Here’s where VP pick Kamala Harris stands on Big Tech, taxes, marijuana

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) became the first woman of color to be put on a presidential ticket Tuesday, after Joe Biden announced her as his Democratic vice presidential running mate.

During her time as California’s top prosecutor, Harris, the first African American to serve as California’s Attorney General, was criticized for being soft on technology giants and white-collar crime. Politico reported that Harris is a relief for Wall Street in that Biden chose her over Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has long set her sights on reining in financial sector profits that outpace growth of American wages.

22 PHOTOSKamala Harris's 2020 presidential campaignSee GalleryKamala Harris's 2020 presidential campaignDAVENPORT, LOWA, UNITED STATES – 2019/07/16: United States Senator from California Kamala Harris hugs Kyrah Cortimiglia as she campaigns for the Democratic nomination for the 2020 United States presidential election at Friends of MLK during a round table discussion for women of color. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)DAVENPORT, LOWA, UNITED STATES – 2019/07/16: United States Senator from California Kamala Harris campaigns for the Democratic nomination for the 2020 United States presidential election at Friends of MLK during a round table discussion for women of color. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) speaks during the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on Thursday, June 27, 2019, at the Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images)MIAMI, FLORIDA – JUNE 27: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks during a television interview after the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on June 27, 2019 in Miami, Florida.A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)Democratic presidential hopeful US Senator for California Kamala Harris participates in the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida, June 27, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)(Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)Democratic presidential hopeful US Senator for California Kamala Harris speaks to the press in the Spin Room after the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida, June 27, 2019. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP)(Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)Senator Kamala Harris addresses the crowd at the We Decide: Planned Parenthood Action Fund 2020 Election Forum to Focus on Abortion and Reproductive Rights event in Columbia, SC on June, 22 2019. – Many of the Democratic candidates running for president are in Columbia to make appearances at the South Carolina Democratic Party Convention and the Planned Parenthood Election Forum on June 22. (Photo by Logan Cyrus / AFP)(Photo credit should read LOGAN CYRUS/AFP/Getty Images)Supporters of US Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris attend a meet and greet at an historic home in Columbia, South Carolina on June 21, 2019. – Many of the Democratic candidates running for president are in Columbia to make appearances at the South Carolina Democratic Party Convention and the Planned Parenthood Election Forum on June 22. (Photo by Logan Cyrus / AFP)(Photo credit should read LOGAN CYRUS/AFP/Getty Images)US Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris speaks to a porch full of supporters at a meet and greet at an historic home in Columbia, South Carolina on June 21, 2019. – Many of the Democratic candidates running for president are in Columbia to make appearances at the South Carolina Democratic Party Convention and the Planned Parenthood Election Forum on June 22. (Photo by Logan Cyrus / AFP)(Photo credit should read LOGAN CYRUS/AFP/Getty Images)A supporter of US Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris attends a meet and greet at an historic home in Columbia, South Carolina on June 21, 2019. – Many of the Democratic candidates running for president are in Columbia to make appearances at the South Carolina Democratic Party Convention and the Planned Parenthood Election Forum on June 22. (Photo by Logan Cyrus / AFP)(Photo credit should read LOGAN CYRUS/AFP/Getty Images)A supporter of US Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris attends a meet and greet at an historic home in Columbia, South Carolina on June 21, 2019. – Many of the Democratic candidates running for president are in Columbia to make appearances at the South Carolina Democratic Party Convention and the Planned Parenthood Election Forum on June 22. (Photo by Logan Cyrus / AFP)(Photo credit should read LOGAN CYRUS/AFP/Getty Images)MSNBC – Election Coverage “The Last Word Town Hall with Lawrence O’Donnell and Kamala Harris” — Pictured: Kamala Harris — (Photo by: Liz Nemeth/MSNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)MSNBC – Election Coverage “The Last Word Town Hall with Lawrence O’Donnell and Kamala Harris” — Pictured: Kamala Harris — (Photo by: Liz Nemeth/MSNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)MSNBC – Election Coverage “The Last Word Town Hall with Lawrence O’Donnell and Kamala Harris” — Pictured: (l-r) Lawrence O’Donnell, Kamala Harris — (Photo by: Liz Nemeth/MSNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – APRIL 27:Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks at the National Forum on Wages and Working People: Creating an Economy That Works for All at Enclave on April 27, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Six of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are attending the forum, held by the Service Employees International Union and the Center for American Progress Action Fund, to share their economic policies.(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 05: Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks at the National Action Network convention on April 5, 2019 in New York City. A dozen 2020 Democratic presidential candidates will speak at the organization’s convention this week. Founded by Rev. Al Sharpton in 1991, the National Action Network is one of the most influential African American organizations dedicated to civil rights in America.(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE! – “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” airs every weeknight at 11:35 p.m. EDT and features a diverse lineup of guests that include celebrities, athletes, musical acts, comedians and human interest subjects, along with comedy bits and a house band. The guests for Tuesday, March 19, included Senator Kamala Harris (2020 Presidential Candidate), Mark Hamill (“Knightfall”), and musical guest Judah & the Lion. (Randy Holmes via Getty Images)SENATOR KAMALA HARRISNORTH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 01:Attendees hold up campaign sign as U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (not pictured) speaks during a town hall meeting at Canyon Springs High School on March 1, 2019 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Harris is campaigning for the 2020 Democratic nomination for president.(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 21: (L-R) 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA)and Rev. Al Sharpton exit after having lunch at Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem, February 21, 2019 in New York City. According to Sharptons civil rights organization National Action Network, the two discussed criminal justice reform and other critical issues. Harris dined on a dish of chicken and waffles. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 21: (L-R) Rev. Al Sharpton and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) talk while having lunch at Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem, February 21, 2019 in New York City. According to Sharptons civil rights organization National Action Network, the two discussed criminal justice reform and other critical issues. Harris dined on a dish of chicken and waffles. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)US Senator from California, Kamala Harris, addresses the media January, 21 2019 at Howard University in Washington, DC after announcing earlier in the day that she is seeking to become the first African American woman to hold the office of US president, joining an already-crowded field of Democrats lining up to take on Donald Trump. – Harris joins Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and former housing secretary Julian Castro, among others, either in the race or exploring a run for the 2020 Democratic nomination. Nearly 22 months before the 2020 election, the battle for the White House is already firming up, as Americans begin to assess who might be the opposition party nominee to challenge Trump for control of the White House.Harris made the announcement on the national holiday honoring civil rights movement icon Martin Luther King Jr., whom she said her mother met. (Photo by EVA HAMBACH / AFP)(Photo credit should read EVA HAMBACH/AFP/Getty Images)GOOD MORNING AMERICA – Senator Kamala Harris announced she is running for president in 2020 today, Monday, January 21, 2019 on Walt Disney Television via Getty Images’s “Good Morning America.” “Good Morning America” airs Monday-Friday (7-9am, ET) on Walt Disney Television via Getty Images.(Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS, GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ROBIN ROBERTSUp Next

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Under Harris’ watch, Facebook (FB) made pivotal acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp, now at the heart of Congressional and federal agency investigations into suspected anticompetitive conduct. Along with Google (GOOG) and Apple (AAPL), both headquartered in California, and Amazon (AMZN), the companies have come under increasing scrutiny for wielding what some believe is too much power over new market entrants.

“As attorney general of California, she possessed sweeping powers to restrain the growing power of those tech platforms,” HuffPost wrote in July.

California’s current attorney general, Xavier Becerra, said in November – months after other state attorneys general had already launched probes into antitrust concerns – that his office was conducting an investigation of Facebook. In July, reports surfaced that Becerra’s office had opened an inquiry into Google too.

Big Tech

Harris told The New York Times in 2019 during her presidential campaign that her priority with respect to Big Tech was for companies to protect their users’ privacy and personal information, rather than to focus on their size. That priority was evident in 2013, when Harris successfully curbed cyber exploitation by prevailing in a case against a revenge porn website and its operator. 

Harris has more recently been willing to scrutinize Big Tech’s market dominance and handling of political and hate speech, as well as misinformation online. In an interview with CNN last May, in response to whether Big Tech needs to be broken up she said, “We have to seriously take a look at that,” and characterized the companies’ services as “utility that has gone unregulated.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who also ran for the Democratic nomination, attacked Harris during a debate as too aligned with Big Tech to effectively regulate the industry.

Among top donors to political career contributors were Google parent Alphabet ($79,126), Apple ($56,982), Microsoft ($37,133), Cisco ($57,528) and WarnerMedia now AT&T ($40,197).

Wall Street

A self-described champion for middle-class Californians, Harris has touted her efforts standing up to Wall Street banks. She has frequently referenced a $20 billion settlement she negotiated on behalf of homeowners who faced foreclosure during the Great Recession. Some say Harris let big banks off the hook too easily by failing to prosecute executives responsible for crafting predatory mortgage practices.

Consumer advocates both praised and criticized the effort, on one hand calling it a win for around 150,000 families that reportedly accessed relief through the agreement, and on the other, a loss for disabled, widowed, minority homeowners who had less success obtaining relief through the settlement.

Minimum wage, paid leave, health care

As a U.S. senator, Harris has supported legislation for middle-class tax cuts, and a $15-per-hour federal minimum wage. According to her website, Harris supports measures that would allow Americans to access tuition-free higher education. In addition, she proposes raising teachers’ pay by increasing the estate tax.

In 2019, Harris introduced a bill proposing that families with less than $100,000 in annual income receive an income tax credit of $6,000. Single filers making less than $50,000 under the bill would receive a $3,000 credit. She introduced separate legislation that would extend tax credits, with market rate caps, to renters whose rent costs exceed 30% of their income. Another proposed bill sought to create a $100 billion fund from which people, mostly minorities, living in red-lined districts, and therefore faced with challenges in obtaining financing, could get down payment and closing cost assistance.

Harris is a supporter of the Affordable Care Act, as well as an expansion of the program that would include Medicare for All. In 2019, she proposed funding such a measure by taxing offshore and domestic profits at equal rates. During a Democratic primary debate, Harris raised her hand along with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) when asked if her healthcare plan would abolish private healthcare insurance to be replaced by a government-run plan. She later retracted the position, saying she misinterpreted the moderator’s question.

Legalizing marijuana

Unlike her running mate, Harris has been an advocate for removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). As the lead Senate sponsor of the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE Act), which was advanced in the House in November, Harris supported its goal to both end the federal prohibition of marijuana and incentivize states to expunge criminal records of defendants with marijuana-related convictions.

During her presidential campaign, Harris introduced a plan that would give all American workers 6 months of paid leave to care for children, as well as personal and family medical leave. Under the plan, Harris envisioned full wage replacement for workers who earn less than $75,000 annually, with phased out benefits for workers exceeding the cap.

Among the personal donors to Harris’ presidential run were Hollywood and Silicon Valley billionaires, including Gordon and Ann Getty, George Lucas, Dean Metropoulos, and Laurene Powell Jobs.

Asked by the Times whether anyone deserves to have a billion dollars, Harris said, “If they earn it and work hard for it, sure.” Adding a caveat to the position, Harris said that most people in the country do not start at a level that allows them access to such economic success. That disadvantage, she said, needs to be addressed.

Biden and Harris are expected to appear together Wednesday in Delaware. 

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