WASHINGTON – Vice President Kamala Harris sat down for a one-on-one virtual interview with Local 10 News Washington Correspondent Ben Kennedy on Thursday to discuss infrastructure, the debt limit, and immigration.
Harris said Floridians need to improve and modernize infrastructure. After the Senate approved the $1 trillion package to do so through a bipartisan 69-to-30 vote in August, the House has yet to hold a vote on the bill.
“Florida has over 400 bridges that are in bad condition,” Harris said. “Over 700,000 people don’t have access to affordable high-speed internet. It’s a big issue in Florida and South Florida.”
On Thursday, Senate Republican and Democratic leaders announced an agreement for a short-term extension of the federal government’s borrowing authority.
“I think it’s a positive step forward,” Harris said adding, “We have to pay our bills.”
The 50-48 vote on Thursday night solidified the new agreement to raise the debt ceiling before the Oct. 18 deadline and into Dec. 3. The standoff on the long-term rise of the $28.4 trillion cap continues.
“You rack up bills as part of the cost of living; you need to pay your bills. When you don’t pay your bills, then the people that you do business with lose confidence in you,” Harris said.
In March, Biden tasked Harris with finding solutions to the U.S.-Mexico border crisis with the help of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.
Harris said one of the solutions is for the U.S. to provide aid to Haiti, which has “experienced extreme hardship” amid political instability, hurricanes, earthquakes, and the pandemic.
“Let’s also provide for Temporary Protected Status,” Harris said about Mayorcas’ September extension to existing TPS beneficiaries through Dec. 31, 2022.
Harris said the U.S. immigration system’s relief needs to be based on humanitarian principles and her efforts on reform are ongoing.
11 p.m. report
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Kennedy is reporting from Washington, D.C. Torres contributed to this report from Miami.