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VP Heads West to Promote Administration’s Climate Crisis Strategy

FILE - Vice President Kamala Harris speaks about the bipartisan infrastructure bill from the East Room of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will travel Monday to Lake Mead to promote the Biden administration’s climate crisis strategy and urge passage of a major infrastructure plan.

The man-made reservoir near the gambling and tourist destination city of Las Vegas, Nevada, is a major source of water for seven Western U.S. states and northern Mexico. Harris will hear from local, state and federal officials on the declining water levels at Lake Mead, the largest in the U.S. by volume, which provides drinking water and electricity for more than 40 million people across the region.

The U.S. government in August declared the first-ever water shortage at Lake Mead, which has fallen to record lows amid a decades-long drought in the Western U.S. The shortage has forced officials to impose water rationing next year for Nevada, the neighboring state of Arizona and Mexico.

With the trip to Lake Mead, Harris plans to promote a $550 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, an agreement reached earlier this year between President Joe Biden and a bipartisan group of senators. The investment includes tens of billions of dollars to shore up the nation’s water infrastructure and protect communities against the impact of climate change, including lingering heat waves and droughts.

The infrastructure plan has been approved by the U.S. Senate, but is stalled in the House over intense and increasingly bitter negotiations over funding for the president’s Build Back Better plan, which would provide a significant boost to the nation’s social safety net.

Some information for this report came from the Associated Press.