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The legislative record of Kamala Harris shows a loyal Democrat and Trump counter-puncher

Niels Lesniewski, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON -- Kamala Harris' arrival in the Senate coincided with the start of the Trump administration in 2017, and the Democratic vice presidential candidate's legislative record shows her to be a reliable soldier of the opposition party.

Because of that reality, there's been limited opportunity for crossover voting for Joe Biden's choice of running mate, but that doesn't mean there's been none. Her party unity score, calculated by CQ Roll Call as the percentage of votes cast in which a lawmaker votes the same way as a majority of the members of their caucus, is north of 99%.

Notable times that she has dissented with the party include her 2019 vote against a Middle East security package that warned against "precipitous withdrawal" of U.S. military forces in Syria and Afghanistan. She was one of 22 Democratic caucus members to cast a no vote.

She was one of eight Democrats this past January to vote against the passage of a trade agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada that would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

On votes in which President Donald Trump clearly articulated a position -- mainly nominations to executive branch positions and the federal bench -- she has voted with the president just about 16% of the time.

Harris has introduced and co-sponsored an assortment of legislation, and her own presidential campaign had policy blueprints of its own, some of which may point in the direction she may attempt to pull the campaign of Democratic presidential nominee-in-waiting Biden.

 

HEALTH CARE

Harris went back and forth on her support for "Medicare for All" last year during her presidential run, which was a key policy debate throughout the Democratic primary.

While she said she supported the policy and remains a co-sponsor of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' single-payer bill (S 1129), she put forward a plan that envisioned a 10-year transition to "Medicare for All" and allowed consumers to choose a public or private insurance plan. Under her plan, private plans would have to meet certain cost and benefit requirements.

"There will be a public plan under my plan for Medicare and a private plan under my plan for Medicare because the bottom line is this, we must agree that access to health care must be a right and not just a privilege of those who can afford it," she said during a debate in July of 2019.

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