Vice President Joe Biden took to the sacred ground of the Civil War battlefield at Gettysburg to lay out his vision for the soul of America, why Charlottesville was the impetus for his run for the presidency, and set the stage for the final four weeks of the 2020 election campaign.
In stark contrast to the scowling Mussolini-esque “Covita” video stunt Trump pulled on arriving back at the White House from Walter Reed Hospital, when he immediately pulled off his face mask and summoned a photographer to come behind him for a better shot, Biden spoke to the concerns of Americans, in high anxiety over the coronavirus pandemic, economic hardship, civil unrest and climate crisis. Evoking Lincoln’s famous speech, he called for unity around the shared values of America, saying he was a proud Democrat but if elected President, he would be a President for all Americans, calling it, “Battle for the Soul of the Nation.”
Biden outlined the ways in which the nation, riven by partisan and tribal conflict, can heal, come together as Americans – indeed, after 244 years of upholding the revolutionary idea of government of, by, for the people, he declared, we must.
“It cannot be that after all this country has been through. After all that America has accomplished, after all the years we have stood as a beacon of light to the world, it cannot be that here and now, in 2020, we will allow government of the people, by the people, and for the people to perish from this earth,” Biden declared.
“No. It cannot. It must not.
“We have in our hands the ultimate power: the power of the vote. It is the noblest instrument ever devised to register our will in a peaceable and productive fashion.
“And so we must.
“We must vote.
“And we will vote no matter how many obstacles are thrown in our way. Because once America votes, America will be heard.”
Biden declared, “Together, as one nation, under God, indivisible, let us join forces to fight the common foes of injustice and inequality, of hate and fear…
“You and I are part of a great covenant, a common story of divisions overcome and of hope renewed.
“If we do our part. If we stand together. If we keep faith with the past and with each other, then the divisions of our time can give way to the dreams of a brighter, better, future.”
And Biden, acting and sounding like the president this country needs and deserves, pledged, “As president, I will embrace hope, not fear. Peace, not violence. Generosity, not greed. Light, not darkness.
“I will be a president who appeals to the best in us. Not the worst.
“I will be a president who pushes towards the future. Not one who clings to the past.
“I am ready to fight for you and for our nation. Every day. Without exception, without reservation. And with a full and devoted heart….
“Now we have our work to reunite America, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to move past shadow and suspicion.”
Here are Vice President Biden’s highlighted remarks, as prepared for delivery — Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
On July 4, 1863, America woke to the remains of perhaps the most consequential battle ever fought on American soil. It took place here on this ground in Gettysburg.
Three days of violence, three days of carnage. 50,000 casualties wounded, captured, missing or dead. Over three days of fighting.
When the sun rose on that Independence Day, Lee would retreat.
The war would go on for nearly two more years, but the back of the Confederacy had been broken.
The Union would be saved, slavery would be abolished. Government of, by, and for the people would not perish from the earth, and freedom would be born anew in our land.
There is no more fitting place than here today in Gettysburg to talk about the cost of division — about how much it has cost America in the past, about how much it is costing us now, and about why I believe in this moment we must come together as a nation.
For President Lincoln, the Civil War was about the greatest of causes: the end of slavery, the widening of equality, the pursuit of justice, the creation of opportunity, and the sanctity of freedom.
His words here would live ever after.
We hear them in our heads, we know them in our hearts, we draw on them when we seek hope in the hours of darkness.
“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
Here, on this sacred ground Abraham Lincoln reimagined America itself. Here, a president of the United States spoke of the price of division and the meaning of sacrifice. He believed in the rescue, the redemption, and the rededication of the Union, all this in a time not just of ferocious division, but also widespread death, structural inequality, and fear of the future.
And he taught us this: A house divided could not stand. That is a great and timeless truth.
Today, once again, we are a house divided. But that, my friends, can no longer be.
We are facing too many crises. We have too much work to do. We have too bright a future to leave it shipwrecked on the shoals of anger and hate and division.
As we stand here today, a century and a half after Gettysburg, we should consider again what can happen when equal justice is denied and when anger and violence and division are left unchecked.
As I look across America today, I’m concerned. The country is in a dangerous place. Our trust in each other is ebbing. Hope is elusive.
Too many Americans see our public life not as an arena for the mediation of our differences. Rather, they see it as an occasion for total, unrelenting partisan warfare.
Instead of treating the other party as the opposition, we treat them as the enemy.
This must end.
We need to revive a spirit of bipartisanship in this country, a spirit of being able to work with one another.
When I say that, I’m accused of being naïve.
I’m told maybe that’s the way things used to work, but they can’t any more.
Well, I’m here to say they can. And they must if we’re going to get anything done.
I’m running as a proud Democrat, but I will govern as an American president.
I will work with Democrats and Republicans and I will work as hard for those who don’t support me as for those who do.
That’s the job of a president.
It’s a duty of care for everyone.
The refusal of Democrats and Republicans to cooperate with one another is not due to some mysterious force beyond our control. It’s a decision. A choice we make.
And if we can decide not to cooperate, we can decide to cooperate as well.
That’s the choice I’ll make as president.
But there is something bigger going on in the nation than just our broken politics, something darker, something more dangerous.
I’m not talking about ordinary differences of opinion. Competing viewpoints give life and vibrancy to our democracy.
No, I’m talking about something different, something deeper.
Too many Americans seek not to overcome our divisions, but to deepen them.
We must seek not to build walls, but bridges. We must seek not to clench our fists, but to open our arms. We must seek not to tear each other apart, but to come together.
You don’t have to agree with me on everything — or even on most things — to see that what we’re experiencing today is neither good nor normal.
I made the decision to run for president after Charlottesville.
Close your eyes. Remember what you saw.
Neo-Nazis, white supremacists and the KKK coming out of the fields with torches lit. Veins bulging. Chanting the same anti-Semitic bile heard across Europe in the 1930s.
It was hate on the march, in the open. In America.
Hate never goes away. It only hides.
And when it is given oxygen, when it is given the opportunity to spread, when it is treated as normal and acceptable behavior we have opened a door in this country we must move quickly to close.
As President, I will do that.
I will send a clear, unequivocal message to the nation. There is no place for hate in America.
It will be given no license. It will be given no oxygen. It will be given no safe harbor.
In recent weeks and months, the country has been roiled by instances of excessive police force, by heart wrenching cases of racial injustice and lives needlessly and senselessly lost, by peaceful protests giving voice to the calls for justice, and by examples of violence and looting and burning that cannot be tolerated.
I believe in law and order. I have never supported defunding the police.
But I also believe injustice is real.
It’s the product of a history that goes back 400 years, to the moment when black men, women, and children were first brought here in chains.
I do not believe we have to choose between law and order and racial justice in America.
We can have both.
This nation is strong enough to both honestly face systemic racism, and strong enough to provide safe streets for our families and small businesses that too often bear the brunt of this looting and burning.
We have no need for armed militias roaming America’s streets, and we should have no tolerance for extremist white supremacist groups menacing our communities.
If you say we should trust America’s law enforcement authorities to do their jobs as I do, then let them do their job without extremist groups acting as vigilantes.
And if you say we have no need to face racial injustice in this country, you haven’t opened your eyes to the truth in America.
There have been powerful voices for justice in recent weeks and months.
George Floyd’s 6-year old daughter Gianna, who I met with, was one such voice when she said, “Daddy changed the world.”
Also, Jacob Blake’s mother was another when she said violence didn’t reflect her son and that this nation needed healing.
And Doc Rivers, the basketball coach choking back tears when he said, “We’re the ones getting killed. We’re the ones getting shot … We’ve been hung. It’s amazing why we keep loving this country, and this country does not love us back.”
Think about that. Think about what it takes for a Black person to love America. That is a deep love for this country that for far too long we have never fully recognized.
What we need in America is leadership that seeks to deescalate tensions, to open lines of communication, and to bring us together.
To heal. And to hope.
As President, that is precisely what I will do.
We have paid a high price for allowing the deep divisions in this country to impact how we have dealt with the coronavirus. 210,000 Americans dead and the numbers climbing. It’s estimated that nearly another 210,000 Americans could lose their lives by the end of the year.
Enough. No more.
Let’s set the partisanship aside. Let’s end the politics. Let’s follow the science.
Wearing a mask isn’t a political statement. It’s a scientific recommendation.
Social distancing isn’t a political statement. It’s a scientific recommendation.
Testing. Tracing. The development, ultimately approval and distribution of a vaccine isn’t a political statement. These are scientific-based decisions.
We can’t undo what has been done. We can’t go back. But we can do better. We can do better starting today.
We can have a national strategy that puts the politics aside and saves lives.
We can have a national strategy that will make it possible for our schools and businesses to open safely.
We can have a national strategy that reflects the true values of this nation.
The pandemic is not a red state versus blue state issue. The virus doesn’t care where you live or what political party you belong to.
It infects us all. It will take anyone’s life. It is a virus — not a political weapon.
There’s another enduring division in America that we must end: The divisions in our economic life that give opportunity only to the privileged few.
America has to be about mobility. It has to be the kind of country where an Abraham Lincoln – a child of the distant frontier, can rise to our highest office.
America has to be about the possibilities. The possibilities of prosperity.
Not just for the privileged few. But for the many — for all of us.
Working people and their kids deserve an opportunity.
Lincoln knew this. He said that the country had to give people “an open field and a fair chance.”
And that’s what we’re going to do in the America we’re going to build — together.
We fought a Civil War that would secure a Union that would seek to fulfill the promise of equality for all.
And by fits and starts — our better angels have prevailed just enough against our worst impulses to make a new and better nation.
And those better angels can prevail again — now. They must prevail again — now. A hundred years after Lincoln spoke here at Gettysburg then Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson also came here and said: “Our nation found its soul in honor on these fields of Gettysburg … We must not lose that soul in dishonor now on the fields of hate.”
Today we are engaged once again in a battle for the soul of the nation.
The forces of darkness, the forces of division, the forces of yesterday are pulling us apart, holding us down, and holding us back.
We must free ourselves of all of them.
As president, I will embrace hope, not fear. Peace, not violence. Generosity, not greed. Light, not darkness.
I will be a president who appeals to the best in us. Not the worst.
I will be a president who pushes towards the future. Not one who clings to the past.
I am ready to fight for you and for our nation. Every day. Without exception, without reservation. And with a full and devoted heart.
We cannot — and will not — allow extremists and white supremacists to overturn the America of Lincoln and Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass.
To overturn the America that has welcomed immigrants from distant shores.
To overturn the America that’s been a haven and a home for everyone no matter their background.
From Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall, we’re at our best when the promise of America is available to all.
We cannot and will not allow violence in the streets to threaten the people of this nation.
We cannot and will not walk away from our obligation to, at long last, face the reckoning on race and racial justice in the country.
We cannot and will not continue to be stuck in a partisan politics that lets this virus thrive while the public health of this nation suffers.
We cannot and will not accept an economic equation that only favors those who’ve already got it made.
Everybody deserves a shot at prosperity.
Duty and history call presidents to provide for the common good. And I will.
It won’t be easy. Our divisions today are of long standing. Economic and racial inequities have shaped us for generations.
But I give you my word: If I am elected President, I will marshal the ingenuity and good will of this nation to turn division into unity and bring us together.
We can disagree about how to move forward, but we must take the first step.
And it starts with how we treat one another, how we talk to one another, how we respect one another.
In his Second Inaugural, Lincoln said, “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds.”
Now we have our work to reunite America, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to move past shadow and suspicion.
And so we — you and I, together — press on, even now.
After hearing the Second Inaugural Address, Frederick Douglass told the president:
“Mr. Lincoln, that was a sacred effort.”
We must be dedicated now to our own sacred effort.
The promise of Gettysburg, that a new birth of freedom was at hand, is at risk.
Every generation that has followed Gettysburg has been faced with a moment — when it must answer this question — whether it will allow the sacrifices made here to be in vain.
This is our moment to answer this essential American question for ourselves and for our time.
And my answer is this:
It cannot be that after all this country has been through. After all that America has accomplished, after all the years we have stood as a beacon of light to the world, it cannot be that here and now, in 2020, we will allow government of the people, by the people, and for the people to perish from this earth.
No. It cannot. It must not.
We have in our hands the ultimate power: the power of the vote. It is the noblest instrument ever devised to register our will in a peaceable and productive fashion.
