In the Orwellian name of “modernizing” and throwing around terms like “right-size the Federal Government’s environmental review,” the Trump Administration is overturning and repealing regulations aimed at protecting the environment and mitigating or reversing climate change. At the same time, he is reducing local communities ability to stop or reduce the environmental impacts of development. “By streamlining infrastructure approvals, we’ll further expand America’s unprecedented economic boom,” Trump stated. On the other hand, he has obstructed approvals of vital infrastructure projects in New York and New Jersey, including the Gateway Tunnels under the Hudson River, and a rail-link from the new and improved LaGuardia Airport into Manhattan.
This is a fact sheet from the White House –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
MODERNIZING ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEWS: For the first time in 40 years, President Donald J. Trump is taking action to right-size the Federal Government’s environmental review process.
The Trump Administration is issuing a final rule that will modernize and accelerate environmental reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), so that infrastructure can be built in a timely, efficient, and affordable manner.
This marks the end of a multi-year review, which produced more than 1.1 million public comments and involved a broad range of stakeholders.
The final rule modernizes Federal NEPA regulations, including by codifying certain court decisions to clarify NEPA’s application and by expanding public involvement in NEPA reviews through the use of modern technology.
The rule also improves management by incorporating President Trump’s One Federal Decision policy, establishing time limits of two years for completion of environmental impact statements, when required, and one year for completion of environmental assessments.
Together, these common sense reforms will slash unnecessary government bureaucracy and accelerate important infrastructure projects all across the Nation.
STREAMLINING INFRASTRUCTURE APPROVALS: The Federal environmental review process has historically been far too complex, costly, and time consuming.
Since NEPA’s enactment, the environmental review process has been burdensome for both Federal agencies conducting reviews and Americans seeking permits or approvals.
Environmental impact statements average over 650 pages, and it takes Federal agencies on average four and a half years to conduct required reviews.
According to the Council on Environmental Quality, environmental impact statements for highway projects take more than seven years on average and often take a decade or more.
NEPA reviews are also frequently challenged in court, making it very challenging for businesses and communities to plan, finance, and build projects in the United States.
CUTTING RED TAPE: President Trump is reversing years of burdensome overregulation and administrative abuse, simultaneously ensuring meaningful environmental reviews and spurring economic growth.
President Trump is making good on his promise to conduct historic deregulation, removing job killing regulations that have stifled economic growth for far too long.
Already the President has reversed burdensome regulations like the Obama Administration’s Waters of the United States rule and Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards.
President Trump also did away with the Obama Administration’s expensive, heavy handed, and job-killing Clean Power Plan, replacing it with the much improved Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule.
The President launched his Governors’ Initiative on Regulatory Innovation to cut outdated regulations, put people over paperwork, and align Federal and State regulations.
Under President Trump, the United States has remained a world leader in protecting the environment and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while becoming the largest producer of oil and natural gas in the world.
DonaldTrump may bandy around a “Make America Great” slogan, but Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, has a plan for “Made in All of America,” to resuscitate the economy after the debilitating effects of the coronavirus pandemic, decrease America’s dependence on foreign supply chains, innovate, and restore America’s global leadership in the 21st century. The essence includes Buy American, Made in America, Innovate in America, Invest in America, Stand up for America and Supply America. And he has the experience of rescuing the economy from the brink of a Great Depression. This is from the Biden campaign –Karen Rubin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice President Joe Biden will mobilize the talent, grit, and innovation of the American people and the full power of the federal government to bolster American industrial and technological strength and ensure the future is “made in all of America” by all of America’s workers. Biden believes that American workers can out-compete anyone, but their government needs to fight for them.
Biden does not accept the defeatist view that the forces of automation and globalization render us helpless to retain well-paid union jobs and create more of them here in America. He does not buy for one second that the vitality of U.S. manufacturing is a thing of the past. U.S. manufacturing was the Arsenal of Democracy in World War II, and must be part of the Arsenal of American Prosperity today, helping fuel an economic recovery for working families.
The American story has always been deeply rooted in our ability to reinvent ourselves in the face of new challenges. At key moments in our history, the federal government, private sector, and above all American workers and working families have mobilized to unleash eras of innovation and shared prosperity. This partnership propelled us to the moon, to transformative treatments for HIV/AIDS and other diseases, to the creation of the internet, and more. But President Trump has denied science, under-funded research and development, and implemented policies that encourage more manufacturing to move overseas.
If we make smart investments in manufacturing and technology, give our workers and companies the tools they need to compete, use taxpayer dollars to buy American and spark American innovation, stand up to the Chinese government’s abuses, insist on fair trade, and extend opportunity to all Americans, many of the products that are being made abroad could be made here today. And, if we do these things with an unwavering commitment to bolstering American industrial strength, which we will power using clean energy that we also harvest here at home, we will also lead in making the cutting-edge products and services of tomorrow. Biden will do more than bring back the jobs lost due to COVID-19 and Trump’s incompetence, he will create millions of new manufacturing and innovation jobs throughout all of America.
These will be high-quality, high-skill, safe jobs with the choice to join a union — jobs that will grow a stronger, more inclusive middle class. Biden will include in the economic recovery legislation he sends to Congress a series of policies to build worker power to raise wages and secure stronger benefits. This legislation will make it easier for workers to organize a union and bargain collectively with their employers by including the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, card check, union and bargaining rights for public service workers, and a broad definition of “employee” and tough enforcement to end the misclassification of workers as independent contractors. It will also go further than the PRO Act by holding company executives personally liable when they interfere with organizing efforts.
Donald Trump’s main manufacturing and innovation strategy is trickle-down economics that works for corporate executives and Wall Street investors, but not working families. He gave huge tax cuts to the largest multinationals with no requirement that they invest in the United States or favor U.S. jobs over offshoring. He pursued a trade strategy that prioritizes access for big multinational banks to China’s market but has done next to nothing to curb Chinese government trade abuses that hurt U.S. workers. The results have been predictable:
The Trump tax cut encouraged offshoring and investment overseas – not in the United States. Foreign investment was outpacing domestic investment.
In the first 18 months of Trump’s presidency, the rate of federal contractors offshoring jobs more than doubled.
In 2018, stock buybacks were at record highs and corporate tax payments were at record lows.
In 2019, U.S. manufacturing was in recession, and Trump’s much vaunted China trade strategy ended up contributing to a decline in American manufacturing exports.
Biden’s comprehensive manufacturing and innovation strategy will marshall the resources of the federal government in ways that we have not seen since World War II. Together, the following six lines of effort will remake American manufacturing and innovation so that the future is made in America by all of America’s workers:
1. BUY AMERICAN. Make “Buy American” Real and Make a $400 billion Procurement Investment that together with the Biden clean energy and infrastructure plan will power new demand for American products, materials, and services and ensure that they are shipped on U.S.-flagged cargo carriers.
2. MAKE IT IN AMERICA.Retool and Revitalize American Manufacturers, with a particular focus on smaller manufacturers and those owned by women and people of color, through specific incentives, additional resources, and new financing tools.
3. INNOVATE IN AMERICA.Make a New $300 Billion Investment in Research and Development (R&D) and Breakthrough Technologies — from electric vehicle technology to lightweight materials to 5G and artificial intelligence — to unleash high-quality job creation in high-value manufacturing and technology.
4. INVEST IN ALL OF AMERICA.Ensure Investments Reach All of America so we draw on the full talents and invest in the potential of all our communities and workers. America is not at full strength when investments, venture capital, educational opportunities and paths to good jobs are limited by race, zip code, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, religion or national origin. Biden will ensure that the major public investments in his plan — procurement, R&D, infrastructure, training, and education — reach all Americans across all states and regions, including urban and rural communities, with historic investments in communities of color and an emphasis on small businesses.
5. STAND UP FOR AMERICA.Pursue a Pro-American Worker Tax and Trade Strategy to fix the harmful policies of the Trump Administration and give our manufacturers and workers the fair shot they need to compete for jobs and market share.
6. SUPPLY AMERICA.Bring Back Critical Supply Chains to America so we aren’t dependent on China or any other country for the production of critical goods in a crisis.
In addition to bringing back the jobs lost this year, Joe Biden’s plan to ensure the future is made in all of America will help create at least 5 million new jobs in manufacturing and innovation.
BUY AMERICAN: MAKE “BUY AMERICAN” REAL AND MAKE A HISTORIC PROCUREMENT INVESTMENT IN AMERICAN PRODUCTS, SERVICES, SUPPLY CHAINS, AND TRANSPORTATION OF GOODS
Biden will use the government’s purchasing power to Buy American, boosting U.S. industries through a historic procurement investment he is announcing today and an ambitious extension of his infrastructure and clean energy plans that he will announce soon.
Make Buy American Real
Biden starts with a pretty basic idea – when we spend taxpayer money, we should buy American products and support American jobs. Almost 90 years ago, Congress passed the Buy American Act to advance this basic idea. But we have never fully lived up to it.
For decades, big corporations and special interests have fought for loopholes that redirect taxpayer dollars to foreign companies. The result: tens of billions of taxpayer dollars each year go to support foreign jobs and to bolster foreign industries. In 2018 alone, the Department of Defense (DOD) spent $3 billion on foreign construction contracts, leaving American steel and iron out in the cold, and nearly $300 million on foreign engines and vehicles instead of buying from American companies and putting Americans to work.
Trump likes to talk about Buy American – but his actions have made matters worse:
During the first 18 months of his presidency, the annual rate at which major federal contractors offshored jobs more than doubled.
On his watch, government contracts awarded directly to foreign companies are up 30%.
Our military has become more reliant on foreign suppliers, increasing DOD foreign contracts 12%.
His corporate tax cut is handing taxpayer money to big companies that are still offshoring their production.
Biden will make a national commitment to Buy American – and make this promise real, not just rhetoric. He will:
Tighten domestic content rules. Today, loopholes in the law allow products to be stamped “made in America” for purposes of federal procurement even if barely 51% of the materials used to produce them are domestically made. Biden will tighten these rules to require more legitimate American content — so when we deem something made in America, it reflects the work and output of American workers.
Crack down on waivers to Buy American requirements. Too often, Buy American operates like a suggestion, not a requirement. Procurement officers within federal Agencies can waive Buy American rules without explanation or scrutiny. Biden will close these waiver loopholes. First, he will establish a transparent process so that any time a federal contractor requests a waiver based on a claim that something can’t be made in America, it will be published on a website for all potential bidders and relevant stakeholders (like labor unions) to see. Second, he will use expanded Manufacturing Extension Partnerships together with new efforts to identify firms — particularly small businesses and those owned by women and people of color — that have the capability to fill these procurement needs, and provide direct support so that they can raise their hand and have a shot at stepping up to make it here. Biden successfully deployed this approach through the Transportation Department during the Recovery Act, and will extend it to all of government as President.
End false advertising. Biden will also crack down on companies that label products as Made in America even if they’re coming from China or elsewhere. For example, a company selling deployment bags to active-duty troops falsely claimed its products were Made in America, when in reality they came from China. And when an American competitor filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, the Trump Administration imposed no penalties.
Extend Buy American to other forms of government assistance. For example, when the government is investing in research and development, it should be supporting manufacturing and sourcing in America. No more “invent it here, make it there.” Taxpayer-funded research investments in the 20th century laid the foundation for MRI technologies, yet some of the companies directly benefiting from these innovations are moving MRI production to China. If companies benefit from taxpayer-funded research that leads to new products and profits, those products should be made in the U.S. or the company should reimburse the government for its support. The days of taxpayer benefits going to companies that seek to outsource jobs or avoid paying their fair share of taxes are over.
Strengthen and enforce Buy America. Like Buy American, Buy America provisions – which require that all of the steel, iron, and manufactured products used in transportation projects are melted, mined, and manufactured in the U.S. – are critical for the U.S. manufacturing industry. As part of its historic investment in infrastructure, Biden will strengthen and enforce Buy America.
Update the trade rules for Buy American: Biden will work with allies to modernize international trade rules and associated domestic regulations regarding government procurement to make sure that the U.S. and allies can use their own taxpayer dollars to spur investment in their own countries.
Ship American. The U.S.-flag Merchant Marine fleet and the men and women who operate U.S.-flag ships are crucial to America’s national security, our international trade relationships, and economic development. For this reason, Biden has been a consistent and strong advocate for the Jones Act and its mandate that only U.S.-flag vessels carry cargo between U.S. ports. He will take steps to ensure American cargo is carried on U.S.-flag ships, leading to additional demand for American-made ships and U.S. merchant mariners.
Make A Historic Procurement Investment
Ensuring that our existing taxpayer dollars support American jobs is a crucial first step, but to truly rebuild our industrial base, we need to go further – targeting more federal purchases and more R&D investment to unleash American industry and innovation going forward.
In this time of crisis, Biden will invest $400 billion in his first term in additional federal purchases of products made by American workers, with transparent, targeted investments that unleash new demand for domestic goods and services and create American jobs. This will be the largest mobilization of public investments in procurement, infrastructure and R&D since WWII.
History has shown that when the government commits to make significant purchases in targeted, tradable sectors, it positions U.S. manufacturers to create good American jobs by supplying our own communities and selling more products to the rest of the world. But outside the context of war, we have not historically used our federal purchasing power to aggressively promote U.S. national interests.
