The inauguration of Joe Biden as America’s 46th president would have been historic – the first woman/Black/South Asian vice president, the man who was the youngest US Senator becoming the oldest US president – but it has taken place amid historic circumstances which twisted the traditions and pomp and circumstance that normally accompany the peaceful transition of power. Because for the first time, the transition of power was not peaceful.
The dignitaries, pared down because of the pandemic, and the onlookers exclusively confined to National Guard, Capitol Police and security personnel because of the threat of domestic terrorism, looked out on a sea of flags down the length of the National Mall, where people would have been. And there was no outgoing President on the podium, though there were three prior Presidents: Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton – and no cordial greeting at the White House, gracious tour for the first ladies, or sharing a limousine to the Capitol to demonstrate to the world the essence of democracy: that the loser accepts loss and hands off the office with an aim toward protecting the nation against enemies foreign and domestic.
Two Wednesdays ago, there was an armed insurrection of the Capitol intended to disrupt the certification of Biden as president, the first time the Capitol Building had been invaded since the War of 1812; one Wednesday ago, Donald Trump became the first president impeached for the second time for his part in inciting the insurrection and attempting to overturn a free and fair election, and this Wednesday, “democracy prevailed,” as Biden said in his inaugural.
In every way the man and the message were 180 degrees turned around from Trump’s inauguration four years ago when the theme of Trump’s inaugural address was “American carnage” – that turned out to be his agenda and as he departed, he left 400,000 dead and 24 million sickened by COVID-19; millions facing eviction or foreclosure; millions of jobless; hundreds of thousands of businesses shuttered; civil unrest and hostility not seen since the Civil War.
Biden is completely different, starting with his Inauguration-eve national Memorial to the 400,000 lives lost to COVID-19, with a dramatic lighting display at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.
Biden’s inaugural message was focused on “unity”, but not in a Pollyannish-way.
He cast unity as the key to survival – to end the pandemic, to restore economic prosperity, and to save democracy: “To overcome these challenges – to restore the soul and to secure the future of America – requires more than words. It requires that most elusive of things in a democracy: Unity.”
He stressed the need for truth and the end of lies “told for power and for profit” (an actual applause line).
And each of us has a duty and responsibility, as citizens, as Americans, and especially as leaders – leaders who have pledged to honor our Constitution and protect our nation — to defend the truth and to defeat the lies.
His speech was idealistic and uplifting, full of promise and possibility yet remarkably frank:
“Through a crucible for the ages America has been tested anew and America has risen to the challenge. Today, we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy,” he said.
“The will of the people has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded. We have learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed…”
He listed the litany of unprecedented crises intersecting all at once, saying, “To overcome these challenges – to restore the soul and to secure the future of America – requires more than words. It requires that most elusive of things in a democracy: Unity…
“Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this: Bringing America together. Uniting our people. And uniting our nation…
“This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward.”
He said, “This is a time of testing. We face an attack on democracy and on truth. A raging virus. Growing inequity. The sting of systemic racism. A climate in crisis. America’s role in the world. Any one of these would be enough to challenge us in profound ways. But the fact is we face them all at once, presenting this nation with the gravest of responsibilities. Now we must step up. All of us.”
In probably the starkest contrast to his precedessor, Biden said, “Take a measure of me and my heart..I pledge this to you: I will be a President for all Americans….I will give my all in your service thinking not of power, but of possibilities. Not of personal interest, but of the public good.”
But he returned to his theme that overcoming these crises will require all of us. “It is a time for boldness, for there is so much to do…We will be judged, you and I, for how we resolve the cascading crises of our era…
“May this be the story that guides us. The story that inspires us. The story that tells ages yet to come that we answered the call of history. We met the moment. That democracy and hope, truth and justice, did not die on our watch but thrived. That our America secured liberty at home and stood once again as a beacon to the world…
“That is what we owe our forbears, one another, and generations to follow. So, with purpose and resolve we turn to the tasks of our time.
“Sustained by faith. Driven by conviction. And, devoted to one another and to this country we love with all our hearts.”
Here is his inaugural address, highlighted:
Inaugural Address of President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
Chief Justice Roberts, Vice President Harris, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, Leader McConnell, Vice President Pence, distinguished guests, and my fellow Americans.
This is America’s day.
This is democracy’s day.
A day of history and hope.
Of renewal and resolve.
Through a crucible for the ages America has been tested anew and America has risen to the challenge.
Today, we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy.
The will of the people has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded.
We have learned again that democracy is precious.
Democracy is fragile.
And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.
So now, on this hallowed ground where just days ago violence sought to shake this Capitol’s very foundation, we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries.
We look ahead in our uniquely American way – restless, bold, optimistic – and set our sights on the nation we know we can be and we must be.
I thank my predecessors of both parties for their presence here.
I thank them from the bottom of my heart.
You know the resilience of our Constitution and the strength of our nation.
As does President Carter, who I spoke to last night but who cannot be with us today, but whom we salute for his lifetime of service.
I have just taken the sacred oath each of these patriots took — an oath first sworn by George Washington.
But the American story depends not on any one of us, not on some of us, but on all of us.
On “We the People” who seek a more perfect Union.
This is a great nation and we are a good people.
Over the centuries through storm and strife, in peace and in war, we have come so far. But we still have far to go.
We will press forward with speed and urgency, for we have much to do in this winter of peril and possibility.
Much to repair.
Much to restore.
Much to heal.
Much to build.
And much to gain.
Few periods in our nation’s history have been more challenging or difficult than the one we’re in now.
A once-in-a-century virus silently stalks the country.
It’s taken as many lives in one year as America lost in all of World War II.
Millions of jobs have been lost.
Hundreds of thousands of businesses closed.
A cry for racial justice some 400 years in the making moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer.
A cry for survival comes from the planet itself. A cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear.
And now, a rise in political extremism, white supremacy, domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat.
To overcome these challenges – to restore the soul and to secure the future of America – requires more than words.
It requires that most elusive of things in a democracy:
In another January in Washington, on New Year’s Day 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
When he put pen to paper, the President said, “If my name ever goes down into history it will be for this act and my whole soul is in it.”
My whole soul is in it. Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this:
Bringing America together.
Uniting our people.
And uniting our nation.
I ask every American to join me in this cause.
Uniting to fight the common foes we face:
Anger, resentment, hatred.
Extremism, lawlessness, violence.
Disease, joblessness, hopelessness.
With unity we can do great things. Important things.
We can right wrongs.
We can put people to work in good jobs.
We can teach our children in safe schools.
We can overcome this deadly virus.
We can reward work, rebuild the middle class, and make health care secure for all.
We can deliver racial justice.
We can make America, once again, the leading force for good in the world.
I know speaking of unity can sound to some like a foolish fantasy.
I know the forces that divide us are deep and they are real.
But I also know they are not new.
Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we are all created equal and the harsh, ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, and demonization have long torn us apart.
The battle is perennial.
Victory is never assured.
Through the Civil War, the Great Depression, World War, 9/11, through struggle, sacrifice, and setbacks, our “better angels” have always prevailed.
In each of these moments, enough of us came together to carry all of us forward.
And, we can do so now.
History, faith, and reason show the way, the way of unity.
We can see each other not as adversaries but as neighbors.
We can treat each other with dignity and respect.
We can join forces, stop the shouting, and lower the temperature.
For without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury.
No progress, only exhausting outrage.
No nation, only a state of chaos.
This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward.
And, we must meet this moment as the United States of America.
If we do that, I guarantee you, we will not fail.
We have never, ever, ever failed in America when we have acted together.
And so today, at this time and in this place, let us start afresh.
All of us.
Let us listen to one another.
Hear one another.
See one another.
Show respect to one another.
Politics need not be a raging fire destroying everything in its path.
Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war.
And, we must reject a culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured.
My fellow Americans, we have to be different than this.
America has to be better than this.
And, I believe America is better than this.
Just look around.
Here we stand, in the shadow of a Capitol dome that was completed amid the Civil War, when the Union itself hung in the balance.
Yet we endured and we prevailed.
Here we stand looking out to the great Mall where Dr. King spoke of his dream.
Here we stand, where 108 years ago at another inaugural, thousands of protestors tried to block brave women from marching for the right to vote.
Today, we mark the swearing-in of the first woman in American history elected to national office – Vice President Kamala Harris.
