VP Harris touts administration’s $2T jobs plan as negotiations are set for next week

    Vice President Kamala Harris listens during a phone call with World Trade Organization General Dr. Okonjo-Iweala March 11, 2021, in her West Wing Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    Vice President Kamala Harris worked Tuesday to drum up support for the president’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal during a trip to Milwaukee.

    Harris highlighted the federal funding the Biden administration plan would allocate for research and development programs aimed at clean energy and climate change solutions, as well as $100 billion that would be spent modernizing K-12 schools.

    Harris’ chief spokeswoman, Symone Sanders, said next week there “will be a number of meetings at the White House with bipartisan lawmakers trying to find common ground on the Biden and GOP infrastructure proposals,” according to White House pool reports. Republicans have objected to the cost of the plan and say it contains too many items not directly related to infrastructure.

    Sanders said that Harris has been making calls to lawmakers about President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan, known as the American Jobs Plan.

    During a roundtable meeting Tuesday with U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, both Wisconsin Democrats, along with researchers, school administrators and a librarian, Harris discussed the $180 billion in research and development spending proposed in the jobs plan.

    She also visited two clean energy research centers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee — one focused on wind turbines and wind tunnel research and the other on sustainable energy research on batteries.

    The Biden administration’s infrastructure proposal also includes $175 billion in incentives for manufacturing electrical vehicles. The plan would pay for 500,000 charging stations and provide $25 billion for electric public transit buses and $20 billion for electric school buses.

    Of the $180 billion in research and development funding, $40 billion is proposed to upgrade research infrastructure across federal research and development agencies such as labs, with 50% reserved for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, including the creation of a new national lab for climate at an HBCU.

    With climate change a priority for the Biden administration, the proposal allocates $35 billion for climate research in some specific areas such as offshore wind, carbon capture and electric vehicles.

    The plan would also invest $50 billion in nature-based infrastructure to make communities more resilient to climate change.

    Ariana Figueroa
    Ariana Figueroa covers the nation's capital for States Newsroom. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections and campaign finance. Before joining States Newsroom, Ariana covered public health and chemical policy on Capitol Hill for E&E News. As a Florida native, she's worked for the Miami Herald and her hometown paper, the Tampa Bay Times. Her work has also appeared in the Chicago Tribune and NPR. She is a graduate of the University of Florida.