And so we must.
We must vote.
And we will vote no matter how many obstacles are thrown in our way. Because once America votes, America will be heard.
Lincoln said: “The nation is worth fighting for.”
So it was. So it is.
Together, as one nation, under God, indivisible, let us join forces to fight the common foes of injustice and inequality, of hate and fear.
Let us conduct ourselves as Americans who love each other — who love our country and who will not destroy, but will build.
We owe that to the dead who are buried here at Gettysburg.
And we owe that to the living and to future generations yet to be born.
You and I are part of a great covenant, a common story of divisions overcome and of hope renewed.
If we do our part. If we stand together. If we keep faith with the past and with each other, then the divisions of our time can give way to the dreams of a brighter, better, future.
This is our work. This is our pledge. This is our mission.
“Those who have served know empathy is a vital leadership quality – you cannot do what is best for those you lead if you do not know their challenges. Joe Biden has empathy born of his humble roots, family tragedies and personal loss. When Americans are struggling, Joe Biden understands their pain and takes it upon himself to help.”
Today, nearly 500 retired top military and national security officials endorsed Joe Biden for President of the United States. In an open letter, the generals, admirals, ambassadors, and other former national security leaders pointed to Joe Biden’s empathy, honesty, experience and leadership as necessary traits required to navigate America through a painful time. The leaders, including Democrats, Republicans and Independents, also cited Donald Trump’s failure to address the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and other monumental crises facing the nation.
We are former public servants who have devoted our careers, and in many cases risked our lives, for the United States. We are generals, admirals, senior noncommissioned officers, ambassadors, and senior civilian national security leaders. We are Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. We love our country. Unfortunately, we also fear for it. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven America needs principled, wise, and responsible leadership. America needs a President who understands, as President Harry S. Truman said, that “the buck stops here.”
We the undersigned endorse Joe Biden to be the next President of the United States. He is the leader our nation needs. We believe that Joe Biden is, above all, a good man with a strong sense of right and wrong. He is guided by the principles that have long made America great: democracy is a hard-won right we must defend and support at home and abroad; America’s power and influence stem as much from her moral authority as it does from her economic and military power; America’s free press is invaluable, not an enemy of the people; those who sacrifice or give their lives in service of our nation deserve our respect and eternal gratitude; and America’s citizens benefit most when the United States engages with the world. Joe Biden will always put the nation’s needs before his own.
Those who have served know empathy is a vital leadership quality – you cannot do what is best for those you lead if you do not know their challenges. Joe Biden has empathy born of his humble roots, family tragedies and personal loss. When Americans are struggling, Joe Biden understands their pain and takes it upon himself to help.
We believe America’s president must be honest, and we find Joe Biden’s honesty and integrity indisputable. He believes a nation’s word is her bond. He believes we must stand by the allies who have stood by us. He remembers how America’s NATO allies rushed to her side after 9/11; how the Kurds fought by our side to defeat ISIS; and how Japan and South Korea have been steadfast partners in countering North Korean and Chinese provocations. Joe Biden would never sell out our allies to placate despots or because he dislikes an allied leader.
While some of us may have different opinions on particular policy matters, we trust Joe Biden’s positions are rooted in sound judgment, thorough understanding, and fundamental values.
We know Joe Biden has the experience and wisdom necessary to navigate America through a painful time. He has grappled with America’s most difficult foreign policy challenges for decades, learning what works – and what does not – in a dangerous world. He is knowledgeable, but he also knows that listening to diverse and dissenting views is essential, particularly when making tough decisions concerning our national security. Many of us have briefed Joe Biden on matters of national security, and we know he demands a thorough understanding of any issue before making a decision – as any American president should.
Finally, Joe Biden believes in personal responsibility. Over his long career, he has learned hard lessons and grown as a leader who can take positive action to unite and heal our country. It is unthinkable that he would ever utter the phrase “I don’t take responsibility at all.”
The next president will inherit a nation – and a world – in turmoil. The current President has demonstrated he is not equal to the enormous responsibilities of his office; he cannot rise to meet challenges large or small. Thanks to his disdainful attitude and his failures, our allies no longer trust or respect us, and our enemies no longer fear us. Climate change continues unabated, as does North Korea’s nuclear program. The president has ceded influence to a Russian adversary who puts bounties on the heads of American military personnel, and his trade war against China has only harmed America’s farmers and manufacturers. The next president will have to address those challenges while struggling with an economy in a deep recession and a pandemic that has already claimed more than 200,000 of our fellow citizens. America, with 4% of the world’s population suffers with 25% of the world’s COVID-19 cases. Only FDR and Abraham Lincoln came into office facing more monumental crises than the next president.
Joe Biden has the character, principles, wisdom, and leadership necessary to address a world on fire. That is why Joe Biden must be the next President of the United States; why we vigorously support his election; and why we urge our fellow citizens to do the same.
The hypocrisy and shamelessness of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans to now move forward to fill the seat vacated by Ruth Bader Ginsburg with someone who would completely undo all the progress she made toward equality and social justice in the midst of actual voting to replace the president and Congress is only matched by the hypocrisy and shamelessness of the self-professed conservative “originalist” Supreme Court justices who have the audacity to suggest they can fathom what the Founding Fathers meant and disregard all the changes since then, to actually make law. Five justices contradicting the 435 elected members of the House and 100 elected members of the Senate and the president, going further, reaching back into settled law and precedent to overturn women’s rights, civil rights, voting rights, workers rights, environmental protection, to re-form this nation as a Catholic theocracy, not much different than Islamic theocracy.
Just a reminder: McConnell invented this “rule” of not confirming – not even giving President Obama’s nominee a hearing – even though the election was 10 months away (and Scalia’s seat was vacant for 400 days) because it was an election year, and that Obama purposely looked for a moderate, not a progressive, and not someone who could conceivably serve for 50 years on the bench, in choosing Merrick Garland to replace Antonin Scalia. It really was a further demonstration of the disrespect he had for Obama, America’s first Black president, and, when Obama took office in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, McConnell said his first priority was not to help Americans seeing their lives come apart but to make Obama a “one-term president.” He stalled hundreds of judicial appointments so that he could fill them all – and hand Trump his only achievement Trump can crow about. B
McConnell’s does not necessarily see the swift filling of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat as energizing Republican turnout but because he expects to lose the White House and very possibly the Senate. Also, he wants a Supreme Court in Trump’s pocket to decide the dozens of outrageous court suits designed to suppress voting (the only way Trump can eke out a win in the Electoral College).
Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate for president, spoke out in Philadelphia, paying homage to Justice Ginsburg’s life and legacy and outrage over yet another theft of a Supreme Court seat that, despite the conservative minority in the country and majority’s rejection of their positions, will control the lives of every American for generations. Presidents may come and go, but these justices serve for life.
”This appointment isn’t about the past. It’s about the future. And the people of this nation are choosing the future right now,” Biden declared. “To jam this nomination through the Senate is just an exercise in raw political power.”
Here are Vice President’s remarks, highlighted, as prepared for delivery on September 20, 2020 in Philadelphia:
I attended mass earlier today and prayed for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her family.
The nation lost an icon, but they lost a mother, a grandmother, and a matriarch.
We know how hard that is to watch a piece of your soul absorb the cruelty and pain of that dreadful disease of cancer.
But as I spoke with her daughter and granddaughter last night, they made clear that until the very end she displayed the character and courage we would expect of her. She held their hand and gave them strength and purpose to carry on.
It’s been noted that she passed away on Rosh Hashanah.
By tradition, a person who dies during the Jewish New Year is considered a soul of great righteousness.
That was Ruth Bader Ginsgburg. A righteous soul.
It was my honor to preside over her confirmation hearings, and to strongly support her accession to the Supreme Court.
Justice Ginsburg achieved a standing few justices do. She became a presence in the lives of so many Americans, a part of the culture.
Yes there was humor in the mentions of the “Notorious RBG” and her impressive exercise routines. But it was so much more. She was a trailblazer, a role model, a source of hope, and a powerful voice for justice.
She was proof that courage and conviction and moral clarity can change not just the law, but also the world.
And I believe in the days and months and years to follow, she will continue to inspire millions of Americans all across this country. And together, we can — and we will — continue to be voices for justice in her name.
Her granddaughter said her dying words were “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
As a nation, we should heed her final call to us — not as a personal service to her, but as a service to the country at a crossroads.
There is so much at stake — the right to health care, clean air and water, and equal pay for equal work. The rights of voters, immigrants, women, and workers.
And right now, our country faces a choice. A choice about whether we can come back from the brink.
That’s what I’d like to talk about today.
Within an hour of news of her passing, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said President Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Ginsburg will receive a vote in the Senate.
The exact opposite of what he said when President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace Justice Scalia in 2016.
At that time, Majority Leader McConnell made up a rule based on the fiction that I somehow believed that there should be no nomination to the Court in an election year.
It’s ridiculous. The only rule I ever followed related to Supreme Court nominations was the Constitution’s obligation for Senators to provide advice and consent to the president on judicial nominees.
But he created a new one — the McConnell Rule: absolutely no hearing and no vote for a nominee in an election year.
Period. No caveats.
And many Republican Senators agreed. Including then-Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley of Iowa. Including the current Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lindsay Graham of South Carolina. Who at the time said, and I quote verbatim:
“I want you to use my words against me. If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsay Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination. And you could use my words against me and you’d be absolutely right.”
That is what Republicans said when Justice Scalia passed away — about nine months before Election Day that year. Now, having lost Justice Ginsburg less than seven weeks before Election Day this year — after Americans have already begun to cast their votes — they cannot unring the bell.
Having made this their standard when it served their interest, they cannot, just four years later, change course when it doesn’t serve their ends. And I’m not being naive.
I’m not speaking to President Trump, who will do whatever he wants.
I’m not speaking to Mitch McConnell, who will do what he does.
I’m speaking to those Senate Republicans out there who know deep down what is right for the country — not just for their party.
I’m speaking for the millions of Americans out there, who are already voting in this election. Millions of Americans who are voting because they know their health care hangs in the balance.
In the middle of the worst global health crisis in living memory, Donald Trump is at the Supreme Court trying to strip health coverage away from tens of millions of families and to strip away the peace of mind from more than 100 million people with pre-existing conditions.
If he succeeds, insurers could once again discriminate or drop coverage completely 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, like lung scarring and heart damage, could become the next deniable pre-existing condition.
Millions of Americans who are also voting because they don’t want nearly a half century of legal precedent to be overturned and lose their right to choose.
Millions of Americans who are at risk of losing their right to vote.
Millions of Dreamers who are at risk of being expelled from the only country they have ever known.
Millions of workers who are at risk of losing their collective bargaining rights.
Millions of Americans who are demanding that their voices be heard and that equal justice be guaranteed for all.
They know — we all know — what should happen now.
The voters of this country should be heard. Voting has already begun in some states.
And in just a few weeks, all the voters of this nation will be heard. They are the ones who should decide who has the power to make this appointment.
This appointment isn’t about the past. It’s about the future. And the people of this nation are choosing the future right now.
To jam this nomination through the Senate is just an exercise in raw political power.
I don’t believe the people of this nation will stand for it.
President Trump has already made it clear this is about power. Pure and simple.
Well, the voters should make it clear on this issue and so many others: the power in this nation resides with them — the people.
And even if President Trump wants to put forward a name now, the Senate should not act on it until after the American people select their next president and the next Congress.
If Donald Trump wins the election — then the Senate should move on his selection — and weigh that nominee fairly.
But if I win the election, President Trump’s nomination should be withdrawn.
As the new President, I should be the one who nominates Justice Ginsburg’s successor, a nominee who should get a fair hearing in the Senate before a confirmation vote.
We’re in the middle of a pandemic. We’re passing 200,000 American deaths lost to this virus. Tens of millions of Americans are on unemployment.
Health care in this country hangs in the balance before the Court.
And now, in a raw political move – this president and the Republican leader have decided to jam a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court through the United States Senate.
It’s the last thing we need in this moment.
Voters have already begun casting ballots in this country.
In just a few weeks, we are going to know who the voters of this nation have chosen to be their next president.
The United States Constitution was designed to give the voters one chance – to have their voice heard on who serves on the Court.