These procurement commitments will provide a strong, stable source of demand for products made by American workers and supply chains composed of American small businesses. These commitments will grow new companies and ensure existing companies that employ Americans thrive in vital sectors from steel and cars to robotics and biotechnology. They will increase our industrial strength so we can win in growing global export markets. Specifically, Biden will:
Commit to purchasing tens of billions of dollars of clean vehicles and products to support the expansion of clean energy generation capacity, ensuring we are on the forefront of the clean energy export markets of the future. Other countries should be buying the next generation of battery technology and electric vehicles manufactured by American workers.
Commit to purchasing American steel, cement, concrete, building materials, and equipment, and in the process not only help rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and retrofit our buildings, but position our domestic companies to lead in resilient, sustainable production for the future.
Commit to forward purchases of critical medical supplies and pharmaceuticals, ensuring sufficient stockpiles to weather any crisis—and that Americans get the best possible care.
Commit to future purchases in advanced industries like cutting-edge telecommunications and artificial intelligence, not only creating new, lasting American jobs, but protecting our intellectual property and national security from threats from American adversaries that have gone unaddressed by Trump.
As called for in his plan to strengthen worker organizing, collective bargaining, and unions, Biden will require that companies receiving procurement contracts are using taxpayer dollars to support good American jobs, including a commitment to pay at least $15 per hour, provide paid leave, maintain fair overtime and scheduling practices, and guarantee a choice to join a union and bargain collectively.
Biden’s historic procurement effort will be designed to support small businesses and those owned by women and people of color. Just as he did during the Recovery Act—which substantially increased the share of federal contracts awarded to small businesses—Biden is committed to applying the Federal Government’s goal of ensuring that at least 23% of federal contracts get awarded to small businesses. He will implement a multi-pronged small business contracting strategy that includes formula-based awards, widespread outreach and counseling to small businesses owners, and transparent monitoring of contract awards. And he will build on the efforts of the Obama-Biden Administration by launching a new Federal Procurement Center — a first-of-its-kind program to help minority-owned firms apply for and win federal government contracts. President Trump has proposed slashing the funding and even terminating the Minority Business Development Agency and its programs. Biden will do the opposite.
MAKE IT IN AMERICA: RETOOL AND REVITALIZE THE BACKBONE OF AMERICAN MANUFACTURING TO WIN THE JOBS OF TODAY AND TOMORROW
The dramatic increase in demand from the largest combined infrastructure (already announced), procurement (see above), and R&D (see below) public investment since WWII will power economic recovery, accelerate job creation, and jumpstart the modernization and revitalization of American manufacturing. A McKinsey study supports the notion that the type of comprehensive strategy Biden is proposing could lead to 2 million more manufacturing jobs and $500 billion in additional annual GDP by 2025.
Biden will put a special focus on the backbone of American manufacturing — the thousands of small and medium-sized manufacturers throughout the country. He saw firsthand through the rescue of the American auto industry in 2009 that these small and medium-sized manufacturers are critical to jobs, innovation, and ensuring that the future is made in America.
While the Trump Administration has created huge new programs for any large multinational corporation to get cheap capital with no job commitments – it has no strategy to help smaller manufacturers invest and stay competitive. By contrast, Biden will:
Provide Capital for Small-Medium Manufacturers to Invest and Compete: Biden will establish a credit facility to supply capital, especially to smaller manufacturers, so that our aging factories can modernize, compete, and reduce carbon. Low-cost financing for manufacturing investment — including for those struggling with the harms of the COVID-19 crisis – will ensure American manufacturers can invest in the new equipment they need to compete today while supporting a sustainable future.
Quadruple the Manufacturing Extension Partnership to help America’s small and medium-sized manufacturers compete for Buy American contracts and modernize: When large contractors claim they need “Buy American” waivers because they can’t find a U.S. manufacturer, these MEPs help small and medium-sized manufacturers compete for those contracts. Trump tried to eliminate this program; Biden will quadruple it.
Pass a Manufacturing Tax Credit to Retool and Revitalize: While Trump’s tax breaks provide giveaways even if companies offshore or move investment overseas, Biden will provide a special Manufacturing Communities Tax Credit that promotes revitalizing, renovating, and modernizing existing – or recently closed down – facilities. Projects receiving the credit will have to benefit local workers and communities by meeting strong labor standards, including paying workers a prevailing wage, employing workers trained in registered apprenticeship programs, and aiming to utilize Project Labor and Community Workforce Agreements. Because Biden understands that investing in clean energy jobs will drive the strength and competitiveness of our manufacturing sector – as part of the Clean Energy component of his jobs and recovery plan, Biden will expand and extend tax credits that will turbo-charge growth in American manufacturing
Expand Manufacturing Innovation Partnerships: Biden’s manufacturing and R&D strategy will build on the successful efforts of the Obama-Biden Administration and those of Senator Sherrod Brown and others to connect research universities — including HBCUs, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and other minority-serving institutions — community colleges, manufacturing institutes, and employers, unions, and state, local, and tribal governments. These historic investments will connect workers and manufacturers of all sizes to the know-how and technologies needed to compete and win.
Joe Biden’s plan will ensure the American Auto Industry Wins the 21st Century: During the Great Recession, Biden played a critical role in saving and reviving the American auto industry and saving more than a million American auto jobs. He has always understood that the auto industry is the heart of American manufacturing and must remain the global leader for generations to come. He recognizes that the auto industry not only supports a wide range of U.S. manufacturing capability, from steel and aluminum to electrical components and semiconductors, it is also critical to our clean energy future. Even before COVID-19 hit, auto and auto-part manufacturing growth under Obama-Biden was about three times greater than under Trump, nine times greater in Ohio, while states like Michigan actually lost auto manufacturing jobs jobs under Trump’s watch. Every plank of the Biden manufacturing and innovation plan will strengthen both the auto jobs of today and tomorrow. Bold federal procurement and Buy American provisions will create near-term demand for U.S. auto manufacturing and bring back jobs. Investments in technology and innovation will spur U.S. production of new energy and safety technologies, thus increasing the domestic content in U.S. vehicles. Dedicated grants and funding to help manufacturers retool and build new factories will help ensure U.S. global leadership in electric vehicle manufacturing, including EV components and batteries. Biden will announce additional detail on his plan to support auto jobs in the weeks ahead.
INNOVATE IN AMERICA: A MAJOR INVESTMENT IN FEDERALLY FUNDED R&D ACROSS ALL 50 STATES
A successful plan to ensure a future made in America means the United States must have a strategy to win not just the jobs of today – but the jobs and industries of tomorrow. That requires fighting back against unfair trade practices and the theft of American intellectual property, as well as making a national commitment to get off the sidelines as competitors are making aggressive public investments in science and technology to take over global leadership in the most advanced technologies.
Joe Biden is proposing a dramatic, accelerated Research & Development investment of $300 billion over 4 years to create millions of good jobs today, and to secure our global leadership in the most critical and competitive new industries and technologies. Credible estimates indicate that this level of investment could help create 3 million jobs or more.
China is on track to surpass the US in R&D. China’s total R&D expenditures have increased nearly 30-fold from 1991 to 2016. By some estimates, China will overtake the US in R&D spending in 2020. And, as part of China’s “Made in China 2025” plan, China’s government has launched funds to increase manufacturing and technological innovation in key industries, including battery technology, artificial intelligence, and 5G. China’s government is actively investing in research and commercialization across these types of important technology areas, in an effort to overtake American technological primacy and dominate future industries.
Declines in Federal R&D spending have contributed to a hollowing out of the American middle class. The Trump White House and Republicans in Congress have forgotten that major investments in federal R&D not only drove U.S. industrial and technological leadership, but created millions of good-paying middle class jobs. The fight for our future requires us to return to that winning commitment from our past. In 1964, public federal R&D support was 2% of GDP, compared to only 0.7% today. This difference amounts to nearly $250 billion less annually in federal R&D spending. MIT professors Simon Johnson and Jonathan Gruber have found that declining public investment has also led to slow productivity and wage growth.
The $300 billion in innovation funding will power home-grown industries that can lead the world and create jobs in advanced materials, health and medicine, biotechnology, clean energy, autos, aerospace, artificial intelligence, telecommunications, and more. Specifically, Biden will allocate funding to:
Major increases in direct federal R&D spending, including new National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Biden’s new Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and other peer-reviewed science research grants to colleges and universities.
New breakthrough technology R&D programs to direct investments to key technologies in support of U.S. competitiveness – including 5G, artificial intelligence, advanced materials, biotechnology, and clean vehicles.
Competitive capital financing to encourage small businesses to commercialize cutting-edge technology, such as a scaled-up version of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, “America’s seed fund,” which provides capital to small businesses pursuing R&D commercialization in concert with research institutions.
State-of-the-art workforce skill development, such as funds for the creation or expansion of technical training programs around digital, statistical, and technology skills, funded by the Labor Department. This will increase pathways for those – including women and workers of color — who are too often under-represented in critical technology jobs.
Infrastructure for educational institutions and partners to expand research, such as building new research labs, buying modern manufacturing equipment, or creating new business parks.
As part of this historic R&D investment, Joe Biden will work to ensure that technological change benefits workers, creates jobs, and strengthens the middle class. He will:
Ensure that taxpayers benefit from the upside of federal research dollars that create profitable inventions. U.S. taxpayers should benefit from the upside of federal investments that result in profitable inventions underwritten by federal funds. Biden will strengthen existing federal rights to ensure that the U.S. government captures a share of the royalties of high-profitable products developed with federal R&D funding.
Ensure workers have a voice in innovation and are first in line to benefit. As president, Biden will ensure that employers receiving federal funds give all affected employees advance notice of technology changes and automation in the workplace, put their employees at the front of the line for new jobs, and offer paid skills training so that employees can succeed in new jobs. And, he will ensure employers discuss workplace technology changes with their employees and their unions and bargain over protections against employees being displaced.
INVEST IN ALL OF AMERICA: ENSURE WE DRAW ON THE FULL TALENTS AND INVEST IN THE POTENTIAL OF ALL OUR COMMUNITIES AND WORKERS
A strategy to ensure the future is made in America will not work unless we have a dramatic new commitment to ensure we are investing in – and drawing on the talents of – all of America. Today, we fall short in too many ways. We fail to provide meaningful investment in R&D and venture capital to all regions of our nation and we fail to give too many Americans – especially those of color or from lower-income urban and rural communities – the full opportunities they deserve to have pathways to good jobs and careers. America is not at full strength when investments, venture capital, educational opportunities, and paths to good jobs are limited by race, zip codes, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, religion, and national origin.
The Biden plan will ensure major research, public investment, and training and education for manufacturing and innovation jobs goes to all parts of America, both urban and rural communities, with historic investments in communities of color.
Joe Biden’s R&D Challenge for All of America
The economic opportunities from investment in innovation have not been shared throughout the U.S. Twenty five percent of venture capital investment is concentrated in the San Francisco area, and 75% flows to just three states: California, New York, and Massachusetts. Female entrepreneurs only receive 16% of all venture capital dollars. Only 3% go to start-ups with Black or Latino founders. As experts from MIT and Brookings have argued, there are a significant number of diverse communities across every region of the country that could become new centers of job-creating innovation and production.
We cannot lead the world if we leave too much of our talent sitting on the bench. Biden will diversify this bold new innovation investment so it supports jobs, small businesses, and entrepreneurs in every part of the United States. He will:
Direct new federal investments to more than 50 communities across our nation that have the capabilities but have too often been overlooked, in both rural and urban areas. He will invest in new technology hubs that bring together this research and development investment with workforce training and education and small and medium-sized businesses, resulting in new innovations from more places, which means stronger communities and job creation. These investments will build on successful programs like Detroit’s LIFT and Youngstown’s “America Makes,” each of which has helped start innovative new start-ups and commercialize cutting-edge technologies.
Guarantee that funding is equitably allocated so that women and communities of color receive their fair share of investment dollars. Biden will ensure that federal research and procurement dollars are awarded fairly and will apply the principles of Congressman Jim Clyburn’s 10-20-30 plan to ensure that help goes to high-poverty areas that have long suffered disinvestment. And, he’ll invest in the diverse talent at Historically Black College and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Minority Serving Institutions to solve the country’s most pressing problems, including by (a) creating at least 200 new centers of excellence that serve as research incubators and connect students underrepresented in fields critical to our nation’s future, (b) dedicating additional and increased priority funding streams at federal agencies for grants and contracts for HBCUs and MSIs, and c) requiring any federal research grants to universities with an endowment of over $1 billion to form a meaningful partnership and enter into a 10% minimum subcontract with an HBCU, TCU, or MSI. Biden will also require that competitive grant programs give similar universities the opportunity to compete against each other, for example, ensuring that HBCUs only compete against HBCUs.
Joe Biden’s Job and Educational Opportunity Challenge for All of America
The need to draw on the talents of all of America is even more pronounced when it comes to building our innovation and manufacturing workforce. Yet today, opportunity is unevenly distributed. Too few women and people of color have been provided with the pathways to the high-skill, high wage, in-demand jobs that STEM careers offer, including in manufacturing and innovation. And too many skilled workers in manufacturing do not get the full chance to increasingly upgrade their skills and be first in line for new jobs in changing industries.
Biden’s plan to invest in career and technical education for high school students and his plan for free high-quality training programs and community colleges and free tuition for 4-year degrees for families earning less than $125,000 will go a long way toward building the workforce for a major expansion in manufacturing and innovation jobs.
