The Democrats have slim majorities in both the House and Senate, which has led to a bit of stalemate. Sen. Joe Manchin III (W.Va.) just put the pin in the Build Back Better Act balloon and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.)– well, it depends on the day, hour, and wind. If one Senator can go rogue and have key bills either not get to the Senate floor or die entirely, what are we doing here?
That is something that many American people ask themselves as priorities get stashed away, like the winter clothes you put away for the summer. When it gets cold again, your fit might be lacking. That’s what happens when you don’t pass bills when you need them.
This past weekend, Vice President Kamala Harris was a guest on Charlamagne Tha God’s Comedy Central show Tha God’s Honest Truth with Charlamagne Tha God. I know you’ve seen the headlines of the “blowup” (we’ll get to that); however, some of the most important topics, especially on issues that affect Black people occur in the first part of the extended clip.
First, the Vice President spoke on maternal health issues, lead pipes, public transit, and Black citizens’ access to capital. She also acknowledged that the Senate process can be hard to watch:
“Every vote matters — especially in the Senate — and we have to listen to the voices ... and then we negotiate,” Harris said, adding: “Sometimes it is frustrating. Watching sausage get made, you think that’s difficult? Well watching a bill get made is ... frustrating.”
A lot of us can level with that. Voters fought so hard to swing the election to get things done that benefited Americans. However, the challenging part about it is that everything falls apart if one person is not on board. Still, many people wish that President Biden and Vice President Harris could be more forceful in their approach.
“We need you to be the superhero who saves democracy ... Are you willing to be that superhero,” Charlemagne said. That’s not a wrong question for him to ask. Almost every day, we get four news alerts on how somebody like Sen. Manchin has cut programs out of a bill or headlines such as “it all lies on the shoulders of Joe Manchin” and “Kyrsten Sinema, the enigma! Does she hold Biden’s agenda in the palm of her hand?”
At some point, the top people of the Biden administration have to fight for their agenda outwardly. Republicans are still contesting the election results of 2020. Any real hopes of bipartisanship are non-existent at best. People didn’t line up in record numbers in the 2020 election for a “we’re working on it.” By the looks of it, we won’t be able to do that again. We ain’t printing business cards–people need things done, especially with a raging pandemic. And if you want people to go out and vote for you in 22', 24', and beyond, you have to start confronting the things (and people) who are intentionally stopping progress from happening.
After Harris noted that she would keep fighting, which is when the Sen. from West Virginia was brought up, Charlamagne notes that his impediment holds things like voting rights and the Build Back Better Act back.
But the particular question from Charlemagne that brought a fierce response from the Vice President was this: “So who is the president: Is it, Joe Manchin or Joe Biden?”
This is when the Harris went off:
No, no, no, no. It’s Joe Biden. It’s Joe Biden. And don’t start talking like a Republican about asking whether or not he’s president, it’s Joe Biden and I’m vice president. My name is Kamala Harris. And the reality is because we are in office, we do things like the child tax credit, which is going to reduce Black child poverty by 50 percent … We do things that are about saying that our Department of Justice is going to do these investigations and require that we end chokeholds and have body cameras.
If you’ve listened to many Breakfast Club interviews, Charlemagne is known for asking confrontational questions. And no, let’s not do the thing and paint Vice President Harris difficult because she reacted passionately to a question. Harris is on this show to get the message out to a broader audience. The Breakfast Club has about eight million listeners, so why not?
“That Kamala Harris — that’s the one I like,” Charlamagne said. Yes, that’s the fire we need. The same person who didn’t let former Vice President Mike Pence cut her off during a debate and checked him with an “I’m speaking.” The same former Senator who gathered everybody in those hearings. President Biden is by no means off the hook. This is his engine, and he has to take command of it. All of this shouldn’t be on the shoulder of a Black woman to do, especially if you’re the top person.
The Biden administration does have some explaining to do–when it comes to the $10,000 student loan forgiveness campaign promise or this statement that we didn’t see variants coming. (I think every scientist sounded the alarm on that). However, let’s note that Republicans are entrenched in stopping any progress. It’s a big mess.
While some are worried about what type of headphones she uses, Harris reiterated her commitment to serving the American people:
“I appreciate you asking the question but my focus is on the work ... my focus is on, frankly, I can’t tell you how many places — from Chicago to Charlotte to Detroit ... where fathers and mothers bring their little boys and girls up to me and say ‘I want to see Kamala Harris,’ or they show me a picture of their child watching me when I was sworn in. Thats what I focus on,” she said.
Watch the entire interview below where the Vice President discusses things like student loan forgiveness and more below: