Remarks by Vice President Harris at a Finance Event with Patty Murray
The Showbox Market
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Patty Murray! Yes! (Laughs.) Hi, Seattle! Hi. Hi, everyone.
Are we going to send Patty back to the Senate? Yes! (Applause.) Do we need Patty Murray? (Applause.) Do we love Patty Murray? (Applause.) (Laughs.)
Thank you for doing what you do. Our nation needs Patty Murray. You know, I — so I was in the Senate for four years. And one of the people I knew even before I got there that I had to make a beeline toward was Patty Murray — because I had known of her work and career for so long.
And those of us — sit down. If you want to sit, sit down. (Laughter.) Just get — I might talk for a while. (Laughter.) And there’s an inverse relationship almost between Patty Murray’s height and her power. (Laughter and applause.) Truly. (Laughs.) I’m good.
But so — and so, when I got to the Senate, before I could actually even reach out to Patty, she reached out to me, because that’s how she is. So there’s a new member coming in. There’s a — you know, there’s a person who doesn’t know everybody here. And she reached out to me, and she invited me to come over, and to sit down in her office and to speak with her.
And that’s who Patty Murray is as a human being, as a person. She’s so generous and kind in the way that she thinks about her community and the way that she thinks about her role of leadership. She really is what we would all want in a leader like her, which is she is so generous in terms of thinking about the responsibility that she has, as an individual, to lift up other people.
And that has been my personal experience with Patty, serving in the Senate for four years — I served in the Democratic caucus. And every week, we’d have a lunch in the LBJ — well, it was before we were in the majority — so in the LBJ room. And so there are tables of 10 and — and every — all the senators would come in. And it’s a closed room — no press. And we would talk about the issues of the day.
Patty sits at the leadership table. And when Patty would get up to speak, you could — it was perceptible there’d be a quiet in the room. And she would be the voice so often of reason around what we must do to fight for working people in America. (Applause.) She would be the voice that was a compelling voice around, “Hey, listen, I want you all to think about what this really means for real people.” She would be the voice that would be the voice to speak up and say, “Hey, this is a moment where we need to have the courage to fight.”
And we would listen to Patty Murray. And so, I share this with you because I’ve been in a room where the cameras have not been in and where many of you, most of you probably have not been. But having seen how she works up close — that’s why I traveled to Seattle to be here to ask you to please do what you have done before and send Patty Murray back to the United States Senate. (Applause.)
And keep Maria there, too. (Laughs.) And the stakes are so high. Everyone has talked about it on the stage this afternoon. The stakes are so high, and we have 13 days to go. Thirteen days — which sometimes, when you’re thinking about life, 13 days seems like, “Okay, it’s a ways off.” But when we think about what’s at stake, it’s a very short period of time between now and 13 days from now, when so much is on the line.
And so, for many of us, we have and we are folks who — we care about community — we care about our community, we’re civically engaged. And so I know I’m also speaking with a crowd of folks who get involved every election cycle.
And so, I’d ask us to think about what we will do and have been doing now and will do over the course of the next 13 days in this context, which is: You all are going to do what you do best. You will talk to your friends and neighbors. You will go up to perfect strangers and, in their face, you will see a friend or neighbor, and you will ask them to vote.
And they will then ask — it happens every time — they will then ask a very righteous question. They will look at you and they will say, “Why should I vote?”
But here’s the thing: We’ve got a lot of good material. (Laughter.) We’ve got a lot of good material, thank you to Patty Murray. We’ve got a lot of good material. (Applause.)
Think about her leadership. It’s called the HELP Committee, but it’s health and education. Right? Think about her leadership over all these years there. And one of the things, because, again, I saw Patty front and center every day fighting to say our nation needs to stand up for the children of America. Every day.
So, what’s the good material we’ve got? Well, when they say, “Why should I vote?” We’re going to say, “Hey…” — because you all turned out record numbers in 2020, by the way — record numbers of young voters in 2020. Right? (Applause.)
