Current and former aides to Mr Biden and Ms Harris say that while relations with the Senate will be important to her work, she has not been given a portfolio of specific issues, at least initially, and will serve rather a housekeeper. partner of Mr. Biden on all of his top priorities. If fulfilled, that tenure could make her one of the most influential vice-presidents in history.
As a sign of her involvement in legislative campaigns, Ms Harris has been in contact with mayors across the country to gain insight into Mr Biden’s coronavirus relief program, Harris’s aide said.
From the moment Ms Harris was chosen as Mr Biden’s running mate, Republicans sought to portray her as a radical who would co-opt Mr Biden’s more centrist agenda and push any administration far to the left, leaning often on personal sexist attacks. In the process. Yet although Ms Harris and Mr Biden had heated disagreements over a number of issues during the primary, as vice president she made a point at every turn to demonstrate that she not only was kissing. his program, but had studied his proposals in detail and was fully on board as a partner.
She reveled in the moment on Wednesday when she appeared outside the Capitol for her inauguration. “So proud of you,” former President Barack Obama told him as they slammed their fists shortly before he was sworn in. Minutes later, Ms Harris, clad in a purple cloak, barely suppressed a smile as she finished swearing in to Judge Sotomayor, her hand on a bible once belonging to Thurgood Marshall, the former judge of the Supreme Court.
Following the inaugural ceremony, Ms Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, escorted her predecessor, Mike Pence, and his wife, Karen Pence, down the Capitol steps for Mr Pence’s departure. The couples stopped halfway for a friendly chat punctuated with laughter.
In her next role, however, Ms Harris may face inherent challenges, including finding her place in a West Wing filled with Obama White House veterans who have known and worked together for years and advise a president to deeply held ideas of how Washington works. And given speculation that Mr Biden, 78, could not run for a second term, Ms Harris, who has mounted her own failed 2020 White House candidacy, is sure to face close scrutiny from its electoral future much sooner than it did. predecessors.
One factor that may work in Ms Harris’ favor is Mr Biden’s own experience as vice president, especially early on when he joined an Obama team in the White House that at times had a clubby quality. Ms Harris’ allies hope and expect Mr Biden – and many assistants who have worked with him, such as new chief of staff Ron Klain – will remember what it was like to be ” on the other side ”and ensuring that Ms. Harris and her team are included and empowered.