That moment is now — and their voice should be heard. And I believe voters are going to make it clear – they will not stand for this abuse of power.
There’s also discussion about what happens if the Senate confirms — on election eve – or in a lame duck after Donald Trump loses — a successor to Justice Ginsburg.
But that discussion assumes that we lose this effort to prevent the grave wrong that Trump and McConnell are pursuing here.
And I’m not going to assume failure at this point. I believe the voices of the American people should be heard.
This fight won’t be over until the Senate votes, if it does vote.
Winning that vote — if it happens — is everything.
Action and reaction. Anger and more anger. Sorrow and frustration at the way things are.
That’s the cycle that Republican Senators will continue to perpetuate if they go down this dangerous path they have put us on.
We need to de-escalate — not escalate.
So I appeal to those few Senate Republicans — the handful who will really decide what happens.
Don’t vote to confirm anyone nominated under the circumstances President Trump and Senator McConnell have created.
Don’t go there.
Uphold your Constitutional duty — your conscience.
Cool the flames that have been engulfing our country.
We can’t keep rewriting history, scrambling norms, and ignoring our cherished system of checks and balances.
That includes this whole business of releasing a list of potential nominees that I would put forward.
It’s no wonder the Trump campaign asked that I release a list only hours after Justice Ginsburg passed away.
It’s a game to them, a play to gin up emotions and anger.
There’s a reason why no Presidential candidate other than Donald Trump has ever done such a thing.
First, putting a judge’s name on a list like that -could influence that person’s decision-making as a judge — and that’s wrong.
Second, anyone put on a list like that under these circumstances – will be the subject of unrelenting political attacks.
And because any nominee I would select would not get a hearing until 2021 at the earliest – she would endure those attacks for months on end without being able to defend herself.
Third, and finally, and perhaps most importantly, if I win, I will make my choice for the Supreme Court — not as part of a partisan election campaign — but as prior Presidents did.
Only after consulting Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate – and seeking their advice before I ask for their consent.
As everyone knows – I have made it clear that my first choice for the Supreme Court will make history as the first African American woman Justice.
I will consult with Senators in both parties about that pick, as well as with legal and civic leaders. In the end, the choice will be mine and mine alone.
But it will be the product of a process that restores our finest traditions – not the extension of one that has torn this country apart.
I’ll conclude with this.
As I’ve said in this campaign, we are in the battle for the soul of this country.
We face four historic crises. A once-in-a-generation pandemic. A devastating economic recession. The rise of white supremacy unseen since the 1960’s, and a reckoning on race long overdue. And a changing climate that is ravaging our nation as we speak.
Supreme Court decisions touch every part of these crises — every part of our lives and our future.
The last thing we need is to add a constitutional crisis that plunges us deeper into the abyss – deeper into the darkness.
If we go down this path, it would cause irreversible damage.
The infection this president has unleashed on our democracy can be fatal. Enough.
We must come together as a nation. Democrat, Republican, Independent, liberal, conservative. Everybody.
I’m not saying that we have to agree on everything. But we have to reason our way through to what ails us – as citizens, voters, and public servants. We have to act in good faith and mutual good will. In a spirit of conciliation, not confrontation.
This nation will continue to be inspired by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but we should be guided by her as well.
By her willingness to listen, to hear those she disagreed with, to respect other points of view.
Famously, Justice Ginsburg got along well with some of the most conservative justices on the Court.
And she did it without compromising her principles – or clouding her moral clarity – or losing her core principles.
If she could do this, so can we.
How we talk to one another matters. How we treat one another matters. Respecting others matters.
Justice Ginsburg proved it’s important to have a spine of steel, but it’s also important to offer an open hand — and not a closed fist — to those you disagree with.
This nation needs to come together.
I have said it many times in this election. We are the United States of America.
There’s nothing we cannot do if we do it together. Maybe Donald Trump wants to divide this nation between Red States and Blue States.
Between representing those states that vote for him and ignoring those that don’t.
I do not.
I cannot — and I will not — be that president.
I will be a president for the whole country.
For those who vote for me and those who don’t.
We need to rise to this moment, for the sake of our country we love.
It’s ridiculous, almost humorous – if not so tragic – to hear Trump complaining that Biden hasn’t been able to issue a nationwide mandate to wear masks, when he is ostensibly the president (he says so, “I’m president. Can you believe it?” and “I can do anything I want. I’m president.”) but has failed to serve in the function while abusing the power. Trump could have used his power to require Domestic Production of protective equipment like masks, gowns, gloves, and the all-important ventilators, rather than give out massive no-bid contracts to companies like Kodak that had no experience, or have his son-in-law Jared Kushner use political operatives to take calls from grifters who claimed to be able to procure PPE, while dismissing the need to set up testing or send out equipment to Blue States, because, well, they vote Democratic and have Democratic leadership. Trump (an anti-vaxxer) has contradicted his own medical advisers, politicized the once vaunted CDC, FDA, NIH, thrown out nearly $1 trillion in Operation War Speed, all the while sowing such doubt in the efficacy or safety of any vaccine that would be rushed through testing. And yet, Trump, who disbanded the Obama-era pandemic office, pulled out of the World Health Organization and international efforts to produce a vaccine, has actually blamed Biden for failing to have stockpiled testing and vaccines against a virus that didn’t exist until more than three years into his reign. The Trump Campaign is now chiding and misrepresenting and frankly lying about Biden’s proposals and position on coronavirus and vaccines.
Trump, who is now listening only to those health “experts” like radiologist Scott Atlas who confirm his own conveniences, now is embracing the “herd immunity” (he called it “herd mentality in the ABC Town Hall) approach – essentially doing nothing, telling people not to wear masks or socially distance, so that as many as possible will become infected until so many are infected or dead, the virus has no place to go. Problem with that is you would need 225 million out of the 330 million population to get the infection, out of which as many as 6 million would die. But there is actually no proof that there is immunity from COVID-19, or that immunity after infection does not last more than a few months, or whether the virus mutates (like flu viruses) so that it becomes a new disease all over again.
Actual medical experts, including CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield: “We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” he said. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.” Dr. Redfield said as recently as this week, after Trump chided the use of masks, “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.” Trump’s reaction? He rebuked Redfield, saying he had “made a mistake,” “misunderstood the question,” and had taken back his statement.
Estimates put the number of lives that could be saved between now and December- now forecast to be as high as 215,000 MORE deaths- at 100,000 and it is likely that had a nationwide mask order been imposed, 100,000 of the 200,000 who have already died could have been saved.About 1,000 Americans are dying each day.
And let’s be clear, New York State and the surrounding states became a hotspot because Trump’s intelligence network did not want to mention that the coronavirus was coming in from Europe. While everyone watched for the spread to come from the West Coast from China, 3 million people who came from infected areas of Europe had already come through New York’s airports. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo was left to figure out on his own how to contain the virus before it completely overwhelmed the health care system. Now, Trump wants to dismiss the numbers of COVID-19 dead in Blue States – apparently, dead people in Blue States don’t matter – to make the absurd argument that the rates of death in the United States are somehow on par with the rest of the world (not).
Here are Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, after a vaccine briefing in Wilmington, Delaware, in which he outlined his own plan to get control of the coronavirus, save lives and restore the economy: testing and tracing, national protocols for mask-wearing and social distancing, an actual plan to distribute the vaccine free.
“So let me be clear, I trust vaccines. I trust the scientists. But I don’t trust Donald Trump — and the American people can’t either,” Biden said.
“If I am elected president, I will begin implementing an effective distribution plan from the minute I take office. That is what I discussed with the experts in the briefing today. “It will include: a detailed timeline for when people will get the vaccine, a clear delineation of priority populations, the specific means and mechanisms of shipping and storage at appropriate temperatures, the division of responsibility at every level of government.
“And I will provide the leadership necessary to carry this plan out. I will level with the American people. I will take responsibility. I will support rather than tear down the experts responsible for day-to-day execution. I will follow the science.”
– Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.
I just concluded an hour and a half long briefing with seven of our nation’s top public health experts on the state of the pandemic, the steps needed to curb the spread of the virus, and the challenge of distributing a safe and effective vaccine once we have identified one.
Before I turn to those issues, let me say a few words about the president’s comments last night.
Even after acknowledging to Bob Woodward on tape that he was fully informed on the gravity of the danger related to COVID-19. He refused to warn the American people. And again, last night, in a televised town hall, the President revealed in no uncertain terms the lack of seriousness with which he continues to take this pandemic.
Nearly eight months after this crisis on the doorstep of 200,000 American deaths, President Trump refused once again to take responsibility or to take action.
By his own admission he continued to lie about COVID-19. He doubled down on his catastrophic mistakes.
And, perhaps worst of all — he made clear that he still doesn’t have a plan to bring us out of this crisis.
He even said that quote — “a lot of people think that masks are not good” — undercutting the easiest and most effective means we have for reducing the spread of this disease. [Asked “who thought that?” Trump said “waiters.”]
This virus is still taking nearly a thousand lives each day.
And forecasts show that the numbers are likely to climb this winter.
But, incredibly, President Trump insists that he wouldn’t have done anything differently.
Not one thing.
Last Friday, we learned that another one thousand Americans died due to this virus.
On the very same day, Canada reported that not one person died of COVID-19.
And Trump wouldn’t have done anything differently?
If you’re a parent in America, preparing for another day that you can’t send your child to school, if you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, if your small business can’t open or you can’t go back to work because the virus is still spreading in your community, how does it make you feel to hear the President say he wouldn’t have done anything differently?
And if he gets four more years, why should we expect anything to change?
All President Trump had to offer last night was the same weak and feckless inaction — the same lies and empty promises — that we’ve seen from the very beginning.
He still won’t accept responsibility. He still won’t offer a plan.
Last night, he repeated what he has said so many times before: That even if he continues to offer only failing indifference some day, the virus will go away like a miracle.
It won’t go away like a miracle. The fact is, even if we get a vaccine, it will not be available to most of the population until well into next year.
And we are heading into a dangerous autumn.
In fact, the University of Washington model — which the White House has previously touted — projects that cases and deaths are going to spike in November – and an additional 215,000 Americans will die by the end of the year.
That’s more than have already died.
We need leadership right now to prevent that from happening. That same University of Washington model shows that if there is universal masking, we could cut those deaths by more than half. We could save more than 100,000 lives.
Even Donald Trump’s own director of the CDC told us that wearing a mask is the single most important step we can take to curb this virus. He said “I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.”
I spoke with the experts today about additional steps we can take to prevent needless deaths and suffering.
Uniform national guidance – and standards on social distancing – that can be applied to the particular circumstances of states and communities.
More effective approaches on testing and tracing.
If we do these things between now and January – we could save even more lives.
Last night, Donald Trump indicated he has no interest in doing these things.
A president’s first responsibility is to protect the American people.
And he won’t.
That is utterly disqualifying.
I also spoke with the experts about the paramount importance of preparing now for the swift, organized, and free distribution of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.
I am profoundly grateful to the scientists and researchers working tirelessly to ensure that a safe and effective vaccine becomes a reality as soon as possible.
They carry the hopes of our entire nation and the entire world.
And when their work comes to fruition – and it will — they will no doubt save countless lives.
But scientific breakthroughs don’t care about calendars any more than the virus does.
They certainly don’t adhere to election cycles.
And their timing, their approval, and their distribution should never, ever be distorted by political considerations. They should be determined by science and safety alone.
A vaccine would offer a way back to normalcy and a path forward to better days for all of us.
It won’t happen overnight. It will take months to distribute it to the entire population.
But I’m more hopeful than ever in the power of science to get us there.
One thing is certain, we cannot allow politics to interfere with a vaccine in any way.
Americans have had to endure President Trump’s incompetence and dishonesty when it came to testing and personal protective equipment.
We cannot afford a repeat of those fiascos when it comes to a vaccine. The stakes are too high American families have already suffered and sacrificed far too much.
So let me be clear, I trust vaccines. I trust the scientists. But I don’t trust Donald Trump — and the American people can’t either.
Last week, Senator Harris and I laid out three questions this Administration must answer — to assure the American people that politics will play no role whatsoever in the vaccine process.
If Donald Trump can give honest answers to these questions — the American people should have the confidence and transparency they need to trust a vaccine and adopt it in numbers that make a difference.
First, what criteria will be used to ensure that a vaccine meets the scientific standard of safety and effectiveness?
Second, if the Administration greenlights a vaccine — who will validate that the decision was driven by science rather than politics?
Third, how can we be sure that the distribution of the vaccine will take place — safely, cost-free, and without a hint of favoritism?
The fact of the matter is developing a vaccine is only part of the battle.
Distributing a vaccine to the entire population is as complex and challenging as the most sensitive military operation.
I’ve been calling for an effective distribution plan for months.
If I am elected president, I will begin implementing an effective distribution plan from the minute I take office. That is what I discussed with the experts in the briefing today.
It will include: a detailed timeline for when people will get the vaccine, a clear delineation of priority populations, the specific means and mechanisms of shipping and storage at appropriate temperatures, the division of responsibility at every level of government.
And I will provide the leadership necessary to carry this plan out. I will level with the American people. I will take responsibility. I will support rather than tear down the experts responsible for day-to-day execution. I will follow the science.
With satisfactory answers to the three questions I laid out — every American— including me and my family — can have confidence in a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.
This isn’t about politics. It’s about saving lives.
It’s about getting back to our loved ones and our friends.
It’s about getting our economy back on its feet.
Getting back to the movie theater, to the restaurant, to the ballpark.
It’s about getting back to our lives — and getting America up off the mat.
We can, and we must, be united in that pursuit.
No matter when that breakthrough emerges — no matter when that hope bears fruit.
That’s America at our best.
God bless our scientists and researchers — and frontline workers.
On Labor Day, Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate for President, issued his plan to “Build Back Better” for American workers, drawing a contrast to the actual record of Donald Trump and contradicting Trump’s claim of a rebounding economy. Biden points to fewer than half of the 29 million jobs lost to the coronavirus pandemic have been restored (though Trump likes to boast about 1 million jobs added a month as a record and proof of a robust, rebounding economy), with 11.5 million still unemployed and facing the possibility their jobs will not come back. Manufacturing jobs, which Trump touts, is down 720,000 from when Trump took office. “President Trump may well be the only president in modern history to leave office with fewer jobs than when he took office. Trump thinks if the stock market is up, his rich friends and donors are doing well and corporation see their valuations rising, then everyone must be doing well… Joe knows we need to get serious about defeating the pandemic, dig out from the worst jobs crisis in nearly a century, and rebuild the middle class so everyone comes along.” Biden’s plan is to invest in infrastructure, clean energy, caregiving and education, and will support – not break up – unions, collective bargaining, higher wages and worker safety. Here is a fact sheet from the Biden campaign – Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Joe Biden’s Plan to “Build Back Better” for American Workers
After six months in the pandemic, we are less than halfway back to where we were — with 11.5 Million Americans not yet getting their jobs back. We’re still down 720,000 manufacturing jobs. President Trump may well be the only president in modern history to leave office with fewer jobs than when he took office.
Trump thinks if the stock market is up, his rich friends and donors are doing well, and corporations see their valuations rising — then everyone must be doing well. But Joe knows from growing up in neighborhoods in Scranton, Pennsylvania and Claymont, Delaware that the measure of our economic success is the quality of life of the American people. Today, too many working families are worried about paying their bills and putting food on the table.
Joe knows we need to get serious about defeating the pandemic, dig out from the worst jobs crisis in nearly a century, and rebuild the middle class so everyone comes along. He has a plan to Build Back Better by summoning a new wave of worker power and building an economy that serves the dignity of the hard-working people who make it run. He will put millions of Americans to work in good-paying jobs with a choice to join a union to meet four national challenges: building a stronger industrial and innovation base so the future is made in America, building sustainable infrastructure and a clean energy future, building a stronger caring economy, and advancing racial equity across the board.
Build worker power, raise wages, and secure stronger benefits. We’ve seen millions of American workers put their lives and health on the line to keep our country going. Joe will treat 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, so they can live a middle class life and provide opportunity for their kids. And, he will strengthen unions and worker power.
Encourage, not only defend, union organizing and collective bargaining. Joe knows the only way to take on abuses of power by corporations and Wall Street, and to restore America’s middle class, is with worker power. Joe will send economic recovery legislation to Congress that 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. Joe will also hold company executives personally liable when they interfere with organizing efforts.
Raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour and end the tipped minimum wage and sub-minimum wage for people with disabilities.
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.
Provide universal paid sick days and 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave.
Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act as the next step in efforts to ensure women are paid equally for equal work, and take other steps to address discrimination and harassment in the workplace.
Ensure workers are safe from COVID-19 and other workplace hazards by setting and enforcing robust safety standards. No one should get sick, injured, or die because they went to work.
Buy American. Joe will strengthen and enforce “Buy American” so that the massive amount of taxpayer money the federal government spends every year on everything from defense equipment to steel to auto fleets is used to help American manufacturers and their workers. And he’ll invest $400 billion more in buying American made goods to build a clean energy future.
Innovate in America. Joe will make a new $300 billion investment in research and development (R&D) and breakthrough technologies – from electric vehicle technology to lightweight materials to 5G – to unleash high-quality job creation in manufacturing and technology.
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.
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.
Build a modern, sustainable infrastructure and an equitable clean energy future. Joe will make a $2 trillion accelerated investment setting us on an irreversible course to meet the ambitious climate progress that science demands, putting millions of people to work in good paying jobs:
Rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure – from roads and bridges to green spaces and water systems to electricity grids and universal broadband – to lay a foundation for sustainable growth, withstand the impacts of climate change, and provide access to clean air and water.
Position the American auto industry to win the 21st century, mobilizing American workers to manufacture clean vehicles and their input materials and parts.
Generating clean, American-made electricity, creating jobs for every kind of worker from scientists to construction workers to electricity generation workers to welders to engineers.
Retrofitting buildings, weatherizing homes, and building affordable housing.
Create jobs in climate-smart agriculture, resilience, and conservation, including by mobilizing the next generation of conservation and resilience workers through a Civilian Climate Corps and creating jobs to clean up local economies from the impacts of resource extraction.
Mobilize American talent and heart to create a 21st century caregiving and education workforce. The pandemic has laid bare just how hard it is for people in this country to find access to quality caregiving they need for themselves, or to juggle the responsibilities of working and also caring for family members. Joe will make substantial investments in the infrastructure of care in our country. He’ll:
Create millions of caregiving jobs by making preschool universal and high quality child care affordable and accessible for working families, and making it easier for aging relatives and loved ones with disabilities to have quality, affordable home- or community-based care
Treat caregivers and early childhood educators with respect and dignity, and give them the pay and benefits they deserve, training and career ladders to higher-paying jobs, the choice to join a union and bargain collectively, and other fundamental work-related rights and protections.
Free up millions of unpaid caregivers to pursue paid careers if they so choose.
Advance racial equity across the American economy. Joe will ensure Black and Brown small business owners, families, and workers are finally and fully cut in on the deal. His plan for achieving racial equity across the American economy covers everything from infrastructure to housing to education, and targets the racial wealth, jobs, and income gaps.
As workers struggle against a deadly pandemic, painful recession, and deep racial disparities — all worsened by Trump’s mismanagement and neglect — they also face an additional burden: a union-busting president. When he isn’t calling to boycott Goodyear and its thousands of union workers for petty personal reasons, President Trump is actively fighting against working people. Among many other things, Trump has:
Promised to veto the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO Act) – legislation that would make it easier for workers to unionize and collectively bargain – and stripped federal workers of their right to unionize.
Provided big tax cuts to corporations, without making them bring jobs home – and raised taxes for union members, by ending deductions for union dues.
Abandoned the Obama-Biden overtime expansion, costing over 8 million workers over $3.4 billion in lost wages already.
Let federal contractors double offshoring in his first 18 months in office.
Started a trade war with China that pushed manufacturing into recession – and then wasted his so-called “phase one” deal lobbying for big banks, instead of fighting for American jobs.
Broke his promise to invest in rebuilding infrastructure. Donald Trump promised a big infrastructure bill when he ran in 2016 and every year since. Every few weeks when he needs a distraction from the latest charge of corruption in his staff — or the conviction of high ranking members of his administration and political apparatus — the White House announces it’s “Infrastructure Week.” But he’s never delivered or even really tried.
Rolled back safety protections at workplaces, including by trying to weaken several occupationalandsafety regulations established during the Obama-Biden Administration, reducing Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) investigators to a historic low, and failing to put in place OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards to keep workers safe from COVID-19.
Weakened enforcement of American labor laws and made it easier for employers to misclassify workers by sabotaging the enforcement agencies and slashing their investigator corps.
Using his trademark restraint, Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate for Trump, could not contain his revulsion and distress in condemning in harshest terms Donald Trump’s remarks denigrating POWs and the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation. The speech was supposed to be about the economy, and despite some favorable jobs numbers which have brought down the unemployment rate somewhat, a take-down of Trump’s incompetent handling of COVID-19 and the economy and lack of leadership which have made the situation so much worse. But the revelations the night before about remarks Trump made concerning the military, on top of Trump’s call to supporters to vote twice, and his refusal, yet again, to say anything against Vladimir Putin, prompted him to say, in response to a question, “I’ve never been as disappointed in my whole career with a leader that I’ve worked with, president or otherwise. If [the Atlantic] article is true, based on other things he has said, it is damnable. A disgrace….
“It is sick. It is deplorable. It is so un-American, so unpatriotic.”
The comments attributed to Trump, he said, “affirm what we already know to be true: Donald Trump is not fit for the job of president, or to hold the title commander in chief.”
Biden declared, “It is a sacred duty to ensure we properly prepare and equip those we send into harm’s way, and to care for them and their families, both while they are deployed and after they return home.
“Duty, honor, country — those are the values that drive our service members.
“President Trump has demonstrated he has no sense of service, no loyalty to any cause other than himself.
“And if I have the honor of serving as the next Commander-in-Chief, I will ensure that our American heroes know I will have their back and honor their sacrifice — always.”
And about the jobs report and economic situation, he said, “you can’t deal with the economic crisis until you beat the pandemic.”
“No matter what he says or what he claims, you are not safer in Donald Trump’s America. You are not safe in Trump’s America where people are dying at a rate last seen when Americans were fighting in World War II.”
Here are Vice President Biden’s highlighted remarks:
Before I begin, I wanted to speak to the revelations about President Trump’s disregard for our military and veterans.
They are disgusting. They affirm what we already know to be true: Donald Trump is not fit for the job of president, or to hold the title commander in chief.
The president reportedly said that those who sign up to serve — instead of doing something more lucrative — are suckers. So let me be clear: my son Beau, who volunteered to go to Iraq, was not a sucker.
The men and women who served with him are not suckers, and the service men and women he served with, who did not come home, are not losers.
If these statements are true, the president should humbly apologize to every person in uniform, and every Gold Star and Blue Star family he has insulted.
Who the hell does he think he is?
Is it true? Well, we’ve heard from his own mouth his characterization of American hero John McCain as a loser, and his dismissal of the traumatic brain injuries suffered by troops serving in Iraq as mere “‘headaches.”
He stood by, failing to take action or even raise the issue with Vladimir Putin, while the Kremlin put bounties on the heads of American troops serving in Afghanistan.
It is a sacred duty to ensure we properly prepare and equip those we send into harm’s way, and to care for them and their families, both while they are deployed and after they return home.
Duty, honor, country — those are the values that drive our service members.
President Trump has demonstrated he has no sense of service, no loyalty to any cause other than himself.
And if I have the honor of serving as the next Commander-in-Chief, I will ensure that our American heroes know I will have their back and honor their sacrifice — always.
And that’s just another marker of how deeply President Trump and I disagree about the role of the President of the United States.
The August jobs report came out this morning.
I am grateful for everyone who found work again and found a glimmer of hope that brings them back from the edge.
But there is real cause for concern, too.
The pace of job gains in August was slower than in July — and significantly slower than May or June.
More and more temporary layoffs are turning into permanent layoffs.
After six months in the pandemic, we are less than halfway back to where we were — with 11.5 Million Americans not yet getting their jobs back.
We’re still down 720,000 manufacturing jobs. In fact, Trump may well be the only president in modern history to leave office with fewer jobs than when he took office.
Talk to a lot of real working people who are being left behind — ask them, do you feel the economy is coming back?
They don’t feel it.
That’s why I’m here today.
