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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Sen Elizabeth Warren received a large standing ovation at the Black Economic Alliance Presidential Forum Saturday, as she and 3 other Democratic presidential candidates vowed to close the racial wealth gap, the New York Times reports.

Details: The Massachusetts senator pledged at the Charleston, South Carolina, event to offer $7 billion in grants to black, Latino and Native American entrepreneurs via a newly proposed Department of Economic Development, according to CNN.

The big picture: Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) was the only other 2020 candidate at the event to get a standing ovation, the New York Times reports. He told the crowd his baby bonds plan to open a $1,000 savings account for every child born in the U.S. would "virtually eliminate the racial wealth gap" for young people, per CNN.

  • South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg discussed his "Douglass Plan," named in honor of abolitionist Frederick Douglass that's aimed at tackling inequality among minorities, CNN noted.
  • Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke announced a policy that would invest $500 million in small businesses, much of which would target owners who are minorities or women, the Times reports.

Why it matters: The forum comes a week before South Carolina’s Democratic convention, expected to be attended by almost all of the party’s 2020 candidates, per the NYT. South Carolina, which will host the fourth nominating contest next year, is the first state where a large proportion of the Democratic electorate (about 60 percent) is black, Reuters notes.

  • A Black Economic Alliance poll of 1,003 African-Americans found that between 27% and 33% of those surveyed "have reservations" about or are "very uncomfortable" with the 4 presidential candidates who addressed the forum — with Warren raising such concern with 33% of those surveyed.

Go deeper: 2020 Democrats are ready to talk about racial inequality.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
55 mins ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.