Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook McEnany says Juneteenth is a very ‘meaningful’ day to Trump MORE (D-Calif.) on Sunday said the federal government has a key “role and responsibility” to play in ensuring equality in the U.S.

“The federal government has historically and always had a role to play in ensuring equality in America. Those are the principles upon which we were founded,” Harris, a Democratic presidential hopeful, told reporters in San Francisco.

“Where states fail to do their duty to ensure equality of all people and in particular, where states create or pass legislation that created inequality, there’s no question that the federal government has a role and responsibility to step up.”


Harris added on Sunday that she supports busing as “one small piece” of federal and local efforts to increase schools’ diversity.

“Listen, the schools of America are as segregated if not more segregated today than they were when I was in elementary school,” she said. “And we need to put every effort including busing into play to desegregate the schools.” 

The comments come after a sharp confrontation between the California lawmaker and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE during this week’s Democratic primary debate. Harris accused Biden of being opposed to busing black students to majority white schools, noting that she personally benefited from such busing. 

“There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day,” Harris said to Biden. “That little girl was me.”

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Biden called Harris’s criticism a “mischaracterization” of his views and said his issue was with the Department of Education administering busing policies.

The exchange reignited the debate over the role federal government’s role in correcting institutional discrimination.

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