Thank you, Paul Calistro and his team, for hosting us at West End Neighborhood House here in Wilmington.
You continue a tradition of doing God’s work for this community.
For more than 130 years, through pandemics, wars, and depression, West End has been there for generations of people who are just looking for a chance. Not a handout.
Just a fair shot at a good job, a safe place to live, and a better life to pass down to their kids.
And it’s a special place for the Biden family. My daughter Ashley worked here as a caseworker helping young people aging out of foster care.
When he was Attorney General of Delaware, my son Beau came here – right here – to learn more about its job training programs for folks working toward a GED and a certificate for a good-paying job.
And when I was Senator and Vice President, there were plenty of economists around to talk about how the economy was doing.
But I’d always think about the people who walk through these doors.
If working people — white, Black, Brown, Latino — here were doing okay, then I knew the economy was doing okay. If they weren’t, then I knew we weren’t.
And that’s what we should think about with the latest jobs report.
But the report reinforces our worst fears and painful truths — the economic inequities that began before the downturn have only worsened under this failed presidency.
When the crisis started, we all hoped for a few months of a shutdown followed by a rapid economic turnaround. No one thought they’d lose their job for good or see small businesses shut down in mass.
But that kind of recovery requires leadership — leadership we just don’t have.
As a result, economists are starting to call this a K-shaped recovery — which is a fancy phrase for what’s been wrong with everything about Trump’s presidency.
The “K” means that those at the top see things go up, but those in the middle and below see things get worse.
That’s no surprise because at the root of this is the fact that Trump has managed COVID to become a K-shaped pandemic.
First, the president’s chaotic mismanagement of the pandemic is still holding us back.
And compared to other major industrial countries in Europe and Asia during the pandemic, our unemployment rate has still more than doubled while those nations have only gone up by less than half.
Why? Because the president has botched the COVID response. Botched it badly.
I’ve said from the beginning, you can’t deal with the economic crisis until you beat the pandemic.
You can’t have a full economic comeback, when almost 1,000 Americans die each day from COVID, when the death toll is about to reach 200,000, when more than six million Americans have been infected, and when millions more are worried about getting sick and dying as schools and businesses try to reopen. And we all know it didn’t have to be this bad. It didn’t have to be this bad if the president just did his job.
If he just took this virus seriously early on in January and February as it spread around the globe.
If he just took the steps we needed back in March and April to institute widespread testing and tracing to control the spread.
If he provided clear, national, and science-based guidance to state and local authorities, and if he had just set a good example like social distancing and mask wearing. Not that much to ask.
But it’s almost like he doesn’t care because it doesn’t affect him and his class of friends.
Anyone with a big enough checkbook can get a rapid test on demand.
If you don’t, you might have to wait in line for hours and weeks for results — if you can get a test at all.
If you have the kind of job where you can work on your laptop — at home, or remotely — your risk of getting COVID at work is small.
This jobs report shows that 37 million workers reported teleworking in August.
But if you work on an assembly line or at a checkout counter orat a meat packing plant, or if you drive a truck or deliver packages — you’re at greater risk.
And the jobs report shows that more than 24 million workers reported that they couldn’t work or lost hours because their employer had to close or lost business due to the pandemic.
If you can hire a private tutor, or have live-in child care, you can balance being a parent and remote schooling.
If you can’t, you have to do your job and be a teacher all at once.
Jill and I just held a briefing on reopening schools safely two days ago, asking the questions we hear from so many parents and educators who feel like they are in an impossible situation: What are we supposed to do with our children when the president has made it so hard for schools to reopen safely?
What’s the alternative when it’s devastating to keep them isolated from their friends and support system?
I also said earlier this week, to the shock of many, that we have lost more cops this year to covid than when they’re on patrol.
It’s a reminder how a dangerous job — law enforcement — has gotten more dangerous due to Trump’s mismanagement.
What may be just as shocking as that is many other jobs have also become dangerous due to Covid.
Being a health care worker is now more dangerous than ever — we’ve lost hundreds of them this year because they weren’t protected from COVID on the job.
Being a meat packer is more dangerous — so many have died due to getting COVID at work.
Work for waiters and waitresses and transit workers has all become more dangerous with so many dying of COVID.
Ladies and gentlemen, no matter what he says or what he claims, you are not safer in Donald Trump’s America. You are not safe in Trump’s America where people are dying at a rate last seen when Americans were fighting in World War II.
Donald Trump’s malpractice during this pandemic has made being a working American life-or-death work.
And while there’s a disproportionate impact on Black, Latino, Asian American, and Native American working class communities — white working class communities are being hit hard, too.
Opioid deaths, for example, are up during the pandemic —another crisis that President Trump all but ignores.
In the meantime, Trump and his friends have strong views about what the rest of America should do:
Cut unemployment benefits to force people to go back on their jobs.
Defund Social Security and eliminate Obamacare — in the middle of a pandemic.
Reopen public schools without resources or guidance.
Reopen businesses without protection for workers so corporations can continue to soar
This is their plan?
Second, and similarly, the economic pain remains unrelenting for millions of working people of every race and background who aren’t getting the relief they need.
Meanwhile the wealthy are doing just fine, if not better than ever.
This divergence in fortune is unique to any recession in recent memory.
And the painful truth is we have a president who just doesn’t see it.
Who doesn’t feel it. Who doesn’t understand. He just doesn’t care.
He thinks if the stock market is up, then everything is great.
If his rich friends and donors are doing well, then everyone is doing well.
If corporations see their valuations rising — then they must be hiring.
But even the best economists know what I know growing up in neighborhoods in Scranton, Pennsylvania and Claymont, Delaware — places where folks aren’t invested in the market like wealthier Americans.
The measure of our economic success is the quality of life of the American people. And if our stocks soar as families teeter on the brink of hunger and homelessness — and our president calls that a success — what does that say about what he values?
When you see the world in such a narrow way, it’s no wonder he doesn’t see the nearly 30 million Americans on unemployment, and 1 in 6 small businesses that are closed right now.
He doesn’t understand what life is like for people walking by their boarded up shop — educators afraid that doing the job they love will bring the virus home to the people they love — or a parent searching for health insurance now that the furlough has turned into a layoff.
It’s no wonder he doesn’t see the single mom forced to wait in a three-hour food line for the first time in her life because she’s now part of a record 1 in 6 households with children that don’t have enough food to eat.
He wants us to believe that we’re doing better — to keep it up while we’re still in a deep, deep hole —and our country faces a historic divergence in our way of life.
Which gets to my third point and final point — and what the American people really need to understand — all the pain and suffering stems from President Trump’s failure to lead.
His sheer inability and unwillingness to bring people together.
He likes to sign executive actions for photo ops. But they are ill-conceived and could do more harm than good.
He says he is protecting renters from eviction, but he’s not giving them any support to pay their rent.
Millions of Americans will ultimately be left with a terrible choice between eviction and living on the street — or paying back rent they simply don’t have.
He says he is continuing to provide enhanced unemployment insurance payments — but he cut the amount for everyone on it and will leave them on the edge when it runs out in a few weeks or sooner.
What he should be doing is calling Congressional leaders together — immediately — to get a deal that delivers real relief to the American people.
If I were president, that’s what I would do — and I’d get it done.
Rental, food, unemployment assistance to tens of millions of struggling Americans.
Student loan relief, small business support, and aid to schools and state governments. And as long as this pandemic and the accompanying economic catastrophe persist, no one should have their water or their power cut off because they can’t afford to pay the bill.
Bottom line, Mr. President — do your job.
Get off your golf course and out of the sand bunker. Call the leaders of Congress together. Get them into the Oval Office. Make a deal that delivers for working people.
In July, I laid out my Build Back Better plan for an economy that works for everyone.
Over the next three weeks, I will be laying out the sharp contrast with President Trump.
I’ll be asking the American people three basic questions: Who can handle the pandemic? Who can keep their promises? Who cares about and will fight for working families?
Like the people here at West End. Throughout this pandemic, they found a way to keep the center open safely to provide their critical services.
No one was laid off. They adjusted their space for social distancing. They started a lending program to help local small businesses.
They continued their child care services, which is critical for so many working families. By pure courage, heart and gut, they never give up and they never give in as they pursue the full promise of America.
That’s the story of the people of this community and of this country. That’s who we are.
Give ordinary Americans just a half a chance and they will do extraordinary things.
They’ll never let America down — and unlike the current President — I won’t either.
In stark contrast to the hate-filled propaganda fest of the Republican National Convention, Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president, has continued to address the important issues and unprecedented crises the nation is facing, some age-old, and others more immediate. Women’s Rights and the inequity in pay has lifelong and generational implications for women and families. On Women’s Equality Day, Biden, who sponsored the Violence Against Women Act and named Kamala Harris, his vice president, issued this statement and fact sheet drawing the contrast between Trump’s failures on women’s issues and how Biden would work for American women:
Today, on Women’s Equality Day, Jill and I join with all Americans in celebrating the long line of women who have reached out through history as fearless, ambitious trailblazers to deliver a better future for America’s daughters. From the suffragists, to the labor organizers, to the women who continue to lead the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment, and from the glass-ceiling breakers to the women in every workplace who have to fight twice as hard just to prove their basic dignity every single day, American women have pushed this country forward, one step at a time.
There can be no half measures when it comes to equality. That’s why we must keep working.100 years ago today, the final paperwork was signed, officially proclaiming the ratification of the 19th Amendment to our Constitution–and of the right of women to vote in the United States of America. It was a culmination of decades of struggle to achieve a Constitutional amendment on women’s suffrage, and a true milestone for our nation. But it was also only the beginning of a long, still unfinished march toward full equality for all women, especially for women of color who were still not guaranteed their right to vote until the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and even longer for Latinas and Native American women.
Now, it is up to us to carry forward the banner of equality for the next generation–to build on the legacy of Shirley Chisholm and Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton to elect Kamala Harris as our next Vice President; to fully deliver on the promise of equal pay for equal work; to ensure women’s access to health care, eliminate health disparities, and protect women’s ability to make their own health care choices; and to end the scourge of violence against women.
It starts by voting this November. It starts by exercising that sacred American right, which so many have marched and suffered to secure.
We can do this. We can finally live up to our highest ideals–that all men, and women, are created equal. We can ensure that little girls and boys alike, of every race and background, know that in America, there is no limit on how high their dreams and their talents can carry them.
FACT SHEET: Trump Has Failed American Women
President Trump’s mismanagement of the pandemic has wiped out years of jobs gains for women, launching us into a she-cession with millions of women unemployed and worried about whether they will be able to feed their families and return to work. The pandemic has disproportionately impacted women of color and young women, with 1 in 7 Black women and Latina women and 1 in 5 young women unemployed and many women forced to work fewer hours than they need or would like. Even before the pandemic, President Trump has relentlessly worked against women’s interests. He has:
Persistently tried to rip away health care benefits and protections for millions of women. In the middle of a pandemic, Trump is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare, which would allow insurers to deny women coverage because of pregnancy or pre-existing conditions like cancer or diabetes, choose not to cover maternity care, stop young adults under 26 from staying on their parents’ plan, charge co-pays for recommended preventive services including contraception and mammograms, and charge women higher premiums just for being women — a practice which cost women $1 billion more than men annually. And, he has prevented organizations like Planned Parenthood from receiving Title X federal family planning funds.
Made college campuses less safe for women by shaming and silencing survivors of sexual assault. The Trump Administration’s Education Department — led by Betsy Devos — has rolled back Obama-Biden policies and given colleges a green light to ignore sexual violence and strip survivors of their civil rights under Title IX. Trump and DeVos have let colleges off the hook for protecting students by permitting them to choose to investigate only more extreme acts of violence and harassment and requiring them to investigate in a way that dissuades survivors from coming forward.
Disbanded the White House Council on Women and Girls. The Obama-Biden Administration created the White House Council on Women and Girls to make sure the federal government was doing its best to tackle issues like equal pay, paid family leave, and poverty in an effective manner. The Trump Administration then disbanded it and put nothing in its place.
