VP Harris: ‘I’m Not Giving Up, the President Is Not Giving Up’ on Build Back Better Passage

Vice President Kamala Harris said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that she and President Joe Biden were not giving up on passing his massive social spending Build Back Better Act even though Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has said he was a no vote.

Partial transcript as follows:

MARGARET BRENNAN: This is going to be hard for the economy. Are you going to need to ask Congress for another relief package?

HARRIS: Well, I’m glad you talked about the economy. Let’s talk about the economy. First of all, as an administration, as we look at the end of the year, there are specific facts that we are proud of on the issue of the economy. We have reduced unemployment down to 4.2%. The economists predicted that we wouldn’t get there for another couple of years, but here we are. We have reduced the deficit by over $300 billion. We have created over 6 million jobs, so there are good things that happened- have happened as it relates to the strength of the economy. Let’s also talk about the most recent facts. Excuse me, not Moody’s, but Goldman Sachs indicated that the failure to pass BBB, the Build Back Better Act is going to have a negative impact on our fiscal health.


HARRIS: But the converse is also true. And again, what is within our grasp to pass Build Back Better? Where we bring down the cost of living. When we talk about the economy, the average person in America is going to measure the economy based on can they actually just afford to get through the day and through the month. The cost of living, can they keep up with the cost of living, child care, elder care, prescription drugs? And that’s one of the reasons our priority. To your point about the economy that has been the fuel behind our insistence that we find common ground in Congress to pass the Build Back Better Act so we can bring down the cost of living for- for real Americans working people.

BRENNAN: You’re talking about the Build Back Better act like it still has some life to it. As you know, Sen. Joe Manchin said, he’s a no. You don’t have the votes.

HARRIS: You know, I was in the Senate for four years before I came here, and I have seen the ups and downs in terms of legislation. I mean, those of us who study history, recent or- or ancient know that there are many times over the course of history where legislation was doomed to be dead and it still kept going. The Affordable Care Act being one of the most recent examples of that, or even the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act now not deal, where lots of folks said it was dead on arrival, but we got it done. So, I’m not giving up, the president’s not giving up, and frankly, the stakes are too high. I mean, we’re literally talking about saying that no family should pay more than 7% of their income in child care. We’re saying that people who have diabetes, I have family members. Many people know or have diabetes. The only thing that will keep them alive is insulin, and it is so expensive.

BRENNAN: But it is the cost of the bill that has led Sen. Joe Manchin at least publicly to say it’s actually going to hurt the economy. His argument is that it’ll add to inflation, among many other things.

HARRIS: And- and Goldman Sachs just today said that actually, we know that Build Back Better will strengthen the economy. And so, I think there is without any question, room for discussion about what actually will be the impact to the economy. And objective, leading and highly respected economists are weighing in on this discussion to say, in fact, no. And you can look at the impact on- on- on the economy and see that not only is it morally right to say parents shouldn’t have to struggle to take care of their basic needs like caring for their children and their parents- and their parents and their elder relatives. But it actually makes economic sense to do that and it brings down the cost of living.

BRENNAN: But when you look at what’s actually possible right now,–


BRENNAN: —do you feel that Senator Manchin is playing fair with you? I mean, he went on television and said no, pretty definitively.

HARRIS: I think the stakes are too high for this to be in any way about any specific individual.

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN


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