President Joe Biden announced Tuesday his decision to put Vice President Kamala Harris in charge of defending voting rights — adding another major leadership task to her existing portfolio.
“I’m asking Vice President Harris to help these efforts, to lead them among her many other responsibilities,” Biden said. “With her leadership and your support, we’re going to overcome again — I promise you. It’s going to take a hell of a lot of work.”
Biden made the announcement during a speech in Tulsa, Oklahoma, recognizing the 100th anniversary of the 1921 Greenwood race massacre.
This is the fourth issue that Biden has asked Harris to lead on, after appointing her to lead on the migrant crisis on the Southern border, leading the push to expand access to broadband internet, and leading small business outreach in the coronavirus rescue package.
Harris and her team have repeatedly clarified that her role in the border crisis was focused on the “root causes” of migration in South American countries.
Biden complained that media figures expected him to work harder on getting the House Democrat voting rights bill H.R. 1 “For the People Act” passed.
“I hear all the folks on TV saying, ‘Why doesn’t Biden get this done?'” Biden paraphrased.
“Oh, because Biden only has a majority of effectively four votes in the House and a tie in the Senate, with two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends,” he said, alluding to Democrat Sens. Kristen Sinema (D-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-WV).
Harris issued a statement in reaction to the news, promising to work to defeat efforts by state Republicans to secure future elections.
“In the days and weeks ahead, I will engage the American people, and I will work with voting rights organizations, community organizations, and the private sector to help strengthen and uplift efforts on voting rights nationwide,” Harris said.