He will go further, investing $50 billion in high-quality training programs that give workers a chance to earn an industry-recognized credential without debt. As part of this commitment, Biden will:
Create and expand community college-business-union partnerships to develop effective training programs. Building on successes in the Obama-Biden Administration, Biden will invest in partnerships between community colleges and their faculty, businesses, unions, state, local, and tribal governments, universities, and high schools and their instructors to identify in-demand knowledge and skills in a community and develop or modernize training programs. These programs – which could be as short as a few months or as long as two years – will lead to a relevant, high-demand industry-recognized credential.
Scale up work-based learning programs with a focus on building a diverse workforce, through opportunities like registered apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeship programs and other labor-management training programs. Biden will work with unions to bring forward a new generation of registered apprenticeships in fields ranging from technology to manufacturing to care work. These high-quality registered apprenticeships will allow workers who have lost their jobs as a result of this crisis or young people and others who are entering a weak job market to train to enter the jobs of the future while earning a decent income. Registered apprenticeship programs like the innovative Industrial Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship train workers for specialized manufacturing jobs with 18 months of work-based learning and a few technical college classes. Biden also will invest in pre-apprenticeship programs that have a partnership with a registered apprenticeship program, with a focus on ensuring these programs provide a pathway to high-quality employment opportunities for a diverse workforce, including both racial and gender diversity.
Help develop pathways for diverse workers to access training and career opportunities. A study of Labor Department-funded individual career services – which included assistance looking for a job, help developing career plans, and one-on-one career coaching – found that earnings for workers who were provided these services increased 7 to 20%. Biden will ensure these services are universally available to all workers and people entering the workforce who need them. And, he will increase funding for community-based and proven organizations that help women and people of color access high-quality training and job opportunities.
Extend Unemployment Insurance benefits for the duration of training, up-skilling, and reskilling programs while unemployment rates are elevated, so that millions of people can get skills for new technology, innovation, trades, and other jobs, in all parts of America.
In order to ensure the United States is as competitive as possible, we need to tap into all of the talent across our country, including women and communities of color. That’s why Biden’s plan to invest over $70 billion in Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Minority-Serving Institutions is a key piece of his manufacturing and innovation workforce strategy. In addition to directing additional federal research dollars to these schools and requiring that setting aside competitive grant dollars that for HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs that only similar universities compete over, Biden will invest $35 billion in HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs to create research centers of excellence, build high-tech labs and other facilities, and strengthen graduate programs in fields including STEM. Biden will also tackle workplace discrimination and harassment that keeps so many women, especially women of color, from earning equal pay or fully realizing their professional goals.
A PRO-AMERICAN-WORKER TAX AND TRADE STRATEGY
American workers and businesses can out-compete anyone, hands-down. But their government needs to fight for them. Biden will fight for every American job in the tough competition for jobs and markets – especially against unfair foreign practices. The President needs to stand with American workers and communities, not with wealthy corporations or the foreign governments that are subsidizing and protecting their businesses.
That’s one of the problems with Trump. When push comes to shove, Trump sides with corporate interests against workers, their unions, and their communities. And he rewards corporations and their executives for abandoning American workers and moving jobs overseas — rather than holding them accountable to create, maintain, and bring back jobs to the U.S.
President Trump’s 2017 tax plan showered Wall Street and powerful multinational corporations with incentives to move jobs and production overseas. And Trump’s go-it-alone trade war and empty “phase one” deal with China has been an unmitigated disaster, inflicting maximum pain on American workers and farmers, while doing nothing to curb Beijing’s trade abuses. In negotiating with China’s government, Trump spent more energy fighting for big corporations than he did fighting for American workers. To this day, China’s government continues its trade abuses and is failing to live up to its commitments.
The goal of every decision about trade must be to build the American middle class, create jobs, raise wages, and strengthen communities. To stand up for American workers, Biden’s tax and trade strategy will take a number of steps, including:
Take aggressive trade enforcement actions against China or any other country seeking to undercut American manufacturing through unfair practices, including currency manipulation, anti-competitive dumping, state-owned company abuses, or unfair subsidies.
Rally our allies in a coordinated effort to pressure the Chinese government and other trade abusers to follow the rules and hold them to account when they do not. Rather than picking fights with our allies and undermining respect for America, Biden will work with our closest allies, mobilizing more than half the world’s economy to better deliver for our workers. Biden will focus our allies on addressing overcapacity in industries, ranging from steel and aluminum to fiber optics to shipbuilding and other sectors, and focus on the key contributor to the problem – China’s government.
Confront foreign efforts to steal American intellectual property. China’s government and other state-led actors have engaged in an assault on American creativity. From cyberattacks to forced technology transfer to talent acquisition, American ingenuity and taxpayer investments are too often fueling the advances in other nations. And when it comes to China, under Trump’s “phase one” deal all those practices continue. The piecemeal and ineffective approach of the Trump Administration will be replaced with a coordinated and effective strategy.
Address state-sponsored cyber espionage against American companies. Trump allowed a landmark 2015 agreement negotiated by the Obama-Biden administration to lapse, dramatically increasing China’s state-sponsored cyber espionage against U.S. companies. Biden will set forth clear demands and specific consequences if China’s government does not cease cyber espionage against U.S. businesses, and will develop new sanctions authorities against Chinese firms that steal U.S. technology that cut them off from accessing the U.S. market and financial system.
Establish a “claw-back” provision to force a company to return public investments and tax benefits when they close down jobs here and send them overseas.
Apply a carbon adjustment fee against countries that are failing to meet their Paris Climate commitments to make sure that they are forced to internalize the environmental costs they’re now imposing on the rest of the world. This adjustment stops polluting countries from undermining our workers and manufacturers, ensuring we can lead, compete, and win as we harness the opportunity of a clean energy economy achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
Reverse tax policies that encourage outsourcing: Biden will end incentives in the Trump tax giveaway that allow multinationals to dramatically lower taxes on income earned overseas and allow the largest, most profitable companies to pay no tax at all. And, Biden will confront global tax secrecy and avoidance, taking on individuals and businesses that stash their profits in tax havens to avoid paying their fair share while tightening anti-inversion rules that Obama-Biden put in place and which Trump has sought to weaken.
Support strong and independent trade unions here in the United States and in every one of our trading partners. Unions are essential to democracy, unions are essential to economic stability, unions are essential for building markets for American products, and unions are the right thing to do — everywhere in the world. Biden will enforce existing labor provisions and aggressively push for strong and enforceable labor provisions in any trade deal his administration negotiates — and not sign a deal unless it has those provisions.
SUPPLY AMERICA: BRING BACK CRITICAL SUPPLY CHAINS TO AMERICA
On July 7, Biden laid out his plan to strengthen American resilience by bringing back critical supply chains to America.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought home the imperative that we must never again face shortages of critical products such as medical equipment when confronting a national crisis. An American who is sick in a pandemic shouldn’t be dependent on drugs from China or ventilators that Trump bought from Russia. If there is a global supply shortage, the U.S. could end up at the back of the line — and our competitors could cut us off to gain a strategic advantage.
As we build the American economy back better, Biden will put Americans to work making critical products, from medical equipment and supplies to semiconductors and communications technology, here in the United States.
Under Trump, our supply chains have actually gotten less secure. His 2017 tax legislation cut taxes for companies that move manufacturing and profits overseas, and we’ve seen pharmaceutical imports rise since the tax cuts were enacted. Trump ignored warnings from experts about U.S. medical supply chain vulnerabilities.
Biden will make sure we close critical U.S. supply chain gaps by immediately directing a comprehensive and ongoing process to evaluate and protect key U.S. supply chains, starting with a 100-day supply chain review at the beginning of a Biden Administration to determine vulnerabilities and needs in vital sectors. In addition, he will:
Leverage federal buying power and the full range of government authorities, including the Defense Production Act, BARDA, and federal procurement, to make sure that we make critical products in America.
Change the tax code to eliminate the incentives for pharmaceutical and other companies to move production overseas and establish new incentives for companies to make critical products in the U.S.
Rebuild critical stockpiles, ensure adequate surge manufacturing capacity in times of crisis, and regularly review supply chain vulnerabilities.
Work with allies to reduce their dependence on competitors like China while modernizing international trade rules to secure U.S. and allied supply chains,
Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, offered his own plan to “Build back better” and revitalize jobs and the economy to benefit working families after the devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic. This is from the Biden campaign:
Joe Biden believes to his core that there’s no greater economic engine in the world than the hard work and ingenuity of the American people. Nobody has more respect for the working women and men who get up every day to build and sustain this country, or more confidence that they can meet the challenges we face.
Make no mistake: America has been knocked down. The unemployment rate is higher than it was in the Great Recession. Millions have lost jobs, hours, pay, health care, or the small business they started, through no fault of their own.
The pandemic has also laid bare some unacceptable truths. Even before COVID-19, the Trump Administration was pursuing economic policies that rewarded wealth over work and corporations over working families. Too many families were struggling to make ends meet and too many parents were worried about the economic future for their children. And, Black and Latino Americans, Native Americans, immigrants, and women have never been welcomed as full participants in the economy.
Biden believes this is no time to just build back to the way things were before, with the old economy’s structural weaknesses and inequalities still in place. This is the moment to imagine and build a new American economy for our families and the next generation.
An economy where every American enjoys a fair return for their work and an equal chance to get ahead. An economy more vibrant and more powerful precisely because everybody will be cut in on the deal.
In this time of crisis, Joe Biden has a plan to create millions of good-paying jobs and to give America’s working families the tools, choices, and freedom they need to build back better.
That starts with a real strategy to deal with the pandemic. We can’t solve the jobs crisis until we solve the public health crisis. Trump may have forgotten about COVID, but COVID hasn’t forgotten about us. On March 12, April 27, and June 11, Biden laid out a comprehensive strategy to get the pandemic under control and effectively reopen the economy — an approach that will both protect the health and safety of our people and boost economic activity. He will start implementing that plan on Day One.
Biden will also provide further immediate relief to working families, small businesses, and communities. Biden will:
Provide state, local, and tribal governments with the aid they need so educators, firefighters and other essential workers aren’t being laid off.
Extend COVID crisis unemployment insurance to help those who are out of work.
Provide a comeback package for Main Street businesses and entrepreneurs.
And, Biden will immediately put people to work by enlisting them to help fight the pandemic, including through a Public Health Jobs Corps.
But that’s just the start. The Biden economic recovery plan for working families will build our economy back better. Whenever America has had its back against the wall, we have acted together to lay the foundation — through public investment and a strong social contract — for the American people to pull together and push forward.
The Biden plan will mobilize the American people in service of four bold, national efforts to address four great national challenges. As President, Biden will:
1. Mobilize American manufacturing and innovation to ensure that the future is made in America, and in all of America. We’ve seen the importance of bringing home critical supply chains so that we aren’t dependent on other countries in future crises. But Biden believes we can’t stop there — he is releasing a plan today to build a strong industrial base and small-business-led supply chains to retain and create millions of good-paying union jobs in manufacturing and technology across the country.
2. Mobilize American ingenuity to build a modern infrastructure and an equitable, clean energy future. We’ve seen the need for a more resilient economy for the long-term, and that means investing in a modern, sustainable infrastructure and sustainable engines of growth — from roads and bridges, to energy grids and schools, to universal broadband. Biden will soon release updated proposals to meet the climate crisis, build a clean energy economy, address environmental injustice, and create millions of good-paying union jobs.
3. Mobilize American talent and heart to build a 21st century caregiving and education workforce which will help ease the burden of care for working parents, especially women. We’ve seen in this pandemic the immense burdens working parents, and especially women, carry in juggling their jobs and their caregiving responsibilities. We’ve learned anew how hard this work is, and how underappreciated those who do it are. Joe Biden will soon announce a plan to make it far easier to afford child care and to ensure aging relatives and people with disabilities have better access to home and community-based care; to elevate the pay, benefits, and professional opportunities for caregivers and educators; to create millions of good-paying new jobs in these areas with a choice to join a union; and to free up millions of people to join the labor force and grow a stronger economy in return.
4. Mobilize across the board to advance racial equity in America. We’ve seen again this year the tragic costs of systemic racism. Biden believes that addressing those costs has to be core to every part of the economic agenda, and also a distinct priority in its own right. As President, he will pursue a dedicated agenda to close the racial wealth gap, to expand affordable housing, to invest in Black, Latino, and Native American entrepreneurs and communities, to advance policing and criminal justice reform, and to make real the promise of educational opportunity regardless of race or zip code.
Building back better means an updated social contract that treats American workers and working families as essential at all times, not just times of crisis –– with higher wages, stronger benefits, and fair and safe workplaces. We’ve seen millions of American workers put their lives and health on the line to keep our country going. As Biden has said, let’s not just praise them, let’s pay them — a decent wage, at least $15 per hour, and ending the tipped minimum wage and sub-minimum wage for people with disabilities, and strong benefits so they can live a middle class life and provide opportunity for their kids. This starts with passing the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, providing public service and federal government workers with bargaining rights, and taking other steps to make it easier for workers to organize unions and collectively bargain. Biden will also address discrimination and harassment in the workplace, and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act as the next step in efforts to ensure women are paid equally for equal work. He will pass universal paid sick days and 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. And he has a plan to ensure that every American has access to quality, affordable health care, by providing a public option and lowering costs for care and for prescription drugs.
