Highlights From Joe Biden’s Agenda for the Black Community
Vice President Joe Biden will make sure that people historically left out of the middle class—whether due to race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or religion—have the chance to succeed. He will be unflinching in confronting the systemic racism in our country that is built into our laws, our policies, and our institutions and will take aggressive action to correct them—ripping out the inequities in housing, health care, education, the economy, our criminal justice system, and so many other areas. Rooting out systemic racism and ensuring that everyone is treated with dignity and has equal opportunity is built into all of Joe’s domestic policies. As president, Joe will:
Create Wealth in the Black Community. Through his policies from education to housing, Joe will ensure that Black families can build and sustain wealth for themselves and their communities. Because homeownership is key to building wealth, he will ensure first time homebuyers are able to get $15,000 in federal down payment assistance. He will invest over $70 billion in HBCUs and other MSIs, and on top of that provide loan forgiveness that works for public servants. And, Joe will double funding for the State Small Business Credit Initiative to $3 billion to assist small businesses, especially those owned by people of color.
Invest in our Communities through Housing. Joe has fought for housing equity throughout his career and believes housing should be a right. He will build new and repair existing affordable housing and draw housing and community development capital to low-income communities. He will end redlining and other discriminatory and unfair practices in the housing market. And, he will protect tenants from eviction. Joe will expand funding for shelters and other homelessness programs.
Protect and Build on Obamacare. Joe believes that every American should have access to affordable and quality health care. 3 million uninsured, non-elderly Black Americans gained coverage under Obamacare by the time President Obama and Vice President Biden left office. He will give Americans a new choice to purchase a public health insurance option like Medicare. He will automatically enroll individuals in the public option, without a premium, who would be eligible for Medicaid but for their state’s unwillingness to take up the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. He will stand up to abuse of power by prescription drug corporations. And, he will reduce our nation’s unacceptably high maternal mortality rate, which disproportionately affects black women. He will double America’s investment in community health centers and ensure enforcement of mental health parity laws and expand funding for mental health services. And, he will make an unprecedented investment in research to find cures for diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes.
Invest in our Students and Educators. Joe will triple Title I funding, which goes to schools with a high percentage of low-income students. These funds must first be used to ensure teachers are paid competitively, three- and four-year olds have access to pre-school, and districts offer rigorous coursework at all their schools. Joe will double the number of mental health professionals in schools, build the best, most innovative schools in the country in Black communities, other communities of color, and low-income communities, and expand the community school model. He will fund improvements to our public school buildings so they are free from environmental contaminants and equipped with the newest technology. And, he will invest in innovative approaches to recruiting teachers of color and reinstate the Obama-Biden actions to diversify schools
Support Education Beyond High School. Joe will provide two years of community college or other high-quality training program without debt for any hard-working individual. He will help tackle barriers, such as child care and transportation costs, that prevent students from completing their community college degree or training credential. He will also make a $50 billion investment in workforce training. And, he will create a “Title I for postsecondary education” to help students at under-resourced four-year schools complete their degrees. Joe will rectify the funding disparities faced by HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions by investing over $70 billion in them to lower students’ costs, establish research centers, strengthen graduate programs, build high-tech labs, and more.
Invest in a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice. We cannot turn a blind eye to the way in which environmental burdens and benefits have been and will continue to be distributed unevenly along racial and socioeconomic lines. Joe will invest $1.7 trillion over the next ten years in a clean energy revolution, creating 10 million good-paying jobs. He will stand up to the abuse of power by polluters who disproportionately harm Black communities and hold those polluters accountable. As president, Joe will reinstate federal protections, rolled back by the Trump Administration, that were designed to protect these communities.
Make a Transformational Investment in our Country’s Infrastructure. Joe will invest $1 trillion over ten years to rebuild our roads, bridges, railway, freight, and ports. Joe will boost federal investments in low-income neighborhoods, which bear the brunt of our nation’s decaying infrastructure, to ensure that every American has access to clean drinking water, transportation that connects them to jobs, high-speed broadband, safe schools, and affordable housing. To tackle poverty, he will support applying Congressman James Clyburn’s 10-20-30 formula to all federal programs, which would allocate 10% of funding to counties “where 20% or more of the population has been living below the poverty line for the last 30 years.”
Strengthen the Right to Vote. Joe will strengthen our democracy by guaranteeing that every American’s vote is protected. He will start by restoring the Voting Rights Act and then ensuring the Justice Department challenges state laws suppressing the right to vote. He will support automatic voter registration, same-day voter registration, and other steps to make exercising one’s right to vote easier. He will support an end to gerrymandering and will protect our voting booths and voter rolls from foreign powers that seek to undermine our democracy and interfere in our elections.
Strengthen America’s Commitment to Justice. Our criminal justice system cannot be just unless we root out the racial, gender, and income-based disparities in the system. Joe will create a $20 billion competitive grant program to spur states to focus on prevention and reduce incarcerated populations, inspired by a Brennan Center proposal. He will expand and use the power of the Justice Department, under authority created by legislation he authored, to address systemic misconduct in police departments and prosecutors’ offices. Joe will also invest in public defenders’ offices, eliminate the death penalty and mandatory minimums, and end the federal crack and powder cocaine disparity. He will decriminalize the use of cannabis and automatically expunge all cannabis use convictions, end incarceration for drug use alone, and expand effective alternatives to detention. He will end cash bail and private prisons. Joe will invest $1 billion per year in juvenile justice reform. He will also set a goal of ensuring 100% of formerly incarcerated individuals have housing upon reentry and expand access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment, as well as educational opportunities and job training during and after incarceration.
End Violence Against Women. Joe will build on the landmark Violence Against Women Act, which he wrote and championed, by expanding the safety net for survivors and changing the culture that enables sexual violence. He will support the diverse needs of survivors of violence against women by expanding grants for culturally-specific services, making existing federal programs for victims more responsive to the unique needs of different communities, investing in the well-being of adolescent girls of color, strengthening investment in alternative justice approaches, and combating the epidemic of violence against transgender women of color.