Kamala Harris photo

Remarks by the Vice President at a Democratic National Committee Finance Event in Newport Beach, California

August 27, 2022

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everyone. Good afternoon. Good afternoon. Thank you so much, again. Please -- do you want to sit? (Laughter.) I might talk for a while. (Laughter.)

Let me just first, again, thank everybody for being here this afternoon and all the work that you all have put into this event and to supporting the President and me, Judy, our party, the DNC. It really means a lot. I can't tell you how much it means.

I think that we who have run for office understand that the -- the support that we receive gives us the ability to fight big fights when there is so much at stake.

It represents so much, in terms of showing that there is a will and -- and a desire for us to look at what is possible in our country and achieve it. And -- and your support gives us that kind of fuel to make all of this work happen.

So, again, I want to say thank you to everyone -- in particular, John and Stella for opening your beautiful home this afternoon.

So, I want to also recognize Simon Pang -- (laughter) -- because Simon has been -- personally, to me -- a friend and a supporter for so many years. And, Simon, you stay involved -- with all that you have going on, you stay involved in such an extraordinary way.

As you all probably know, Simon is on the President's Advisory Commission and -- and has been a real value to our administration and our nation. So, thank you so much. Thank you.

So, 73 days before the election. Seventy-three short days before the election. And Judy Chu has been one of the great Californians and the great national leaders on so many of the issues that I'm going to talk about right now. And she, like all of us -- we know there is so much at stake, and what we do in these next 73 days is going to make all the difference.

And I think of it in -- in the context of many issues, but including what you all did to make the win happen in 2020, because elections do matter. So let's think about all of the work that went into what we were able to achieve in 2020 through the election.

Just most recently, the President being able to sign a bill -- the Inflation Reduction Act -- that is going to be historic, in terms of the $370 billion investment in what we need to do to combat the climate crisis.

When I look at our young leaders who are here today -- just started ninth grade -- (laughter) -- they can tell you what we all know. Right?

Whether we're just coming from Massachusetts and a new Californian or we've been in California for a while and we see the wildfires, we see what is happening in terms of this destruction of our beautiful planet, and then what we know we can do to slow it down and also see the opportunity in the moment to -- in the midst of investing in renewable energies, clean energy economy -- being a leader in the world in all of these ways, also what we will do to create jobs, not to mention what we will do to ensure that our children and their children will be able to thrive.

This is just one of the most recent accomplishments because of what everyone did in 2020, what the DNC did in 2020.

Let's think about the fact that during the pandemic -- it was not very long ago, and remember where we were when we came in as an administration: Schools were shut down. The economy was plunging. People were dying on a daily basis at horrible rates. People were losing their jobs.

And as of now, because of what we did in 2020, we have recovered all of the jobs that were lost, which total about 10 million. Schools are back open. And we are growing our economy to the point that we have historic unemployment rates of 3.5 percent. And we are seeing extraordinary growth in terms of -- just in this last year, as an example -- the growth of small businesses in America and what that means for so many of the communities we care about, in particular when we look at -- in terms of the Asian community -- what we are seeing in terms of incredible growth among entrepreneurs and small businesses.

So there's a lot that we have, in terms of empirical evidence, that points to the fact that elections matter. And when we pay attention and put resources into it, we actually yield results and a pretty good return on our investment.

Think about it in the context of what we have done with the infrastructure law. We are talking about roads and bridges, but also we are talking about the fact that we are committed and on track for everybody in the United States to have access and affordability for high-speed Internet.

Why do we care about that? Well, for our parents and our seniors, we know that in many places in our country, they're going to need telemedicine. They don't have the ability to travel, or hospital care or doctors in their community. Telemedicine is an extraordinary way to access healthcare. You can't have it without access to high-speed Internet and affordability.

What we did through the last year and a half on that issue alone is going to have a profound impact not only on our seniors but our children.

The pandemic highlighted the importance of having access to high-speed Internet when it comes to education, not to mention what small businesses require in terms of high-speed Internet to be able to do their work, to sell their products, to advertise to bring in customers.

Let's think about what we did in passing the Child Tax Credit and extending the Child Tax Credit. In the first year alone, we are cutting child poverty in the United States by 40 percent. Think about that: cutting child poverty by 40 percent and the generational impact of that work and that approach.

So we have done a lot of good work.

We have done work in recognizing that we need to pay attention to who is serving on the courts of our land. And our administration is very proud that we have nominated and Congress, through the Senate and -- and leadership in the House, have confirmed historic numbers and, in particular, representation among AAPI and women on the benches who are going to be the ones who bring life experience and perspective to how we interpret what is truly support of the Constitution of the United States and the principles upon which it stands.

This is the kind of work that happened -- because elections matter and the work that happened in 2020. I bring that up to say then: 73 days until the next election. Seventy-three days.

So let's think about where we are right now. We are at a moment where -- you know, I've given this speech everywhere from Munich to Paris to Washington, D.C.

We are at a moment in our world and in our country where so much of what we took for granted is now unsettled; so many things that we thought were long settled, unsettled. Around the globe, when we think about issues like territorial integrity and sovereignty. Here at home, when we look at issues like a woman's right to make decisions about her own body, or voting rights.

There's so much at stake when we think about the connection between these elections in 73 days and those issues.

On a global stage, we know that the election in 2020 meant that Joe Biden was president and that our administration was able to bring together friends and allies from around the world to strengthen the alliance among people who value issues like sovereignty and territorial integrity, strengthening it so that now we're going to have two more countries as members of NATO -- unheard of, unbelieved that that would be possible, just about two years ago.