Building back better means helping small businesses and entrepreneurs come out the other side of this crisis strong, while demanding more from corporate America. We’ve seen the second bailout in 12 years for big corporations and Wall Street. And we’ve seen the Trump Administration provide all the tools necessary to help big businesses and well-connected cronies, while small businesses had to jump through hoops and many couldn’t access the relief they needed. Biden will ensure that corporate America finally pays their fair share in taxes, puts their workers and communities first rather than their shareholders, and respects their workers’ power and voice in the workplace. And Biden will help small businesses manage through the pandemic and recover, so that millions of entrepreneurs can get back on their feet and carry this economy forward.
To see this agenda through, Joe Biden will make new, bold investments and speed up the timetable for many of the 10-year investments he has already announced. He will pay for the ongoing costs of the plan by reversing some of Trump’s tax cuts for corporations and imposing common-sense tax reforms that finally make sure the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share.
Today’s elevated unemployment will mean lower demand, which will mean lower growth for our economy (which relies on consumption). A robust jobs agenda will increase demand. That is why many economists agree that if we fail to make far-reaching, productive investments, it will undermine not only our long-term growth potential, but also our long-term fiscal situation. Additionally, for communities of color that are experiencing disproportionate rates of unemployment, and for young people entering the workforce, getting to full employment as fast as possible is critical to their futures and all of America’s future. Those who argue we can’t afford these investments are the same people who doled out trillions in giveaways to the wealthy and corporations the past three years. Now they’re saying there’s no money left for working families? Joe Biden fundamentally rejects that notion.
Biden is releasing details on the first part of his agenda, with a separate factsheet on his strategy for manufacturing and innovation to ensure the future is made in America, in all of America, by American workers.
In a series of remarks and fact sheets, Vice President Joe Biden slammed Donald Trump’s abject failure to lead America’s response to COVID-19 — with more than 130,000 Americans now dead, three million infected, and 20 million people out of work and offered his own plan to save lives and the economy.
Trump continues to try to ignore away the threat, even as the U.S. hits record daily levels of new infections and as Dr. Anthony Fauci testified that America is at risk of seeing as many as 100,000 new infections a day if action is not taken now to stop the spread. Indeed, Americans are banned by most countries that have been successful in taking control over the coronavirus pandemic.
While Trump flails and refuses to take responsibility, Vice President Biden laid out clear steps that the nation must take to get the virus under control so that we can save lives and get Americans back to work. It’s no surprise then that two new polls show that Americans “overwhelmingly” trust Biden over Trump to lead our country’s response to COVID-19.
Likewise, Vice President Biden blasted Trump for his dereliction of duty in failing to hold Russia accountable after numerous reports emerged showing that Trump failed to take action after being briefed by the intelligence community about Russian-backed attacks on our soldiers in Afghanistan.
The plan that Biden advanced, he said, “builds on the roadmap I released back in March that would have saved lives if it had been adopted. It is a plan to save lives in the months ahead. Once again — I encourage him to adopt this plan in its entirety. This is too important for politics.”
He added, “It’s not about you, Mr. President — it’s about the health and well-being of the American public. The American people didn’t make enormous sacrifices over the past four months so you could waste your time with late night rantings and tweets.
“They didn’t make these sacrifices so you could ignore the science and turn responsible steps like wearing a mask into a political statement. And they certainly didn’t do it so you could wash your hands and walk away.
“Maybe there are times this nation needs a cheerleader. Now isn’t one of them. We need a president.”
The Biden campaign offered a fact sheet, contrasting the Vice President’s approach with what Trump has failed to do:
Today, the trajectory of COVID-19 in America is headed in the wrong direction. In some parts of the country, the test positivity rate is climbing, hospitalizations are sky-rocketing, and testing sites are overwhelmed. Donald Trump’s catastrophic failures of governance have led to tens of thousands of needless deaths and economic pain for tens of millions of Americans. We are only four percent of the world’s population, yet we have 25 percent of the world’s cases and deaths. And, the United States is barely better equipped to manage the threat of COVID-19 today than we were six months ago. Every day that Trump wastes not acting, he squanders the sacrifices of the American people and sets our response and recovery back even further.
It is impossible to know what the state of the COVID-19 pandemic will be on the day Biden takes office, but if elected, Biden won’t wait to take action. Minutes after he is declared the winner of the election, Biden will make one of his first calls to Dr. Tony Fauci and ask him to extend his unprecedented record of service to six Presidents by serving one more. Dr. Fauci will have full access to the Oval Office and an uncensored platform to speak directly to the American people — whether delivering good news or bad.
During his transition, Biden will seek out governors and mayors and other leaders of both parties, from every state, territory, and tribe, and consult with education, technology, business, and labor leaders so he’s ready to hit the ground running and fight the virus as our next President.
Over the last four months, Joe Biden has laid out comprehensive plans with five basic elements that he would do as President to address COVID-19: (1) test-and-trace, (2) sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) for all, (3) science-based treatments and vaccines, (4) steps to reopen safely and effectively, and (5) protecting those at high-risk, including older Americans.
Biden has repeatedly said he hopes that Trump will use these intervening months to adopt the policies he’s outlined. The health of our nation — and our economy — hang in the balance.
Today, Biden is updating his Plan to Combat COVID-19 for the current circumstances we face as a result of President Trump’s persistent failures:
Implement Widespread Testing-and-Tracing
The Trump Fiasco: The failure to test swiftly and broadly led to the failure to get the virus under control. After deflecting blame for months, Donald Trump has repeatedly doubled down on his orders to slow down testing. It is unacceptable that with cases surging in some parts of the country and Americans urged to go back to work in others, we still do not have the basic capacity in testing and contact tracing we need to sustainably manage this virus. In Arizona, this past week, Americans with COVID-19 have had to wait in baking hot cars in miles-long lines for a test, and those were the lucky ones who had an appointment. In March, Donald Trump claimed that every American who wanted a test could get one. It was a lie then. It’s still a lie.
Double the number of drive-through testing sites and increase the numbers until there are no more lines.
Build a national contact tracing workforce, starting by hiring at least 100,000 Americans and equipping sorely under-resourced public health departments with the resources they need to spot and stop outbreaks.
Establish Sustainable Supply Chain for PPE and Supplies and Help for Health Care Workers:
The Trump Fiasco: Months into this crisis, our health care workers are still forced to scramble for their own supplies and reuse masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) shift-after-shift. Hundreds of health care workers have died from COVID-19, and tens of thousands have been infected. This is heartbreaking — and a catastrophic failure of leadership. Health care workers put their lives on the line every day, and the risk they face is unacceptably compounded by the inconsistent and politized response to expert guidance, like social distancing and masks. Trump has abdicated responsibility, and turned his back on health care workers in their time of need.
The Biden Plan:
Implement a coordinated, country-wide, future-facing national effort to acquire, produce, and distribute PPE, test kits and machines, lab supplies, and other critical supplies, including by fully utilizing the authorities under the Defense Production Action.
Identify tomorrow’s needs for PPE, lab reagents, and test supplies when they run low, as well as replenish depleted supplies in hard-hit areas, especially for federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics, safety-net hospitals, and nursing homes, which are typically resource-poor and disproportionately serve vulnerable populations that are bearing the brunt of COVID-19.
Build now toward a future, flexible American-sourced and manufactured capability to ensure we are not vulnerable to supply chain disruptions in times of crisis.
In addition, Biden would ensure the U.S. government steps up for nurses, doctors and other health care workers and first responders, including by providing:
Guaranteed priority access to national supplies of PPE.
Premium Pay for health care workers for putting themselves at risk. There is no substitute for ensuring the safety of health care workers, but as Biden has said, everyone who puts their lives on the line should receive a boost in their paychecks.
Emergency paid leave, which Biden has called for anyone who gets COVID-19 or needs to care for a loved one who has it.
Free, accessible, and safe housing to enable health care workers to quarantine away from their loved ones as necessary.
A Health Care Worker COVID-19 Consultation Hotline and strengthened clinician peer-to-peer learning, so that frontline staff do not have to rely on social media to learn best practices in treating COVID-19 patients.
Access to an array of prevention and early intervention mental health services, including health-status monitoring, emotional-health support and psychological first aid, to every COVID-19 health care worker. Seeking help should not impact your current or future employment, including your ability to get a license. This is in addition to Biden’s robust commitment to ensuring every American has access to mental health insurance coverage and expanding immediate access to telemental health services by requiring all carriers — not just Medicare — to pay for telemental health services. There should be no barrier to mental health care in this crisis – none.
The mobilization of health care workers nationwide, including assessing areas of need, developing a registry of volunteers, and ensuring that staffing gaps are voluntarily filled in a safe, sustainable way.
Accelerate the Development of Treatments and Vaccines:
The Trump Fiasco: Instead of listening to public health professionals, Trump pushes dangerous, disproven drugs. Our country is now stuck with a massive stockpile of hydroxychloroquine, a drug Trump repeatedly hailed. Trump’s vaccine development effort — “Operation Warp Speed” — lacks sound leadership, global vision, or a strategy for securing the necessary funding to see this mission through or secure trust from Americans who depend on its success. And, the Trump Administration’s management of our government’s critical medical research agencies has been marred by infighting, political pressure and retaliation, and calculated cronyism. We cannot allow the Trump Administration to repeat its continued failures on relatively simple tasks like getting masks to nurses and tests to nursing homes with the harder mission of treatments and vaccines. Too much is a stake.
The Biden Plan: Biden would accelerate a coordinated global approach to develop, manufacture, and distribute a safe, effective vaccine, including:
Ramp up the large-scale manufacturing of as many vaccine candidates as necessary
Help secure COVID-19-related research from cyber threats.
Proactively build a nationwide vaccination campaign, taking the steps now to guarantee the fair distribution of all vaccines.
Immediately restore our relationship with the World Health Organization, which — while not perfect — is essential to coordinating a global response during a pandemic.
Ensure everyone — not just the wealthy and well-connected — in America receives the protection and care they deserve, and consumers are not price gouged as new drugs and therapies come to market.
Biden would also get ahead of this year’s seasonal flu by developing capacity now to ensure safe distribution and administration of seasonal flu vaccine — paired with an effective campaign to help people understand why getting a flu shot is so critical, especially this year. This effort must account for distribution in a time of social distancing, when Americans may not have access to providers from whom they normally receive the flu vaccine, including university and workplace clinics. This past flu season led to as many as 62,000 deaths and 740,000 hospitalizations, and the arrival of COVID-19 came to the United States just as the regular flu season was waning. We must prepare now for the possibility of simultaneous outbreaks of flu and COVID-19 that could overwhelm our public health system and confound our efforts to fight COVID-19.
The Trump Fiasco: While urging states to reopen as quickly as possible, Trump abdicated effective federal leadership, leaving state, tribal, and local officials to do their best without help from Washington. He has failed to deliver a unified plan for the country, advocated reopening in areas that couldn’t meet the guidance, and placed Americans at greater risk. Trump has sowed confusion and competition between states and repeatedly refused to serve as a role model or follow the guidance of our top scientists, further sowing chaos.
The Biden Plan: A stronger, more effective reopening recognizes that we won’t be able to solve the economic crisis in our country without a rigorous public health response. It requires clear, science-based, and nationwide public health guidance — including a clear, consistent message from the very top of our government on the importance of mask wearing — because we are one country with one population to protect. In addition to testing, contact tracing, and protecting older Americans, it would:
Guarantee paid leave for all who get sick and for workers caring for family members or other loved ones sick with COVID-19.
Ensure worker protection and accountability, including tasking the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with setting and enforcing a rigorous emergency temporary standard so employers follow a clear set of rules to keep workers safe from COVID-19.
Create a “Safer for Shoppers” program that gives compliant businesses a sign for their window so shoppers know they have done what they can to minimize the risk of exposure.
Equip small business with an ambitious “restart package” that provides small business owners support for retaining and rehiring workers and covering other costs of restarting in this challenging environment.
Assist schools and child care programs with re-opening, perhaps the single most important step to get parents back to work, including scaling-up NIH-funded COVID-19 pediatric research, building a Safer Schools Best Practices Clearinghouse, and providing the resources child care providers and schools — particularly Title I schools — need to safely reopen and help students who have fallen behind.
Protect Older Americans and Others at High Risk
The Trump Fiasco: Trump’s failure to organize a coherent and timely response to the crisis has placed older Americans and others at high-risk in even more vulnerable circumstances and left them behind without effective support or real options except to quarantine indefinitely. It is unconscionable that over 52,000 residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have died of COVID-19. The massive shortfall in COVID-19 testing and contact tracing has particularly heightened the risk of exposure, increased social isolation, and made more difficult the efforts to return all Americans – and especially older Americans – to something resembling normal life as safely and quickly as possible.
The Biden Plan:
Ensure evidence-based guidance for each phase of reopening and an easy-to-read Nationwide Pandemic Dashboard that Americans can check in real-time to help them gauge whether local transmission is actively occurring in their zip codes. This information is critical to helping all individuals, but especially older Americans and others at high risk, understand what level of precaution to take.
Ensure enough testing capacity so that people in nursing homes and long-term care facilities are able to receive visitors safely.
Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate for president, in a speech in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, decried Trump’s latest move to have the Affordable Care Act declared “unconstitutional,” despite having been ruled constitutional several times by the Supreme Court. The latest move, based on the dubious claim that the ACA’s “individual mandate” is unconstitutional, and therefore negates the entire law (duly passed by Congress in 2010, which enabled 30 million to access health care without being cut off because of preexisting conditions and no lifetime caps, and requiring at least 80% of premiums to go to patient care, and for the first time reversed the explosive annual increases in premiums), was inspired when the Republican 2017 tax law made the fine zero, the warped logic a right wing Texas judge used to therefore declare the entire law unconstitutional.
