Indian American VP’s push for Covid recovery plan gets flak from West Virginia senator.
Biden administration plans to deploy Vice President Kamala Harris to spread awareness and boost confidence among skeptical communities — mainly people of color — to get Covid-19 vaccine shots, according to media reports.
The task falls on her for an obvious reason, Politico reported noting that the daughter of an Indian mother and a Jamaican father is the “highest ranking and most visible person of color in the federal government.”
“It’s a lofty but uncertain goal, complicated by Harris’ difficulty earning support within the Black community during her primary run,” it said.
So far, the campaign has been carefully calculated, Politico said noting, “Harris has received both rounds of her vaccination publicly: the first in southeast Washington, DC, — historically the poorest and Blackest quadrant of the city.
“She received the second at the National Institutes of Health, where she told the story of how her late mother, a biomedical scientist, would travel from California to Bethesda, Maryland, when Harris was young.”
Friday, Harris tweeted out a video of herself at the NIH telling folks, “It was painless, it was simple, it takes seconds and it will save your life. And it’ll save your family’s life.”
As the Biden administration’s efforts to combat Covid-19 pick up speed, Harris’ role is expected to expand, including possible virtual events and town halls pushing vaccinations in the coming weeks, Politico said citing a senior Harris aide.
“Plans are still being formulated, but everything is on the table. I think we want to make sure that we’re getting news out there about the plan,” a White House official was quoted as saying. “I think we’re just trying to figure out what makes the most sense.”
Last week, Harris was put on local TV stations to pressure former Senate colleagues in West Virginia and Arizona to get on board with the administration’s Covid recovery plan.
But the move didn’t go over well with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who claimed the administration didn’t tell him Harris was doing the interview, saying it’s “not a way to work together.”
Speaking with NBC affiliate WSAZ, the centrist Democrat called on the White House to help find a “bipartisan pathway forward,” according to The Hill.
“I saw [the interview]. I couldn’t believe it. No one called me [about it],” Manchin was quoted as saying.
“We’re going to try to find a bipartisan pathway forward, but we need to work together. That’s not a way of working together.”
“To your point, in West Virginia, 1 in 7 families is describing their household as being hungry, 1 in 6 can’t pay their rent, and 1 in 4 small businesses are closing permanently or have already closed, so it’s a big issue in West Virginia and across the country,” Harris told WSAZ in her interview.
“That’s why the president and I are offering the American Rescue Plan.”
Manchin, according to the Hill, is seen as one of the most important votes in the divided Senate going into President Biden’s first 100 days in office.
The senator has expressed some reluctance about some of the provisions in the White House’s Covid-19 relief plan, seen as Biden’s first legislative push, including the $1,400 direct payments to Americans in the bill, it said.