Graham Kilmer

Vice President Kamala Harris Promotes Economic Agenda in Milwaukee Visit

Harris joins entertainer D.L. Hughley for her nationwide "Economic Opportunity Tour" in the lead up to the presidential election.

By - May 16th, 2024 05:19 pm

Vice President Kamala Harris (right) and D.L. Hughley (left). Photo by Graham Kilmer

Vice President Kamala Harris visited Milwaukee Thursday to promote the White House agenda in the lead up to the 2024 presidential election.

In a conversation with comedian D.L. Hughley, Harris stumped for the President Joe Biden administration’s economic agenda. The event was held at Discovery World, 500 N. Harbor Dr.

Harris and Hughley also discussed how the country’s legacy of racism has created economic disparities, and a handful of policies and initiatives the administration has secured or proposed to address it.

The stop was the latest on her nationwide “Economic Opportunity Tour,” which has traveled to more than a dozen states to promote the administration’s investments and economic agenda.

Milwaukee County has received significant attention from the White House for its use of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to support affordable housing. County Executive David Crowley previously appeared in a White House video promoting ARPA investments, and federal officials recently traveled to Milwaukee to talk up the role of federal funding in a massive affordable homeownership project in the King Park neighborhood.

Harris and Hughley discussed racial bias in home appraisals — something Hughley has had personal experience with — and Harris noted that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has set up a hotline for people to report racial discrimination during the home buying process. The administration has also proposed a grant program providing up to $25,000 for first-time homeowners who were raised in households that never owned their home.

Harris was introduced at the event by James Phelps, president of JCP Construction. And the vice president used Phelps as an example of the kinds of companies, employing union labor, that “is going to make what we plan to do out of Washington, DC, real on the streets of America.”

The White House has been working to demonstrate the impact of the billions in infrastructure spending passed through Congress under their administration, including funding in the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“We are dropping trillions of dollars on streets of America right now,” Harris said, “to build back up our roads and our bridges, our sidewalks to invest in a clean energy economy, to deal with the climate crisis in a way that is about building up adaptation and resilience.”

The federal government has also been working to increase the number of minority-owned firms that work as federal contractors, Harris said. “We said we’re going to increase by 50% federal contracts going to minority-owned businesses,” the vice president said. “And we are on track to get that done by the end of the year.”

Harris also discussed the administration’s efforts to reduce the burden of both medical debt and student loans, including eliminating medical debt from credit scores and plans to wipe out approximately $150 billion in student loan debt.

The event Thursday also coincided with the announcement of a $40 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant program providing funding for local housing counseling services. Housing counselors work with prospective homebuyers to build their credit and access government programs that will assist them with the process, said Adrianne Todman, acting HUD secretary.

“The Housing counselors are in many ways the unsung heroes of the home buying journey,” Todman said. “For a lot of people working with the housing counselor is the very reason that they were able to make their housing dreams come true.”

U.S. Department of the Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo also spoke, discussing the role small businesses and Black-owned businesses played in the nation’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor Cavalier Johnson was the first to take the stage Thursday and praised the investments the federal government has made in Milwaukee and Wisconsin. Crowley followed the mayor, and offered similar remarks. “You don’t have to look too far than in your own neighborhoods where you are seeing affordable housing being built by Milwaukee County, where you see us reconnecting communities that were historically divided by urban renewal and interstate development,” said Crowley.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) released a statement Thursday criticizing the vice president’s economic tour.

“Kamala Harris is in Milwaukee to try to sell an alternate reality of prosperity and opportunity to Wisconsinites,” said Jacob Fischer, RNC spokesperson. “No amount of dog and pony shows will change the fact that Wisconsin families are being crushed by higher prices everywhere from the supermarket to the gas pump thanks to Bidenomics.”

Thursday marked Harris’s fourth visit to Wisconsin this year. Biden, in separate trips, has also visited the state four times.

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Categories: Politics

2 thoughts on “Vice President Kamala Harris Promotes Economic Agenda in Milwaukee Visit”

  1. Ryan Cotic says:

    Yikes, what a terrible person she seems to be.

  2. says:

    Trump was the one one that put the US trillions of dollars in debt and continues to give the rich the biggest tax breaks.
    It will take a long time to turn this around.

    Thank God for the increase in affordable housing, We need it and deserve it.

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