May 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden campaign unveils "Lift Every Voice" plan for African Americans

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

In a new agenda for African American communities unveiled Monday, Joe Biden is calling for the Justice Department to prioritize prosecuting hate crimes, a $900 million initiative to fight gun violence, and better access to federal relief funds for African Americans struggling due to the coronavirus.

What they're saying: "This is something that has driven his entire campaign. He launched his campaign talking about some of the hate that we saw out in Charlottesville," a senior campaign official told reporters on a call. "He'll make clear that hate has no safe harbor."

  • “This mission is more important now than ever before, as the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 have shined a light on — and cruelly exacerbated — the disparities long faced by African Americans," the campaign added in a press release.

Between the lines: The broad "Lift Every Voice" plan highlights Biden's policies and proposals that would address racial disparities within the economy, education, health care, criminal justice, voting rights and environmental justice.

Key points: The plan highlights Biden's proposal for a $900 million, eight-year grant program to fight gun violence in cities across the U.S.

  • If elected, Biden would instruct his Justice Department, as well as civil rights offices in other federal agencies, to crack down on hate crimes, senior campaign officials said on the call.
  • The plan calls for more funding for the Small Business Administration to allow the agency to better support African American-owned small businesses. It also calls for more federal contracting opportunities for African American owned businesses.
  • Biden plans to invest $1 billion per year in juvenile justice reform. He also proposes tripling Title I funding, creating a new tax credit of up to $15,000 for families buying their first home, and making public colleges and universities tuition-free for students with family incomes below $125,000.
  • The plan also would ensure "political appointees, including the president's Cabinet, look like the country they serve and ensure that our federal workforce is representative of the demographics of our country," a senior campaign official said.

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The big picture: Biden has been the presumptive frontrunner to take on President Trump since Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign in early April.

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Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.