Boys and Girls Club of New Haven
New Haven, Connecticut
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Do you have any questions?
Q Madam Vice President, how should Democrats respond in the face of new voting restrictions that are now law in the state of Georgia and being proposed as well elsewhere in the country?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I believe very strongly that Congress needs to pass the For [The] People Act, and we need to restore the — the teeth and the strength of the Voting Rights Acts. And we need to also provide for what is necessary clearly when we see the kind of abusive practices that we’ve seen in the — from the Georgia legislature, which is to intentionally, I believe, attempt to prevent whole populations of people from exercising their constitutional right to vote in their elections. So that’s what we need to do.
Q A lot of Democrats want to see the filibuster — they want to see you presiding over the Senate when the filibuster is abolished. The President yesterday himself said this is a relic of the Jim Crow era. Is that the step you’re willing (inaudible)?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I think the President was quite clear. And, by the way, I thought he did a really great job in his press conference yesterday and answered everything for over an hour.
And he was very clear, which is that we should take a look at the filibuster. He made his thoughts clear about the talking filibuster. And ultimately, it’s going to be the Senate that’s going to make that decision.
But — but — but let me just add that we do have to get to a place where it’s not so easy to block progress, because the American people need us to act. And what we saw with the American Rescue Plan — and it was the point of this discussion — and we’re going to later see our young leaders and our babies — four-year-olds, five-year-olds — the children of America deserve to have their Congress act to meet their needs, especially when they are suffering, especially when we’re talking about issues like poverty.
And so, look, that — the point then is that it should not be so easy to block progress in our country.
(Cross-talk from reporters.)
You guys work it out. (Laughs.)
Q (Inaudible) rules have been a problem — an intractable problem for multiple presidents. Are you concerned at all about the political risks that come with accepting this responsibility?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: No.
Q Madam Vice President, you — when you were running for President, came up with some very creative, aggressive, different ways you could use executive action on a number of issues: teachers, guns — which, I know, for both of you senators is an issue very near and dear to your heart. Are you pushing the President, or suggesting to the President that he adopt some of those proposals you came up with to be a little more aggressive with executive action going forward?
THE VICE PRESIDENT: I think the President has been quite obvious in his intention to be bold. Again, I’ll go back to the occasion for this visit, which is the American Rescue Plan — lifting half of America’s children out of poverty.
So this is what we are seeing from this President and this administration, and I think we will see more of that. And basically, the President and this administration is focused singularly on producing results, as opposed to grand gestures.