Highlights: How Joe Will Work For American Women
Women, and particularly women of color, have never had a fair shot to get ahead in this country. When Joe Biden and Kamala Harris build our country back better after this economic crisis — a crisis worsened by President Trump’s failure to get the virus under control — they will ensure we get closer to full inclusion of and equality for women. Highlights of Joe’s plans include:
Ensure women’s issues remain at the forefront of policy efforts. Biden will create a White House Council on Gender Equality, chaired by a senior member of the White House tasked solely with guiding and coordinating government policy that impacts women and girls, such as economic policy, health care, racial justice, gender-based violence, and foreign policy.
Improve women’s economic security. Joe will create millions of good paying jobs, pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and take other steps to achieve equal pay, take on workplace discrimination and harassment, and support women entrepreneurs.
Expand women’s access to health care. Joe stood with President Obama to pass Obamacare, which gave millions of women access to better, more affordable health care. Joe will protect and build on Obamacare to expand access and lower costs, including by offering all women the choice of a new public option. He’ll reduce the unacceptably high maternal mortality rate, which disproportionately affects Black and Native women, and he’ll ensure all women have access to the full scope of health care — including reproductive health care.
Help women navigate work and families. Joe has taken care of aging parents, and he’s been a single parent — he knows how hard it is to raise a family. As President, he will provide universal access to high quality preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds and ensure no low-income or middle class family with children under age 5 has to pay more than 7% of their income for child care. He will also enact legislation to provide 12 weeks paid family and medical leave, and require employers to provide up to seven days of paid sick, family, and safe leave.
Expand access to higher education and relieve student debt. Women, and primarily Black women, hold two-thirds of the nation’s student debt. Joe will provide access to community college without debt, make public colleges and universities tuition-free for families earning under $125,000, invest over $70 billion in HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions, and double Pell. He’ll also strengthen Public Service Loan Forgiveness and forgive undergraduate tuition-related federal student debt from public colleges for people earning up to $125,000.
End violence against women. A driving force in Joe’s career has been fighting back against abuses of power. It motivated him to author the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. Joe will keep getting things done for survivors of gender-based violence, starting by reauthorizing VAWA, keeping guns out of the hands of abusers, and expanding the safety net for survivors.
Dismantle systemic racism affecting women of color. Joe will be unflinching in confronting systemic racism, including by investing in trauma-informed prevention and treatment programs and services as alternatives to girls – disproportionately girls of color – being placed in detention.
Joe Biden accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination for president with the speech of his long and storied career, with the passion of his commitment to public service and the good of the nation. Known for being both a man who works toward consensus while keeping true to his values and conscience, he demonstrated the forcefulness and strength he would bring to the presidency, starting off right out of the gate with a forceful indictment of Donald Trump, and his pledge, in a nutshell, to restore “the soul of the nation”. On the fourth and last night of the Democratic National Convention, themed “America’s Promise,” he declared, “The current president has cloaked America in darkness for much too long. Too much anger. Too much fear. Too much division. Here and now, I give you my word: If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us not the worst. I will be an ally of the light not of the darkness. It’s time for us, for We the People, to come together.”
He set out how he was the leader the nation needs now as the nation simultaneously is under assault from four crises: the worst public health crisis in a century; the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression; a racial reckoning of proportion not seen since the 1960s; and the existential crisis to the nation and planet posed by climate change. “It’s all on the ballot. The choice could not be more clear.”
Here is a highlighted transcript of the remarks by Vice President Joe Biden, now the Democratic candidate for president:
Ella Baker, a giant of the civil rights movement, left us with this wisdom: Give people light and they will find a way.
Give people light.
Those are words for our time.
The current president has cloaked America in darkness for much too long. Too much anger. Too much fear. Too much division.
Here and now, I give you my word: If you entrust me with the presidency, I will draw on the best of us not the worst. I will be an ally of the light not of the darkness.
It’s time for us, for We the People, to come together.
For make no mistake. United we can, and will, overcome this season of darkness in America. We will choose hope over fear, facts over fiction, fairness over privilege.
I am a proud Democrat and I will be proud to carry the banner of our party into the general election. So, it is with great honor and humility that I accept this nomination for President of the United States of America.
But while I will be a Democratic candidate, I will be an American president. I will work as hard for those who didn’t support me as I will for those who did.
That’s the job of a president. To represent all of us, not just our base or our party. This is not a partisan moment. This must be an American moment.
It’s a moment that calls for hope and light and love. Hope for our futures, light to see our way forward, and love for one another.
America isn’t just a collection of clashing interests of Red States or Blue States.
We’re so much bigger than that.
We’re so much better than that.
Nearly a century ago, Franklin Roosevelt pledged a New Deal in a time of massive unemployment, uncertainty, and fear.
Stricken by disease, stricken by a virus, FDR insisted that he would recover and prevail and he believed America could as well.
And he did.
And so can we.
This campaign isn’t just about winning votes.
It’s about winning the heart, and yes, the soul of America.
Winning it for the generous among us, not the selfish. Winning it for the workers who keep this country going, not just the privileged few at the top. Winning it for those communities who have known the injustice of the “knee on the neck”. For all the young people who have known only an America of rising inequity and shrinking opportunity.
They deserve to experience America’s promise in full.
No generation ever knows what history will ask of it. All we can ever know is whether we’ll be ready when that moment arrives.
And now history has delivered us to one of the most difficult moments America has ever faced.
Four historic crises. All at the same time. A perfect storm.
The worst pandemic in over 100 years. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
The most compelling call for racial justice since the 60’s. And the undeniable realities and accelerating threats of climate change.
So, the question for us is simple: Are we ready?
I believe we are.
We must be.
All elections are important. But we know in our bones this one is more consequential.
America is at an inflection point. A time of real peril, but of extraordinary possibilities.
We can choose the path of becoming angrier, less hopeful, and more divided.
A path of shadow and suspicion.
Or we can choose a different path, and together, take this chance to heal, to be reborn, to unite. A path of hope and light.
This is a life-changing election that will determine America’s future for a very long time.
Character is on the ballot. Compassion is on the ballot. Decency, science, democracy.
They are all on the ballot.
Who we are as a nation. What we stand for. And, most importantly, who we want to be.
That’s all on the ballot.
And the choice could not be clearer.
No rhetoric is needed.
Just judge this president on the facts.
5 million Americans infected with COVID-19.
More than 170,000 Americans have died.
By far the worst performance of any nation on Earth.
More than 50 million people have filed for unemployment this year.
More than 10 million people are going to lose their health insurance this year.
Nearly one in 6 small businesses have closed this year.
If this president is re-elected we know what will happen.
Cases and deaths will remain far too high.
More mom and pop businesses will close their doors for good.
Working families will struggle to get by, and yet, the wealthiest one percent will get tens of billions of dollars in new tax breaks.
And the assault on the Affordable Care Act will continue until its destroyed, taking insurance away from more than 20 million people – including more than 15 million people on Medicaid – and getting rid of the protections that President Obama and I passed for people who suffer from a pre-existing condition.
And speaking of President Obama, a man I was honored to serve alongside for 8 years as Vice President. Let me take this moment to say something we don’t say nearly enough.
Thank you, Mr. President. You were a great president. A president our children could – and did – look up to.
No one will say that about the current occupant of the office.
What we know about this president is if he’s given four more years he will be what he’s been the last four years.
A president who takes no responsibility, refuses to lead, blames others, cozies up to dictators, and fans the flames of hate and division.
He will wake up every day believing the job is all about him. Never about you.
Is that the America you want for you, your family, your children?
I see a different America.
One that is generous and strong.
Selfless and humble.
It’s an America we can rebuild together.
As president, the first step I will take will be to get control of the virus that’s ruined so many lives.
Because I understand something this president doesn’t.
We will never get our economy back on track, we will never get our kids safely back to school, we will never have our lives back, until we deal with this virus.
The tragedy of where we are today is it didn’t have to be this bad.
Just look around.
It’s not this bad in Canada. Or Europe. Or Japan. Or almost anywhere else in the world.
The President keeps telling us the virus is going to disappear. He keeps waiting for a miracle. Well, I have news for him, no miracle is coming.
We lead the world in confirmed cases. We lead the world in deaths.
Our economy is in tatters, with Black, Latino, Asian American, and Native American communities bearing the brunt of it.
And after all this time, the president still does not have a plan.
Well, I do.
If I’m president on day one we’ll implement the national strategy I’ve been laying out since March.
We’ll develop and deploy rapid tests with results available immediately.
We’ll make the medical supplies and protective equipment our country needs. And we’ll make them here in America. So we will never again be at the mercy of China and other foreign countries in order to protect our own people.
We’ll make sure our schools have the resources they need to be open, safe, and effective.
We’ll put the politics aside and take the muzzle off our experts so the public gets the information they need and deserve. The honest, unvarnished truth. They can deal with that.
We’ll have a national mandate to wear a mask-not as a burden, but to protect each other.
It’s a patriotic duty.
In short, I will do what we should have done from the very beginning.
Our current president has failed in his most basic duty to this nation.
He failed to protect us.
He failed to protect America.
And, my fellow Americans, that is unforgivable.
As president, I will make you this promise: I will protect America. I will defend us from every attack. Seen. And unseen. Always. Without exception. Every time.
Look, I understand it’s hard to have hope right now.
On this summer night, let me take a moment to speak to those of you who have lost the most.
I know how it feels to lose someone you love. I know that deep black hole that opens up in your chest. That you feel your whole being is sucked into it. I know how mean and cruel and unfair life can be sometimes.
But I’ve learned two things.
First, your loved ones may have left this Earth but they never leave your heart. They will always be with you.
And second, I found the best way through pain and loss and grief is to find purpose.
As God’s children each of us have a purpose in our lives.
And we have a great purpose as a nation: To open the doors of opportunity to all Americans. To save our democracy. To be a light to the world once again.
To finally live up to and make real the words written in the sacred documents that founded this nation that all men and women are created equal. Endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. Among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
You know, my Dad was an honorable, decent man.
He got knocked down a few times pretty hard, but always got up.
He worked hard and built a great middle-class life for our family.
He used to say, “Joey, I don’t expect the government to solve my problems, but I expect it to understand them.”
And then he would say: “Joey, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about respect. It’s about your place in your community. It’s about looking your kids in the eye and say, honey, it’s going to be okay.”
I’ve never forgotten those lessons.
That’s why my economic plan is all about jobs, dignity, respect, and community. Together, we can, and we will, rebuild our economy. And when we do, we’ll not only build it back, we’ll build it back better.
With modern roads, bridges, highways, broadband, ports and airports as a new foundation for economic growth. With pipes that transport clean water to every community. With 5 million new manufacturing and technology jobs so the future is made in America.
With a health care system that lowers premiums, deductibles, and drug prices by building on the Affordable Care Act he’s trying to rip away.
With an education system that trains our people for the best jobs of the 21st century, where cost doesn’t prevent young people from going to college, and student debt doesn’t crush them when they get out.
With child care and elder care that make it possible for parents to go to work and for the elderly to stay in their homes with dignity. With an immigration system that powers our economy and reflects our values. With newly empowered labor unions. With equal pay for women. With rising wages you can raise a family on. Yes, we’re going to do more than praise our essential workers. We’re finally going to pay them.
We can, and we will, deal with climate change. It’s not only a crisis, it’s an enormous opportunity. An opportunity for America to lead the world in clean energy and create millions of new good-paying jobs in the process.
And we can pay for these investments by ending loopholes and the president’s $1.3 trillion tax giveaway to the wealthiest 1 percent and the biggest, most profitable corporations, some of which pay no tax at all.
Because we don’t need a tax code that rewards wealth more than it rewards work. I’m not looking to punish anyone. Far from it. But it’s long past time the wealthiest people and the biggest corporations in this country paid their fair share.
For our seniors, Social Security is a sacred obligation, a sacred promise made. The current president is threatening to break that promise. He’s proposing to eliminate the tax that pays for almost half of Social Security without any way of making up for that lost revenue.
I will not let it happen. If I’m your president, we’re going to protect Social Security and Medicare. You have my word.
One of the most powerful voices we hear in the country today is from our young people. They’re speaking to the inequity and injustice that has grown up in America. Economic injustice. Racial injustice. Environmental injustice.
I hear their voices and if you listen, you can hear them too. And whether it’s the existential threat posed by climate change, the daily fear of being gunned down in school, or the inability to get started in their first job — it will be the work of the next president to restore the promise of America to everyone.
