VP Kamala Harris visiting N.J. Friday to promote vaccinations and Biden’s child care proposals

Vice President Kamala Harris is coming to New Jersey on Friday to highlight vaccinations and a key proponent of the spending bill now working its way through Congress: child care.

Harris is scheduled to visit Montclair and Newark to talk about President Joe Biden’s spending plan and to urge Americans to take the coronavirus vaccine, according to a White House official speaking on condition of anonymity in advance of the announcement about her.

The spending plan, which is expected to be reduced from its current $3.5 trillion price tag, would expand and hold down the cost of child care to make it easier for women to work outside the home. Many women left their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic as schools and child care centers closed, forcing them to stay at home.

Biden’s proposal would provide free preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds, increase salaries for child care workers, lower costs of child care, and extend the tax credit for those taking care of children, or other dependents. A U.S. Treasury Department report released last month called the child care sector “a crucial and underfunded part of the American economy.”

The bill also would expand health care, fight climate change, and address the Republican tax law’s $10,000 cap on deducting state and local taxes. Congressional Democrats plan to pass the legislation through a process known as reconciliation, which prevents a Senate Republican filibuster and allows approval by majority vote.

Progressive House Democrats last week blocked consideration of separate $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure legislation until lawmakers in both houses also agreed on a second spending bill.

Harris and the rest of the Biden administration have been pushing for Americans to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as the virus continues to spread in areas where residents have not gotten the vaccine and U.S. deaths have climbed over 700,000.

Biden came to New Jersey last month, when he toured Manville, ravaged by the remnants of Hurricane Ida.

Newark hosted then-President Barack Obama in November 2015, when he came to talk about efforts to overhaul the criminal justice system. That was a top priority of U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, a former mayor of the city.

And as a senator, Harris worked with Booker on legislation to change police practices in response to the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man.