SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- Vice President Kamala Harris visited Southern California on Friday as part of an official trip to promote the Biden administration's infrastructure bill, and to talk about funding that would go toward helping battle wildfires in the region.
Harris, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, took an aerial tour of the San Bernardino National Forest. They were briefed on the wildfire outlook for 2022. Harris announced that the recently passed infrastructure law includes $600 million dollars in disaster relief funding for California, to help areas impacted by wildfires.
"Firefighters need to be better paid. That's real, right. They're out there risking their lives," Harris said. "Some have paid the ultimate sacrifice to fight these fires and we should pay them their values."
About $5 billion dollars will be used to help reduce the risk of wildfires across the country.
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The deal also includes money that will go toward helping low-income areas, that are in high-fire danger zones, to build defensible space around their homes.
Eyewitness News' Ellen Leyva got the opportunity to talk to the Vice President one-on-one about other important issues that the Biden administration is facing, like the defeat in Congress over voting rights, and what happens next.
"What we still need to do is pass federal legislation that says 'stop it!' We're not going to allow you to make it more difficult for people to vote,' because we want everyone to vote. We don't want to tell anybody who to vote for, but is it not part of our American values to say that everyone's voice matters?" said Harris. "Everyone's voice counts, and we want to encourage you to use your voice, and then you make your choice about who to vote for, but let's not encourage or allow laws to be passed that are intentionally making it more difficult for people to vote."
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Another important issue discussed was that of immigration.
"We have to protect our dreamers. We have to create a legal pathway for citizenship. There are so many people who want and deserve it," Harris pointed out. "And it will benefit all of us. And so this is a priority for us. It continues to be. We need Congress to act. We need to continue to put pressure on Congress. To understand, it is shortsighted, and it is just simply wrong to not take on this issue and embrace this issue."