I won’t have to do it alone. Because I will have a great Vice President at my side. Senator Kamala Harris. She is a powerful voice for this nation. Her story is the American story. She knows about all the obstacles thrown in the way of so many in our country. Women, Black women, Black Americans, South Asian Americans, immigrants, the left-out and left-behind.
But she’s overcome every obstacle she’s ever faced. No one’s been tougher on the big banks or the gun lobby. No one’s been tougher in calling out this current administration for its extremism, its failure to follow the law, and its failure to simply tell the truth.
Kamala and I both draw strength from our families. For Kamala, it’s Doug and their families.
For me, it’s Jill and ours.
No man deserves one great love in his life. But I’ve known two. After losing my first wife in a car accident, Jill came into my life and put our family back together.
She’s an educator. A mom. A military Mom. And an unstoppable force. If she puts her mind to it, just get out of the way. Because she’s going to get it done. She was a great Second Lady and she will make a great First Lady for this nation, she loves this country so much.
And I will have the strength that can only come from family. Hunter, Ashley and all our grandchildren, my brothers, my sister. They give me courage and lift me up.
And while he is no longer with us, Beau inspires me every day.
Beau served our nation in uniform. A decorated Iraq war veteran.
So I take very personally the profound responsibility of serving as Commander in Chief.
I will be a president who will stand with our allies and friends. I will make it clear to our adversaries the days of cozying up to dictators are over.
Under President Biden, America will not turn a blind eye to Russian bounties on the heads of American soldiers. Nor will I put up with foreign interference in our most sacred democratic exercise – voting.
I will stand always for our values of human rights and dignity. And I will work in common purpose for a more secure, peaceful, and prosperous world.
History has thrust one more urgent task on us. Will we be the generation that finally wipes the stain of racism from our national character?
I believe we’re up to it.
I believe we’re ready.
Just a week ago yesterday was the third anniversary of the events in Charlottesville.
Remember seeing those neo-Nazis and Klansmen and white supremacists coming out of the fields with lighted torches? Veins bulging? Spewing the same anti-Semitic bile heard across Europe in the ’30s?
Remember the violent clash that ensued between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it?
Remember what the president said?
There were quote, “very fine people on both sides.”
It was a wake-up call for us as a country.
And for me, a call to action. At that moment, I knew I’d have to run. My father taught us that silence was complicity. And I could not remain silent or complicit.
At the time, I said we were in a battle for the soul of this nation.
And we are.
One of the most important conversations I’ve had this entire campaign is with someone who is too young to vote.
I met with six-year old Gianna Floyd, a day before her Daddy George Floyd was laid to rest.
She is incredibly brave.
I’ll never forget.
When I leaned down to speak with her, she looked into my eyes and said “Daddy, changed the world.”
Her words burrowed deep into my heart.
Maybe George Floyd’s murder was the breaking point.
Maybe John Lewis’ passing the inspiration.
However it has come to be, America is ready to in John’s words, to lay down “the heavy burdens of hate at last” and to do the hard work of rooting out our systemic racism.
America’s history tells us that it has been in our darkest moments that we’ve made our greatest progress. That we’ve found the light. And in this dark moment, I believe we are poised to make great progress again. That we can find the light once more.
I have always believed you can define America in one word: Possibilities.
That in America, everyone, and I mean everyone, should be given the opportunity to go as far as their dreams and God-given ability will take them.
We can never lose that. In times as challenging as these, I believe there is only one way forward. As a united America. United in our pursuit of a more perfect Union. United in our dreams of a better future for us and for our children. United in our determination to make the coming years bright.
Are we ready?
I believe we are.
This is a great nation.
And we are a good and decent people.
This is the United States of America.
And there has never been anything we’ve been unable to accomplish when we’ve done it together.
The Irish poet Seamus Heaney once wrote:
Don’t hope on this side of the grave,
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme”
This is our moment to make hope and history rhyme.
With passion and purpose, let us begin – you and I together, one nation, under God – united in our love for America and united in our love for each other.
For love is more powerful than hate.
Hope is more powerful than fear.
Light is more powerful than dark.
This is our moment.
This is our mission.
May history be able to say that the end of this chapter of American darkness began here tonight as love and hope and light joined in the battle for the soul of the nation.
In the midst of economic, unemployment, and climate crises, Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic candidate for president, rolled out the second plank of his Build Back Better economic recovery plan for working families: building a modern, sustainable infrastructure and an equitable clean energy future. In a sharp contrast to Donald Trump’s disregard for working Americans and the consequential climate emergency at hand, Vice President Biden’s plan will create millions of good paying, union jobs for Americans while building sustainable infrastructure and creating an equitable clean energy future.
Here’s what leaders from across the country are saying about Vice President Biden’s plans:
“The plan put forward today by former Vice President Biden will create and sustain the kinds of good-paying, union jobs that provide a ladder to the middle class and make America a leader in manufacturing clean technology, put our nation on a path to doing our part to tackle the climate crisis, rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure, and lift up all workers and communities by prioritizing investments in communities of color that have borne the brunt of environmental injustice,” Jason Walsh, the Executive Director BlueGreen Alliance, said in a statement.
“As president of the IBEW, the largest union of electrical workers in the nation, I’m pleased that it will create so many jobs in nearly every sector of the workforce we represent, including construction, utility, telecommunications, manufacturing, and railroad. Joe Biden has made it clear that any new federal investments must support American jobs and American made products,” Lonnie R. Stephenson, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), said in a statement. “These are vital jobs that our nation needs more than ever… The men and women of the IBEW have been part of American’s clean-energy revolution for years now. We look forward to working with a Biden administration in building a clean and sustainable economy that can both save our planet and help rebuild the American middle class.”
“This ambitious plan is a win-win for American manufacturing, auto industry jobs, new technology and a cleaner environment. By focusing on investments in new technology, increasing demand for American-made and sourced clean vehicles; investing in our plants and our auto manufacturing facilities and creating 1 million new jobs, this all-American plan will ensure that the industry will thrive for decades to come with good paying union jobs,” the United Auto Workers (UAW) said in a statement. “This comprehensive plan will also increase investment in batteries and charging infrastructure and set fuel economy standards that involve all stakeholders. And this plan will save consumers money and cut air pollution. UAW members are looking to Washington, D.C. to invest in future jobs; new technologies; a world race to cleaner air; and to save consumers their hard-earned money. This plan checks all those boxes.”
“Joe Biden’s climate plan—by a long shot—is the most ambitious we have ever seen from any president in our nation’s history,” Gina McCarthy, president and CEO of the NRDC Action Fund, said in a statement. “It will get our economy humming again, and give our children a healthier, more just and more hopeful future. And he has committed to getting started on day one.”
“Vice President Joe Biden’s ambitious new commitments to a clean energy economy, environmental justice, and equitable climate solutions are more important than ever as our nation grapples with the realities of systemic racism, a global pandemic, and the ever growing climate crisis. Biden’s strong climate leadership stands in stark contrast with the Trump administration, which is continuing this week with its full scale assault on environmental and public health protections,” Tiernan Sittenfeld, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs of LCV Action Fund, wrote in a statement. “We applaud Vice President Biden for again making clear with these plans that combatting the climate crisis, fighting for environmental justice and creating millions of good-paying, high-quality jobs in a clean energy economy will be a very top priority on day one as president and every single day.”
“Vice President Biden is right ‘that environmental policy decisions of the past have failed communities of color,’ and his emphasis on addressing those injustices is a critical part of this plan. For too long Black, Latino, as well as low-income neighborhoods have suffered far more than their fair share of pollution and other environmental impacts, with devastating results on the health of the people living there,” said Elizabeth Gore, Senior Vice President, Political Affairs, EDF Action Fund in a statement. “The Biden Plan couldn’t be more of a stark contrast to four years of failure by the Trump administration. They have weakened limits on climate pollution, undermined scientists, and surrendered international leadership. America can’t afford another four years of a president who claims climate change is a hoax instead of providing leadership. We look forward to working with the Congress and a new administration to finally take real action on climate change.”
“While Donald Trump spreads lies about windmills, tries to block legislative efforts to advance electric vehicles, and ignores the millions of Americans working in clean energy, Joe Biden is presenting a vision to invest in and grow an equitable clean energy economy,” Sierra Club Political Director Ariel Hayes said in a statement. “The Sierra Club is encouraged by Biden’s proposal, which shows he is listening to the continued calls from activists and organizations across the country demanding a bold and ambitious plan that meets the size and scale of the crisis and completes the transition to a clean energy economy.”
“Today I heard from many in the environmental justice movement across the country who were overwhelmed by the Historic Ambitious speech addressing environmental, climate, social, and economic injustice by the Vice President,” said former South Carolina State Representative Harold Mitchell and Founder of The ReGenesis Project. “We thank you for listening, and announcing one of the boldest climate and environmental justice plans ever presented by a nominee for President.”
“Joe Biden shares DSCEJ’s commitment to build the power of Black communities, harmed by toxic pollution and vulnerable to the climate crisis, to shape the national agenda for achieving environmental justice and climate justice,” said Beverly L. Wright, Ph.D., Executive Director, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice.
“The Biden Environmental Justice Plan is the most targeted and comprehensive plan to address the legacy of environmental racism and the continuing ambivalence regarding environmental quality in communities of color that has been proposed by a potential presidential nominee,” said Peggy Shepard, co-founder and executive director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice based in Harlem, New York,” said Peggy M. Shepard, Executive Director, WE ACT for Environmental Justice. “When I was chair of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council to the EPA I witnessed the total disregard of Title 6 administrative complaints by the EPA’s Civil Rights division, and the lack of accountability or reporting on environmental justice progress by the EJ Interagency Council which was mandated to develop plans to address environmental degradation in EJ communities. The Biden plans’ initiative to mandate a report card on progress to the White House is another important proposal to establish accountability which has been absent.”
“It’s encouraging to see former Vice President Biden release an environment, climate , economic and energy plan that places justice and health at the center,” said Dr. Robert. D. Bullard, Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy, Texas Southern University, widely regarded as the father of the environmental justice movement. “Given the converging and multiple threats faced by low-income, people of color, and vulnerable communities today, I like the fact the plan calls for an inclusive and All-of-Government approach in setting policy and legislative priorities and a framework for targeting resources to address underlying systemic conditions that create and perpetuate racial and economic inequality and unequal protection.”
“This is a truly historic moment in Presidential candidate history. Environmental Justice elders are being heard and together we can, and we will forge a new pathway for this country to live up to its ideals of justice for all!” said Dr. Cecilia Martinez, Executive Director, Center for Earth, Energy & Democracy; Inaugural Signer of the Equitable and Just National Climate Platform; and Co-Chair, Biden for President Climate Engagement Advisory Council.
“We strongly applaud the Biden campaign for taking an ambitious, comprehensive approach to climate change policy that recognizes the renewable energy industry’s ability to grow America’s economy towards a cleaner environment and a more prosperous and equitable future,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association in a statement. “As our country strives to recover from the global pandemic, racial injustices, and economic recession, this is the right moment to grow the investments and good-paying American jobs associated with renewable energy development, including the significant economic benefits, lower cost electricity bills, and diverse community support that wind energy brings to rural parts of the country.”
“I think this plan out of Joe Biden is really visionary. It’s about investing in the technologies of the future and it certainly does deploy a lot of the work that the big three are already doing here in Detroit — and expands upon that and builds that out even further,” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said. “Autonomous vehicles, vehicles of the future, electric vehicles — these are the industries we’ve got to make investments in, that we’ve got to grow, and that will make our environment cleaner and be a much longer-term type of investment for the people of this country. I was excited to hear Joe Biden’s plan today.”
”This is exactly the bold vision for the future that we need in our country,” said Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow. “What I love about what Joe Biden is proposing is that it’s about making it here, it’s about using it here, it’s about tackling the climate crisis in a way that creates new, clean energy jobs and does it in a way that provides opportunity for everyone and addresses parts of our communities that have been hardest hit by that pollution and the inequalities involved. “
“I’ve spent my time in public service fighting for environmental justice and for workers‘ rights so people who work hard can forge a better life for themselves. I know these two issues go hand in hand. So does my friend, Joe Biden. His clean energy jobs plan, with a strong environmental justice focus, proves it,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.
“VP Biden has chosen a bold path to get America to energy and environmental security and confront the existential challenge of climate change with bold and realistic solutions,” said former Senator and former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.