Instead, Biden spoke up for the crucial benefits of the Affordable Care Act and said if he were president, he would expand the public option, ensure premiums are never more than 8.5% of income, end surprise billing for medical care. “My plan lowers health care costs and gets us to universal coverage quickly when Americans desperately need it.” In Biden’s remarks, he distinguished his approach to the presidency from Trump’s – essentially, Biden intends to serve the people, while Trump, clueless in how to actually solve problems, is solely focused on what benefits himself politically.
“That’s what the presidency is — a duty to care for everyone. Not just those who voted for us…And no trust is more sacred, no responsibility is more solemn, no purpose is more fundamental, than for a President to do absolutely everything he or she can to protect American lives. “So I want every single American to know: if you’re sick, if you’re struggling, if you’re worried about how you’re going to get through the day — I will not abandon you. I will not leave you to face these challenges alone. We are going to get through this — together.”
Here are Biden’s remarks: — Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Today, in the middle of the worst global health crisis in living memory, Donald Trump will file a brief in the Supreme Court to attempt to strip health coverage away from tens of millions of families, and to strip the peace of mind away from more than 100 million people with pre-existing conditions.
If he succeeds, more than 23 million Americans could lose their coverage outright— including nearly a million Pennsylvanians.
Insurers could once again discriminate, or deny services, or drop coverage for people living with preexisting conditions like asthma, diabetes, and cancer.
And perhaps most cruelly of all, if Donald Trump has his way, complications from COVID-19 could become a new pre-existing condition.
Some survivors will experience lasting health impacts — like lung scarring and heart damage.
And if Donald Trump prevails in court, insurers would be allowed to strip away coverage or jack up premiums — simply because of their battle with the coronavirus.
Those survivors, having struggled and won the fight of their lives, would have their peace of mind stolen away at the moment they need it most.
They would live their lives caught in a vise between Donald Trump’s twin legacies: his failure to protect the American people from the coronavirus, and his heartless crusade to take health care protections away from American families.
I have called on Donald Trump many times to withdraw his lawsuit. Today, I am renewing that call.
Mr. President, drop the lawsuit. Stop trying to take away people’s health care.
Now more than ever, stop trying to steal their peace of mind. I cannot comprehend the cruelty that is driving him to inflict this pain on the very people he is supposed to serve.
One of the families the Affordable Care Act has delivered peace of mind to is the Ritters—who live not far from here in Manheim, Pennsylvania.
Jan and Madeline Ritter were just four years old when their mom, Stacie, heard some of the most devastating words that a parent can ever hear. Both of her twins had been diagnosed with leukemia.
I promise you — that news — it stops your heart. It wrenches your entire world off of its axis. And the very last thing on your mind — the very last thing that should be on your mind— is whether you can afford treatment.
But when Stacie’s twins got sick, there was no Affordable Care Act.
So, after the draining days and the endless nights, the harrowing stem-cell transplants, the fickle waves of hope and fear, after enduring more than any parent should have to endure, the Ritters still faced a future where their twins could be denied coverage for the rest of their lives.
The Affordable Care Act was created to put a stop to that inhumanity — to ensure that people like Stacie, thrust into the worst nightmare of their lives, could focus on the fight that matters.
Stacie’s twins won their fight. They beat cancer — and now, they’re 22 years old. Jan is studying early education at Elizabethtown College. Madeline just graduated from Arcadia University with a degree in international studies. And because of the law, insurance companies can no longer deny them coverage because they’re survivors of cancer.
I’m proud of the Affordable Care Act.
In addition to protecting people with pre-existing conditions, this is a law that delivered vital coverage to more than 20 million Americans.
It’s a law that bars insurance companies from capping Americans’ benefits— and from charging women more simply because they are women.
It’s a law that reduced prescription drug costs for nearly 12 million seniors, who would see their those costs spike — because the Medicare ‘donut hole’would have suddenly reopened.
It’s a law that saves lives.
But now, in the middle of the worst public health crisis in modern history, Donald Trump is suing to take the Ritters and millions more Americans — back to the way things were.
It’s cruel, it’s heartless, and it’s callous.
And it’s all because he can’t abide the thought of letting stand one of President Obama’s greatest achievements.
We’ve seen that same callousness in his handling of the coronavirus.
Just over three months ago, as most Americans were first coming to grips with the unprecedented scale and danger of the pandemic, President Trump publicly claimed that, “Anybody that wants a test can get a test.”
That wasn’t true. And he knew it.
Then, five days ago, at his campaign gathering in Tulsa, he admitted telling his people to, slow the testing down, please.” At first, his spokespeople tried to say he was joking. But then Trump himself said he wasn’t joking.
He called testing, “a double-edged sword.” Let’s be crystal clear about what he means by that.
Testing unequivocally saves lives, and widespread testing is the key to opening up our economy again — so that’s one edge of the sword.
The other edge: that he thinks finding out that more Americans are sick will make him look bad.
And that’s what he’s worried about. He’s worried about looking bad.
Well, Donald Trump needs to stop caring about how he looks and start caring about what’s really happening in America.
The number of cases is increasing in 29 states. We are going to be dealing with this for a long time. Trump can’t wish it away. He can’t bend it to meet his political wishes. There are no miracles coming.
We are going to have to step up as Americans — all of us — and do both the simple things — and the hard things — to keep our families and neighbors safe, to re-open our economy, and to eventually put the pandemic behind us.
And sadly — we are going to have to do it without responsible leadership from the White House. So it is up to us. All of us.
We’re going to have to wear masks. And I know as Americans it’s not something we’re used to. But it matters. All the evidence from all over the world tells us it just might be the most effective thing we can do.
We’re going to have to socially distance. It’s not easy. It seems so strange to us. Not as Americans, but as human beings. We’re built to talk, to laugh, to hug, to gather with other people. I know I am. I know you are. But for now, we have to socially distance. It matters.
We’re going to have to find a way to keep our economy running as we bring the number of cases down. The president wants you to believe this is a choice between the economy and the public’s health. He still hasn’t grasped the most basic fact of this crisis: to fix our economy, we have to get control of the virus.
He’s like a child who just can’t believe this has happened to him. It’s all whining and self-pity. This pandemic didn’t happen to him. It happened to all of us.
And his job isn’t to whine about it. His job is to do something about it.
If I have the honor of becoming President, I promise you I will lead.
I will do everything I can to take responsibility and ease that burden on you and your families. I will put your family first. And that will begin with a dramatic expansion of health coverage and bold steps to lower health care costs.
We need a public option now more than ever — especially at a time when more than 20 million people are unemployed.
That public option will allow every American— regardless of their employment status — the choice to get a Medicare-like plan.
It will force private insurers to keep premiums low and offer better coverage because, for the first time, they’ll have to compete for your business against a public insurer that doesn’t have a profit motive.
We’re going to lower premiums for people buying coverage on their own by guaranteeing that no American ever has to spend more than 8.5 percent of their income on health insurance — and that number will be lower for lower-income families.
We’re also going to further reduce costs by making it less expensive for Americans to choose plans with lower deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses by lowering prescription drug prices and by ending the practice called “surprise billing,” which can leave you with an unexpectedly high bill after you leave a hospital.
Here’s the bottom line: my plan lowers health care costs and gets us to universal coverage quickly when Americans desperately need it.
Families are reeling right now — enduring illnesses, forced into risky choices, losing their employer plans in droves.
They need a lifeline now. That’s what the families here today deserve. That’s what families all across this nation deserve.
They don’t need a president going into court to deny them health care. They need a president going into the White House who will fight for the health care they need.
If Donald Trump refuses to end his senseless crusade against health coverage, I look forward to ending it for him. And working quickly with Congress to dramatically ramp up protections, get America to universal coverage, and lower health care costs as soon as humanly possible.
This is my promise to you. When I am President, I will take care of your health coverage the same way I would for my own family. This is personal to me.
I was sworn into the United States Senate next to a hospital bed. My wife and daughter had been killed in a car crash— and lying in that bed were my two surviving little boys.
I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like if we didn’t have the health care we needed immediately.
Forty years later, one of those little boys, my son Beau, was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given only months to live.
I couldn’t imagine an insurance company coming in and saying, “for the last six months of your life, you’re on your own” — which is exactly what happened to so many families before the Affordable Care Act.
So Amy, I understand.
And when I say I’ll take care of your health coverage the same way I would for my family — there is nothing I take more seriously.
That’s my promise to Stacie and Victoria and Amy and to every American.
That’s what the presidency is — a duty to care.
A duty to care for everyone.
Not just those who voted for us.
For all of us.
And no trust is more sacred, no responsibility is more solemn, no purpose is more fundamental, than for a President to do absolutely everything he or she can to protect American lives.
So I want every single American to know: if you’re sick, if you’re struggling, if you’re worried about how you’re going to get through the day — I will not abandon you.
I will not leave you to face these challenges alone.
We are going to get through this — together.
And we are going to build our health care system, our economy, and our country back better than it has ever been before.
Thank you. God bless you, and God protect our troops.
On World Refugee Day, Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate for president, issued this statement attacking the “fear-mongering, xenophobia and racism” as the “unabashed tenets of Trump’s refugee and immigration policy, and promised to “recommit to building a more inclusive and welcoming America. That’s how we will restore the soul of our nation.”
Here is his statement:
World Refugee Day is the time when all nations recognize the humanity and resilience of the millions of people forced from their homes by persecution, war, and violence and renew our commitment to protect the most vulnerable. The United States has always strived to serve as a beacon of hope — a role model in resettling refugees and leading the humanitarian response abroad. But today is also a bitter reminder of how Donald Trump has tried to change America from a nation of refuge and liberty to one of division and intolerance.
Fear-mongering, xenophobia, and racism are the unabashed tenets of Trump’s refugee and immigration policy, and his divisive, dangerous, and undemocratic response to Black Lives Matter is a reminder of this administration’s devaluation of Black, Brown, and other minority communities not only in the United States, but around the world. But we will not, and we cannot, allow hate and rage to divide us further. Decades ago, giants of the civil rights movement like Bayard Rustin recognized the universal fight for freedom and safety and urged the United States to accept more refugees. Their call is even more urgent today as the number of those forcibly displaced worldwide reaches nearly 80 million people worldwide — roughly 1 percent of humanity.
Donald Trump has made clear that he does not believe our country should be a place of refuge. He has slashed refugee admissions by more than 80 percent and, just this past week, released an immoral and likely unlawful rule that makes it nearly impossible for most asylum-seekers to qualify for protection in the United States . He has cruelly separated thousands of children from their parents, sought to prevent victims of gang and domestic violence from receiving asylum, and severely limited the ability of members of the LGBTQ+ community, an especially vulnerable group in many parts of the world, from qualifying for asylum.
And he has turned his back on the men and women who served honorably alongside our soldiers, diplomats, and aid workers in Iraq and Afghanistan as interpreters and guides, and now find that their lives, and the lives of their families, are threatened for this service. This cannot stand. As one of the co-sponsors of the 1980 Refugee Act, I believe that resettling refugees helps reunite families, enriches the fabric of America, and enhances our standing, influence, and security in the world. Right now, many refugees are also working on the frontlines of the pandemic response, as nursing aides, doctors, meatpackers, and grocery clerks, among other essential workers.
Restoring America’s historic role as leader in resettlement and defending the rights of refugees everywhere will take concrete action.
As President, I will increase the number of refugees we welcome into this country, setting an annual global refugee target of 125,000 — up from a ceiling of 18,000 under Trump — and will seek to further raise it over time commensurate with our responsibility, our values, and the unprecedented global need.
I will support efforts to work with Congress in a bipartisan fashion to protect our refugee policy from drastic and arbitrary reductions we have seen during the Trump Administration and establish a minimum admissions number of at least 95,000 refugees annually.
I will pursue policies that increase opportunities for faith and local communities to sponsor refugee resettlement.
I will make more channels, such as higher education visas, available to those seeking safety. I will repeal the Muslim ban — and other discriminatory bans based on ethnicity and nationality — and restore asylum laws, including ending the horrific practice of separating families at our border.
I will work with our allies and partners to stand against China’s assault on Hong Kong’s freedoms and mass detention and repression of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities and support a pathway for those persecuted to find safe haven in the United States and other nations.
I also recognize that it is not enough to simply reverse or dismantle the heartless policies of the Trump Administration. We need to look for ways to do better. On this World Refugee Day, we all must stand together and recommit to building a more inclusive and welcoming America. That’s how we will restore the soul of our nation.
Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, made his strongest attacks on Trump to date, taking Trump to task tens of thousands of needless deaths and millions who have lost their livelihoods as a result failures to effectively lead and take action to address the coronavirus pandemic. It was a condemnation of a federal government completely dismantled and dysfunctional.
Listening to the remarks, you are reminded that Biden was Obama’s partner in addressing multiple crises often all at once – he came into office with two wars, economic crisis. Soon after there was the swine flu. The BP Oil spill. Later the Ebola epidemic. Obama-Biden did what no president was able to do in 100 years: create a universal health care system which Trump has ceaselessly tried to dismantle, even during a pandemic, as millions are losing their employer-sponsored health insurance; global pact to address the existential threat of climate change. Obama-Biden did their best to address immigration reform, passing DACA; gun violence prevention; and after Michael Brown was murdered in Ferguson, Missouri, created a template for 21st Century Policing. They left it, along with a template for handling a global pandemic, for Trump, who ignored or shredded or repealed everything that the Obama administration created.
