Critical politics: Harris tries to work the play for Biden
Vice president Kamala harris opened a landmark week for the Biden administration’s congressional agenda with an afternoon reception Monday at his official residence, celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with members of the Hispanic caucus.
It was a mixture of pleasure and business. Lawmakers posted photos on social media of the lush gardens of the Naval Observatory as they munched on bites of fried avocado and sipped peach iced tea. Harris gave Rep. Adriano espaillat (DN.Y.) Hot peppers from his garden while everyone sang to him on his birthday.
Harris spoke about the long history of the Latino movement and renewed his commitment to pass an immigration bill, the representative said. Norma Torres (D-Pomona).
But the most pressing matter concerned the next big parts of the Biden administration’s program and the fighting within the Democratic Party that threatens to destroy it. Democrats in Congress are threading a needle in hopes of passing a $ 1,000 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill and a $ 3.5 trillion spending plan that responds to a litany of Liberal priorities.
Hello and welcome to Essential Politics, Kamala Harris edition. This week, I will examine Harris’ role in the administration’s belated efforts to keep Democrats from leaving their agenda and his office’s latest plans to sharpen his public image.
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“We may not have all the enchilada”
Harris does not have a reputation for being a major negotiator on Capitol Hill. But this week, she’s playing a key role in the administration’s judicial press, using the attributes of her office and whatever it takes to keep the cranky Democratic caucus together.
“It was really a message of the importance of these bills – what was for Latinos, not just men, but women and families,” Torres said, describing Harris’ message at the time. from Monday’s reception.
“Let’s move on to something meaningful for our communities knowing that we may not get all the enchilada,” Torres said, paraphrasing the vice president’s message.
“She basically told us about the importance of implementing this program and how often our communities are left behind, and it was not lost on her,” said the representative. Pete Aguilar (D-Redlands).
Aguilar said Harris sidelined lawmakers, asking if they needed help making sure their priorities were factored into the spending bill.
Harris hosted a similar event last week with the Black Caucus, dominated by lawmakers expressing concerns over the administration’s response to a Haitian migrant encampment in Del Rio, Texas.
So far, the White House has relied on Harris to publicly sell its policies. She has hosted panel discussions and other events designed to emphasize the need to spend on free community colleges, water infrastructure, and women’s health care, among other administrative priorities.
Using Harris’ time in this way made strategic sense – it generated excitement in some key Democratic ridings and made visiting colleges, daycares and other historically black places a priority than his white predecessors and males may not have considered.
Last week, for example, she visited a woman in Washington, DC, who cares for her parents and children, to illustrate the riddle of the “sandwich generation.” The administration’s spending plan would increase long-term care coverage for the elderly and reduce childcare costs, among other measures.
The White House has generally limited Harris’ role in lobbying lawmakers, as she only spent four years in the Senate, largely as a partisan presidential or vice-presidential candidate, thus limiting her ability. to influence former colleagues.
But this week, the White House needs everyone.
Democrats have a simple majority in the Senate and only an eight-vote majority in the House, giving almost all lawmakers inordinate leverage. There is a rift between some centrists who oppose the $ 3.5 trillion spending bill – at least at its current size – and progressives who say they can withhold their votes on infrastructure if they don’t get the biggest spending plan.
In addition to seeking to transform the country, the Democrats are making a political argument. If Biden fails to pass his platform, the party’s uphill battle to retain control of Congress in the 2022 election becomes more difficult. Not all moderates agree with this argument, however; many believe they could be dismissed from their posts if they raise taxes on top incomes and businesses and spend a lot of money on national programs.
The first test takes place on Thursday, when the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) plans to hold a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure plan.
It’s too early to tell if Harris’ voice will make a significant difference. Some pivotal members of the Hispanic caucus, including the moderate representative. Henri cuellar of Texas and the Progressive Republic. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York, were not at the vice president’s residence on Monday. AIDS says Harris has spoken with other potential holdouts and will continue to make calls this week.
While Biden, Pelosi and the leader of the senator majority Charles E. Schumer from New York are the most important players in presenting Democratic strategy and negotiating with competing camps within the party, it is essential that Harris be seen by Biden and his advisers as a team player.
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Is Harris closing the gap in the polls?
It’s no secret that Biden has struggled in the polls amid the COVID-19 resurgence and disorderly exit from Afghanistan. Earlier this month, I wrote about how it might, in a perverse way, help Harris by giving him a reprieve from the hard spotlight.
Last week we saw a rare Gallup poll that showed Harris with a higher approval rating than Biden: 49% versus 43%.
Should we believe it? Probably not, at least not yet. It is better to wait to evaluate a few polls before claiming that there has been movement. A single poll that differs from the others is more often an outlier than a warning sign.
But Harris, who recently followed a trend of around 10 percentage points behind Biden, could move closer to him. The Los Angeles Times average puts her about 9 percentage points behind the president, and Real Clear Politics about 6.5 points behind.
However, that’s not good news for either – both are below 50%.
The Harris team continues to work on its image. A White House official has confirmed two hires, first reported by The Washington Post, of two senior communications advisers – Lorraine voles and Adam Frankel – in temporary positions. The White House wouldn’t say how long Voles and Frankel will work on the Vice President’s team.
Frankel worked for president obama; The voles worked for Vice President Al Gore. The two helped Harris during the transition.
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The view from Washington
– Democrats are deeply divided on how to implement President Biden’s agenda, but they agree on one thing: No one is approaching the president Nancy Pelosi ‘The strong sense of bodybuilding bills across the bedroom, write Jennifer Haberkorn and Janet Hook.
– Biden tried on Friday to both disavow and accept responsibility for one of the ugliest images of his presidency: Desperate Haitians being quarreled by border patrol agents on horseback, write Noah Bierman and Hook.
– Erin B. Logan reports that Biden on Monday received a COVID-19 booster injection as part of a wider public campaign to promote vaccinations in hopes of slowing the spread of the coronavirus. At least 400,000 people in the United States have received COVID-19 booster injections since the additional injections were authorized last week.
– General Mark A. Milley on Tuesday defended controversial calls with his Chinese counterparts towards the end of Donald Trump ‘s chair, say conversations were part of his responsibility to avoid a potentially deadly misunderstanding between two superpowers, reports Chris Megerian. Milley also testified that the US war in Afghanistan ended in “strategic failure,” a grim conclusion that recognized a long series of errors and miscalculations on the part of Pentagon leaders.
– Republican senators blocked a bill Monday night to keep the government in business and allow federal borrowing, but Democrats aim to avoid a shutdown are likely to try again.
The view from California
– Concerns about the constitutionality of how California law manages vacant seats in the United States Senate will lead to a potentially confusing unique solution next year: side-by-side races, on statewide primary and general election ballots, for the same job, writes John Myers.
– Also from Myers: California pandemic-inspired decision to send a ballot to every registered active voter will become a permanent part of the political landscape of the state after Governor Gavin Newsom Parliament signed Bill 37 on Monday.
– California has banned the meeting room entirely for white men. The move is reshaping American businesses, writes Evan Halper.
– It’s official: Dakota Smith reports that the Rep. Karen Bass launched her campaign for mayor of Los Angeles on Monday, telling Angelenos that she in the race with all his heart and ready to tackle the epidemic of homelessness in the city.
– There are some drastic ideas to revise the California recall. Be careful, tells an expert to columnist Mark Z. Barabak.