Don’t tell me things can’t change.
Because here is the thing about life: There is no accounting for what fate will deal you.
There are some days when we need a hand.
There are other days when we’re called on to lend one.
That is how we must be with one another.
And, if we are this way, our country will be stronger, more prosperous, more ready for the future.
My fellow Americans, in the work ahead of us, we will need each other.
We will need all our strength to persevere through this dark winter.
We are entering what may well be the toughest and deadliest period of the virus.
We must set aside the politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation.
I promise you this: as the Bible says weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning.
We will get through this, together
The world is watching today.
So here is my message to those beyond our borders: America has been tested and we have come out stronger for it.
We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again.
Not to meet yesterday’s challenges, but today’s and tomorrow’s.
We will lead not merely by the example of our power but by the power of our example.
We will be a strong and trusted partner for peace, progress, and security.
We have been through so much in this nation.
And, in my first act as President, I would like to ask you to join me in a moment of silent prayer to remember all those we lost this past year to the pandemic.
To those 400,000 fellow Americans – mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
We will honor them by becoming the people and nation we know we can and should be.
Let us say a silent prayer for those who lost their lives, for those they left behind, and for our country.
This is a time of testing.
We face an attack on democracy and on truth.
A raging virus.
The sting of systemic racism.
A climate in crisis.
America’s role in the world.
Any one of these would be enough to challenge us in profound ways.
But the fact is we face them all at once, presenting this nation with the gravest of responsibilities.
Now we must step up.
All of us.
It is a time for boldness, for there is so much to do.
And, this is certain.
We will be judged, you and I, for how we resolve the cascading crises of our era.
Will we rise to the occasion?
Will we master this rare and difficult hour?
Will we meet our obligations and pass along a new and better world for our children?
I believe we must and I believe we will.
And when we do, we will write the next chapter in the American story.
It’s a story that might sound something like a song that means a lot to me.
It’s called “American Anthem” and there is one verse stands out for me:
“The work and prayers of centuries have brought us to this day What shall be our legacy? What will our children say?… Let me know in my heart When my days are through America America I gave my best to you.”
Let us add our own work and prayers to the unfolding story of our nation.
If we do this then when our days are through our children and our children’s children will say of us they gave their best.
They did their duty.
They healed a broken land.
My fellow Americans, I close today where I began, with a sacred oath.
Before God and all of you I give you my word.
I will always level with you.
I will defend the Constitution.
I will defend our democracy.
I will defend America.
I will give my all in your service thinking not of power, but of possibilities.
Not of personal interest, but of the public good.
And together, we shall write an American story of hope, not fear.
Of unity, not division.
Of light, not darkness.
An American story of decency and dignity.
Of love and of healing.
Of greatness and of goodness.
May this be the story that guides us.
The story that inspires us.
The story that tells ages yet to come that we answered the call of history.
We met the moment.
That democracy and hope, truth and justice, did not die on our watch but thrived.
That our America secured liberty at home and stood once again as a beacon to the world.
That is what we owe our forbears, one another, and generations to follow.
So, with purpose and resolve we turn to the tasks of our time.
Sustained by faith.
Driven by conviction.
And, devoted to one another and to this country we love with all our hearts.
May God bless America and may God protect our troops.
President-Elect Joe Biden introduced his economic team on Tuesday, December 1, at a ceremony in Wilmington, Delaware. Their personal stories are significant, and such a contrast to the grafters, foreclosure millionaires, and partisans of the Trump Administration working on behalf of donors and special interests instead of the American people. Biden’s team, besides having extraordinary expertise and experience, also bring the life-lessons and background to infuse a budget and economic policies with values. The ultimate goal: to revitalize the economy in such a way as to redress systemic inequalities, environmental unsustainability, summed up in the phrase, “Build Back Better.” There is the recognition, too, that addressing the epidemic of poverty, hunger and evictions is tied to addressing and eradicating the coronavirus pandemic and overall health care and public health. Here are remarks, highlighted:
I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving even if it was far from tradition and apart from the ones we love.
I know times are tough, but I want you to know that help is on the way.
Last week, I announced nominations and staff for critical foreign policy and national security positions. A first-rate team that will keep us safe and secure.
Today, I am pleased to announce key nominations and appointments for critical economic positions in the Administration. A first-rate team that will get us through the on-going economic crisis and help us build our economy back better than before.
This team is tested and experienced.
It includes groundbreaking Americans who come from different backgrounds, but share my core economic vision.
That given a fair shot and equal chance, there’s nothing beyond the capacity of the American people.
Let’s not forget that the middle class built this country and unions built the middle class.
And from the most unequal economic and jobs crisis in modern history, we can build a new American economy that works for all Americans.
But we need to act now. And we have to work together.
In the weeks since winning the election, Vice President-elect Harris and I have convened meetings with labor leaders and CEOs and Mayors and Governors of both parties.
There is consensus that, as we battle COVID-19, we have to make sure that businesses and workers have the tools, resources, guidance, and health and safety standards to operate safely.
Our goal is simple: to keep businesses and schools open safely.
For the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs — or hours — and have had to claim unemployment, we have to deliver them immediate relief.
This includes affordable health care for millions of people who have lost it or are in danger of losing it.
Child care, sick leave, family leave, so workers don’t have to choose between work and family.
Relief from rent and student loans.
We need to support small businesses and entrepreneurs that form the backbone of our communities but are teetering on the edge.
There’s an urgent need to fund states and cities, so they can keep frontline workers on the job.
We must keep vital public services running — law enforcement officers, firefighters, educators — as we did with the Recovery Act in 2009.
Right now, the full Congress should come together and pass a robust package of relief that addresses these urgent needs.
But any package passed in the lame duck session is likely to be — at best — just the start.
My transition team is already working on what I will put forward for the next Congress to address the multiple crises we are facing — especially our economic and COVID crises.
And the team I’m announcing today will play a critical role in shaping our plan for action — starting on Day One — to move fast and revive the economy.
They will help lay out my Build Back Better plan; a plan that an independent analysis by Moody’s — a well-respected Wall Street firm — projects will create 18.6 million jobs.
It’s based on a simple premise: reward hard work in America — not wealth.
It’s time we invest in infrastructure, clean energy and climate change, manufacturing, and so much more that will create millions of good paying American jobs.
And it’s time we address the structural inequalities in our economy that the pandemic has laid bare.
Economists call the current recovery “K-shaped.”
Like the two lines coming out of a K, some people are seeing their prospects soar up while most others are watching their economic well-being drop sharply.
For those at the top, jobs have come back and their wealth is rising.
For example, luxury home sales are up over 40 percent compared to last year.
But for those in the middle and the bottom, it’s a downward slide. They’re left figuring out how to pay bills and put food on the table.
Almost one in every six renters was behind on rent payments as of late October.
Let me be clear, with this team and the others who we will add in the weeks ahead, we will create a recovery for all and get this economy moving again.
We will create jobs, raise incomes, reduce drug prices, advance racial equity across the economy, and restore the backbone of this country — the middle class.
Our message to everyone struggling right now is this — help is on the way.
After my Dad lost his job in Scranton, Pennsylvania -and eventually moved the family not far from here in Claymont, Delaware, he’d say, “Joey, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about dignity. Respect. Your place in the community. It’s about being able to look your kid in the eye and say that everything will be okay.”
He also used to say, “Joey, I don’t expect the government to solve my problems. But I expect it to understand my problems.”
This team understands.
For Secretary of the Treasury, I nominate Janet Yellen.
No one is better prepared for this crisis.
She will be the first Treasury Secretary who was also Chair of the Federal Reserve, Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve, and Chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors.
Janet is one of the most important economic thinkers of our time.
She has spent her career focused on employment and the dignity of work. She understands what a job means to people and their communities.
Respected across party lines and around the world, by Main Street and Wall Street. An educator, a mentor.
Above all — the daughter of a working-class Brooklyn neighborhood who never forgot where she came from.
Her husband, George, is pretty good too. He is a Nobel Prize recipient, but he’s the one who married up.
Janet will be the first woman to hold this office.
We might have to ask Lin-Manuel Miranda, who wrote a musical about the first Treasury Secretary, Hamilton, to write another musical for the first woman Treasury Secretary, Yellen.
For Director of the Office and Management and Budget, I nominate Neera Tanden.
