Kamala Harris in Democratic candidates debate in Detroit Michigan, July 30-31, 2019

On Abortion: Repeal Hyde Amendment; unacceptable that Biden voted for it

HARRIS [to V.P. Biden]: You changed your position on the Hyde Amendment, where you made a decision for years to withhold resources to poor women to have access to reproductive healthcare including women who were the victims of rape and incest. This directly impacted so many women in our country.

BIDEN: The senator knows that that's not my position. Everybody on this stage has been in the Congress has voted for the Hyde Amendment at some point.

Fact-Check from Vice.com, 6/14/19: [Is Biden right? Yes.] The contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination have made reversing the Hyde Amendment--a measure that blocks federal funding for abortion--a top priority on the campaign trail. Members of Congress don't vote directly on Hyde; rather, they vote for the enormous package of spending bills that include Hyde. Democrats running for the White House have tried to capitalize on that technicality. Harris has backed a bill that would effectively repeal Hyde. (It's unlikely to pass.)

Source: FactCheck on 2020 contenders: July Democratic Primary debate Jul 31, 2019

On Crime: FactCheck: Denied DNA evidence in 1980s; backtracked in 2018

The attack: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said Kamala Harris "blocked evidence from being revealed that would have freed an innocent man from Death Row until the courts forced her to do so."

The context: Gabbard is referring to the case of Kevin Cooper, a Death Row inmate convicted of quadruple murder in 1983. Harris, during her tenure as attorney general, declined to use advanced DNA testing in the widely publicized case.

Last year, after the New York Times published an investigative piece on Cooper's case, then-Sen. Harris backtracked, saying, "I feel awful about this," and that she hoped the governor would order the testing. In February, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered new tests. The results are pending.

Source: S.F.Chronicle FactCheck: July 2019 Democratic Primary debate Jul 31, 2019

On Crime: I chose the unpopular thing to NOT seek the death penalty

[Harris said during the debate]: "My entire career I have been personally opposed to the death penalty and that has never changed. And I dare anybody who is in a position to make that decision, to face the people I have faced to say I will not seek the death penalty. That is my background; that is my work. When I was in the position of having to decide whether or not to seek a death penalty on cases I prosecuted, I made a very difficult decision that was not popular to not seek the death penalty."

[Is that true? FactCheck by Vox.com:]

In 2004, as district attorney of San Francisco, she refused to seek the death penalty against a man convicted of shooting police officer Isaac Espinoza. She faced opposition from fellow Democrats; Sen. Dianne Feinstein called for the death penalty at the officer's funeral. But Harris didn't budge--an act of principle that cost her key political allies (as she received almost no support from police groups during her first run for attorney general in 2010).

Source: Vox.com FactCheck on July 2019 Democratic Primary debate Jul 31, 2019

On Education: FactCheck: Did not desegregate LA and SF school districts

The attack: V.P. Joe Biden said that when Harris was attorney general "there were two of the most segregated school districts in the country, in Los Angeles and in San Francisco. And I didn't see a single solitary time she brought a case against them to desegregate them."

The context: Yes, both districts have struggled to better integrate. But it was difficult -- and highly unusual -- for a state attorney general at that time to file suit to desegregate a school, said [a California schools expert].

A series of federal court decisions in the mid-1990s made it much tougher to bring desegregation lawsuits. Few state attorneys general even try. "There was nothing she could really do in San Francisco to force the district to use race-conscious efforts to desegregate the schools. The legal standard would be very difficult to prove," the expert said. "San Francisco has tried a lot of different things to make less segregated schools -- it's just a very difficult thing to do."

Source: S.F.Chronicle FactCheck: July 2019 Democratic Primary debate Jul 31, 2019

On Energy & Oil: Rejoin Paris Accord on Day One; carbon neutral by 2030

Gov. Jay Inslee: : Climate change is not a singular issue, it is all the issues that we Democrats care about. It is health. It is national security. It is our economy. The science tells us we have to get off coal in 10 years. We have to have off of fossil fuels in our electrical grid in 15. And we need a president to do it or it won't get done.

Harris: I have to agree with Governor Inslee. We currently have a president in the White House who obviously does not understand the science. The guy thinks that wind turbines cause cancer, but what in fact what they cause is jobs. I would take any Democrat on this stage over the current president of the United States. We must have and adopt a Green New Deal. On day one I would re-enter us in the Paris agreement. And put in place so we would be carbon neutral by 2030.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Free Trade: Trump's tariffs are a trade tax on workers and farmers

Donald Trump came in making a whole lot of promises to working people that he did not keep. Farmers are now looking at bankruptcy. Auto workers we expect perhaps hundreds of thousands will be out of jobs by the end of the year. Because of this so called trade policy that has been nothing more than the Trump trade tax that has resulted in American families spending as much as $1.4 billion more on everything from shampoo to washing machines.
Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Health Care: Medicare-for-All with 10-year transition and private option

Q: This week you released a new health care plan which would preserve private insurance and take 10 years to phase in. Vice President Biden's campaign calls your plan "a have-it-every-which-way approach" and says it's just part of a confusing pattern of equivocating about your health care stance. What do you say to that?