But Biden was there. He was not just “in the room” but was a partner. He knows how to amass the expertise to rebuild the institutions so harmed by a corrupt, self-serving ignoramus. Institutions like the CDC, once so respected; Justice Department which once stood for the Rule of Law; Environmental Protection Agency which once protected rather than pillaged the environment. –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Here is a transcript of Vice President Biden’s remarks:
Good afternoon everyone.
And thank you to all the local officials joining me today.
Before I begin my remarks, I want to acknowledge that it was five years ago today when a white supremacist walked into the Mother Emanuel church in Charleston, South Carolina, and slaughtered my friend Reverend Clementa Pinckney and eight other parishioners.
It was hatred unbridled. It was a poisonous expression of the white supremacy that still infects our nation and our institutions — and of the dangers we face as a society if we cannot root out this corrosive and deadly ideology.
When I reflect back on the amazing grace and compassion and forgiveness of the Mother Emanuel community — I see the very best of who we are as Americans.
But we know that grace alone is not enough — we have to put in the work.
And we’re seeing the best of America in that as well — in the weeks of peaceful protests and civil actions taking place in cities and towns of every size all across the country.
People are keeping our eyes focused on how dangerous it is to live in Black and Brown skin in this country.
And Americans are out there marching, notwithstanding the fact that we’re in the middle of a pandemic.
On Monday, Donald Trump said, “if we stopped testing right now” for COVID, “we’d have very few cases, if any.” It’s a statement that’s not only absurd — it’s absolutely tragic.
And yesterday, the head of the White House task force on coronavirus — the Vice President — claimed success in this fight because deaths are “down to” fewer than 750 a day.
750 fathers and mothers and sisters and brothers and husbands, wives, children – dying every day.
More than 20,000 a month. That’s greater than World War II level casualties each month. That’s more than five 9/11’s each month.
And this Administration is self-congratulating?
That may be good enough for Donald Trump, but it will never, ever be acceptable if I am President.
Researchers have shown that tens of thousands of Americans have died needlessly because Donald Trump was slow to respond to this crisis, and then bungled the response.
For weeks in January and February, I was raising my concerns about how we needed to take this virus seriously, all while Trump was ignoring the reporting from the intelligence community in his daily briefing and the warnings of his closest advisors, and praising the Chinese government for being transparent in its handling of the virus, instead of demanding access for the CDC that Beijing was refusing to give.
The American people have sacrificed so much to fight this virus.
We’ve lost lives, we lost businesses, we’ve lost paychecks. And now, thanks to Donald Trump’s bungling, we may lose some of the progress we’ve begun to make. All because he’s lost interest.
He’s once again ignoring the facts. The public health response is still woefully lacking.
More than 117,000 people have died in the United States, with the average daily number of cases still climbing in 21 states — and we still don’t have what we need when it comes to rapid-results testing, contact tracing capacity, widely available personal protective equipment, or clear nationwide guidance.
Instead, President Trump pushes dangerous, disproven drugs, stands in the way of the CDC issuing guidelines on reopening, and he refuses to wear a mask, failing even the most basic test of leadership.
He’s scaled back the meetings of the COVID-19 task force in spite of experts saying testing and tracing is necessary for reopening — he’s sent his Testing Czar home.
Of the money provided to the Pentagon for essential medical supplies, only 15 percent has been moved out the door.
Donald Trump wants to style himself a wartime president against an invisible enemy — the coronavirus. But unlike any other war time leader, he takes no responsibility, he exercises no leadership, and now he’s surrendering the fight.
Instead of leading the charge to defeat this virus, he has waved the white flag and retreated.
And he is so eager to get back to his campaign rallies that he’ll put people at risk, in violation of CDC guidelines that still warn against large gatherings, as long as they sign a waiver promising not to hold his campaign liable.
Donald Trump’s failure to fight the coronavirus with the same energy and focus that he uses to troll his enemies on Twitter has cost us lives — and is putting hope for an economic recovery at risk.
Jobs numbers and retail sales reports were better than expected in May. That’s great news for our country. But now Donald Trump’s desire to declare victory and be done with it will only imperil our continued progress.
Our economy is still sputtering, with more than 20 million people unemployed and no clear guidance from the federal government for what businesses need to do to re-open safely and effectively for a strong recovery.
This isn’t a debate about whether to reopen — it’s about how we make reopening work for everyone.
The employees at the White House get daily COVID-19 tests. They know they are safe before they go to work — and they know their co-workers are safe. They have the confidence to resume their lives.
Workers across the country aren’t asking for daily testing — they’re just asking for regular, reliable access to tests. Don’t they deserve that?
So it’s not that Donald Trump doesn’t recognize the importance of testing. It’s that he’s not up to the task. And now, he’s seemingly decided that he doesn’t even want to try.
But just like he couldn’t wish COVID-19 away in March, just like he couldn’t tweet it away in April — he can’t ignore it away in June.
So I have some basic questions for President Donald Trump: What are you going to do to make sure every worker has access to regular testing so that they have the same confidence to go into a store or go back to work as White House staffers?
Why are you leaving schools and child care centers to navigate this uncertainty all on their own without the effective guidance and resources they need to help protect kids and their communities?
Why won’t you enforce an OSHA standard for worker protections during a global pandemic?
Why is it that the Main Street lending program, created more than two months ago by the Congress to help struggling small businesses, only opened for registration to lenders two days ago — and still hasn’t distributed a single penny?
And why won’t you disclose the names of the businesses who received a total of $500 billion in taxpayer funding? Why are they being hidden?
How many cronies got bailouts? How many donors?
What businesses had to shut down because they were denied funding in April, and what businesses get special approval thanks to a nod from the top?
Why did you get rid of the watchdog originally appointed to oversee it?
What are you trying to hide?
It’s bad management on top of bad planning on top of neglect. And it’s unacceptable.
Folks, here’s the truth: This pandemic is still here.
It’s going to be here for the foreseeable future — until we get it under control, or until we have a safe, proven, widely-available vaccine. COVID-19 is a fact of nature. We have to deal with this virus, and everything that comes with it, head on.
And we can deal with it, if we put in the work and invest in building a dynamic, resilient economy and health system capable of getting – and then staying – ahead of new outbreaks. We have the capacity and the resources to do that.
I’ve laid out the baseline steps of what needs to be done — from the “Make it Work” checklist for a successful, accountable recovery that I put out back in early April, to the steps for a strong re-opening that I released last week.
It’s not rocket science. It’s common sense. It’s straightforward. And that’s why this is perhaps the greatest indictment of Donald Trump’s complete lack of leadership.
He wasted months and months and months passing the buck, blaming everyone else, and refusing to act when we should have been preparing our country for a long-term response and building up our resiliency to respond to future flare-ups. Yet, we still don’t have a comprehensive system for collecting COVID-19 case data. These are the basics.
He should have been preparing us to weather the valleys and peaks of this virus. He should have been working to shore up the vulnerabilities in our health care system that have been laid bare by this crisis. He should have been working to bridge the inequities and strengthen the cracks in the foundation of our economic system that are exposed for all to see.
He hasn’t done any of it.
And because of the depth of Donald Trump’s failures, this pandemic will continue to be worse for all Americans, and much worse for Black and Brown Americans, who are getting hit the hardest. For folks in communities like Darby Borough and Yeadon.
Donald Trump thinks that if he puts his head in the sand, the American people will too.
But it doesn’t work that way. Not when hundreds of people are still dying every day, and millions are unemployed, wondering how they’re going to keep the lights on and food on the table.
Not when workers are weighed down with worries about their safety or what happens if they get sick.
And there are the steps that we need to be taking now to steer us – steady and strong – through these difficult times to a more resilient future.
First, we have to do everything we can to avoid deadly spikes of infections as people begin to go back out into the world. We are not that much better prepared today for a run of cases that over-fills our intensive care units than we were 3 months ago.
And second—we have to help give people the assurance and precautions that are necessary to restart our economy with confidence. If Americans lose what faith they have left in our government’s ability to manage this pandemic, we will see a much deeper and longer-lasting economic impact that will have even greater repercussions for people’s well-being.
Mr. President: Don’t leave the American people to face this threat on their own — with no guidance, resources, or leadership from the federal government.
Don’t let the support from the CARES Act expire next month while people are still hurting.
Don’t leave our front line workers exposed and without the resources they need. And don’t waste any more of our time.
The American people need the confidence of clear guidelines, grounded in science, that will allow them to resume their daily lives safely.
American businesses need the support of the federal government to continue to backstop them through the phases of reopening, and workers need the assurance that their health is your first concern.
America needs a president who will put the American people first, not his own ego. America needs a president who will do the work.
I’m ready on day one.
After more than three years in office, why isn’t Donald Trump?
Mr. President, wake up, get to work. There is so much more to be done.
Later, Biden issued a statement after news broke of John Bolton’s reports that Trump directly asked China to help him get re-elected, a quid pro quo for a trade deal. Here is his statement:
Today, we learned from John Bolton, the President’s former national security advisor, that President Trump sold out the American people to protect his political future. He reportedly directly asked Xi Jinping, China’s leader, to help him get re-elected. He was willing to trade away our most cherished democratic values for the empty promise of a flimsy trade deal that bailed him out of his disastrous tariff war that did so much damage to our farmers, manufacturers, and consumers.
If these accounts are true, it’s not only morally repugnant, it’s a violation of Donald Trump’s sacred duty to the American people to protect America’s interests and defend our values.
For months, our country and the world have suffered through the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 117,000 Americans have lost their lives and tens of millions of workers are unemployed — and we’ve been hurt far worse because of Donald Trump’s inability to lead and his failure to meet the crisis. Today we learned more about the depth and nature of that failure.
Why didn’t he act when the warning signs were so clear? Why did he ignore his briefings from the intelligence community, the warnings from his own team, and from me? Why did he repeatedly praise the Chinese government and President Xi as the coronavirus spread? Because he wanted to have a trade deal with China as a talking point for his re-election campaign. He thought that letting the President of China run the table on us in the long run would give him another term in the short run. In exchange, he was willing to stay silent on Hong Kong. In exchange, he condoned interning more than one million Uighurs in concentration camps. It’s no wonder that this week we’ve also seen reporting that China wants four more years of Donald Trump as president, because he has so weakened the United States.
Donald Trump’s behavior disgraces the American presidency. We knew that long before today’s revelations.
And my message to China’s leaders, or anyone else who President Trump might invite to interfere: stay out of our democracy. Stay out of our elections. The American people alone will decide the future of this country, and I am confident in the choice they will make.
As the United States, with the most COVID-19 cases and deaths in the world, passes the 2 million infected mark and approaches 114,000 deaths, with cases spiking in more than half the states, Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate for president, offered a statement, and a detailed plan for economic recovery that takes into account the well-founded concerns of workers and consumers. As Biden said, Trump did not cause the pandemic but his utter failure to lead, to come up with any cohesive strategy and in fact to contradict and undermine the CDC and other agencies who would mitigate the worst impacts, has made both the toll on lives and llvelihoods that much worse. Biden shows yet again that he does not just have the compassion but the competence to be president that Trump woefully lacks. –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.
Here are Vice President Biden’s remarks and his economic plan:
The United States has passed yet another grim milestone of President Trump’s utter failure to lead us through this crisis, with two million Americans now having been afflicted with COVID-19.
President Trump isn’t responsible for the virus, but he is accountable for his historic mismanagement of the response. We now know that tens of thousands of lives could have been saved if President Trump had listened to the experts and moved faster. We know that we could have dramatically reduced the economic devastation of this outbreak if our response was anywhere close to as competent as that of other countries.
Even now, after the incredible toll our country has already paid, President Trump still refuses to take the virus seriously. While he may have forgotten about COVID-19, COVID-19 hasn’t forgotten about us. In more than 20 states, the level of new infections continues to rise. Just like Donald Trump could not wish the disease away in April, or tweet it away in May, he can’t ignore it away in June.
And now, President Trump is returning to the campaign trail, trying to ignore reality. He’s failing to take the long-overdue steps that I’ve called for to protect our country and safely re-open our economy, like getting more testing and protective equipment into the field, putting in place a national contact tracing corps, and letting science and medicine inform our strategy.
We all want to get the virus under control, and we all want the re-opening to proceed effectively so that we can get our country back to work. However, President Trump has taken his eye off the ball yet again, and he is unwilling or unable to do the hard work we need to do to win this fight. The American people can’t afford that any longer.
FACTSHEET: The Biden Plan for an Effective Re-Opening that Jumpstarts the Economy
Today, more than 20 million Americans are unemployed – and a majority of those unemployed are a result of the economic crisis worsened by President Trump’s failed response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. After weeks and months of social distancing measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, communities across the country are in the process of re-opening. Americans deserve a President who will ensure that re-opening is as effective and safe as possible – putting people back on the payroll as quickly as possible and restoring economic demand as fully as possible. Trump has abdicated any effective federal leadership, leaving state, tribal, and local officials to do their best without help from Washington. With cases of COVID-19 still rising rapidly in parts of the country, Trump has effectively ceased to mobilize any national public health response.