I’ve known Neera for a long time. A brilliant policy mind with critical practical experience across government.
She was raised by a single mom on food stamps, an immigrant from India who struggled, worked hard, and did everything she could for her daughter to live out her American dream.
And Neera did just that.
She understands the struggles that millions of Americans are facing.
And she will be the first woman of color and first South Asian American to lead the OMB.
She will be in charge of laying out my budget that will help us control the virus, deal with the economic crisis, and build back better.
But above all, she believes what I believe — a budget should reflect our values.
For Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, I nominate Wally Adeyemo.
A skilled leader and thinker on issues ranging from macroeconomics to consumer protection, and from national security to international affairs.
I worked with Wally during the Great Recession, and I saw him tackle one big job after another.
Deputy National Security Advisor to President Obama. Deputy Director of the National Economic Council. Former Chief of Staff to Elizabeth Warren, where he helped create the Consumer Protection Financial Bureau.
It’s designed to protect consumers and working people from unfair, deceptive, and abusive financial practices.
And now, Wally will be the first African American ever to hold this post, and the highest-ranking African American in Treasury Department history.
An immigrant from Nigeria, a son of a nurse and an elementary school principal, Wally understands everything we do is for the people.
To understand their struggles, and most of all, their dreams.
For Chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisors, I nominate Cecilia “CC” Rouse, one of the most distinguished economists in the country.
An expert on labor economics, race, poverty, and education.
Dean of Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs. Member of the Council of Economic Advisors to President Obama. Advisor to President Clinton at the National Economic Council.
More than that, she’s a proud daughter, whose mom — a school psychologist — encouraged her to pursue economics, whose dad — one of the country’s first African American astrophysicists — who dared her to dream.
If confirmed, CC will be just the fourth woman to lead the Council of Economic Advisors and the first African-American ever to hold the post.
And as CEA Chair, she will serve as a member of my Cabinet.
As a member of the Council of Economic Advisors, I appoint Jared Bernstein.
A brilliant thinker with a quick wit — and a big heart he got from his mom — an educator — who raised him right.
A social worker turned economist, Jared is one of my closest economic advisors.
He served as my Chief Economist during my Vice Presidency.
He was there in the foxhole during the Great Recession with the economy on the brink and our country on its back.
I couldn’t think of anyone else who I would want by my side to face the challenges ahead.
Jared will be one of the leading voices of my Administration on economic policy.
I can always count on him to deliver it straight from the shoulder as his hero FDR said.
One thing I can assure you is working people will always have a voice with Jared on the Council.
As a member of the Council of Economic Advisors, I appoint Heather Boushey.
She is one of the foremost economists working to make sure we build an economy that works for all Americans.
A daughter of a union family — it’s no wonder she believes so deeply in the idea: leave no one out, leave no one behind.
During the campaign, I relied on her counsel on addressing the structural inequalities in our economy.
I’ll do so again as President because it is a central issue of our time.
To this team — thank you for accepting the call to serve.
To your families — thank you for your sacrifice. We could not do this without you.
And to the American people, this team will always be there for you and your families.
Eleven years ago President Obama and I entered office during the Great Recession and implemented the Recovery Act that saved us from a Great Depression.
We didn’t see the map of America in terms of blue states and red states. We only saw the United States of America.
We worked with everyone — for everyone.
And we recovered and rebuilt — together — as one nation.
Vice President-elect Harris and I will do it again with this outstanding team.
They are ready on Day One.
To the United States Senate — I hope these outstanding nominees will receive a prompt hearing, and that we will be able to work across the aisle in good faith and move forward as one country.
Let us begin the work to heal, unite, and rebuild an economy for all Americans.
They deserve and expect nothing less.
May God bless you.
May God protect our troops.
I’ll now turn it over to the new team, starting with our next Secretary of the Treasury — Janet Yellen.
Nominee for Secretary of Treasury, Janet Yellen
Thank you, Mr. President-elect and Madame Vice President-elect.
It is my great honor to have this opportunity to serve you and the American people, and to join this incredible economic team at this moment of great challenge for our country.
Mr. President-elect, when you reflect on what your father taught you about how a job is much more than a paycheck, I hear my own father, who raised our family in working-class Brooklyn.
When he graduated from medical school during the Great Depression, he looked for a home and a place to hang his shingle near the Brooklyn docks. Back then, Bush Terminal on the Upper New York Bay was a thriving hub for manufacturing and transportation — and for the union workers whose livelihoods depended on them.
Knowing they didn’t have cars, my father found a home near a bus line. He started his family practice in the basement while we lived on the floors above. At the end of the day, he would talk to me, my brother, and my mom about what work meant to his patients — our friends and neighbors — especially if they lost a job. The financial problems. The family problems. The health problems. The loss of dignity and self-worth.
The value of work always stuck with me, so much so that I became an economist because I was concerned about the toll of unemployment on people, families, and communities. And I’ve spent my career trying to make sure people can work and achieve the dignity and self-worth that comes with it.
Mr. President-elect, I know you’ve done the same. I saw that understanding during the last Great Recession and the Recovery Act that followed.
And now we are facing historic crises again. The pandemic and economic fallout that, together, have caused so much damage for so many and have had a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable among us. Lost lives. Lost jobs. Small businesses struggling to stay alive or closed for good. So many people struggling to put food on the table and pay bills and rent.
It’s an American tragedy. And it’s essential that we move with urgency. Inaction will produce a self-reinforcing downturn causing yet more devastation.
And we risk missing the obligation to address deeper structural problems:
Inequality. Stagnant wages, especially for workers who lack a college education. Communities that have seen industry disappear, with no good jobs replacing lost ones. Racial disparities in pay, job opportunities, housing, food security, and small business lending that deny wealth building to so many communities of color. Gender disparities that keep women out of the workforce and keep our economy from running at full force.
It is a convergence of tragedies that is not only economically unsustainable, but one that betrays our commitment to giving every American an equal chance to get ahead.
But I know this team will never give up that commitment. As you have said before, Mr. President-elect, out of our collective pain as a nation, we will find a collective purpose to control the pandemic, and build our economy back better than before.
To rebuild our infrastructure and create better jobs. To invest in our workforce. To advance racial equity and make sure the economic recovery includes everyone. To address the climate crisis with American ingenuity and American jobs.
Working together with the outstanding national security and foreign policy team you announced last week, to help restore America’s global leadership.
And above all, we share your belief in the American dream — of a society where each person, with effort, can rise to their potential, and dream even bigger for their children.
I pledge, as Treasury Secretary, to work every day towards rebuilding that dream for all Americans.
And to the great public servants of the Treasury Department, I look forward to working with you and Wally to rebuild the public trust.
To the American people, we will be an institution that wakes up every morning thinking about you.
Your jobs, your paychecks. Your struggles, your hopes. Your dignity.
Nominee for OMB Director, Neera Tanden
Mr. President-elect, Madame Vice President-elect — I’m humbled and honored by the trust you’ve placed in me to work with this talented team on behalf of the American people.
I’m especially proud to work alongside leaders who understand that budgets are not abstractions.
They are a reflection of our values. They touch our lives in profound ways. Sometimes, they make all the difference.
Like the Vice President-elect’s mother, Shyamala, my mother, Maya, was born in India.
Like so many millions, across every generation, she came to America to pursue a better life.
I was raised in a suburb of Boston — a middle-class kid.
But when I was five, my parents got divorced and my mom was left on her own with two children — and without a job.
She faced a choice — return to India, where at the time divorce was stigmatized and opportunity would be limited — or keep fighting for her American Dream.
She stayed, and America came through for her when times were tough.
We relied on food stamps to eat. We relied on Section 8 vouchers to pay the rent. We relied on the social safety net to get back on our feet.
This country gave her a fair shot to reach for the middle class and she made it work.
She got a job as a travel agent, and before long, she was able to buy us our own home in Bedford, Massachusetts, and see her children off to college, and beyond.
I’m here today thanks to my mother’s grit, but also thanks to a country that had faith in us, that invested in her humanity, and in our dreams.
I’m here today because of social programs. Because of budgetary choices.
Because of a government that saw my mother’s dignity, and gave her a chance.
Now, it’s my honor to help shape those budgets and programs to keep lifting Americans up, to pull families back from the brink. To give everybody the fair chance my mother got, and that everyone deserves.
