Harris Visits Florida to Sell Stimulus Package in a Republican-Led State

The vice president urged Americans to get vaccinated and promoted programs like food assistance as the administration seeks to build public support amid partisan divisions in Washington.


By Katie Rogers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Vice President Kamala Harris urged the public to receive vaccinations during a visit on Monday to Florida, a Republican-led state that has largely remained open for business despite concerns that doing so may prolong the pandemic.

Ms. Harris, who in the past week has traveled the country to promote the particulars of the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, said she did not have a specific message from the administration to a state where a prominent coronavirus variant has spread, even as officials have aggressively courted tourists for an unmasked spring break season that has spiraled out of control.

“I’m here to emphasize the importance of vaccinations and getting the vaccine,” Ms. Harris told reporters shortly after landing in Jacksonville. “One thing is for sure, if you get vaccinated when it’s your turn, you are much more likely to avoid contracting Covid.”

Ms. Harris later visited a food pantry and outlined the benefits in the stimulus package for poor families. Though her portfolio of responsibilities has remained undefined, in practice, she has been an all-purpose messenger for an administration grappling with sizable problems on multiple fronts.

In Jacksonville, she fielded a question from a reporter on whether she would visit the U.S.-Mexico border: “Not today,” she quipped.

While she is on the road, one of her biggest practical hurdles is a deeply partisan landscape that threatens to throw up obstacles to the administration’s agenda, including infrastructure. The administration has tried to emphasize that the economic and public health recovery from a devastating pandemic should be bipartisan, but the White House’s effort to promote the coronavirus relief package and growing vaccination effort around the country has not been politically unified in practice.

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