Kamala Harris photo

Remarks by the Vice President in a Press Gaggle in New York City

October 22, 2021

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, it has been a very good day to be here in the Bronx, in New York, to be with Congressman Bowman and so many New York leaders -- the national leaders.

And obviously, the point of the trip has been to really, one, acknowledge the great work that is happening in communities, such as here at this YMCA, as an example of what is or can happen around our country to acknowledge the needs of families and community members.

The Build Back Better approach to fixing problems and supporting the people of communities is, in essence, exactly what is happening here. It's about supporting parents. It's about supporting children. It's about supporting seniors. It's about recognizing that when we invest in the potential and in the ambitions of people in communities, they thrive and, by extension, our nation thrives.

So that's why we are here. We're here to also talk about the importance and the urgency of this moment. We have, right now, an opportunity -- the United States Congress has an opportunity to really fix longstanding problems. And the beauty of this moment is that the solutions are at hand.

This is not just a moment to highlight the problems, the solutions are at hand. And so, we're obviously talking about what is necessary, what is important about the Build Back Better Agenda to actually address the problems with concrete solutions that we know can and do and will work.

So, I appreciate everybody being here.

Q: Yeah. So, this sort of -- what you were just saying now is sort of what you ended the speech on, which is that you don't want Congress to miss this window. How close do you think they are on reconciliation?

And President Biden says that he's been frustrated. Where do you say the frustration level is in the White House right now?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, it's -- you can talk to people who have been part of any significant legislation -- be it at a state level or the federal level -- and I think everybody will tell you that the closer you get to an agreement, the more things are actually peaked in terms of working out the details and the tension that comes with that and, often, the frustration that comes with that for everybody. But it is also an indication of the fact that we are close to getting a deal.

So, I am confident, frankly -- not only optimistic, but I am confident that we will reach a deal. But these details have to be worked out.

And, you know, the -- I think the American people should feel some sense of relief that people who are in a position to make this deal are paying attention to details and are getting into the nitty gritty. You could see that even from the President last night in the town hall he did. The details are what people are talking about.

And I think there's a great grasp of exactly what are the components and, you know, the numbers that are involved. And that's the basis of the discussion.

But I am confident we're going to get to a deal.

Q: Madam Vice President, we got some new border numbers this week: 1.7 million were detained at the border. Do you have any plans to go back to the border before the end of the year? And what's your reaction to these new detainments at the border?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, as I've said from the beginning -- and I think we all recognize -- when our administration came into office, we inherited an immigration system -- and, in particular, a system at the border -- that was pretty much gutted. There was no meaningful system for processing asylum cases. There was -- the structure of it was really in disrepair. And it's taking some time to fix it and to get it back up and running.

And, you know, the bottom line also is that what we need to do is understand the immediate issues that we must address, including reconstructing a system and making it humane and making it fair.

But also, some of the work that I've been doing is also looking at the root causes that cause people to leave their home countries and to make that trek, and to address that as well. And so, we're seeing progress on both ends.

Q: And do you have any plans to go to the border before the end of the year?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I don't have any at this moment. No.

Kamala Harris, Remarks by the Vice President in a Press Gaggle in New York City Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/353072

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