That’s the America Maya and Shyamala were drawn to — the America the President-elect and Vice President-elect are ready to grow.
I believe so strongly that our government is meant to serve all the American people — Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike, all of whom deserve to know that their government has their back.
I look forward to working together alongside the dedicated career professionals at OMB to expand those possibilities for every American family.
And I want to thank my own wonderful family — my husband, Ben, without whose love and support I would simply not be here, and our children, Alina and Jaden.
Thank you all for this profound opportunity to serve.
Nominee for Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, Wally Adeyemo
Mr. President-elect, Madame Vice President-elect — thank you for this opportunity to return to the Treasury Department and serve the American people.
I know firsthand the President-elect’s capacity to lift our country out of hard times, because I had the privilege of working with him to help Americans recover from the Great Recession.
In California’s Inland Empire, where I‘d grown up in a working-class neighborhood, the Great Recession hit us hard — we were one of the foreclosure capitals in the United States.
The pain of this was real for me — it wasn’t just a number in a jobs report or a story on the nightly news — but neighbors and friends who lost everything.
I was proud of the work my teams did at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Treasury Department to help turn the tide.
I was prouder still to serve with leaders like the President-elect, who oversaw the Recovery Act’s implementation — investing in American workers, betting on their resilience and drive, and giving families a chance to get up off the mat.
I believe that’s what public service is all about at its best: Giving people a fair shot when they need it most, offering hope through the dark times, and making sure that our economy works not just for the wealthy, but for the hard-working people who make it run.
Those are lessons I learned from my parents — an elementary school principal and a nurse, who came to America to build a better life for me and my siblings.
They taught us that we have a responsibility to serve our community and the country that gave us so many opportunities, but I also learned early on how much more needs to be done to ensure that everyone has the fair chance they deserve.
I look forward to working with Janet Yellen to reduce inequality in this country and expand the middle class, and make sure we build an economy that works for everyone.
As we build back better, we must also remain laser-focused on the Treasury Department’s critical role protecting our National Security.
This includes using our sanctions regime to hold bad actors accountable, dismantling the financial networks of terrorist organizations and others who seek to do us harm, and ensuring our foreign investment policy protects America’s national security interests.
The challenges before us today are unlike anything we have ever faced.
But I know that what the President-elect so often reminds us is true — the American people can do anything when given a chance.
I’m honored to be a part of this talented team, to get to work with them and all Americans, to build an economy that gives everyone that chance, and turns our nation once again from crisis to hope.
Nominee for CEA Chair, Cecilia Rouse
Mr. President-elect, Madame Vice President-elect — thank you for the extraordinary opportunity to join this team.
I am humbled and honored, and ready to get to work for the American people.
To be perfectly honest, until recently I did not anticipate that I would return to public service.
As every academic knows, when you’ve laid down roots at a school you love, with incredible students and colleagues you’ve grown with, it isn’t easy to take a leave. It requires a rare combination of urgency and opportunity to pull you away.
But that rare combination is precisely what our nation is facing right now.
My path as an economist began in my first year of college — my mother, a school psychologist, encouraged me to take a course in economics, and it happened to coincide with what at the time was one of the worst spikes in unemployment since the Great Depression.
It was impossible to separate what we were learning in the classroom from what I knew was going on in towns across the country, and I found myself drawn to study the labor market in all of its dimensions — the reasons that jobs disappear; the impact of education on people’s job prospects; the ways we can tear down barriers to job growth and make it easier for people to find long-lasting economic security.
Today, nearly forty years later, we are once again living through one of the worst jobs crises since the Great Depression.
Millions of families have had their lives turned upside down. The safety net has frayed, leaving vulnerable Americans to slip through into hardship and hopelessness, and structural inequities that have always existed in our economy are being exacerbated like never before.
This is a moment of urgency and opportunity unlike anything we’ve faced in modern times.
The urgency of ending a devastating crisis.
And the opportunity to build a better economy in its wake — an economy that works for everyone, brings fulfilling job opportunities, and leaves no one to fall through the cracks.
I look forward to working with the President-elect, the Vice President-elect, and this entire team to address that urgency and seize that opportunity — and make our economic system work better for every American.
Appointee for Member of the Council of Economic Advisers, Jared Bernstein
I’m hard-pressed to find the words to express my gratitude to the President-elect and Vice President-elect for the chance to be here today.
In thinking about the path that brought me here, a good place to start is 12 years ago — almost to the day — when I met with then-Vice-President-elect Biden at his home not far from here.
It was supposed to be a job interview to be his chief economist, but it quickly turned into a conversation about economic justice and fairness — which, as many here know, is a common destination in conversations with the President-elect.
Over the years, we’ve continued that discussion.
Often, it takes the form of some policy minutiae — sometimes, it’s me hitting him with far more graphics than are necessary, or him telling me to stop speaking econo-mese and start speaking English.
Guilty as charged, Mr. President-elect.
I suspect the reason we had such a meeting of the minds back then dates back to a common saying in my household when I was growing up: “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”
I grew up with a single mother — a lifelong educator.
There was a picture of FDR on the wall. Her proudest moment wasn’t when I got a PhD.
It was when I got a union card — Local 802, the New York City’s musicians’ union — but that’s a whole other story.
Of course, if you intend to be part of the solution, you need to accurately diagnose the problem.
On that front, I believe the team assembled by the President-elect and Vice President-elect has been resonant and visionary.
Yes, they’ve stressed the urgent need to control the virus and provide the relief needed to help families and businesses get to the other side of this crisis.
But they’ve been just as adamant that simply getting back to where we were sets the bar too low — we must build back an economy that’s far more resilient, far more fair, and far more inclusive.
It is precisely the vision this nation needs, and I suspect I’m not the only person on this stage champing at the bit to get to work on making their vision a reality.
Appointee for Member of the Council of Economic Advisers, Heather Boushey
Mr. President-elect, Madame Vice President-elect — I am honored and grateful for the chance to be a part of this exceptional team — and excited to get to work helping build an economy rooted in the values we share:
Equality, opportunity, and the dignity of work.
It’s no accident that I’ve focused my career on instilling those values in our economy, developing policies that help our nation grow stronger by growing more equitably.
Like the President-elect and the Vice President-elect, those values were instilled in me at a young age.
In the late 1970s, my dad got a job at Boeing — and if you grew up in Seattle like I did, you know what that means.
A lot more than a paycheck, as Janet referenced, and as the President-elect often reminds us.
And for our family, my dad’s job at Boeing meant security, union benefits, a place in the neighborhood, a place in the middle class.
But when a recession hit in the early 80s, one by one, the pink slips arrived for every family on our cul-de-sac.
Every kid at my bus stop had a parent who was laid off. Our entire community saw its future dimmed, and one day, it was my turn.
So the first time I truly experienced this thing called the economy, it was my parents sitting me down and explaining that things were going to be tougher for a while because my dad was on layoff.
Too many kids in America experience the economy through those difficult conversations — or far worse.
I was struck by the profound power this mysterious force held over my life, my friends, and my community.
And I wondered if that power couldn’t also be wielded to create happier conversations and fuller lives.
I’ve dedicated my career to figuring out how we can grow and sustain the middle class — and uproot the gender barriers and racial barriers that leave too many Americans outside the Dream, looking in.
Through the organization I co-founded, I’ve pursued solutions to reverse the dangerous march of inequality, and bring us back to the core value of broadly-shared success.
That’s the same value I see at the heart of the Build Back Better plan — and it’s why I’m excited and honored to help this team bring not just good jobs — but the good lives and peace of mind that come with them to every American community.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris
Mr. President-elect, congratulations on choosing this outstanding economic team.
And to our nominees and appointees, thank you for your continued service to our nation.
This is the team we need to deliver immediate economic relief to the American people, to get our economy back on track, and to make sure it works for working people.
And, as President-elect Biden noted earlier, completing that task could not be more urgent.
Cases of COVID-19 are spiking.
And beyond the tragic loss of life, the toll of this recession continues to mount.
Across America, one in six adults with children say their families are hungry; one in three adults are having trouble paying their bills; and the number of open small businesses has fallen by nearly 30 percent due to this pandemic, while many others are hoping they can stay afloat until a vaccine is available.
These are the struggles — the worries — that keep people up in the middle of the night.
But Americans are not united by their worries alone.
They’re united by their aspirations — for themselves and their families.
