With two months into the Biden-Harris administration, questions are circulating about the portfolio of Vice President Kamala Harris — which issues she’s focusing on during her time in office.
Democratic sources close to the issue tell theGrio Vice President Harris has been a complete partner in all of President Joe Biden’s efforts. Meanwhile, the source says Harris’ passion is her “work with women who have been displaced in the workplace, particularly Black and Brown women who have started their own businesses and lost their businesses due to the pandemic; or had to step away from work to become homeschoolers.”
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However, Vice President Harris’ passions do not necessarily translate into portfolio issues.
Joel Goldstein, vice presidential historian and scholar tells theGrio, “I would fully expect the vice president to advise the president and advise other officials on issues she is passionate about. But the fact that she is weighing in on issues that she cares about doesn’t necessarily mean she will be running those issues.”
Goldstein adds, “If Vice President Harris were going to take on a portfolio it would make sense for her to take on something that nobody else could do. It isn’t an issue that belongs in a particular department and that is of a high enough level that it really merits the vice president spending a lot of her time.”
Recently, Symone Sanders, spokesperson for Vice President Harris, explained to theGrio details of the vice president’s portfolio.
“The president and the vice president are squarely focused on the converging crises that the American people we are collectively dealing with and facing,” Sanders said. “The vice president specifically has been extremely laser-focused with the president on bolstering support and building support for the American rescue plan.”
“Her portfolio is our focus, and her focus is the administration’s focus, which are these converging crises that are affecting the American people,” added Sanders.
Goldstein pointed to a historic perspective that “every president organizes the White House differently.”
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Looking back at the beginning of the Obama administration, Goldstein reflected on the time when then-Vice President Biden was involved in the “disengagement of Iraq” and the “implementation of the recovery plan.” Biden, he said, also chaired the “middle-class task force” and focused on the Ukraine and “problems in Central America.”
Goldstein said during that time Biden “was more focused on specific issues like the financial crisis and matters concerning the government shutdown.” According to Goldstein, assessing Biden’s portfolio during the Obama administration was more like “a special high-level assignment that needed attention over a shorter period of time.”
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