So when we go up to people and we ask them to vote now and — we will first thank them for what they did then, and then we will remind them. So, when you voted in 2020, in the midst of the height of a pandemic, when there was so much loss of life, people lost their jobs, loss of normalcy for parents trying to figure out how you could possibly educate your kids online — in the midst of all of that, people took time, out of all of that, to fill out a ballot and to mail it in.
And the way I think about it is: They mailed in their order. They put in an order. So, they said, when they took the time to do that in 2020, “Will you deal with child poverty in America?” And because they voted, we extended the Child Tax Credit, which lifted over 40 percent of America’s children out of poverty in the first year. Because they voted. They put in their order. (Applause.)
They talked about what Patty has been talking about forever. You want to invest in the future of our country and our children? Well, then you better watch out for and take care of the people who are parenting our children. And so, folks voted and put in their order. “What are you doing to help parents?” And because they voted, we passed a tax cut that puts up to $8,000 more dollars in their pockets for the cost of food and medicine and school supplies associated with parenting their children. Because they voted. (Applause.)
Because they voted. And you’ve heard it on the stage this afternoon, and said, “You know, I’m done with this whole infrastructure week thing because it clearly ain’t happening. We’re going to go and we’re going to vote because we want you to deal with the roads and bridges of America, which, in so many cases, are over 150 years old.” And so, they put in their vote, they put in their order. And because of that, SeaTac is getting $10 million more because of that infrastructure bill. (Applause.) King County Metro is getting $550 million more because of that. (Applause.) And $70 million is coming to this state for electric vehicle charging because of that. (Applause.)
They put in their order. They said, “Hey, you guys, you know, you did a good job starting in 2008.” Again, thanks; Patty Murray was a big part of that in reforming the healthcare system of America. That was really helpful. (Applause.) But we’ve got some more to do, because it’s still pretty expensive.
So, they said, “I’m going to vote because I want you to bring down the cost of insulin because I know too many people — seniors, in particular — who are having to make the decision about whether they fill their prescription — which a doctor ordered because it is going to save their life — fill a prescription or pay rent or buy food. And it’s not right that people would have to make a choice between those two.” So, they said, “Bring down the cost of insulin.” And because they voted, we have capped it at $35 a month. (Applause.)
Because they voted. And said, “You know, we’re done with this idea that the pharmaceutical companies get to keep hiking up and jacking up the cost of prescription drugs to the point that people cannot afford lifesaving medication.” And for the first time, because they voted and we were able to do it, we are now allowing Medicare to negotiate against the pharmaceutical companies on behalf of 60 million people as it relates to prescription medication. (Applause.)
Because they voted. Because they voted.
And, on that last piece, by the way, Seattle, do you know: Not one Republican in the Senate or House voted in favor of bringing down those healthcare costs? Not one. Not one.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Since when is this a partisan issue who gets diabetes? Not one. That’s where these things have gotten to.
You know, there was a time where these debates, depending on party affiliation, might have been grounded some way in an ideological perspective based on a difference of opinion about how you get to the same end. But I’ll tell you, I think the ideology of that party today is all about power. It’s an ideology of power.
We need people in office, in these most important positions, who are motivated by what is in the best interests of the people. (Applause.)
So, when we go to ask people over the next 13 days to vote, we got a lot of good material. Not to mention, when they went to vote last time, they said, “Hey, by the way, it’s about time there was a Black woman on the United States Supreme Court.” (Applause.) And her name — and her name is Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. (Laughs.) (Applause.) Because they voted and because you reminded them of their power and all that is at stake.
And so I’m here to thank you for that and to ask you to do it again because so much remains at stake.
So Patty talked about the Dobbs decision. So, let’s think about this: The highest court in our land, the United States Supreme Court, just took a constitutional right that had been recognized from the people of America, from the women of America.
And by the way, on this issue, I think it’s very important to be clear: One does not have to abandon their faith or deeply held beliefs to agree the government should not be telling her what to do with her body. (Applause.)
But look at where we are. So, these extremist so-called leaders around the country are proposing and passing laws that will criminalize doctors and nurses and healthcare providers — criminalize them, literally put them in jail — for providing reproductive care.
These so-called leaders — extremist so-called leaders — are proposing and passing laws that would make no exception for rape or incest.