Because no matter where you live or what language your grandmother speaks, everyone wants to be able to get a job and keep a job.
No matter what your gender or who you love, everyone wants to be able to buy a home and keep a home.
And no matter how you worship or who you voted for in this election, everyone wants to be able to give their children a decent education, even during a pandemic.
Joe and I understand that.
We were raised to respect the dignity of work.
That’s why I’ve always fought for working people — from standing up for middle class families who’d lost their homes in the Great Recession to joining picket lines to advance workers’ rights.
And I look forward to collaborating with this extraordinary team to put working people front and center in this administration.
These public servants are some of America’s most brilliant minds.
They are proven leaders, whose talents, achievements, and life stories reflect the very best of our country.
And they not only have the experience and expertise to help end this economic crisis and put people back to work, they also share our commitment to building an economy — an America — where everyone has access to a higher minimum wage and affordable health care.
Paid family leave and paid sick leave.
Homeownership, and capital to start a small business.
An America where opportunity is within reach for everyone. For all The People.
So, we’ve got a lot of work to do, to build that America.
And President-elect Biden and I, with this economic team, will be ready to hit the ground running on day one.
Just before Donald Trump gives his Republican National Convention speech from the White House, in violation of “norms” and law that prohibits using government facilities for politics, when it is widely anticipated that Trump will smear Joe Biden with lies, Senator Kamala Harris, the Democratic candidate for Vice President, delivered a speech in Washington DC drawing the contrast between Trump’s failure and what Joe Biden brings to the office of President. Here is a highlighted transcript:
On this eve of the 57th March on Washington, I will speak about the recent events in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The wildfires raging across the California coast to the Rocky Mountains. The storm which is working its way through Texas, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.
And most of all—about who we are as a country.
We are a nation that, at its best, loves, protects, and helps our fellow Americans.
Today, we see pain, hurt, and destruction in the ashes of wildfires and the damage of Hurricane Laura.
We encourage everyone to continue following guidance from your local authorities to stay safe.
And Joe and I pledge to be there for those whose lives have been turned upside down.
Those who will need help from neighbors, strangers, and our government to make it through, to build back, to restore your lives and your communities.
We also see pain, hurt, and destruction in the aftermath of yet another Black man shot by police.
Jacob Blake, shot 7 times in the back in broad daylight in front of his 3 young sons. 7 times… in the back… in broad daylight… in front of his 3 sons.
As Vice President Biden put it, the shots fired at Mr. Blake pierced the soul of our nation.
It’s sickening to watch. It’s all too familiar. And it must end.
Thankfully, he is alive today. But he is fighting for his life and shouldn’t have to be.
My heart goes out to the Blake family, as they endure an ordeal that is tragically common in our country.
Joe and I spoke with them yesterday. They are an amazing group of people with extraordinary courage.
Even in their pain and grief, even as they seek justice for their son—they spoke about the need to end the violence and heal our nation.
I’ve had conversations like this with far too many mothers and fathers—but you will see and hear no one with more courage, more character, and more moral clarity.
People are rightfully angry and exhausted. And after the murders of Breonna, George, Ahmaud, and so many others, it’s no wonder people are taking to the streets. And I support them.
We must always defend peaceful protest—and peaceful protestors.
We should not confuse them with those looting and committing acts of violence, including, the shooter who was arrested for murder.
And make no mistake, we will not let these vigilantes and extremists derail the path to justice.
Here’s my promise to those mothers and fathers, and all who stand with them:
In a Biden-Harris Administration, you will have a seat at the table—in the Halls of Congress, and in the White House.
We all grew up reciting the pledge of allegiance, but now, we must give real meaning to its words.
One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Justice. Let’s talk about that. Because the reality is that the life of a Black person in America has never been treated as fully human—and we have yet to fulfill that promise of equal justice under law.
We will only achieve that when we finally come together to pass meaningful police reform and broader criminal justice reform, and acknowledge, yes acknowledge, and address systemic racism.
We will only come closer to achieving that when we finally come together.
We have come a long way in our country towards building a more perfect Union, and the time is now—right now—to take the next step forward.
And even as we experience this reckoning with racial injustice, we must also confront another crisis:
The pandemic that has torn apart so many lives.
The numbers that define this crisis are staggering.
We cannot look the other way or allow ourselves to become numb to them.
Nearly 6 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus.
180,000 lives lost.
More than 50 million claims for unemployment this year alone.
We need to see—and we need to hear—what’s happening in our country.
The quiet desperation that has taken over so many lives in America.
The family packing into their car at 5 in the morning—hoping the local food bank still has something left when they get to the front of the line.
The 50-year old store manager who’s been laid off—and knows he can’t pay the rent on the 1st of the month.
The mothers and fathers stretched to the breaking point—working from home while helping their kids with online classes—just trying to hold it all together.
The small business owners—economic engines of our communities—who are shutting their doors every day.
The nurse getting ready for her afternoon shift—who has seen so much suffering and death in recent months—and wonders how much more she can bear to witness.
The family grieving the loss of their grandmother who has been in a nursing home—who they couldn’t even visit over the last three months of her life.
The alarming and disproportionate rate at which Black, Latino, and Indigenous families are contracting and dying of COVID-19.
That is the reality of America right now. A reality completely absent from this week’s Republican National Convention.
Because unlike the Democratic convention, which was clear-eyed about the challenges we are facing and how we will tackle them…
The Republican convention is designed for one purpose—to soothe Donald Trump’s ego. To make him feel good.
But here’s the thing, he’s the President of the United States. And it’s not Supposed to be about him.
It’s supposed to be about the health, and the safety, and the well-being of the American people.
And on that measure, Donald Trump has failed.
You see, at its most basic level, Donald Trump doesn’t understand the presidency.
He thinks it’s all about him. Well, it’s not. It’s about you. It’s about all of us. The People.
As a lawyer and advocate, when I would rise to speak in a courtroom, I’d say the following words:
Kamala Harris for the people.
And that is why I stand here today—to speak for the people.
Because we know the truth.
Donald Trump has failed at the most basic and important job of a President of the United States.
He failed to protect the American people. Plain and simple.
Trump showed what we, in the legal profession, would call a reckless disregard for the well-being of the American people.
A reckless disregard for the danger a pandemic would pose to American lives. For the devastation it would do to our economy. For the damage it would do to communities of color who have been subjected to structural racism for generations.
For the chaos that would upend our daily lives… make it impossible for many of our kids to go to school… make it impossible to live normally and with certainty.
He never appreciated that a President swears an oath before God and country to protect America against threats seen and unseen.
It’s his duty. It’s his obligation to protect us.
And yet, he has failed. Miserably.
Here’s the thing, Donald Trump’s incompetence is nothing new.
That has always been on full display. But in January of this year, it became deadly.
That’s when the threat of a virus that would endanger the world first emerged.
Trump dismissed the threat. Joe Biden, sounded the alarm.
It would be the beginning of a pattern that persists to this day.
Trump telling us not to worry, that the virus will, quote, “disappear,” that a quote, “miracle” is coming.
Joe Biden, saying we need a plan, a national strategy, a President who is willing to lead, willing to be a role model for our nation. For our children.
Trump still doesn’t have a plan.
Joe Biden, released his first plan in March.
Here’s what you have to understand about the nature of a pandemic.
It’s relentless. You can’t stop it with a tweet. You can’t create a distraction and hope it’ll go away. It doesn’t go away. By its nature, a pandemic is unforgiving.
If you get it wrong at the beginning, the consequences are catastrophic. It’s very hard to catch up. You don’t get a second chance at getting it right.
Well, President Trump got it wrong in the beginning.
And then, he got it wrong again… and again.
And the consequences have been catastrophic.
And here’s why Trump has been so unwilling and unable to deal with this crisis:
First, he was fixated on the stock market over fixing the problem.
He tweeted about it consistently during this period.
He was convinced that if his administration focused on this virus, it would hurt the market and hurt his chances of being reelected.
That mattered more to him than saving American lives.
Second, right at the moment that we needed Donald Trump to be tough on the Chinese government, he caved.
On January 24th, he praised the transparency of the Chinese government.
He said, quote, “China has been working hard to contain the coronavirus. The United States greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well.”
But they weren’t being transparent. They blocked public health inspectors from the CDC, from getting the access and information they needed to protect American lives.
Donald Trump stood idly by. And folks, it was a deadly decision.