A stronger, more effective reopening requires doing the work to keep workers safe, to restore consumer confidence, to support small businesses, to ensure seniors can participate, and to provide parents with the help they need to get back to work. Trump has a one-point plan for all of this – put up the “Open for Business” sign and then just see what happens. That isn’t going to fix the economy that Trump broke or minimize the risk of COVID-19 resurging. Trump’s approach falls woefully short. First, it does nothing to keep workers safe and help businesses stay open. Second, it does nothing to boost consumer confidence. And third, it does nothing to grow our economy and create good-paying jobs. Trump is essentially hanging a mission accomplished banner because a small fraction of jobs returned when millions were lost because of his incompetent response to COVID-19. Biden will release an aggressive and comprehensive plan for good-paying job creation in the coming days.
To meet the first two challenges, Biden has an eight-part plan to make sure the reopening is safe and strong and sets the foundation for an economy that works for everyone.
Guarantee Testing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for All Called Back on the Job: If we are going to send Americans back to work without having beaten COVID-19 as a nation, workers should know if they or their co-workers are infected. Biden would:
Direct the federal government to provide regular and reliable COVID-19 testing for every worker called back on the job – paid for by the federal government, with a federal guarantee of availability and rapid reporting of results — for the duration of this crisis.
Ensure all workers, in all communities, have access to effective personal protective equipment based upon their risk of exposure to the virus and their type of workplace. No worker should be forced to give up benefits and return to work under unsafe conditions.
Ensure workers and unions have a voice in reopening plans, and that reopening decisions by tribal governments are respected. (Read Joe Biden’s plans for establishing a Pandemic Testing Board to surge testing nationwide,and ramping up the production and fair distribution of PPE.)
Guarantee Paid Leave for All Who Get Sick: No one should have to choose between their paycheck and their health. Biden would:
Ensure paid leave for all workers who get sick with COVID-19, for as long as they need to recover and complete quarantine – leave paid for by the federal government with a guarantee that workers can return to their jobs.
Guarantee federally-funded paid leave for workers caring for family members or other loved ones sick with COVID-19. His plan is broader, stronger, and longer than the plan enacted by Congress, and is in addition to existing paid leave provided by a business’s existing policies, including collectively-bargained leave.
Ensure Worker Protection and Accountability: People want to get back to work, but they also want — and deserve — to know that their workplaces are safe. Biden would:
Task the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) with setting and enforcing a rigorous emergency temporary standard for worker protection so employers follow a clear set of rules to keep workers safe from COVID-19 exposure.
Ensure that the OSHA standard includes requirements for exposure identification and control, including social distancing, improved ventilation, and other workplace design measures, adequate personal protective equipment, targeted sanitation procedures, as well as training, notification and communication requirements for handling cases at work.
Protect workers not fully covered by OSHA, including by working with Congress to ensure this standard would cover public employees and directing other agencies to enforce industry-specific standards.
Pursue tough fines on corporations that do not abide by standards or recklessly expose their workers to COVID-19, targeting employers that engage in the most egregious violations that put the largest number of workers at serious risk. And, he would do everything in his power to ensure workers are protected against retaliation as they reasonably try to stay safe.
Build a National Contact Tracing Workforce: Once COVID-19 infected people are identified, we need to find those to whom they might have unwittingly spread the disease. Contact tracing is a core component of a robust nationwide data-driven disease surveillance system. Given the massive unemployment problem that Trump generated and the incredible need for contact tracers, Biden would:
Create a U.S. Public Health Jobs Corps. Through this Corps, the federal government will closely coordinate with state, tribal, and local leaders, as well as unions, to mobilize at least 100,000 people — and many more, if necessary — to support the public health response including by ensuring contract tracing reaches every community in America. Corps members should come from the communities they serve in order to ensure that they create trust and are as effective as possible.
Establish a COVID-19 renewable state, tribal, and local government fund — which Biden proposed in mid-March — to provide sorely under-resourced public health departments the support they need to stop new outbreaks.
Protect Older Americans, Americans with Disabilities, and Others at High Risk: Discrimination against those at risk or those with COVID-19 cannot be tolerated. Biden would:
Require employers to tailor work arrangements for anyone who is in a high-risk group or has a high-risk individual in their home. If arrangements cannot be made, individuals would be allowed to continue to draw unemployment benefits and be protected from job loss. These benefits would last for the duration of the crisis.
Provide older Americans and others at high risk evidence-based guidance for different phases of reopening. Biden’s plan to ramp up testing nationwide — and the resulting aggregated testing data — will help inform advanced this guidance, and will give older Americans, who already experience social isolation, the confidence to know they will not be left behind.
Establish testing capacity so that every resident in a long-term care facility could safely see at least one visitor every week and that the many older Americans who foster or care for children have access to regular and reliable testing.
Direct the federal government to create an easy-to-read Nationwide Pandemic Dashboard that Americans can check in real-time to help them gauge whether local transmission is actively occurring in their zip codes. This information is critical to helping all individuals, but especially older Americans and others at high risk, understand what level of precaution to take.
Create “Safer for Shoppers” Program: The economy will not fully come back until consumers feel safe again. The Safer for Shoppers voluntary federal program will:
Provide state, tribal, and local governments with funding and technical assistance for their public health departments to certify business as compliant with testing procedures and other best practices for reducing transmission and to conduct spot-checks as necessary.
Compliant businesses would receive a “Safer for Shoppers” sign to display so shoppers would know that the businesses have done what they can to minimize the risk of exposure.
Restart Small Business: President Trump’s corrupt economic response has routinely favored corporations over small businesses and largely shut out minority business owners from COVID-19 recovery funds. Biden refuses to allow this crisis to inflict further economic pain on working families and communities of color. Biden would:
Provide an ambitious “restart package” that provides small business owners support for retaining and rehiring workers, as well as for fixed costs as long as they are bringing back workers.
Support work-sharing so that small businesses — and larger ones, too — can bring back all of their workers, even if they are not operating at full capacity, with the federal government making up the difference.
Provide grants for businesses to cover the costs of restarting in this challenging environment, including for supplies like personal protective equipment and plexiglass to use as a barrier to reduce transmission risk.
Swiftly end the racial inequity in small business support by ensuring that minority-owned businesses get effective access to all of these tools, as well as access to technical assistance — such as accounting support and legal advice — so that they are not shut out of federal aid programs.
Reopen Schools and Child Care Programs: Trump has done effectively nothing to help schools or child care providers reopen, perhaps the single most important step to get parents back to work. While schools stay closed, parents are struggling and students, especially low-income students and students of color, are falling behind. Biden would mobilize the federal government, in cooperation with educators, child care providers, unions, communities, and families, to take decisive action.
Significantly scale-up National Institutes of Health-funded COVID-19 pediatric research partnerships to help address the glaring gaps in our understanding of how the virus affects children and generate evidence-based guidance.
Build a Safer Schools Best Practices Clearinghouse to help schools and child care providers across the country and around the world share approaches and tools for reopening.
Provide funds for child care providers and schools — particularly Title I schools — to cover costs, including personal protective equipment and enhanced sanitation efforts; alterations to classrooms, schedules, class sizes, and transportation so students can physically distance; upgraded technology and broadband for new forms of instruction; support for social-emotional learning; and training for educators, parents, and students as they adapt to new circumstances.
Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, delivered remarks on the economy and the May jobs report which unexpectedly showed 2.5 million jobs added and an unemployment rate dipping slightly to 13.3%, instead of rising to as much as 20%. But that 2.5 million jobs reflects the fact that states have begun reopening; there were 40 million people who have filed for unemployment, so an unimaginable 37 million are still without jobs. And 13.3% is still higher than at any time during the 2008 Great Recession. Moreover, the Trump administration apparently changed the way certain numbers are calculated, so the actual unemployment rate could be 3 points higher, or 16.3%, which would be closer to what economists forecast. Trump also manages to ignore the fact that the stimulus program pushed by Democrats over Republicans’ objections, worked to keep the economy from descending into a Great Depression. He also ignored the disproportionate unemployment rates among Blacks and Hispanics, groups that are also suffering disproportionately from COVID-19. But Trump is desperate to put a rosy face on an economy while ignoring the fact the coronavirus pandemic is still spreading and his administration has done virtually nothing to provide a national program for testing, tracing and isolating, nor even set standards for workplaces and schools only some tepid guidelines. And Trump was desperate to shift attention from his Fascistic overreach of using military power used against peaceful protesters calling for an end to race-based police brutality.
Instead, Vice President Biden took Trump to task and offered his own analysis of the depth of harm to the economy and public health caused by Trump’s failure of leadership and his preoccupation with Wall Street over Main Street, wealth over wages.
Here is a transcript of Biden’s remarks: –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Before I speak to the economic situation, I have to take a moment to address something the President said this morning.
Toward the end of his remarks today, Donald Trump said he hopes that George Floyd “is looking down and seeing this is a great day for our country.”
He was speaking of a man who was brutally killed by an act of needless violence — and by a larger tide of injustice — that has metastasized on this President’s watch.
George Floyd’s last words — “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe” — have echoed across our nation.
For the President to try to put any other words in the mouth of George Floyd — is frankly despicable.
And, the fact that he did so on a day when Black unemployment rose and black youth unemployment skyrocketed — tells you everything you need to know about who this man is and what he cares about.
Today, like all Americans, I was glad to see that two-and-a-half million Americans have gotten their jobs back.
For those families, that’s a sigh of relief.
And for all of us, it’s a reminder of the resilience of the American people.
To those Americans, I’m so proud of you, and so happy for you and your families.
I was disturbed, however, to see the President crowing this morning — basically hanging a “mission accomplished”’ banner when there is so much work to be done — and so many Americans are still hurting.
More than twenty million Americans — one out of every seven U.S. workers — are still out of work.
For an enormous swath of our country, their dreams are still on hold. They are still struggling to put food on the table. The unemployment rate remains the highest it’s been in nearly a century.
As I said, Black unemployment went up this month. Latino youth unemployment jumped to over 37 percent. Hispanic unemployment overall is four times higher than it was before the President botched his response to the pandemic. And I’m worried, when you look deeper at the data, that while temporary layoffs went down,permanent layoffs went up.
Donald Trump still doesn’t get it.
He’s out there spiking the football — completely oblivious to the tens of millions of people who are facing the greatest struggle of their lives. Those folks aren’t feeling any less pain today than they were yesterday.
People who’ve lost their health care in this crisis, they’re not celebrating today — especially when Donald Trump is still in court fighting to strip away health care protections from even more Americans.
The fact is, there are about 13 million less jobs today for American workers than the day that President Obama and I left office.
So while it’s wonderful to see ten percent of the families who lost their jobs due to Trump’s disastrous pandemic response start to make their way back — the President’s behavior makes me deeply worried for the 90 percent who haven’t.
So to all those families — who are scared, and hurting, and wondering what’s going to happen next: I want you to know I see you. I won’t ever forget you. And I won’t be satisfied – until this economy starts working for all of you.
Let’s be clear about something. The depth of this job crisis is not attributable to an act of God — but to the failure of a President. The truth is every country dealt with job losses due to the pandemic, but America was hit much harder out of the gate due to Trump’s complete mismanagement of the response.
This morning, he tried to compare our response to Germany’s and South Korea’s.
Okay, let’s compare. Germany has one-third of the deaths per capita that we do. South Korea has less than 300 deaths — total. America has four percent of the world’s population — and more than a quarter of the world’s deaths from this pandemic.
It’s no secret why that is.
Let’s get something straight: he did not act quickly.
For months, he downplayed the threat — falsely promising us that anyone could get a test — and claiming that “like a miracle it will disappear.”
He repeatedly praised China’s containment response – despite a litany of public appeals — including from me — not to bet American lives and the U.S. economy on the word of the Chinese government.
He refused to take action to get adequate testing in place — allowing the virus to spread further than it should have.
Columbia University found that 54,000 lives could have been saved if the administration had acted just two weeks earlier.
His failure didn’t just cost lives. It cost jobs.
New studies this week from Moody’s and Brookings confirm that half or more of those who lost their jobs would still be employed had Trump mounted a competent response like Germany and South Korea and other countries did.
We know why this happened. Donald Trump was more focused on the stock wealth of the biggest corporations than he was on the well-being of the American people.
It’s why he had his top economic advisors telling people to buy stocks instead of preparing our nation to brace for the pandemic.
Now — after 110,000 deaths and more than 20 million people still out of work — the consequences are clear.
We are still facing devastating unemployment, an historic health crisis, and a continuing crisis of violence, injustice, and indignity that is devastating Black Americans and diminishing the soul of our country.
These are some of the sternest challenges our nation has ever faced, and Trump is patting himself on the back.
He just has no idea what’s really going on in this country. He has no idea the depth of pain that people are facing. He remains completely oblivious to the human toll of his indifference. It is time for him to step out of his bunker and take a look around at the consequences of his words and actions.
Let’s be clear — a president who takes no responsibility for costing millions and millions of Americans their jobs deserves no credit when a fraction of them return.
But there’s a deeper concern here. As we recover, some of the temporary job losses we are still not on track to grow back in a way that will actually serve working people.
President Trump is still rewarding wealth over work.
All we hear coming out of the White House is calls for more tax cuts for big investors and big corporations. Well, they didn’t build this country. The middle class did — that’s who I fight for.
And if Trump continues to put the interests of CEOs and shareholders ahead of American workers, we’ll never get to where we need to be as a country.
