Vice president-elect Kamala Harris went on ABC’s “Good Morning America” to emphasize the urgency of Congress putting together a stimulus package to assist people who are in dire economic straits because of the coronavirus pandemic. Harris also said she wants to break down partisan lines when the new presidential administration takes office on January 20, 2021.
“I don’t understand the hesitation,” Harris told Robin Roberts in the interview which was taped at Howard University, where Harris attended as an undergraduate. “The people are suffering...one in six families in America are describing their children as being hungry. The moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures are about to end. The extension that people need of benefits is very real. And the people here in Washington, D.C., have got to stop living in a bubble.
“The people have a right to expect that their leaders in congress see them and act in their best interest,” she said. “You know, I can speak for Joe and me: We were elected to do a job. We were elected to do a job, and we intend to do that job. And we intend to bring everybody along who wants to do the job with us.”
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Harris, who takes office with President-elect Joe Biden in just five weeks, spoke on several topics that the incoming White House team will have to address after a contentious election with an outgoing president who refuses to concede and is offering no transitional help.
On Monday (Dec. 14), the Electoral College in each state voted, formally giving the presidency to Biden. Harris said that despite Donald Trump’s recalcitrance, voters made their voices heard, and that’s what counts.
“Our democracy is stronger than any one man, or woman,” Harris said. “It is about the people and the people spoke.”
When Biden and Harris take office, they could be facing major divisions in Congress. Although the House of Representatives will remain under Democratic control, the Senate hangs in the balance, depending on the outcome of the runoff election in Georgia between four candidates, two Democrat, two Republican.
With a Democratic win, Harris, as vice president, would be in a position to cast tie-breaking votes. But if Republicans win, and retain control, pushing through Biden’s agenda could prove more difficult.
“If we are to get the things done that the American people want, like getting people back to work, reopening small businesses, supporting schools to reopen, investing in infrastructure, which is gonna be the creation of millions of jobs, investing in broadband... If we're able to do all of that, it's gonna be because Congress and our administration work together,” Harris said. “I'd like to think that, regardless of who runs the majority, that everyone will approach it that way, but I also will say that, yes, those two seats in Georgia are critical.”
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Finally, Biden has said that turning around the coronavirus pandemic will be the top priority when he and Harris take office. Vaccines have begun to roll out and are being administered to frontline healthcare workers. Both Harris and Biden have made commitments to take the vaccine and she has made it a point to note the importance of distributing it in the disproportionately affected African American communities, outlining the nation’s top infectious disease official Dr. Anthony Fauci’s advice.
“Let's make sure that we make that clear, that we highlight all of the public health officials, and make sure that it is culturally competent, that people see the people they respect, who they trust, and that we highlight those stories,” Harris said.