Instead of rising to meet the most difficult moment of his presidency, Donald Trump froze. He was scared. He was petty and vindictive.
On a call with governors across the country on March 16th, he told them it wasn’t his job to get personal protective equipment to frontline workers.
He said, quote: “Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment, try getting it yourselves.” Unquote.
On that day…we had about 5,000 cases as a nation.
Today… we have nearly 6 million.
Even now—some eight months into this crisis—Donald Trump still won’t take responsibility. He still won’t act.
The tragedy in all of this is… it didn’t have to be this bad.
Just look around. It’s not like this in the rest of the world.
All we needed was a competent president—one who was willing to listen, willing to lead, take responsibility, have a plan, do their job.
Joe Biden will be that president.
He’s got a national strategy.
He’s more than ready to lead.
Every month since March as this pandemic has unfolded, Joe Biden has updated the steps he would take to save American lives. And he’s done it based on what every scientist, every expert, every economist, said we should be doing.
As President, Joe Biden will put a plan into effect on day one.
Develop and deploy rapid tests with immediate results.
Make sure testing, treatments, and ultimately, a vaccine reach all Americans, including communities of color, who have historically been left behind.
Manufacture the medical supplies and protective equipment we need.
And make them right here—in America, so we’re never again at the mercy of China and other foreign countries to protect our own people.
Joe and I will make sure our schools have all the resources they need—to be open, safe, and effective.
Put politics aside—and not silence the experts—so the public gets the information they need and deserve.
And put in place a nationwide mask Mandate—in Joe’s words, it’s not a burden to protect each other.
Because he knows we’re all in this together.
Donald Trump says there’s nothing he could have done to prevent all this death.
Here’s the truth:
Barack Obama and Joe Biden had a program called PREDICT that tracked emerging diseases in places like China. I’m going to repeat that. The program tracked emerging diseases in places like China. Trump cut it.
They dedicated a team on the National Security Council to global health security and biodefense. Donald Trump eliminated it.
They implemented standards for nursing homes to improve infection control. Trump is erasing them.
Before the virus hit, Trump made our country vulnerable. After it was struck, he failed to do what was necessary.
As it continues, he’s making it worse every day.
Just this week, the Social Security Administration said a cut to Social Security like the one Trump is proposing would end disability benefits within one year and end All benefits within 3 years.
Let me be as clear as possible, if Donald Trump’s extreme proposal goes into effect, the checks that America’s seniors rely on to pay your bills, to buy your medicine—to live—will stop coming.
The very people who have suffered so greatly in this crisis.
And in the middle of a health crisis made worse by his own actions, Donald Trump is in court right now trying to throw out the entire Affordable Care Act, including the protections it provides for people with pre-existing conditions.
That means, if you are fortunate enough to survive COVID-19, insurers could deny you coverage for treating any long-term effects.
Now President Trump, won’t tell you any of this at the Republican convention tonight.
And we all know he’s not changing.
The president he has been—is the president he will be.
But we have a chance to right these wrongs and put America on a better path forward.
One where the leaders we elect listen to the experts and follow the best medical guidance to keep us and our families healthy and safe.
One where we take meaningful action against systems and traditions of oppression.
One where we stop fanning the flames of hate and division, and treat one another with the respect and dignity that each one of us deserves.
As Joe Biden said in his acceptance speech, we have a choice between the light and the dark.
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.
Senator Kamala Harris of California formally accepted the Democratic Party’s nomination as Vice President in remarks on the third night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, in which she introduced herself to a national audience and made the argument for election of Joe Biden as President over the failed, corrupt incumbent who through his incompetence and self-dealing, has caused the loss of lives and livelihoods:
“Right now, we have a president who turns our tragedies into political weapons.
“Joe will be a president who turns our challenges into purpose.
“Joe will bring us together to build an economy that doesn’t leave anyone behind. Where a good-paying job is the floor, not the ceiling.
“Joe will bring us together to end this pandemic and make sure that we are prepared for the next one.
“Joe will bring us together to squarely face and dismantle racial injustice, furthering the work of generations.”
Here are her highlighted remarks, delivered in the convention hall in Wilmington, Delaware.
It is truly an honor to be speaking with you.
That I am here tonight is a testament to the dedication of generations before me. Women and men who believed so fiercely in the promise of equality, liberty, and justice for all.
This week marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment. And we celebrate the women who fought for that right.
Yet so many of the Black women who helped secure that victory were still prohibited from voting, long after its ratification.
But they were undeterred.
Without fanfare or recognition, they organized, testified, rallied, marched, and fought—not just for their vote, but for a seat at the table. These women and the generations that followed worked to make democracy and opportunity real in the lives of all of us who followed.
They paved the way for the trailblazing leadership of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
And these women inspired us to pick up the torch, and fight on.
Women like Mary Church Terrell and Mary McCleod Bethune. Fannie Lou Hamer and Diane Nash. Constance Baker Motley and Shirley Chisholm.
We’re not often taught their stories. But as Americans, we all stand on their shoulders.
There’s another woman, whose name isn’t known, whose story isn’t shared. Another woman whose shoulders I stand on. And that’s my mother—Shyamala Gopalan Harris.
She came here from India at age 19 to pursue her dream of curing cancer. At the University of California Berkeley, she met my father, Donald Harris—who had come from Jamaica to study economics.
They fell in love in that most American way—while marching together for justice in the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
In the streets of Oakland and Berkeley, I got a stroller’s-eye view of people getting into what the great John Lewis called “good trouble.”
When I was 5, my parents split and my mother raised us mostly on her own. Like so many mothers, she worked around the clock to make it work—packing lunches before we woke up— and paying bills after we went to bed. Helping us with homework at the kitchen table—and shuttling us to church for choir practice.
She made it look easy, though I know it never was.
My mother instilled in my sister, Maya, and me the values that would chart the course of our lives.
She raised us to be proud, strong Black women. And she raised us to know and be proud of our Indian heritage.
She taught us to put family first—the family you’re born into and the family you choose.
Family, is my husband Doug, who I met on a blind date set up by my best friend. Family is our beautiful children, Cole and Ella, who as you just heard, call me Momala. Family is my sister. Family is my best friend, my nieces and my godchildren. Family is my uncles, my aunts—my chitthis. Family is Mrs. Shelton—my second mother who lived two doors down and helped raise me. Family is my beloved Alpha Kappa Alpha…our Divine 9…and my HBCU brothers and sisters. Family is the friends I turned to when my mother—the most important person in my life—passed away from cancer.
And even as she taught us to keep our family at the center of our world, she also pushed us to see a world beyond ourselves.
She taught us to be conscious and compassionate about the struggles of all people. To believe public service is a noble cause and the fight for justice is a shared responsibility.
That led me to become a lawyer, a District Attorney, Attorney General, and a United States Senator.
And at every step of the way, I’ve been guided by the words I spoke from the first time I stood in a courtroom: Kamala Harris, For the People.
I’ve fought for children, and survivors of sexual assault. I’ve fought against transnational gangs. I took on the biggest banks, and helped take down one of the biggest for-profit colleges. I know a predator when I see one.
My mother taught me that service to others gives life purpose and meaning. And oh, how I wish she were here tonight but I know she’s looking down on me from above. I keep thinking about that 25-year-old Indian woman—all of five feet tall—who gave birth to me at Kaiser Hospital in Oakland, California.
On that day, she probably could have never imagined that I would be standing before you now speaking these words: I accept your nomination for Vice President of the United States of America.
I do so, committed to the values she taught me. To the Word that teaches me to walk by faith, and not by sight. And to a vision passed on through generations of Americans—one that Joe Biden shares. A vision of our nation as a Beloved Community—where all are welcome, no matter what we look like, where we come from, or who we love.
A country where we may not agree on every detail, but we are united by the fundamental belief that every human being is of infinite worth, deserving of compassion, dignity and respect.
A country where we look out for one another, where we rise and fall as one, where we face our challenges, and celebrate our triumphs—together.
Today… that country feels distant.
Donald Trump’s failure of leadership has cost lives and livelihoods.
If you’re a parent struggling with your child’s remote learning, or you’re a teacher struggling on the other side of that screen, you know that what we’re doing right now isn’t working.
And we are a nation that’s grieving. Grieving the loss of life, the loss of jobs, the loss of opportunities, the loss of normalcy. And yes, the loss of certainty.
