Q. 29: What Is the Name of the Vice President of the United States Now?

Kamala Harris was the first South Asian-American to serve in the Senate.

To pass the US citizenship test, you will have to answer 10 of a possible 100 questions. The following question is from the USCIS test.

What is the name of the Vice President of the United States now?

Answer:

Kamala Harris.

The following is a full explanation of the USCIS question:

Every president chooses a running mate for their election campaign but may select someone else for a second term. Vice presidents can also resign mid-term. At the moment, Kamala Harris is vice president, and one of the most historically significant appointments. Why is this the case, and could she ever become President of the United States?

Why Is Kamala Harris’s Election Win So Significant?

Kamala Harris has broken many barriers for women of color throughout her career. But, her latest role is the most significant breakthrough to date. She is the first woman to hold the position, making her the highest-ranking female elected official in American history. Hillary Clinton would have gone one better if she had beaten Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential race.

Additionally, thanks to her heritage, Harris is the first African-American and Asian-American vice president in history. Her mother was an Indian biomedical scientist, while her father was a Jamaican-American professor at Stanford. Her background meant she was the first South Asian-American to serve in the Senate and the second African-American woman. 

What Did Kamala Harris Do Before the Vice Presidency?

Harris’ career in public office began as the District Attorney of San Francisco. She held this role from 2004 to 2011, at which point she took over from Jerry Brown as Attorney General of California. She continued there until moving into politics, where she became a Senator for California in 2017. A position she held until January 18th, 2021, two days before the inauguration. Interestingly, it was Joe Biden who had sworn her in as Senator in his role as vice president under Barack Obama.

Harris received much attention as Senator, mainly for her opposition to much of President Trump’s policies and orders. One of which was an executive order banning the entry of people from several countries into the United States. She famously labelled it a “Muslim Ban.” She was also vocal in her questioning of witnesses around the case of the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the confirmation hearing of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. 

What Has Kamala Harris Achieved As Vice President?

Harris was sworn into office during President Biden’s inauguration in January of 2021. At the time, there was a 50-50 divide in the Senate between the parties, leaving Harris, as President of the Senate, to break important ties. She has cast the most votes in her first year than any other vice president.

Notable achievements during her first year in office include the “Call to Action” initiative to help countries that were home to so many fleeing migrants. Then there were the American Rescue Plan and Covid Relief bills to try and help people in the current climate.

Unfortunately for Vice President Harris, her popularity rating is even lower than President Biden’s. On April 12th of 2022, it was at 40%. Some link this to controversies surrounding her foreign trips and issues with immigration. Others suggest it is simply a symptom of being connected to Biden. There is also the possibility that sexism and racism play a small part. 

Could Kamala Harris Become President?

There are two ways in which Kamala Harris can rise further through the ranks and become President of the United States. Either she is elected to that position, or she gets there via the 25th Amendment. Both seem unlikely but are not beyond the realms of possibility.

The most obvious route for a vice president to take when seeking the presidency is to put themselves forward for nomination after a second term as VP. That is what Joe Biden did, having served for two terms under President Barack Obama and coming back to be victorious in his own campaign in 2020. Harris could attempt this and seek the nomination when Biden is no longer an option. Theoretically, he could decline to stand in 2024 and endorse her.

However, Harris has bid for the presidency before. She sought the nomination in the lead up to the 2020 campaign but withdrew before the primaries. Speculative lists at the moment don’t name her as a potential nominee. 

The 25th Amendment

An alternative route for Harris to become president in the middle of a term is via the 25th Amendment. This amendment was introduced to ensure that there would be a smooth transfer of power if a president were unable to finish a term. This has happened before when presidents have died in office. But, it is also applicable if the president is unfit due to their health or certain actions.

Harris has already briefly fulfilled the role of acting president for an 85 minute period when President Biden underwent anesthesia.

However, Joe Biden is said to be in good health and has performed well in physical and neurological exams. People will always place his actions under the microscope though, and jump at any opportunity to look for weakness. At 79-years-old he is the oldest serving president in United States history, bringing added scrutiny. Critics will point to memory lapses or gaffes as indications of a profound cognitive illness or lookout for signs of injuries and falls.

At the end of his first term, Joe Biden will be 82. Anything could happen between now and then. Although, he has the option to run for a second term, where he and Harris could share power until he is 86. 

Kamala Harris Is Currently Vice President

Presently, Harris is in the position of Vice President, and there is no indication that she will leave that role or take over from Biden anytime soon. Whatever her course, nothing can change the historical impact she has already had. 

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