Ending months of speculation, Joe Biden named Sen. Kamala Harris as his vice presidential nominee. Harris had been seen as a front-runner for the role since Biden became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Prior to being elected to the U.S. Senate from California in 2016, she served as the state’s attorney general and the district attorney of San Francisco. Harris has already made history as the second Black woman and the first South Asian person elected to the Senate. In an email to supporters, Biden says “I’ve decided that Kamala Harris is the best person to help me take this fight to Donald Trump and Mike Pence and then to lead this nation starting in January 2021.” If Biden and Harris win, Gov. Gavin Newsom will appoint her successor in the Senate, who will serve through 2022.
The reviews are pouring in and are roundly good for California Sen. Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s running mate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “Joe Biden’s naming of Sen. Kamala Harris as the Democratic nominee for Vice President marks an historic & proud milestone for our country. As the Vice President of the United States, Senator Harris will continue her legacy of trailblazing leadership to move our nation forward. […] Now we must ensure the historic election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as President and Vice President of the United States.” Others who were under consideration for the position are just as laudatory. Stacey Abrams tweeted “Thrilled to support @KamalaHarris as next VP. I was honored to speak with @JoeBiden at length over the weekend and again today. His focus on reaching out to every corner of our country speaks to how he will lead us. I look forward to doing all I can for Team #BidenHarris!” Rep. Karen Bass tweeted that Harris is “a great choice for Vice President. Her tenacious pursuit of justice and relentless advocacy for the people is what is needed right now.” Ambassador Susan Rice writes “Senator Harris is a tenacious and trailblazing leader who sill make a great partner on the campaign trail. […] I look forward to supporting the Biden-Harris ticket with all my energy and commitment.” And Rep. Jim Clyburn on MSNBC: “I am ecstatic. We are breaking ground here. I think he has chosen well.” That’s as well said as can be.
Rep. Karen Bass, Chair on the Congressional Black Caucus The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has submitted a sweeping list of proposals that it says elected officials must implement to specifically protect Black people in America and their best interests as the country grapples with the coronavirus crisis. The group of influential officials from Congress and the Senate sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer with suggestions centered on healthcare, protecting Black-owned businesses and voting rights to be considered as part of the estimated $1 trillion stimulus package to help with the economy during the coronavirus outbreak. Many of the asks from the list of suggestions were already being discussed in Congress and among local governments, including giving all workers access to paid sick days and paid family and medical leave so that people can seek treatment without fear of losing their jobs or paychecks. The CBC also proposed a nationwide suspension on utility shut-offs as well as a ban of all evictions, foreclosures and repossessions, which has already happened in some parts of the country but not all. The proposal also got more specific when it comes to Black-owned businesses. For example, it called for a 90-day moratorium on all consumer and small business credit payments (student loans, credit cards, mortgages, car notes, small business loans, personal loans). The CBC also called for $50 billion in new grants for the Small Business Administration to help negatively impacted small businesses, including those that are “minority- and women-owned.” In addition, the CBC proposed government-backed interest-free loans to entrepreneurs, businesses, nonprofits and independent contractors to cover operating expenses and payroll needs in order to keep workers fully employed. On the voting front, CBC asked for a change of procedure for casting ballots in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. That includes establishing a National Vote-By-Mail system for all remaining primaries and the general election. The group is also seeking an end to voter suppression by restoring Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. For prisoners’ safety, the CBC suggested releasing all juveniles who’ve committed non-violent crimes, ensuring all inmates and staff get coronavirus testing and “releasing incarcerated individuals in prisons, jails, and detention centers through clemency, commutations and compassionate release.” The CBC also said it wanted additional funding for the expansion of broadband access to ensure all students, including those in rural and urban communities, have access to tele-learning resources since many schools have canceled in-person education. The CBC also reiterated its demands made before the coronavirus hit, such as canceling student debt and providing funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), especially in this time of the coronavirus. As of Sunday evening, a massive $1 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill failed to pass the Senate, according to NBC News. Republicans, who needed 60 votes to move forward on the bill, weren’t able to win over Democrats who felt dissatisfied with worker protections in the bill, which was drafted by Republicans. Democrats also felt the rules on corporate bailouts were too lax. Negotiations on the now proposed $2 trillion stimulus bill are continuing between Senate and House Democrats and Treasury Secretary Manuchin representing the Trump Administration.