And while this virus touches us all, let’s be honest, it is not an equal opportunity offender. Black, Latino and Indigenous people are suffering and dying disproportionately.
This is not a coincidence. It is the effect of structural racism.
Of inequities in education and technology, health care and housing, job security and transportation.
The injustice in reproductive and maternal health care. In the excessive use of force by police. And in our broader criminal justice system.
This virus has no eyes, and yet it knows exactly how we see each other—and how we treat each other.
And let’s be clear—there is no vaccine for racism. We’ve gotta do the work.
For George Floyd. For Breonna Taylor. For the lives of too many others to name. For our children. For all of us.
We’ve gotta do the work to fulfill that promise of equal justice under law. Because, none of us are free…until all of us are free…
We’re at an inflection point.
The constant chaos leaves us adrift. The incompetence makes us feel afraid. The callousness makes us feel alone.
It’s a lot.
And here’s the thing: We can do better and deserve so much more.
We must elect a president who will bring something different, something better, and do the important work. A president who will bring all of us together—Black, White, Latino, Asian, Indigenous—to achieve the future we collectively want.
We must elect Joe Biden.
I knew Joe as Vice President. I knew Joe on the campaign trail. But I first got to know Joe as the father of my friend.
Joe’s son, Beau, and I served as Attorneys General of our states, Delaware and California. During the Great Recession, we spoke on the phone nearly every day, working together to win back billions of dollars for homeowners from the big banks that foreclosed on people’s homes.
And Beau and I would talk about his family.
How, as a single father, Joe would spend 4 hours every day riding the train back and forth from Wilmington to Washington. Beau and Hunter got to have breakfast every morning with their dad. They went to sleep every night with the sound of his voice reading bedtime stories. And while they endured an unspeakable loss, these two little boys Always knew that they were deeply, unconditionally loved.
And what also moved me about Joe is the work he did, as he went back and forth. This is the leader who wrote the Violence Against Women Act—and enacted the Assault Weapons Ban. Who, as Vice President, implemented The Recovery Act, which brought our country back from The Great Recession. He championed The Affordable Care Act, protecting millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions. Who spent decades promoting American values and interests around the world, standing up with our allies and standing up to our adversaries.
Right now, we have a president who turns our tragedies into political weapons.
Joe will be a president who turns our challenges into purpose.
Joe will bring us together to build an economy that doesn’t leave anyone behind. Where a good-paying job is the floor, not the ceiling.
Joe will bring us together to end this pandemic and make sure that we are prepared for the next one.
Joe will bring us together to squarely face and dismantle racial injustice, furthering the work of generations.
Joe and I believe that we can build that Beloved Community, one that is strong and decent, just and kind. One in which we all can see ourselves.
That’s the vision that our parents and grandparents fought for. The vision that made my own life possible. The vision that makes the American promise—for all its complexities and imperfections—a promise worth fighting for.
Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy. We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.
We believe that our country—all of us, will stand together for a better future. We already are.
We see it in the doctors, the nurses, the home health care workers and the frontline workers who are risking their lives to save people they’ve never met.
We see it in the teachers and truck drivers, the factory workers and farmers, the postal workers and the Poll workers, all putting their own safety on the line to help us get through this pandemic.
And we see it in so many of you who are working, not just to get us through our current crises, but to somewhere better.
There’s something happening, all across the country.
It’s not about Joe or me.
It’s about you.
It’s about us. People of all ages and colors and creeds who are, yes, taking to the streets, and also persuading our family members, rallying our friends, organizing our neighbors, and getting out the vote.
And we’ve shown that, when we vote, we expand access to health care, expand access to the ballot box, and ensure that more working families can make a decent living.
I’m inspired by a new generation of leadership. You are pushing us to realize the ideals of our nation, pushing us to live the values we share: decency and fairness, justice and love.
You are the patriots who remind us that to love our country is to fight for the ideals of our country.
In this election, we have a chance to change the course of history. We’re all in this fight.
You, me, and Joe—together.
What an awesome responsibility. What an awesome privilege.
So, let’s fight with conviction. Let’s fight with hope. Let’s fight with confidence in ourselves, and a commitment to each other. To the America we know is possible. The America, we love.
Years from now, this moment will have passed. And our children and our grandchildren will look in our eyes and ask us: Where were you when the stakes were so high?
They will ask us, what was it like?
And we will tell them. We will tell them, not just how we felt.
We will tell them what we did.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.
Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate for President, selected Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate, a historic pick since she would be the first African American/Asian American woman to serve as Vice President. Harris was briefly his rival for the nomination, which was one of the assets Biden considered in choosing her from among a dozen highly qualified women. On the third night of the Democratic National Convention, the nation will have a chance to be introduced to Harris, who brings a life story that many will be able to relate to, and see as a role model. This is from the Biden Harris campaign:
Vice President Joe Biden is running to restore the soul of the nation and unite the country to move us forward. Joe knows more about the importance of the Vice Presidency than just about anyone, and he is confident that Kamala Harris will be the best partner for him to finally get the country back on track.
Since Donald Trump became president, he has made everything worse. He has pursued economic policies that reward wealth over work and benefited corporations and his buddies over working families. He has walked away from American leadership on the national stage. He has used division and stoked hatred for political purposes to pit Americans against one another.
Joe knows that we can’t just return to the way things were – we have to build back better. From her track record of managing through multiple crises to standing up for the people who need it most, Joe knows that Kamala will be ready to tackle the work that is needed to heal our country on Day One of the Biden-Harris Administration.
The first Black and Indian American woman to represent California in the United States Senate, Kamala Harris grew up believing in the promise of America and fighting to make sure that promise is fulfilled for all Americans. Kamala’s father immigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica to study economics and her mother immigrated from India. Kamala’s mother told her growing up “Don’t sit around and complain about things, do something,” which is what drives Kamala every single day.
Kamala started fighting for working families in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, where she focused on prosecuting child sexual assault cases. From there, she became the first Black woman elected as San Francisco’s District Attorney. In this position, she started a program to provide first-time drug offenders second chances with the opportunity to earn a high school degree and find a job.
In 2010, Kamala became the first Black woman to be elected California Attorney General, overseeing the country’s second largest Justice Department, only behind the U.S. Department of Justice. In this capacity, she managed a $735 million budget and oversaw more than 4,800 attorneys and other employees. As California Attorney General, Kamala fought for families and won a $20 billion settlement for California homeowners against big banks that were unfairly foreclosing on homes.
Kamala worked to protect Obamacare, helped win marriage equality for all, defended California’s landmark climate change law and won a $1.1 billion settlement against a for-profit education company that scammed students and veterans. Kamala also fought for California communities and prosecuted transnational gangs who drove human trafficking, gun smuggling and drug rings.
Since being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016, Kamala has introduced and co-sponsored legislation to help the middle class, increase the minimum wage to $15, reform cash bail, and defend the legal rights of refugees and immigrants.
Kamala serves on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that deals with the nation’s most sensitive national security and international threats. She also serves on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee where she oversees the federal government’s response to natural disasters and emergencies, including the Trump administration’s response to COVID-19.
On the Senate Judiciary Committee, Kamala has held Trump administration officials accountable and was a powerful voice against Trump’s conservative judicial nominations.
Kamala graduated from Howard University, where she was in the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, and earned a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of Law.
Kamala has been married to her husband Doug for the past six years. She is the stepmother of two children, Ella and Cole who are her “endless source of love and pure joy.”
KAMALA’S PARTNERSHIP WITH JOE BIDEN
Kamala Harris served as California’s Attorney General at the same time as Joe Biden’s son, Beau, was serving as Attorney General for Delaware. The two grew close while fighting to take on the banking industry. Through her friendship with Beau, she got to know Joe Biden.
From hearing about Kamala from Beau, to seeing her fight for others directly, Joe has long been impressed by how tough Kamala is.
Particularly on the Senate Judiciary Committee – which Joe used to lead – Kamala has distinguished herself as a fighter on behalf of the American people, on issues ranging from corruption, to women’s rights and election interference.
Kamala doesn’t hesitate to take on powerful people and powerful interests, and that’s exactly the kind of leader Joe wants by his side to rebuild this country and restore the soul of the nation.