And many of you might know, a large part of my career, I served as a prosecutor and, in that career, specialized in crimes against — violent crimes against women and children. I specialized in child sexual assault cases.
The idea that anyone who calls themselves a leader would propose that when someone has survived such an act of violence and violation, that they would then have to be subjected to another circumstance where someone else is telling them what to do with their own body is immoral. It’s immoral. (Applause.)
And this is what we’re up against. This is what we’re up against in America in 2022. The stakes are high. So, we need Patty for all she is and has done as a voice of leadership for so long and for so many on all of these issues. And we need to return her to the United States Senate because we got to hold on to our numbers because, as the President has said — and you know, our President, Joe Biden —
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Woo!
THE VICE PRESIDENT: — served in — yes, yes. (Applause.) Let’s talk applaud our President. Yes, yes.
Our President, Joe Biden, served for the Senate — served in the Senate and really has a great deal of respect for the traditions of the Senate. But Joe Biden is done when it comes to this issue of the filibuster on the Women’s Health Protection Act, thanks to Patty Murray. (Applause.) And Joe Biden has said, as President, “Get me — hold on to the Senate, give me two more Senate seats, and I will sign the Women’s Health Protection Act.” (Applause.) Patty Murray’s bill. (Applause.)
And the Women’s Health Protection Act, the way that Patty created it, will render those laws that are being passed in all these states that I just talked about null. (Applause.) It will have an impact on people throughout our country.
And as Patty said, the President also said not going to let the filibuster stand in the way of passing and signing into law the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. (Applause.) Right.
And understand that there’s no coincidence that these two would come up in the same period of time, because here’s the thing: One, understand, in the Dobbs decision, the proponents of the Dobbs decision said, “Well, you know, let the states decide.” Right? “We believe the states will decide.”
Well, these same people who are arguing it will go to the states, some of them are the same people who are also restricting voting rights in their very state. And so, when you look at the intersection between who is attacking voting rights, who is attacking reproductive healthcare and access to reproductive healthcare, who is attacking LGBTQ rights, you will not be surprised to see the intersection.
And in that way, the importance of coalition building, understanding that everyone has something at stake on all these issues.
And so, that really brings me to a couple of my final points. One, please elect Secretary of State Steve Hobbs. (Applause.) In the House, return all the seven Democrats, including Kim Schrier. (Applause.) And then my final point is: Please, please, please do help us reinforce and defend our democracy — (applause) — by sending Patty back to the United States Senate.
Because my last point is this — my last, last point is this. So, as Vice President, I have now — my staff has counted — I’ve now met with, directly or — or by phone, 100 world leaders, so — (applause) — presidents, prime ministers, chancellors, kings.
And here’s what I will tell you — you know this: When we walk into those rooms, representing the United States of America, we have traditionally been able to walk in those rooms, chin up, shoulders back, to talk about the importance of democracies, to talk about the importance of rule of law, human rights.
Because, you see, we have been thought of as a role model and have certainly held ourselves out to be a model of the strongest democracy in the world. But here’s the thing about being a role model: When you’re a role model, people watch what you do to see if it matches what you say. People around the world are watching what’s happening in our country right now, and I know that from the conversations I have with these leaders.
And so, when we think about what’s at stake, let us appreciate — and it is my great fear — there are dictators and autocrats around the world who might be looking at their people — who are fighting for freedom, fighting for liberty — and pointing — they would have — to the United States where — and those so-called leaders are looking at their people and saying, “You want to point to the United States? Look what they’re doing. Be quiet.”
And in that way, what is happening in our country invariably affects people around the world.
But the thing about democracies is this: I think there’s a duality in terms of the nature of a democracy. On the one hand, there is great strength when democracy is intact in the way that it defends and protects individual rights, the rule of law, justice, freedom. There’s great strength in what it does to lift up and strengthen its people.
On the other hand, it’s extremely fragile. It will only be as strong as our willingness to fight for it. And so, fight we will. (Applause.) And when we fight, we win. Patty Murray — the next senator from the great state of Washington to continue her leadership. (Applause.)