Joe Biden has officially selected Senator Kamala Harris as his Vice Presidential choice. The presumed Democratic nominee for the U.S presidency made the pick heard around the world. While there is certainly a lot of coverage focusing on what Trump and Biden believe, what exactly do Harris and current Vice-President Mike Pence believe?
Lets start with Mike Pence.
Who is Mike Pence exactly? Most Americans recognize him as Trump’s current vice-president. Before Pence became vice-president he served as the governor of Indiana from 2013 to 2017. Pence was a member of the House of Representatives from 2001 to 2013. Here are some of the stances/actions Pence has taken before and after he became vice-president.
Pence has led the White House Coronavirus Task Force and has stood by President Trump’s handling of the pandemic. According to Newsweek, Pence predicted that a coronavirus vaccine should be available by the end of this year. In a recent White House press conference, Pence did encourage American citizens to wear masks when “social distancing cannot be maintained,” according to whitehouse.gov.
The vice-president has praised the amount of tests that the U.S has been able to administer. He also recently made the statement that, “he wouldn’t hesitate to send his children back to school.” (According to Greenville News) Pence also commended the South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster for McMaster’s plan to “allocate $32 million for grants to pay for private school tuition.” Pence implied that the rest of the country should follow suit.
A report from Forbes noted that Pence also said this on reopening schools: “We don’t want CDC guidance to be a reason why people don’t reopen their schools.”
The vice-president’s views on rights for the LGBTQ community have been well documented. Pence’s reaction to the criticism facing his wife’s choice to resume teaching at the Immanuel Christian School, a school that banned staff from engaging in any sort of non-heterosexual activity, is indicative of his perspective on the LGBTQ community as a whole. According to the BBC, Pence responded to the critique against his wife’s career choice by saying, “I have to tell you, to see major news organizations attacking Christian education is deeply offensive to us.“
Pence has been a vocal opponent of LGBTQ rights for years. According to a CNN report, Pence argued back in the 90’s that homosexuality was a choice, and therefore the LGBTQ community should not be granted the same civil rights as other minorities.
“Once you identify homosexuals as a minority, then by definition they would need to be afforded constitutional protection…Up to this point, our legal tradition in America has drawn a line over those things. I do not choose whether I am a black American … the great vast majority of the psychological community says homosexuality at a very minimum is a choice by the individual, and at the maximum, is a learned behavior.”Mike Pence
The vice-president also backed anti-trans legislation back in 2017-2018 that would ban openly transgender people from serving in the military, according to a report from Foreign Policy. Pence also supports federal funding to programs that would help members of the LGBTQ community change their sexuality. This move was widely condemned, as it implies that Pence advocates for the controversial conversion therapy procedure.
Back in 2016 women were calling then-Governor of Indiana Mike Pence for one very specific reason. They were reporting their periods. Why? Pence had signed a bill into law that required any remains from an abortion or a miscarriage to be cremated or buried. According to a report from The Cut, the bill also required the women have an ultrasound 18 hours before an abortion.
Pence has also made it very clear that he believes Planned Parenthood should be defunded. He praised Trump for a new “gag rule,” that would withdraw Title X funding from any organization that even talked about abortion with patients. Title X is basically a federally funded program that helps low-income American citizens with resources for family planning and related healthcare services. According to The Conversation, Title X had bipartisan support when it was created in 1970 and overwhelmingly helps minorities and has no eligibility requirements for those under the poverty line.
“Just last week, thanks to the strong stand for life President Trump has taken, tens of millions of dollars of federal family planning funding will no longer flow to the largest abortion provider in America”Mike Pence (via Buzzflash)
Now let’s take a look at the vice-presidential nominee for the Democratic ticket. Kamala Harris recently made national news by running for president herself for the 2020 election. Harris has been a California senator since 2017. She served as California’s attorney general from 2011 to 2017. If Biden is elected, Harris would be the first Black, female vice-president.
But what exactly has Harris stood for in the past and the present day? Let’s explore.
Last month Harris introduced the RELIEF Act, proposed legislation designed to keep Americans safe at home without major financial consequences. The key parts of the RELIEF Act (per www.harris.senate.gov) include
- Immediate Relief for Renters & Homeowners:
- Aims to ban all evictions and foreclosures for a full year
- Incentivizes moratoriums on energy and water shut offs and helps with arrearages for low-income households after moratoriums are lifted;
- Bans rent increases
- Provides a full 18 months to make up missed rent payments
2. Protects Tenants & Mortgage Holders:
- Eliminates penalties and late fees
- Facilitates modification of loan terms
- Stops landlords and mortgage servicers from reporting unpaid rent to credit reporting agencies
- Protects borrowers and tenants experiencing bankruptcy
3. Holds Exploitive Landlords Accountable:
- Provides state Attorneys General with subpoena and prosecution power to investigate violations of renter and homeowner protections
- Establishes tenants’ and homeowners’ rights to legal assistance when facing eviction or foreclosure
- Funds legal assistance to help tenants
’and homeowners protect their rights in court
- Directs Congressional Oversight Commission, established by the CARES Act, to oversee landlord and mortgage servicer conduct
- Prohibits use of any federal funds for rental assistance being used for purchasing foreclosed or distressed properties
Harris has also criticized the way the Trump administration has handled the pandemic.
She has also advocated for wearing masks.
According to NBC News, Harris created a hate crimes unit way back in 2004 when she was district attorney of San Francisco. The unit was made specifically to investigate and prosecute violence against the LGBTQ community in San Francisco. Harris did come under fire for an action she took as California’s district attorney. There was one case where she sought to deny gender reassignment surgery for some trans prison inmates. Here’s what Harris had to say on the matter, per Advocate.com.
“When that case came up, I had clients, and one of them was the California Department of Corrections. It was their policy. When I learned about what they were doing, behind the scenes, I got them to change the policy…I commit to you that always in these systems there are going to be these things that these agencies do. And I will commit myself, as I always have, to dealing with it.“Kamala Harris
Harris spent years working on eliminating the “gay panic” defense, organizing a conference back in 2006 that brought numerous officials across the U.S together to figure out ways to eliminate the discriminatory legal practice against gay and transgender people. California became the first state to make the “gay panic” defense illegal.
Harris actually criticized Biden during a previous primary debate on his choice to vote for the Hyde Amendment, which blocks federal funding for abortions. National pro-choice advocacy group NARAL gave Harris a perfect one hundred percent for her pro-choice voting record. Harris has co-sponsored multiple bills like the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would’ve made certain restrictive abortion measures like forcing women to make medically unnecessary trips to the abortion providers before the procedure illegal. The WHPA also would’ve made certain actions like abortion providers giving patients medically inaccurate information before an abortion procedure illegal. (Via ontheissues.org.)
Harris voted to keep federal funding for family planning clinics.
“The reality of it is this is still a fundamental issue of justice for women in America. Women have been given the responsibility to perpetuate the human species. Our bodies were created to do that. It does not give any other person the right to tell a woman what to do with that body. It is her body, it is her right, it is her decision.Kamala Harris
Stay tuned for part two of Pence vs. Harris. The U.S election is only 82 days away.