Working Together Hasn’t Worked for Kamala Harris

It’s not easy being vice president of the United States – especially when almost no one in Washington knows what a vice president’s job is. This latest in a series of Beltway media stories about challenges faced by Kamala Harris shows that neither her staff nor those of a recent predecessor failed to understand their duties and rights. office force. Now, Mrs. Harris is running out of time to seize the historic opportunity.

“Veep voted more than all but two predecessors. Today, Eugene Daniels of Politico reports.

Mr. Daniels reported:

During his 16 months as vice president, Harris broke 23 ties in his official role as Senate president, according to official Senate figures. That puts her third of all time, behind only America’s first vice president, John Adams (29 votes) and seventh, John C. Calhoun (31 votes). Last week alone, Harris cast six votes.

Her current boss, Joe Biden, broke all ties while serving as vice president for eight years under President Barack Obama.

With a 50-50 Senate margin, Harris’ need to always be available for votes may have frustrated some aides, who say she’d rather travel the country, advertising the administration’s achievements. … Harris, people around her said, wanted to amplify support for abortion rights, voting rights and other issues important to her and the administration. But the votes forced a break, and she has that constitutional honor.

Separately, Harris has lamented her inability to escape the DC bubble.

This column applauds the vice president’s healthy swamp instincts, but also recognizes that she has a responsibility to fulfill. “Pretty cool for the whole part in which Kamala Harris’s circle complains about her having to do the only job the Constitution explicitly gives her,” said Ben Jacobs tweet to answer the Politico story.

Of course, she must also be prepared to exercise executive power in the event the president is unable to fulfill his duties. But in the meantime, her role isn’t one that is designated to take the rhetorical javelin of Biden’s policy failures. According to the constitution, she does not report to the president and cannot be fired by Mr. Biden.

In January, the column endorsed the New York Sun’s proposal that Ms. Harris leave the White House, go to her stately office on floors 50-50 of the Senate, and take an independent leadership role in building bipartisan legislative compromise.

Imagine the good she could have done if she pursued this approach since the beginning of her tenure. In March 2021, Ms. Harris broke the tie in a procedural vote that allowed Mr. Biden to proceed with the ironically titled Rescue Plan America. Even many on the left now acknowledge the destructive impact of the law.

“Biden’s Rescue American Plan has made inflation worse. The question is how much,” reads a Vox headline about a story by Andrew Prokop. He writes about the inflationary impact of recent federal stimulus plans:

And the most prominent stimulus measure is Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan – because it was enacted after more than $3 trillion was spent to stimulate the economy under the presidency. Trump, with a large portion of which approved just three months earlier.

Prokop noted new research from several members of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank staff. Òscar Jordà, Celeste Liu, Fernanda Nechio and Fabián Rivera-Reyes report:

Inflation rates in the United States and other advanced economies have historically closely tracked each other. Problems with global supply chains and changes in spending patterns due to the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed up inflation around the world. However, since the first half of 2021, US inflation has increasingly outstripped inflation in other developed countries. Estimates suggest that fiscal support measures designed to counter the severity of the pandemic’s economic impact may have contributed to this divergence by increasing inflation by about 3 points. percent at the end of 2021.

Noisy. The president’s signature record bears much of the blame for the current state of US inflation. And the president cannot completely shirk responsibility even for Covid spending that occurred before his term. That expenditure is intended to offset the economic damage of the closures. The radical experiment in 2020 to shut down much of society and use federal cash to simulate prosperity has been underway with Mr. Biden’s enthusiastic backing. In fact, he was so supportive of the concept that he was once a model citizen and campaigned for President from his basement.

It is late, but perhaps not too late, for Ms. Harris to seize the moment, cut herself off from a failed presidency, set aside her partisan instincts and ideologies, and become a united and powerful force. strong in Washington. Unfortunately, the town’s experts still don’t understand her constitutional function.

Mr. Daniels wrote on Politico:

Joel K. Goldstein, a historian of the vice president, says … being present in the Senate regularly, with some exceptions, is not the best way to use a vice president’s time. President.

“When Vice President Harris votes, it matters a lot to the administration. It means whenever there is a tie, they win,” he said. “But in terms of measuring her contributions, she wouldn’t be a historical figure based on what she did as Senate president.”

While having to stick around DC might limit your ability to get out of town to represent the White House, former Gore chief of staff Jack Quinn says that comes with the territory.

“Without a doubt, the benefits of being vice president far outweigh the inconvenience of having to break ties in the Senate from time to time,” he said. Whenever Harris is sent to Hill, even if she doesn’t have to vote, it serves as a reminder to Biden that she knows what she “No. 1 job is. ”

“And it’s backing him up,” he said.

It’s not her job, and in any case, the loyalty doesn’t seem to be mutual. This week, the State Department responded to the president, tweeted a funny video clips of Ms. Harris trying to voice an opinion while repeating her intention to “work together” with allies.

For much of her tenure, she was criticized for not explicitly defending Biden’s immigration policy despite her coherent explanations.

Ms. Harris should leave the White House and focus on working with senators from both parties.


James Freeman is the co-author of “The Cost: Trump, China, and America’s Resurgence”.


Follow James Freeman on Twitter.

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