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In one of her first major policy remarks as vice president, Kamala Harris joined a White House-wide promotional campaign for Joe Biden’s sweeping infrastructure plan, touting a wide-ranging agenda supporting union jobs, healthcare access and lifting millions out of Americans out of poverty and unemployment.
“It’s not just about jobs,” she said in remarks Monday from North Carolina. “It’s about good jobs for every worker.”
She pledged that the opportunities within the American Jobs Plan, a $2 trillion proposal at the centre of several Cabinet secretaries’ agendas in recent weeks, will rely on local workers in communities across the US for the “largest jobs investment our county has made since World War 2.”
The White House plan is “not just about fixing what has been, it’s about building what can be,” she said.
In her remarks from the Center for Advanced Manufacturing at Guilford Technical Community College in Greensboro, the vice president said the administration will also support job training and open “a variety of opportunities” for education after high school, from technical and trade schools to apprenticeship openings.
“If you don’t have those skills, or you want to learn other skills, we intend to help you get them,” she said. “There isn’t only one path to success.”
The vice president – who also has been tapped to lead diplomatic efforts with Central American countries amid a rise in people seeking asylum arriving at the US-Mexico border – is also the latest face within the administration to pitch the White House jobs plan to local officials, workers and businesses across the US.
The administration’s public campaign gets ahead of members of Congress as they begin designing the contours of the legislation based on the White House proposal, which has seen widespread bipartisan support – with the exception of congressional Republicans.
Ms Harris also has campaigned for equitable access to healthcare and childcare – “a basic foundational support system for our nation,” she said on Monday – as well support for unions and a minimum wage hike.
“You should not have to work more than one job to pay your bills and feed your family,” she said.
A “good job” should not mean workers “go into debt for a diploma that promises a decent paycheck,” she said.
As members of Congress return to Washington DC, Mr Biden is meeting with lawmakers about his expansive infrastructure plans, meeting with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and other elected officials central to his legislative ambitions.
On Monday, the president will also meet with several mayors and governors, as well as at least four Republican members of Congress, including Senator Mitt Romney.