What's at stake now? We have to recognize that in the next 73 days, to support our administration and what we need to do when it comes to reinforcing those relationships and understanding the connection between Congress and ratification of those decisions, it's going to mean a lot. We want Judy Chu to stay in power and hold on to her role of leadership as a senior member of Congress.

Five seats in the United States House of Representatives are in the balance. Five seats.

The work you are supporting for the DNC is going to be targeting those five seats because we cannot lose the majority in the House. In the Senate, we need two -- two more.

We need to hold on to the seats we have, and we need two more seats. Because Joe Biden has said, for example -- and we have been very clear, he and I -- that, in spite of the importance of traditions in the United State Senate, on a couple of issues, we're done.

The filibuster will not stand in the way of us pushing for and then signing legislation -- when it gets passed, when we have those numbers -- on voting rights and on a woman's right to make decisions about her own body.

All of this hangs in the balance when we look at the next 73 days. And so there's a lot at stake.

There is also the issue that must be discussed about the contrast between Democrats and Republicans in this moment in time.

I was there in Washington, D.C., after the election, when we won. And on January 6th, I was there in Washington, D.C. -- I was still a senator and the Vice President-elect -- when there was an -- a direct, tangible attack on our democracy.

When we talk about what is at stake, in terms of who represents what, we have to understand that this is a moment in time that challenges everyone running for office to state where they stand on preserving and defending our democracy. And understanding what that means in full context, not only about January 6th but about rule of law, about the integrity of systems, about acknowledging and agreeing that there was a valid election that took place where the people of America spoke.

What's at stake, understanding the difference, when you realize that not one Republican elected to the United States Congress voted for the Inflation Reduction Act. Not one. Not on the Senate side, not on the House side. Historic investment in climate. For any of you who know anyone who has diabetes as a senior, we're going to bring down the cost of insulin to $35 a month. We're going to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices. Not one voted for it. An historic investment in what will be job creation. Not one voted for it.

The contrast is clear on so many of these issues.

So, we also understand that in the midst of the conflict and the debate that is taking place in Washington, D.C., we also know that when it comes to the core issues that we stand for as Democrats, the majority of Americans agree with us.

Think about it on the issue of choice -- I'm going to go back to that. Kansas. If anyone watched that election in Kansas -- it's a so-called Red State. And the people of Kansas said, "No, we're not going to get duped into this being about Democrats or Republicans. This is about a core issue of freedom and liberty."

Recently, in the -- in a special election in New York, just practically days ago, there was an election between two individuals, a Republican and a Democrat. The pundits said, "Oh, the Republican will win. That's clear." The Democrat won because he made a position clear, which is that he stands for a woman's right to make decisions about her body.

The majority of Americans agree with a vast majority of the work we are doing. And so that brings me to my last point, which is: elections matter.

In the House, five seats; in the Senate, two.

I want to point out that the DNC is doing particular work -- as it relates to the Senate -- in Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Florida. We could win those seats. Right? It is within our grasp.

And so look at that. Look at the work the DNC is doing when it comes to the governor's races around our country.

We're looking at six states right now -- I asked my team to do a Venn diagram. Show me the states that are attacking voting rights, LGBTQ rights, and a woman's right to make decisions about her own body. Six states overlap doing all of those. Let's pay attention to what's happening in those states.

Let's pay attention to the secretary of state races. Eleven people who are now -- the primaries are over. Eleven people, as Republicans, who are running for secretary of state right now -- you know secretaries of state run the elections in the state. Eleven of them are denying and challenging the integrity of the 2020 election. Eleven.

So I'll close with this point: We have to win in November, with all of this at stake and so much more. And we have to do it in a way that is about empowering people and letting them know that their voices were heard.

You know, I think about it in terms of something we're going to discuss this afternoon, but what we -- what we said when we came in about the need to speak up about anti-Asian hate crime and the need for people to not feel alone and isolated and in fear. And so we passed a law to address that, after there was an administration that was vilifying Asian Americans and really encouraging and fueling the fai- -- flame of hate in our country.

People said they wanted a stop to that, at least to have their highest leaders speak about it.

People said that they want representation on the courts. People said that they want integrity in systems. And so they put their order in and we, together as a community, did the important and hard work of knowing that elections matter and then participating to make sure that we would do well.

We did that in 2020. It's time we do it now in the next 73 days.

And -- and my last point is this: You know, I, as Vice President, have had at least 100 conversations in person or by phone -- Simon and I were talking about Prime Minister Lee -- where I have talked with presidents, prime ministers, kings, chancellors. And I will tell you, it's captured -- my point is captured maybe in one of the first meetings I had as Vice President when I invited to my home then-Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

And so we're having an extensive conversation and talking about a variety of issues about threats to global security, about what we need to do in terms of the EU -- just a number of things we talked about. And then she leaned across the table, and she looked at me, and she said, "Now, tell me what's going on with voting in your country."

Because you see -- and we all know it to be true, because this is the life we all live -- when you are a role model -- when you are a role model, people watch everything you do to see if it matches up to what you say.

The United States has held itself out to be a role model. When we walk in those rooms chin up, shoulders back, we talk about democracy, rule of law, human rights. Well, people around the world are fully aware of what we're doing and are asking questions.

There is so much about what this election will be that is connected with that point, which is going to be about: Who are we? What do we value? What are we, in terms of what we stand for? And if these are the things we stand for, the question will also be then: Will you fight for those things?

That's what these elections are about: fighting for the things we stand for.

So, with all of that, again, I say thank you. And I thank you all. (Applause.)

Kamala Harris, Remarks by the Vice President at a Democratic National Committee Finance Event in Newport Beach, California Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/357532

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