon's New York City headquarters if the process is done with community input


                            Ocasio-Cortez backtracks on Amazon NYC headquarters, top aide says she 'welcomes having a community process'

New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is reportedly backtracking on her stance on the $3 billion in tax breaks offered to Amazon to build a second headquarters in New York. According to her chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, the congresswoman would likely back the deal if the process is done with community input.

"We welcome a process, we welcome having a community process, but I don't know where the talks are at at this stage," AOC's top aide told Bloomberg Television. "What she was vocal about was the process by which it happened, the deal. Amazon is the company that chose to step away from the negotiating table."

Reports state that the stark change in AOC's stance came after she faced intense criticism for her opposition to the deal, which would have brought nearly 25,000 jobs to the region. Amazon eventually changed its decision about building its headquarters in Queens, scrapping the idea altogether.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks to the media about Amazon scrapping its plans to build a new headquarters in Queens, New York, on Capitol Hill February 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks to the media about Amazon scrapping its plans to build a new headquarters in Queens, New York, on Capitol Hill February 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)

Shortly after its decision, the firm put up a billboard in Times Square, offering a mocking "thanks" to Ocasio-Cortez for her opposition. Amazon blamed the NY congresswoman and other opponents for its decision to kill the deal, saying that the lawmakers had created a hostile "environment" for the company in the region.

The youngest congresswoman in US history celebrated after Amazon announced its decision, stating it would not be building its second headquarters in Queens.

"Anything is possible: today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon's corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world," the New York representative, who is a self-described socialist, had tweeted. The congresswoman has been against Amazon's plans, citing local displacement and rent hikes in the region. 

Activists and community members who opposed Amazon's plan to move into Queens rally in celebration of Amazon's decision to pull out of the deal, in the Long Island City neighborhood, February 14, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Getty Images)
Activists and community members who opposed Amazon's plan to move into Queens rally in celebration of Amazon's decision to pull out of the deal, in the Long Island City neighborhood, February 14, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Getty Images)

However, Ocasio-Cortez received heavy backlash from members of both the parties when she argued that the $3 billion in tax breaks offered to Amazon to build a second headquarters in Queens, New York, would be better spent hiring teachers and fixing the city's crumbling subway system.

Amazon's head of policy communications, Jodi Seth, while speaking about the firm's withdrawal last month, blamed the NY congresswoman's anti-Amazon rhetoric, saying: "If you talk to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, it's 'Never Amazon.'"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, after Amazon's decision to scrap the deal, said that the city had lost a golden opportunity to be "an emerging center for tech." He had previously called Amazon move "an extraordinary economic win not just for Queens and New York City, but for the entire region, from Long Island to Albany's nanotech center."