Kamala Harris Says She’ll Fix Rape-Kit Backlog: Campaign Update

(Bloomberg) — Democratic presidential hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand vowed to hold companies that outsource jobs accountable, saying President Donald Trump has failed to deliver on his campaign promise to keep jobs in the U.S.

The New York senator’s plan includes a “deadbeat company tax” that aims to punish large corporations that move operations overseas. If 25 or more jobs are moved the company would receive financial penalties and clawbacks of local, state and federal funds, she said.

Gillibrand said she’d start an economic disaster aid fund to help local communities deal with layoffs. The fund would make federal resources available for infrastructure, grants for job creation, job training and mortgage payment loans.

“As president, I promise to fight for workers the same way President Trump fights for executives. And no corporation will stand in my way,” she said.

Kamala Harris Says She’ll Fix Rape-Kit Backlog (2 p.m.)

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris unveiled a $1 billion plan to help states eliminate backlogs on rape kits, which are used by health professionals to gather evidence in sexual assault cases.

In a news release, Harris’s campaign pointed out that it was making the announcement as “the case of Jeffrey Epstein, who was indicted this week for sex trafficking and faces accusations of raping teenage girls, draws further scrutiny.”

The California senator’s campaign said the policy is intended to help states eliminate their backlog within four years. About 225,000 known untested rape kits had been uncovered in the last decade, it said.

States will have to implement four steps to receive funding: provide yearly reports on the number of untested rape kits, require that all new rape kits be submitted and tested in a short time, track rape kits and make their status available to victims, and make the kits widely available. — Sahil Kapur

Buttigieg Outlines Plan to Boost Racial Justice (11:20 a.m.)

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg detailed a multibillion-dollar initiative to address racial inequality in heath care, education, entrepreneurship, the criminal justice system, housing, the environment and voting rights.

Buttigieg’s campaign has been roiled by his handling of racial issues in South Bend, Indiana, where he is mayor. In June, he suspended his campaign and returned home to address protests by black residents after a white police officer shot and killed a black man. Buttigieg has struggled to attract minority voters and the most recent polls show him essentially polling at zero among black Democrats.

The “Douglass Plan” he presented Thursday aims to show “how the federal government can intentionally dismantle racist structures and systems” through “unprecedented” economic investment in African American communities.

The proposal, named after the 19th century black abolitionist Frederick Douglass, includes creating health equity investment zones and a data base identifying health threats, increasing funding for Title 1 and investing $25 billion into historically black colleges and universities, ensuring increased access to capital for black entrepreneurs and reducing the incarceration rate by 50%.

He also calls for abolishing private federal prisons, eliminating the imprisonment of people for drug offenses and expunging the record of drug offenders. — Emma Kinery

Biden to Outline His Post-Trump Foreign Policy (06:00 a.m.)

Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden on Thursday will outline his plan to remake U.S. foreign policy after four years of Donald Trump’s leadership.

The address in New York will be the former vice president’s first major effort to highlight an area where he has far more experience than any of his rivals for the presidency, according to a campaign official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Biden will focus on the need to repair and reinvigorate U.S. democracy, equip Americans to better succeed in the global economy and put the country back at the head of the table in mobilizing collective action on global threats.

He also will promise to convene a gathering of the world’s democracies during his first year in office as a step toward rebuilding alliances frayed by the Trump administration, the official said.

The speech comes after several rocky weeks for Biden, whose advantage in polls has narrowed amid scrutiny of his record on racial issues and a rocky performance at the first Democratic debate last month in Miami.

Biden was involved in foreign policy for much of his political career. He was the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for more than a decade and, as vice president, had a key role in advising President Barack Obama on foreign policy matters.

But focusing on his international expertise might not bring much political gain: In June, just 3% of Americans surveyed by Gallup said foreign policy and national security-related issues were the country’s most important problem.

Biden has already come under fire from some of his rivals as the only candidate in the race who voted in 2002 to authorize the use of force in Iraq. The other 2020 contender who was in the Congress at the time, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, voted against military action.

And rivals are likely to point out that Obama didn’t always follow Biden’s foreign policy advice. In 2009, the president sided with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over Biden in approving a troop surge in Afghanistan. Biden urged Obama not to go forward with the May 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden. But Obama approved the mission, which Biden has since touted as an accomplishment of their administration.

The official wouldn’t point to any major breaks from Obama’s policies, saying Biden would respond to new challenges and restore some of the policies and practices that Trump eliminated. He would also put renewed emphasis on fighting climate change, including by re-entering the Paris climate agreement and pushing countries to make commitments that go beyond that pact.

The former vice president would use the democracy summit to ask social-media and other technology companies to agree to take steps to guard against abuses of technology around the world.

In addition, Biden will call for rebuilding U.S. alliances and retaking the U.S. role as a leader of multilateral coalitions to stand up to authoritarian regimes, the official said.

Biden won’t get into many regional specifics, though he will say that if Iran returns to compliance with the 2015 nuclear accord, the U.S. would also rejoin the agreement under his watch while pushing to strengthen and lengthen it, the official said. — Jennifer Epstein

Sanders Goes on Hiring Spree in New Hampshire (5 a.m.)

Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign has been on a hiring spree in New Hampshire in the past two months, as the Vermont senator tries to fend of challenges from Elizabeth Warren and other rivals who also are investing heavily in the first-in-the-nation primary state.

The campaign now has 45 staffers there, a nearly 45% jump since May, according to Carli Stevenson, deputy director of Sanders’s New Hampshire operation. Joe Caiazzo, the campaign’s state director, said the new hires primarily will be used to connect with the thousands of Granite State voters who volunteered for Sanders’s 2016 primary race against Hillary Clinton.

Sanders won by 22 points in that primary, and he’s counting on a repeat early next year to help propel him through the rest of the Democratic contests. Recent polls in the Granite State have him in second place there behind national front-runner Joe Biden. Warren, from neighboring Massachusetts, has visited the state more than twice as often as Sanders.

The Sanders campaign also plans to add four satellite offices in the New Hampshire, bringing its total number of offices there to six. In addition to headquarters in Manchester, the campaign opened another office in Hudson. Locations for the new offices include Dover, West Lebanon, Portsmouth and a second satellite office in Manchester, Stevenson said. — Laura Litvan

Here’s What Happened Wednesday:

(Adds description of fund in third paragraph of Gillibrand item)

–With assistance from Laura Litvan, Jennifer Epstein, Sahil Kapur and Emma Kinery.

To contact the reporter on this story: Catherine Dodge in New York at cdodge1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Max Berley, Steve Geimann

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