Look, every American has a choice to make this November. Not simply what kind of President we want , but what kind of country we want. What kind of economy we want — and who that economy serves.
In the coming weeks, I will lay out in detail my comprehensive plan— not just to build things back to the way they were before COVID-19, but to build back better.
To create millions of new, good-paying jobs with benefits where people get a fair return for work and we make our country stronger, more resilient, and more just.
That plan will be anchored in job-creating investments, in small businesses, infrastructure – innovation, manufacturing, and caregiving, and in rewiring the faulty structures of our economy to ensure the dignity and equity of all American workers.
The public health crisis, the job crisis, and the crisis of inequity and indignity being endured by African Americans — those three challenges are deeply connected to one another.
The solutions must be, as well.
Any economic plan must start with a public health plan to make sure tests are available, to get our society functioning, to build back the confidence we need to truly bring back jobs and small businesses.
But that is only the first step.
My jobs plan will also be about restoring dignity to the American people.
In addition to pursuing badly-needed reforms, we need to be growing wages, leveling the playing field, and creating tens of millions of the new jobs we need to build a better American future.
There is a monumental amount of work to do to repair the damage that has been done. And simply tweeting slogans like “transition to greatness” won’t solve anything for families who are hurting.
I look forward to introducing and implementing a real jobs plan that will meet this challenging moment.
Americans can’t afford to have any more of their time wasted.
They need an economy that works for them — now.
They need jobs that bring dignity — now.
They need equal justice — and equal opportunities — now.
They need a president who cares about them, and cares about helping them heal — now.
Amid national protests over police brutality and the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and Donald Trump calling out the military against peaceful protesters outside the White House, VP Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate for president, declares, “The moment has come for our nation to deal with systemic racism. To deal with the growing economic inequality in our nation. And to deal with the denial of the promise of this nation — to so many.“
“We are a nation in pain,” Biden declared. “but we must not allow this pain to destroy us. We are a nation enraged, but we cannot allow our rage to consume us. We are a nation exhausted, but we will not allow our exhaustion to defeat us.
“As President, it is my commitment to all of you to lead on these issues — to listen. Because I truly believe in my heart of hearts, that we can overcome. And when we stand together, finally, as One America, we will rise stronger than before.”
Here is a transcript of Vice President Joe Biden’s speech delivered from the Mayor’s Reception Room in Philadelphia City Hall in front of an audience that included Mayor Jim Kenney, Congressman Brendan Boyle, and state and local elected officials.:
“I can’t breathe.” “I can’t breathe.”
George Floyd’s last words. But they didn’t die with him. They’re still being heard. They’re echoing across this nation.
They speak to a nation where too often just the color of your skin puts your life at risk.
They speak to a nation where more than 100,000 people have lost their lives to a virus – and 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment – with a disproportionate number of these deaths and job losses concentrated in black and brown communities.
And they speak to a nation where every day millions of people – not at the moment of losing their life – but in the course of living their life – are saying to themselves, “I can’t breathe.”
It’s a wake-up call for our nation. For all of us.
And I mean all of us. It’s not the first time we’ve heard these words – they’re the same words we heard from Eric Garner when his life was taken six years ago.
But it’s time to listen to these words. Understand them. And respond to them – with real action.
The country is crying out for leadership. Leadership that can unite us. Leadership that can bring us together. Leadership that can recognize the pain and deep grief of communities that have had a knee on their neck for too long.
But there is no place for violence.
No place for looting or destroying property or burning churches, or destroying businesses — many of them built by people of color who for the first time were beginning to realize their dreams and build wealth for their families.
Nor is it acceptable for our police — sworn to protect and serve all people — to escalate tensions or resort to excessive violence.
We need to distinguish between legitimate peaceful protest — and opportunistic violent destruction.
And we must be vigilant about the violence that’s being done by the incumbent president to our democracy and to the pursuit of justice.
When peaceful protestors are dispersed by the order of the President from the doorstep of the people’s house, the White House — using tear gas and flash grenades — in order to stage a photo op at a noble church, we can be forgiven for believing that the president is more interested in power than in principle.
More interested in serving the passions of his base than the needs of the people in his care.
For that’s what the presidency is: a duty of care — to all of us, not just our voters, not just our donors, but all of us.
The President held up a bible at St. John’s church yesterday.
If he opened it instead of brandishing it, he could have learned something: That we are all called to love one another as we love ourselves.
That’s hard work. But it’s the work of America.
Donald Trump isn’t interested in doing that work.
Instead he’s preening and sweeping away all the guardrails that have long protected our democracy.
Guardrails that have helped make possible this nation’s path to a more perfect union.
A union that constantly requires reform and rededication – and yes the protests from voices of those mistreated, ignored, left out and left behind.
But it’s a union worth fighting for and that’s why I’m running for President.
In addition to the Bible, he might also want to open the U.S. Constitution.
If he did, he’d find the First Amendment. It protects “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Mr. President: That is America.
Not horses rising up on their hind legs to push back a peaceful protest. Not using the American military to move against the American people. This nation is a nation of values. Our freedom to speak is the cherished knowledge that lives inside every American.
We will not allow any President to quiet our voice.
We won’t let those who see this as an opportunity to sow chaos throw up a smokescreen to distract us from the very real and legitimate grievances at the heart of these protests.
And we can’t leave this moment thinking we can once again turn away and do nothing. We can’t.
The moment has come for our nation to deal with systemic racism. To deal with the growing economic inequality in our nation. And to deal with the denial of the promise of this nation — to so many.
I’ve said from the outset of this election that we are in a battle for the soul of this nation. Who we are. What we believe. And maybe most important — who we want to be.
It’s all at stake. That is truer today than ever. And it’s in this urgency we can find the path forward.
The history of this nation teaches us that it’s in some of our darkest moments of despair that we’ve made some of our greatest progress.
The 13th and 14th and 15th Amendments followed the Civil War. The greatest economy in the history of the world grew out of the Great Depression. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 came in the tracks of Bull Connor’s vicious dogs.
To paraphrase Reverend Barber — it’s in the mourning we find hope.
It will take more than talk. We’ve had talk before. We’ve had protests before.
Let us vow to make this, at last, an era of action to reverse systemic racism with long overdue and concrete changes.
That action will not be completed in the first 100 days of my Presidency — or even an entire term.
It is the work of a generation.
But if this agenda will take time to complete, it should not wait for the first 100 days of my Presidency to get started.
A down payment on what is long overdue should come now. Immediately.
I call on Congress to act this month on measures that would be a first step in this direction. Starting with real police reform.
Congressman Jeffries has a bill to outlaw choke holds. Congress should put it on President Trump’s desk in the next few days.
There are other measures: to stop transferring weapons of war to police forces, to improve oversight and accountability, to create a model use of force standard — that also should be made law this month.
No more excuses. No more delays.
If the Senate has time to confirm Trump’s unqualified judicial nominees who will run roughshod over our Constitution, it has time to pass legislation that will give true meaning to our Constitution’s promise of “equal protection of the laws.”
Looking ahead, in the first 100 days of my presidency, I have committed to creating a national police oversight commission.
I’ve long believed we need real community policing.
And we need each and every police department in the country to undertake a comprehensive review of their hiring, their training, and their de-escalation practices.
And the federal government should give them the tools and resources they need to implement reforms.
Most cops meet the highest standards of their profession. All the more reason that bad cops should be dealt with severely and swiftly. We all need to take a hard look at the culture that allows for these senseless tragedies to keep happening.
And we need to learn from the cities and precincts that are getting it right.
We know, though, that to have true justice in America, we need economic justice, too.
Here, too, there is much to be done.
As an immediate step, Congress should act to rectify racial inequities in the allocation of COVID-19 recovery funds.
I will be setting forth more of my agenda on economic justice and opportunity in the weeks and months ahead.
But it begins with health care. It should be a right not a privilege. The quickest route to universal coverage in this country is to expand Obamacare.
We could do it. We should do it.
But this president — even now — in the midst of a public health crisis with massive unemployment wants to destroy it.
He doesn’t care how many millions of Americans will be hurt— because he is consumed with his blinding ego when it comes to President Obama.
The President should withdraw his lawsuit to strike down Obamacare, and the Congress should prepare to act on my proposal to expand Obamacare to millions more.
These last few months we have seen America’s true heroes. The health care workers, the nurses, delivery truck drivers, grocery store workers.
We have a new phrase for them: Essential workers.
But we need to do more than praise them. We need to pay them.
Because if it wasn’t clear before, it’s clear now. This country wasn’t built by Wall Street bankers and CEOs. It was built by America’s great middle class — by our essential workers.
I know there is enormous fear and uncertainty and anger in the country. I understand.
And I know so many Americans are suffering. Suffering the loss of a loved one. Suffering economic hardships. Suffering under the weight of generation after generation after generation of hurt inflicted on people of color — and on black and Native communities in particular.
I know what it means to grieve. My losses are not the same as the losses felt by so many. But I know what it is to feel like you cannot go on.
I know what it means to have a black hole of grief sucking at your chest.
Just a few days ago marked the fifth anniversary of my son Beau’s passing from cancer. There are still moments when the pain is so great it feels no different from the day he died. But I also know that the best way to bear loss and pain is to turn all that anger and anguish to purpose.
And, Americans know what our purpose is as a nation. It has guided us from the very beginning.
It’s been reported. That on the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated, little Yolanda King came home from school in Atlanta and jumped in her father’s arms.
“Oh, Daddy,” she said, “now we will never get our freedom.”
Her daddy was reassuring, strong, and brave.
“Now don’t you worry, baby,” said Martin Luther King, Jr. “It’s going to be all right.”
Amid violence and fear, Dr. King persevered.
He was driven by his dream of a nation where “justice runs down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
Then, in 1968 hate would cut him down in Memphis.
A few days before Dr. King was murdered, he gave a final Sunday sermon in Washington.
He told us that though the arc of a moral universe is long, it bends toward justice.
And we know we can bend it — because we have. We have to believe that still. That is our purpose. It’s been our purpose from the beginning.
To become the nation where all men and women are not only created equal — but treated equally.
To become the nation defined — in Dr. King’s words — not only by the absence of tension, but by the presence of justice.
Today in America it’s hard to keep faith that justice is at hand. I know that. You know that.
The pain is raw. The pain is real.
A president of the United States must be part of the solution, not the problem. But our president today is part of the problem.
When he tweeted the words “When the looting starts, the shooting starts” – those weren’t the words of a president. They were the words of a racist Miami police chief from the 1960s.
When he tweeted that protesters “would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs … that’s when people would have been really badly hurt.” Those weren’t the words of a president — those were the kind of words a Bull Connor would have used unleashing his dogs.
The American story is about action and reaction. That’s the way history works. We can’t be naïve about that.
I wish I could say this hate began with Donald Trump and will end with him. It didn’t and it won’t. American history isn’t a fairytale with a guaranteed happy ending.
The battle for the soul of this nation has been a constant push-and-pull for more than 240 years.
A tug of war between the American ideal that we are all created equal and the harsh reality that racism has long torn us apart. The honest truth is both elements are part of the American character.
At our best, the American ideal wins out.
It’s never a rout. It’s always a fight. And the battle is never finally won.
But we can’t ignore the truth that we are at our best when we open our hearts, not when we clench our fists. Donald Trump has turned our country into a battlefield riven by old resentments and fresh fears.
He thinks division helps him.
His narcissism has become more important than the nation’s well-being he leads.
I ask every American to look at where we are now, and think anew: Is this who we are? Is this who we want to be? Is this what we pass on to our kids’ and grandkids’ lives? Fear and finger-pointing rather than hope and the pursuit of happiness? Incompetence and anxiety? Self-absorption and selfishness?
Or do we want to be the America we know we can be. The America we know in our hearts we could be and should be.
Look, the presidency is a big job. Nobody will get everything right. And I won’t either.
But I promise you this. I won’t traffic in fear and division. I won’t fan the flames of hate.
I will seek to heal the racial wounds that have long plagued this country – not use them for political gain.
I’ll do my job and take responsibility. I won’t blame others. I’ll never forget that the job isn’t about me.
It’s about you.
And I’ll work to not only rebuild this nation. But to build it better than it was.
To build a better future. That’s what America does.
We build the future. It may in fact be the most American thing to do.
We hunger for liberty the way Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass did.
We thirst for the vote the way Susan B. Anthony and Ella Baker and John Lewis did. We strive to explore the stars, to cure disease, to make this imperfect Union as perfect as we can.
We may come up short — but at our best we try.
We are facing formidable enemies.
They include not only the coronavirus and its terrible impact on our lives and livelihoods, but also the selfishness and fear that have loomed over our national life for the last three years.
Defeating those enemies requires us to do our duty — and that duty includes remembering who we should be.
We should be the America of FDR and Eisenhower, of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr., of Jonas Salk and Neil Armstrong.
We should be the America that cherishes life and liberty and courage.
Above all, we should be the America that cherishes each other – each and every one.
We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us. We are a nation enraged, but we cannot allow our rage to consume us. We are a nation exhausted, but we will not allow our exhaustion to defeat us.
As President, it is my commitment to all of you to lead on these issues — to listen. Because I truly believe in my heart of hearts, that we can overcome. And when we stand together, finally, as One America, we will rise stronger than before.
So reach out to one another. Speak out for one another. And please, please take care of each other.
This is the United States of America. And there is nothing we can’t do. If we do it together.