HARRIS: I have been spending time in this campaign listening to American families, listening to experts, listening to health care providers, and what I came away with is a very clear understanding that I needed to create a plan that was responsive to the needs of the American people, understanding that insurance companies have been jacking up the prices for far too long. I listened to the American families who said four years is just not enough to transition into this new plan, so I devised a plan where it's going to be 10 years of a transition. I listened to American families who said I want an option that will be under your Medicare system that allows a private plan.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Health Care: Cover everyone; don't leave out 10 million Americans

HARRIS [to V.P. Biden]: Our plan will bring health care to all Americans under a Medicare for All system. Our plan will allow people to start signing up on the first day. Your plan, by contrast, leaves out almost 10 million Americans. So I think that you should be reflective and understand that the people of America want access to health care and do not want cost to be their barrier to getting it.

BIDEN: The plan costs $3 trillion [annually]. Ten years from now, after two terms of the senator being president, after her time. Secondly, it will require middle-class taxes to go up, not down. Thirdly, it will eliminate employer-based insurance. And fourthly, what happens in the meantime?

HARRIS: The cost of doing nothing is far too expensive. We are now paying $3 trillion a year for health care in America. Over the next 10 years, it's probably going to be $6 trillion. We must act. My plan is about immediately allowing people to sign up and get into coverage.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Health Care: Separate employment from healthcare, but not illegal

Sen. Michael BENNET: The plan that Senator Harris proposed would make illegal employer based health insurance in this country and massively raise taxes.

HARRIS: My plan does not offer anything that is illegal. What it does is it separates the employer from healthcare, meaning that the kind of healthcare you get will not be a function of where you work. I have me met so many Americans who stick to a job that they do not like, where they are not prospering simply because they need the healthcare that that employer provides. It's time that we separate employers from the kind of healthcare people get and under my plan, we do that as it relates to the insurance and the pharmaceutical companies, who will not be taken to task by Senator Bennet's plan. We will do that.

BENNET: We need to be honest about what's in this plan. It bans employer based insurance and taxes the middle class to the tune of $30 trillion

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Health Care: For-profit insurers jack up co-pays and deductibles

Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand: The insurance companies, I'm sorry, they're for-profit companies.

Harris: In terms of the point that Senator Gillibrand is raising, I couldn't agree more. Senator Biden, your plan will keep and allow insurance companies to remain with status quo, doing business as usual, and that's going to be about jacking up co-pays, jacking up deductibles.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Health Care: Huge profits for insurance; pharma on backs of families

Sen. Joe Biden: Thirty trillion dollars [the cost of Medicare-for-All] has to ultimately be paid. And I don't know what math you do in New York, I don't know what math you do in California, but I tell ya, that's a lot of money, and there will be a deductible.

Kamala Harris: Let's talk about math. Let's talk about the fact that pharmaceutical and insurance companies last year profited $72 billion on the backs of American families. Under your plan, you do nothing to hold the insurance companies to task for what they have been doing to American families. Today diabetes patients, one in four cannot afford insulin. For those people who have overdosed from an opioid, there is a syringe that costs $4,000 that will save their life. It is immoral. It is untenable.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Immigration: Kids whose parents crossed border are treated like criminals

Q: It is currently a criminal offense punishable by jail to cross the U.S. border illegally. Should we decriminalize the border?

BENNET: I disagree that we should decriminalize our border.

HARRIS: I went to a place in Florida called Homestead, and there is a private detention facility that currently houses 2,700 children. There were members of Congress there, [including Julian Castro, but] they would not let us enter the place. So I walked down the road, I climbed a ladder, and I looked over the fence. And I'm going to tell you what I saw. I saw children lined up single file based on gender being walked into barracks. The policies of this administration have been facilitated by laws on the books that allow them to be incarcerated as though they've committed crimes. These children have not committed crimes and should be not treated like criminals.

BENNET: There's not a single person on this stage who would ever separate a child from their parents at the border.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Jobs: Time for action: enforce equal pay for equal work

Since 1963, when we passed the Equal Pay Act, we have been talking about the fact women are not paid equally for equal work. I'm done with the conversation. I am proposing to require corporations to post on their website whether they are paying women equally for equal work. They will be fined for every 1% differential between what they're paying men and women, they will be fined 1% of their previous year's profit. That will get everybody's attention. Time for action.
Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Principles & Values: Fight for the best of who we are

This is an inflection moment in the history of our country. This is a moment requiring us each as individuals and collectively to look in a mirror and ask, "Who are we?" Part of the answer to that question is we are better than this. This is not a new fight for us as Americans. We have always been prepared to fight for our ideals. We have always been a nation that fights for the best of who we are.
Source: July Democratic Primary debate (second night in Detroit) Jul 31, 2019

On Principles & Values: Trump should be prosecuted for obstruction of justice

Q: You have criticized President Trump for interfering with the Justice Department, but you said if you were elected president, your Justice Department "have no choice and should go forward with obstruction of justice charges against former President Trump." Why is it OK for you to advocate for the Justice Department to prosecute somebody, but not OK for President Trump to make a similar request?

HARRIS: I would never direct the Department of Justice to do whatever it believes it should do. But we all watched the Mueller testimony. I've read the report. There are 10 clear incidents of obstruction of justice by this president, and he needs to be held accountable. I have seen people go to prison for far less. And we have a person in the White House right now who has been shielded by a memo that says a sitting president cannot be indicted. The American people are right to say there should be consequence and accountability for everyone and no one is above the law, including the president.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate, on Mueller Report Jul 31, 2019

The above quotations are from Democratic candidates debate in Detroit Michigan, July 30-31, 2019.
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Page last updated: Sep 08, 2019