Here is the plan:
The Biden Plan to Secure Environmental Justice and Equitable Economic Opportunity in a Clean Energy Future
The current COVID-19 pandemic reminds us how profoundly the energy and environmental policy decisions of the past have failed communities of color – allowing systemic shocks, persistent stressors, and pandemics to disproportionately impact communities of color and low-income communities.
Joe Biden is running for President to ensure that all Americans have a fair shot at getting ahead. That means rooting out the systemic racism in our laws, policies, institutions, and hearts. Any sound energy and environmental policy must advance public health and economic opportunity for all Americans, in rural, urban, and suburban communities, and recognize that communities of color and low-income communities have faced disproportionate harm from climate change and environmental contaminants for decades. It must also hold corporate polluters responsible for rampant pollution that creates the types of underlying conditions that are contributing to the disproportionate rates of illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19 among Black, Latino, and Native Americans. That means officials setting policy must be accountable to the people and communities they serve, not to polluters and corporations.
Addressing environmental and climate justice is a core tenet of Biden’s climate plan. Biden will:
Use an inclusive and empowering All-of-Government approach;
Make decisions that are driven by data and science;
Target resources in a way that is consistent with prioritization of environmental and climate justice; and
Assess and address risks to communities from the next public health emergency.
USE AN INCLUSIVE AND EMPOWERING, ALL-OF-GOVERNMENT APPROACH
Our nation’s environmental justice policy was developed more than twenty years ago and no longer addresses the needs of the present or future. In order to clean up our communities and provide new opportunities to those that have been disproportionately burdened by pollution and economic and racial inequality, Biden will revise and reinvigorate the 1994 Executive Order 12898 (EO 12898) on Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations. Specifically, Biden will:
Establish an Environmental and Climate Justice Division within the U.S. Department of Justice. Under the Trump Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has referred the fewest number of criminal anti-pollution cases to the Justice Department (DOJ) in 30 years. Allowing corporations to continue to pollute – affecting the health and safety of both their workers and surrounding communities – without consequences, perpetuates an egregious abuse of power. Biden will direct his EPA and DOJ to pursue these cases to the fullest extent permitted by law and, when needed, seek additional legislation to hold corporate executives personally accountable – including jail time where merited. Going beyond the ambitious proposals that the Biden plan for a clean energy revolution already includes, the Biden Administration will establish a new Environmental and Climate Justice Division within the DOJ, as proposed by Governor Inslee, to complement the work of the Environment and Natural Resources Division. In line with the new Division’s mandate, Biden will instruct the Attorney General to: (i) implement, to the extent possible by executive action, Senator Booker’s Environmental Justice Act of 2019; (ii) increase enforcement, in line with the commitments already detailed in the Biden Plan; (iii) strategically support ongoing plaintiff-driven climate litigation against polluters; (iv) address legacy pollution that includes real remedies to make communities safe, healthy, and whole; and (v) work hand-in-hand with EPA’s Office of Civil Rights.
Elevate environmental justice in the federal government and modernize the all-of-government approach. Currently, the federal government has two key environmental justice groups. Biden will elevate and reestablish the groups as the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council and White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council, both reporting directly to the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), who reports directly to the President. To support this work, Biden’s CEQ will also have senior and dedicated environmental justice staff. These two councils will be charged with revising EO 12898 in order to address current and historic environmental injustice, in collaboration with local environmental justice leaders. And, they will be tasked with developing clear performance metrics to ensure accountability in the implementation of the Executive Order. Once the revised EO is finalized, the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council and White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council will publish an annual public performance score-card on its implementation.
Overhaul the EPA External Civil Rights Compliance Office. For too long, the EPA External Civil Rights Compliance Office has ignored its requirements under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. That will end in the Biden Administration. Biden will overhaul that office and ensure that it brings justice to frontline communities that experience the worst impacts of climate change and fenceline communities that are located adjacent to pollution sources, beginning with the following actions: (i) revisit and rescind EPA’s decision in Select Steel and its Angelita C. settlement, which allowed state environmental agencies to issue dangerous permits, and to conduct its business in a way that harmed communities; (ii) conduct a rulemaking and open a public comment process to seek Americans’ input on agency guidance for investigating Title VI Administrative complaints; and (iii) work with Congress to empower communities to bring these cases themselves, by reinstituting a private right of action to sue Title VI, which was written out in the Supreme Court’s 2001 decision in Alexander v. Sandoval.
MAKE DECISIONS DRIVEN BY DATA AND SCIENCE
President Trump denies science and disempowers experts in the federal government. Biden will choose science over fiction, ensuring we make data-driven decisions when it comes to environmental justice.
Building on EPA’s EJSCREEN tool, developed in the Obama-Biden Administration, and lessons learned at the state level, Biden will charge the newly elevated White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council, in close consultation with the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, to create a data-driven Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool to identify communities threatened by the cumulative impacts of the multiple stresses of climate change, economic and racial inequality, and multi-source environmental pollution. To ensure that information is accessible and transparent, the Screening Tool will be used to publish annual maps in multiple languages that identify disadvantaged communities; including disproportionately burdened tribal areas. In addition, since too often low-income and communities of color lack air quality monitors and are, as a result, unaware of unsafe pollution levels that threaten their health, Biden will:
Mandate new monitoring in frontline and fenceline communities. Biden will ensure that the federal government recommends that each state adequately monitors environmental pollution, including emissions, criteria pollutants, and toxics, in frontline and fenceline communities. This will include installing new monitors where they are lacking to provide accurate and publically-available real-time data. Biden will also create a new environmental public health corps that boosts communities’ capacity to use this data meaningfully.
Establish interagency teams to address targeted issues and partner directly with communities. Biden will also establish an Interagency Climate Equity Task Force to directly work to resolve the most challenging and persistent existing pockets of climate inequity in frontline vulnerable communities and tribal nations. This work includes addressing the challenge of lack of access to credit and capital for many local governments and small businesses owned by and located in environmental justice communities. Biden will rely on the leadership of these communities to identify what they need most. The Biden Administration will let community leaders lead by investing in community self-determination, marshalling federal resources to support local leaders and organizations, and directly funding capacity building — from critical tools to talent — to arm the creativity of local leaders and help them build back better.
Biden will also:
Tackle water pollution in a science-based manner. Biden will focus on improving water quality in a comprehensive way. For example, it is estimated that up to 110 million American’s drinking water could be contaminated with PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), a suite of chemicals that cause a host of health issues, including cancer, and are found in states from Michigan and Wisconsin to Colorado and New Hampshire. Instead of making empty promises with no follow-through, Biden will tackle PFAS pollution by designating PFAS as a hazardous substance, setting enforceable limits for PFAS in the Safe Drinking Water Act, prioritizing substitutes through procurement, and accelerating toxicity studies and research on PFAS. In addition, Biden will accelerate the process to test for and address the presence of lead in drinking water and housing, in line with the CDC’s determination and in partnership with labor, and state, local, and tribal governments. Biden will also help protect rural communities from water and air pollution and make water bills affordable for low-income communities, rural Americans, and tribes through targeted state revolving funds and Rural Utility Service funding for disadvantaged communities.
Prioritize strategies and technologies that reduce traditional air pollution in disadvantaged communities. Biden will direct his Cabinet to prioritize the climate strategies and technologies that most improve public health. He will also direct his Office of Science and Technology Policy to publish a report within 100 days identifying the climate strategies and technologies that will result in the most air and water quality improvements and update analytical tools to ensure that they accurately account for health risk and benefits. Finally, Biden will recommend that every state prioritize emission reductions within the disadvantaged communities identified by the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool in their state-level air quality plans.
TARGET RESOURCES CONSISTENT WITH THE PRIORITY THAT ENVIRONMENTAL AND CLIMATE JUSTICE REPRESENTS
The Biden plan already commits to providing low-income and communities of color preference in competitive grant programs. Today, Biden commits to go even further and target 40% of his historic investment in a clean energy revolution to disadvantaged communities. Building on the ambitious New York State climate law, Biden will:
Target relevant investments with the goal of delivering 40% of the overall benefits from those investments to disadvantaged communities, specifically:
Targeting investments made through programs related to clean energy and energy efficiency deployment; clean transit and transportation; affordable and sustainable housing; training and workforce development; remediation and reduction of legacy pollution; and development of critical clean water infrastructure; and
Utilizing the results of the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool to help identify these disadvantaged communities, which are threatened by the cumulative impacts of the multiple stresses of climate change, economic and racial inequality, and multi-source environmental pollution.
In addition, Biden will directly fund historic investments across federal agencies aimed at eliminating legacy pollution – especially in communities of color, rural and urban low-income communities, and indigenous communities. Biden will also address common challenges faced by disadvantaged communities, such as funds for replacing and remediating lead service lines and lead paint in households, daycares, and schools in order to ensure all communities have access to safe drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. These investments will create good-paying union jobs and help to build infrastructure that is resilient to the impacts of climate change in frontline and fenceline communities.
ASSESS AND ADDRESS RISKS TO COMMUNITIES FROM THE NEXT PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY
As a country, we must do a better job to prepare for and prevent public health emergencies, particularly in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by environmental stressors. The link between climate change and health security is well-documented – climate change creates a growing threat to Americans and hits low-income and communities of color the hardest. We must heed the warning signs from the current pandemic and prepare all communities. Building on The Biden Plan to Combat Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Prepare For Future Global Health Threats, Biden will take the following actions to minimize the impacts of climate change that cannot be avoided:
Create a National Crisis Strategy to address climate disasters that prioritizes equitable disaster risk reduction and response. The Trump Administration’s lack of preparedness and failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced that the next President must develop a science-based, national climate crisis strategy to support states, tribes, and territories. The next President must ensure the efficient and equitable allocation of disaster risk reduction-related resources and that we build back better after climate-related disasters. Building on Senator Markey’s Climate Change Health Protection and Promotion Act, Biden will use a whole-of-government approach to develop a national climate crisis strategy for each type of climate disaster that the National Climate Assessment warns will put Americans at risk (e.g., heat waves, sea level rise, wildfire, air pollution, infectious disease, hurricane, and floods). And, in line with recommendations from the American Lung Association, Biden will provide additional CDC grants to every state and territory to work with their local health departments to develop climate disaster mitigation plans.
Establish a Task Force to Decrease Risk of Climate Change to Children, the Elderly, People with Disabilities, and the Vulnerable. The Biden Department of Health and Human Services will lead a Task Force to Decrease Risk of Climate Change to Children, the Elderly, People with Disabilities, and the Vulnerable including disadvantaged and frontline communities identified by the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool. The Task Force will identify the health impacts of climate change that will pose the largest risk to the most vulnerable populations and work across the Department and with other agencies to use a whole-of-government approach to decrease those risks, including baseline health inequities. In addition, this Task Force will be charged with developing a ready-to-deploy recovery strategy that ensures adequate housing for individuals displaced by climate disasters.
Establish an Office of Climate Change and Health Equity at HHS and Launch an Infectious Disease Defense Initiative. In order to fully prepare for and minimize the impacts of climate change that cannot be avoided, Biden will establish an Office of Climate Change and Health Equity in the Office of the Secretary of HHS, modeled after the Office of AIDS Research that was created in 1983, and invest in surveillance, early-warning systems, and research to decrease climate change and health equity risks. This new HHS Office, in collaboration with the CDC, will partner with the Department of Defense to predict the infectious diseases with the highest probability of being exacerbated by climate change, evaluate their population risk, and work with additional federal agencies to accelerate the development of vaccines or other mitigation measures that reduce the risk to Americans.
Improve the resilience of the nation’s health care system and workers in the face of natural disasters. Building on guidelines published in the Obama-Biden Administration, Biden will establish a biennial Health Care System Readiness Task Force, a public-private task force to assess the current state of the nation’s health care system resilience to natural disasters and recommend strategies and investments to improve it, which will include participation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The evaluation will include an assessment of both physical health care infrastructure and the frontline health care workforce, including opportunities to provide workforce development opportunities in disadvantaged communities. In order to inform the Readiness Task Force, beginning in 2021, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, in coordination with the U.S. Global Change Research Program and the National Security Council will publish a declassified, annual report identifying the type, likelihood of occurrence, and locations at the highest risk, and potential impacts of natural disasters in the United States.
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,