Vice President Kamala Harris is heading to the Big Apple to help sell President Joe Biden's sweeping economic agenda.


What You Need To Know

  • Vice President Kamala Harris is traveling to New York to help sell President Joe Biden's Build Back Better economic agenda and its benefit to working families

  • Harris will travel to the Northeast Bronx YMCA, according to the White House, where she will learn about the facility's "impact on the community and deliver remarks about building an economy that works for working families"

  • Biden had a breakfast meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and were joined virtually by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., as negotiations are ongoing on the two parts of his economic proposal

  • Pelosi expressed optimism after the meeting that a deal is close, echoing the president's remarks at a town hall on Thursday night

The VP is heading to New York with Health and Human Services secretary Xavier Becerra, where she is expected to discuss "how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and the Build Back Better Agenda will benefit working families," according to the White House.

Harris will travel to the Northeast Bronx YMCA, a recently opened facility which boasts multiple pools, fitness studios, youth and family programs and other amenities meant to serve the community.

"The Vice President will learn about the YMCA facility’s impact on the community and deliver remarks about building an economy that works for working families," the White House said, previewing her speech which is expected in the early afternoon on Friday.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and freshman Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., who represents parts of The Bronx and Westchester County, including Mount Vernon, Yonkers and New Rochelle, are expected to be on hand at the event. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York Lt. Gov Brian Benjamin and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who also represents parts of The Bronx, were on hand at the YMCA for the event.

Harris will also "highlight the importance of extending the Child Tax Credit, which is one of the largest-ever single tax cuts for families with children."

The speech comes as the two key pieces of Biden's economic agenda – the $1 trillion Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill and the larger Build Back Better act aimed at expanding the social safety net – are under negotiation in Congress. 

Biden had a breakfast meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and were joined virtually by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., as negotiations reach a fever pitch in Congress. Pelosi said after the meeting that a deal is "very possible."

"I'm very optimistic," Pelosi said, adding: “Whatever it is, it is going to be bigger than anything we have ever done for the American people.”

Pelosi declined to say whether or not a deal was possible Friday, saying only that there are some outstanding issues, including health care. The Speaker noted that it's "up to the Senate and the White House to decide" if Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., the Senate's centrist holdouts, are on board.

At a CNN town hall in Baltimore on Thursday night, Biden also expressed confidence that a deal was within reach, telling the audience that "I do think I'll get a deal."

“We’re down to four or five issues,” Biden said of the ongoing negotiations, but did not detail what those issues are. “I think we can get there.”

"It's all about compromise," Biden said, adding: "Compromise has become a dirty word, but ... bipartisanship and compromise still has to be possible."

In order to reach an accord, the size of the sweeping 10-year spending plan has been whittled down to somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 trillion. On Thursday night, President Biden laid out what’s in it — and, importantly, what’s not.

For instance, the paid leave provision has been reduced to four weeks from the originally proposed 12 weeks.

“It is down to four weeks,” Biden confirmed. “The reason it's down to four weeks is I can't get 12 weeks.”

Biden also noted that it might be a “reach” to include dental and vision coverage in Medicare, a progressive priority opposed by moderate Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., one of the key centrist senators in the caucus.

Biden said that Sen. Manchin and "one other person" indicated they would not support the free community college provision, and said that Democrats are looking into expanding Pell grants to help bridge the gap.

"It’s not going to get us the whole thing," Biden said, but noted that he would be forging ahead with his free college education plans in the coming months.

"I'm gonna get it done," Biden pledged. "And if I don't, I'm going to be sleeping alone for a long time," referring to his wife, first lady Dr. Jill Biden, an educator and staunch education advocate.

Biden said that in an evenly divided Senate, every senator's vote is crucial: "Look, in the United States Senate, when you have 50 Democrats, every one is the president."

The bill, which was originally proposed at a $3.5 trillion figure and contained funding for paid family leave, education and climate programs, has been paired with a $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which received widespread bipartisan support when it passed the Senate earlier this summer.

The two pieces of legislation crucial to Biden’s agenda have been stalled as moderates and progressives have haggled over the price tag of the Build Back Better bill — which requires no Republican support thanks to the Senate’s budget reconciliation process — and the order in which both bills would be passed.