KAMALA’S RECORD OF RESULTS FOR WORKING FAMILIES
COVID-19 and Health Care
Kamala has worked to address the racial and ethnic disparities resulting from the Trump’s administration’s failed response to the pandemic by introducing the COVID-19 Racial and Ethnic Disparities Task Force Act. Kamala’s legislation would establish a team of policy experts, regional leaders, and federal officials to develop policy and funding prescriptions based on demographic data to combat issues facing minority and underserved communities.
Kamala has a record of taking on corporations who are defrauding the health care system. As Attorney General, she oversaw a $241 million settlement against Quest Diagnostics, for overbilling California’s insurance program for 15-plus years.
Economy & Workers
Kamala took on the big banks on behalf of California homeowners and won a $20 billion settlement, the largest settlement of any attorney general in America.
As District Attorney , she prosecuted companies that cheated workers out of their earnings and jeopardized their safety on the job. As Attorney General, she fought for California’s public employee unions. And as Senator, she stood against the harmful Janus decision.
Kamala supports a $15 minimum wage, cosponsoring legislation to raise wages for underpaid Americans.
Kamala, as San Francisco DA, championed a leading re-entry program to direct young people arrested for drug crimes into training and counseling programs instead of jail.
Kamala’s Department of Justice was the first statewide agency to mandate a body camera program, launched implicit bias and procedural justice trainings, and created a public database, including data on deaths in police custody and arrest rates.
As Senator, Kamala has championed sentencing reform, ending the cash bail system, and giving proper funding to public defenders.
As Attorney General, Kamala obtained a $1.1 billion judgement against for-profit Corinthian Colleges for predatory practices that saddled students with debt and useless degrees.
Kamala co-sponsored Senator Elizabeth Warren’s bill to allow students with existing debt to refinance at the interest rates available to new borrowers.
As Attorney General, Kamala took on big oil companies and went to court to defend the Obama-Biden Clean Power Plan and New Source Standards.
As Attorney General, Kamala sued corporations like Chevron and BP for damaging the environment, and won. And, she sued corporations for their role in exposing Californians to excessive levels of diesel.
Kamala was the first woman elected to serve as both San Francisco DA and California AG.
As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Kamala has grilled Trump’s extreme anti-choice judicial nominees, like Brett Kavanaugh.
As Attorney General, Kamalacrackeddown on the sex trafficking of women into California and prosecuted sexual assaults. In her year in office, she eliminated the backlog of untested rape kits.
And, as District Attorney, she worked with community leaders to establish a safe house for victims of human trafficking — the first of its kind in San Francisco.
Kamala Fighting for the Black Community
As a student at Howard University, Kamala was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) – the oldest Greek-letter sorority for black women. It was during her time at Howard that she joined protests on the National Mall against apartheid in South Africa.
Kamala was the first Black woman to be elected San Francisco District Attorney and Attorney General of California, and only the second Black woman elected to the United States Senate.
In the Senate, Kamala championed a bill to make lynching a federal crime.
Kamala Fighting for the Latino Community
Kamala joined Congresswoman Veronica Escobar in leading the charge to demand that migrant children be released from HHS and DHS custody during the pandemic.
While Attorney General, she ensured unaccompanied minors seeking refuge in the U.S. had access to pro-bono counsel.
After Hurricane Maria, Kamala sponsored the COUNT Victims Act that provides FEMA more resources to calculate the death toll from a natural disaster.
Kamala Fighting for the LGBTQ+ Community
As San Francisco District Attorney, Kamala established an LGBT hate crimes unit, dedicated to pursuing hate crimes against LGBTQ+ students.
As Attorney General, Kamala refused to defend Proposition 8 in court. She also officiated the first same-sex wedding in California after the U.S. Supreme Court ended Proposition 8.
Kamala has a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign.
President Barack Obama headlines Night Three of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, when the nation will also be introduced to the nominee for Vice President, Kamala Harris. Other prominent speakers addressing the night’s theme, “A More Perfect Union,” include Secretary Hillary Clinton, the first woman to run for president on a major party ticket; Senator Elizabeth Warren; Speaker Nancy Pelosi, former Congresswoman turned gun violence prevention activist Gabrielle Giffords; Senator Elizabeth Warren; and Senator Kamala Harris. The unconventional mostly virtual convention takes place from 9-11 pm.
The theme of Wednesday’s program is “A More Perfect Union.” America is not going back to normal, because normal wasn’t good enough. As he leads us out of crisis, Joe Biden will help us build back better. An economy that helps working families and small businesses rise up. A climate change plan that is one of the most ambitious ever proposed. He will reform our broken immigration system, fight for sane gun laws, and ensure equal pay and strong health protections for women. And he will have a historic partner in these efforts: the first female vice president.
Highlights in tonight’s program:
A MORE PERFECT UNION
Welcome to Wisconsin The Honorable Tony Evers Governor of Wisconsin
A MORE PERFECT SOCIETY
Introduction Kerry Washington American actress
A More Perfect Union Means…Ending Gun Violence
“America Rising: March for our Lives” Featuring activist and Parkland survivor Emma Gonzalez, whose generation has risen up to say enough to gun violence.
Remarks DeAndra Dycus A mother whose son was left paralyzed by a stray bullet at the age of 13.
Remarks The Honorable Gabrielle Giffords Former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Arizona
A More Perfect Union…Means Tackling Climate Change
Remarks The Honorable Michelle Lujan Grisham Governor of New Mexico
The Biden Plan: Climate Change A video focused on Joe Biden’s plan to combat climate change and secure a clean-energy future, narrated by an IBEW union worker from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
A Conversation with Young Climate Activists Young organizers talk about how they’re taking control of their future, and why they need a president like Joe Biden who will work with them.
Performance Billie Eilish American singer-songwriter
A More Perfect Union…Means Keeping Immigrant Families Together
“A Letter to Trump on Immigration” “Mr. President, you tore our world apart.”
Remarks The Sanchez Family Silvia Sanchez, an undocumented immigrant in North Carolina, with her daughters Jessica, who is a Dreamer, and Lucy.
America Rising: Immigrants Rebuilding America We can never say it often or loudly enough: immigrants and refugees revitalize and renew America. Immigrants built this country, and immigrants will rebuild this country.
Performance Prince Royce Dominican-American singer-songwriter
A More Perfect Union…Means Women Lead
America Rising: From Women’s Suffrage to the Women’s March It has been 100 years this week since women won the right to vote, and they’ve been leading ever since.
Remarks The Honorable Hillary Clinton 2016 Democratic Nominee for President of the United States Former United States Secretary of State Former United States Senator, New York
Remarks The Honorable Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
Remarks Mariska Hargitay American actress and advocate Ruth Glenn CEO and President of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence Carly Dryden At-Large Regional Advisor, “It’s On Us”
“When You See Something Wrong” A video highlighting Joe Biden’s leadership on the Violence Against Women Act and its legacy.
A MORE PERFECT ECONOMY
Remarks The Honorable Hilda Solis Los Angeles County Supervisor Former United States Secretary of Labor
“You Built America” – A More Perfect Union: A Conversation on the Economy with Vice President Biden Joe Biden listens to, and engages with, union workers around how to build back better a new economy for our families and the next generation.
“America Recovering” Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and U.S. Representative from Iowa Cindy Axne talk to small business owners in their communities about how they’re struggling in Donald Trump’s economy.
Remarks The Honorable Elizabeth Warren United States Senator, Massachusetts
MORE PERFECT LEADERSHIP
Remarks The Honorable Barack Obama 44th President of the United States
Nominating Speech Maya Harris, Meena Harris, and Ella Emhoff
Remarks The Honorable Kamala Harris 2020 Democratic Nominee for Vice President of the United States United States Senator, California
Performance Jennifer Hudson American singer and actress
How to Watch the 2020 Democratic National Convention
Viewers will have more than a dozen options for watching the 2020 Democratic National Convention, ensuring that this year’s convention will reach viewers where they are, however they prefer to watch, all across the nation.
With an unprecedented number of ways to tune in, this year’s convention will engage voters in new, innovative ways and unite the country around our shared values. The convention will take place over four nights from August 17-20, 2020. Convention programming will air live from 9:00-11:00 PM Eastern each night.
In addition, the DNC is organizing watch parties all over the country, hosted with prominent leaders, as well as drive-in watch parties, like drive in movie theater where you watch on big screens – in Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Delaware.
The convention airs from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern time. There are a variety of ways to watch: