Joe Biden

NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS AND PREVENTION MONTH, 2021

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION

For too long, domestic violence was considered a "family issue" and was left for families to address in private.  That is why, decades ago, I created and pushed for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to be passed.  Today, we recognize the important roles of the public and private sectors, non-profit organizations, communities, and individuals in helping to prevent and address domestic violence and create a culture that refuses to tolerate abuse.  Domestic violence affects millions of people in the United States, causes significant harm to the physical and mental health of survivors and their families, undermines their economic stability and overall well-being, and is a stain on the conscience of our country.  While significant progress has been made in reducing domestic violence and improving services and support for survivors, much work remains to be done to expand prevention efforts and provide greater access to safety and healing.  During National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, we come together to reaffirm our commitment to ending domestic violence and supporting survivors. 
 
Domestic violence is an abuse of power that tears apart the fabric of relationships and families and undermines the well-being of communities.  One in 4 women and 1 in 10 men have experienced sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime.  Homicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States for women under the age of 44, and nearly half are killed by a current or former male intimate partner.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence has become a pandemic within a pandemic, with many victims facing the added pressures of increased economic insecurity, increased time in isolation with their abusers, and limited contact with their support networks.  This has made it even more difficult for victims to access the lifesaving services and support they need. 
 
To strengthen our response to domestic violence and all forms of gender-based violence, my American Rescue Plan allocated an additional $450 million to increase support for domestic violence and sexual assault service providers and to further assist survivors in their short- and long-term transition away from their abusers.  It also includes a historic commitment to funding culturally-specific community-based organizations to address the needs of survivors in historically marginalized communities.  My Administration also allocated an additional $550 million for domestic violence shelters and supportive service providers to develop and employ COVID-19 detection and mitigation strategies and help survivors access health care during the pandemic.  In the Fiscal Year 2022 budget, I proposed an historic $1 billion for grant programs administered by the Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women, and more than doubled investments through the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act.  I was also proud to sign into law the Victims of Crime Act Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act, which increases resources available to help thousands of survivors of domestic violence. 
 
To accelerate this progress, the White House Gender Policy Council is working to develop our Nation's first ever National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence and the Council is collaborating with the Department of State and other Federal agencies to update and strengthen our Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally.  My Administration is also working to prevent and improve the response to intimate partner violence in our military and pushing to strengthen VAWA.  Authoring and championing VAWA remains one of my proudest legislative achievements as a Senator, and its reauthorization is long overdue.  Legislation to reauthorize and strengthen VAWA, which already passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support, would reduce intimate partner homicides by strengthening common sense gun laws, expand protections for Native American survivors, increase access to safe housing, expand training for trauma-informed policing, and support programs centered on restorative practices.  We are also committed to reauthorizing the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act to strengthen efforts to address domestic violence as a public health issue and to increase support for life-saving services and prevention programs across the Nation.
 
During National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, we honor the tremendous dedication of advocates and service providers, honor the courage and resilience of survivors, and recommit ourselves to standing with them for safety, dignity, and justice.  There is still much work to do, and it will take all of us to do it.  We must rededicate ourselves to creating a society where domestic violence is not tolerated, where survivors are supported, and where all people have an opportunity to thrive without fear of violence or abuse.
 
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2021 as National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.  I call on all Americans to speak out against domestic violence and support efforts to educate young people about healthy relationships centered on respect; support victims and survivors in your own families and networks; and to support the efforts of victim advocates, service providers, health care providers, and the legal system, as well as the leadership of survivors, in working to end domestic violence.
 
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-sixth.
 

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

NATIONAL COMMUNITY POLICING WEEK, 2021

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION

Community policing -- the practice of law enforcement professionals working side-by-side with members of their communities to keep neighborhoods safe -- is a critical and proven tool used by law enforcement agencies across our Nation to improve public safety and forge strong, valuable relationships.  During National Community Policing Week, we recommit to building bonds of trust between our law enforcement officers and the communities they serve and encourage community policing practices across our Nation.

America's law enforcement officers play an essential role in protecting our communities and enforcing our laws.  Every time an officer pins on their badge and walks out their front door, the loved ones they wave goodbye to are forced to wonder if they will return home safely.  This week and every week, we recognize the bravery and dedication of our peace officers who put themselves on the line each and every day to protect and serve their communities. 

We also recognize the role that all community members play in advancing public safety.  As our country continues to reckon with a long and painful history of systemic racism -- as well as the ongoing challenges of social and economic injustice, the COVID-19 pandemic, mental illness, homelessness, and substance abuse -- we must think broadly, conscientiously, and creatively about the future of effective policing and how to foster strong police-community partnerships.  Evidence and experience tell us that strong neighborhood relationships, the use of problem-solving to address crime systematically, and improvements to policy and training -- key tenets of community policing -- are all tools that help make our communities safer.  My Administration is using programs such as the Department of Justice's Project Safe Neighborhoods to bring together law enforcement and community stakeholders in an effort to develop local solutions to help prevent violent crime.

I have long been an advocate for community policing, just as my late son Beau was when he served as Attorney General of Delaware -- because he knew, as I know, that it works.  It is especially important now, as State and local governments across the country continue to climb back from the once-in-a-century economic crisis triggered by COVID-19 last year.  With their budgets decimated, countless communities were forced to cut essential services in 2020, including law enforcement and social services, just as a second public health epidemic of gun violence threatened the safety of their cities and towns.  To help keep our communities safe, my Administration has provided local leaders with guidance on how American Rescue Plan funds can be used to help reduce violent crime and ensure public safety.  I am also committed to investing in mental health services, drug treatment and prevention programs, services for people experiencing homelessness, and community violence intervention.  Community violence intervention programs are vital to preventing violence before it occurs, and they have a proven track record of reducing crime by up to 60 percent in cities across our Nation. 

My Administration is also working to ensure that police departments have the resources they need to serve their communities safely and effectively.  Communities experiencing a surge in gun violence can make use of $350 billion in State and local funding included in the American Rescue Plan to hire law enforcement officers and advance community policing strategies.  I have also proposed an additional $300 million in my budget for next year to support community policing across our country.  As I seek that additional funding, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services at the Department of Justice will continue to provide grants for community policing pilot projects and hiring local police officers -- including funding prioritization for officers who will live in the communities they serve.  These new resources will allow departments to implement community policing strategies and strengthen police-community partnerships.

At its core, community policing is about building trust and mutual respect between police and communities -- important goals that can only be reached when we have accountability and faith in our justice system.  That's why I strongly support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would deliver meaningful accountability, improved transparency, and the resources necessary to support community policing and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.  Although that bill is not yet law, my Administration will continue to consult with the law enforcement and civil rights communities to achieve reforms that advance safety, dignity, and equal justice for all Americans. 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 3 through October 9, 2021, as National Community Policing Week.  I call upon law enforcement agencies, elected officials, and all Americans to observe this week by recognizing ways to improve public safety, build trust, and strengthen community relationships.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-sixth.

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

NATIONAL YOUTH SUBSTANCE USE PREVENTION MONTH, 2021

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Far too many families across our Nation have been impacted by addiction and the overdose epidemic.  In 2020, more than 93,000 people died from an overdose -- 93,000 families forced to bury a piece of their souls.  The impact of this crisis echoes in communities across the Nation, in the empty chairs in classrooms and around kitchen tables.  During National Youth Substance Use Prevention Month, we reaffirm our commitment to helping America's youth overcome this epidemic and lead healthy, fulfilling lives.

The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the need to provide more resources to address substance use disorder.  Substance use disorder touches families in every community, and it is essential that we invest in a broad range of services, including prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery support services for mental health and substance use.

My Administration has been working to expand evidence-based prevention programs along with access to care and recovery support services.  We are committed to preventing substance use among our Nation's youth -- including alcohol, tobacco products, illicit drugs, and misused prescription medications -- by bringing communities together to find local solutions.  Through the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Drug-Free Communities Support Program helps equip community coalitions to reduce youth substance use at the local level.  We must continue to encourage parents, caregivers, educators, and other members of the community to play an active role in promoting evidence-based prevention efforts that encourage healthy lifestyles, promote alternatives to substance use, and educate young people about the harms associated with substance use.  We know that delaying substance use until after adolescence, when the brain has fully developed, decreases the likelihood of an individual developing a substance use disorder.  We also know that smart investments in effective school-based prevention programs save lives and save our economy money in the form of averted medical costs and improved productivity.

My Administration is also committed to advancing racial equity in our approach to drug policy -- implementing fairer, more effective, and more culturally resonant policies to prevent, address, and treat substance use disorder.  That is why we are supporting the development of tailored tools that strengthen prevention efforts in diverse communities.  These include racial equity trainings, resources on inclusion and diversity, and racial equity decision-making frameworks.  Our youth-focused efforts must also account for the fact that poverty, homelessness, trauma, and other adverse childhood experiences affect drug use and the overall health of our Nation's youth -- especially with respect to people of color, who are disproportionately impacted by these factors.  By advancing equity in every part of our society -- including our education, health care, criminal justice, and housing systems -- we can build a future where all Americans can lead healthy and fulfilling lives

This October, we honor all those who champion evidence-based youth substance use prevention and recommit ourselves to ensuring that all Americans have the skills, knowledge, and resources to live full and healthy lives.  Substance use disorder is a disease, and I will do everything within my power to expand access to evidence-based prevention, treatment, harm reduction, and recovery support services as well as reduce the supply of illicit drugs to keep more Americans safe. 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2021 as National Youth Substance Use Prevention Month.  I call on communities, parents, caregivers, educators, employers, healthcare professionals, law enforcement officials, faith and community leaders, and all Americans to take action to promote evidence-based prevention and improve the health of our Nation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-sixth. 

JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

Statement by President-elect Joe Biden on Human Rights Day

Seventy two years ago, Eleanor Roosevelt and other leaders from around the globe adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, affirming that all human beings are “born free and equal in dignity and rights.” From the horrors of a world war, they championed a simple yet revolutionary truth — that peace, prosperity, and justice rely on our obligation to uphold the universal rights of all. 

Today, we recognize Human Rights Day and honor those who work tirelessly, often at great personal risk, to defend fundamental freedoms and fight oppression. Around the world, authoritarian leaders desperate to maintain their grip on power deny this truth: internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms are each — equally — the entitlement of all. It makes no difference where we live and no matter how we look, how we pray, or whom we love. In too many countries, people are imprisoned and face torture or death for speaking their minds, reporting the news, or demanding their rights. 

This year, amid a pandemic and global protests, we are reminded of how much work remains to be done to root out the systemic inequities that continue to cut short lives and imperil livelihoods. And as we work with partners and through international organizations to advance human rights globally, we must also recognize that our task begins at home. Every American — regardless of race, ethnicity, zip code, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability — should be free to flourish in a society that values and defends equal justice for all. We must lead by the power of our example, standing in solidarity with generations of brave women and men who have fought for our common dignity.

My administration will build on this legacy and stand with human rights defenders here in the United States and the world over as we put universal rights and strengthening democracy at the center of our efforts to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

How Biden and Trump plan to face the COVID-19 pandemic

By Anya Sczerzenie, Capital News Service

RICHMOND, Va.-- Both major presidential candidates hope to convince voters they have plans in place to protect the health of Americans and the economy as COVID-19 cases rise nationally. 

As of Oct. 28, there have been almost 8.8 million total coronavirus cases in the United States and 176,754 in Virginia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the past week, the country has reached a record high level of daily new cases, according to The New York Times.

Candidates addressed their plans to address the COVID-19 crisis during the final presidential debate held earlier this month. President Donald Trump criticized former Vice President Joe Biden for wanting to “shut down the country” and said that a vaccine will come soon. 

“I’m going to shut down the virus, not the country,” Biden responded, adding that there need to be “standards,” or response protocols, in place for when rates increase in a community. 

Below are more details on Trump and Biden’s plans for handling the pandemic. 

Trump’s Plan

Samantha Zager, Trump’s deputy national press secretary, said that the president’s administration will continue to respond to the virus as they have been.

“When reelected, the President will continue his work on developing a vaccine to achieve his vision of a return to normal life and a roaring, post-COVID economy where all Virginians can achieve their version of the American Dream,” Zager wrote in an email. 

Zager also criticized Biden’s proposed response to the virus.

“Joe Biden has actively demeaned a coronavirus vaccine for political purposes, and he would surrender to the virus, hurting Virginia’s small businesses and families with another draconian shutdown of our economy,” Zager said. 

Under Trump, Congress passed an over $2 trillion dollar coronavirus stimulus package—the CARES Act—that gave money to every eligible adult in the country, as well as small businesses and healthcare facilities. Legislators recently failed to advance another stimulus package. 

Trump has stated that the U.S. is the world leader in testing, having performed 100 million COVID-19 tests. The U.S. however, does not have the highest number of tests per capita, which some health experts say is a more useful metric, according to PolitiFact, a fact checking project run by the nonprofit Poynter Institute.

 Trump said the U.S. has led the “largest mobilization since World War II” to combat the coronavirus and that no American who needed a ventilator has gone without one. Additionally, his administration has launched “Operation Warp Speed” to fast-track vaccine production. In July, Trump hoped to have 300 million doses of vaccines available by early 2021. The administration announced agreements just weeks before the election with CVS and Walgreens to provide COVID-19 vaccines to residents of long-term care facilities with no out-of-pocket costs.

Trump has also stated that the U.S. will withdraw from the World Health Organization to hold the organization “accountable for mismanagement of the coronavirus.” 

Biden’s Plan

Biden's campaign did not answer direct questions but referred to the candidate’s website which outlines ways that Biden plans to fight the virus. If elected, his administration would “spend whatever it takes, without delay, to meet public health needs and deal with the mounting economic consequences.”

He has accused Trump of having “no comprehensive plan” to curtail the pandemic that has killed over 225,000 Americans. Biden also said he backs the accelerated development of a vaccine, something that has also been a priority for Trump’s administration. 

Biden promotes swift and aggressive action from the federal government to protect families, small businesses, first responders and caregivers. Biden said helping individuals and small businesses is essential. Corporations shouldn’t be bailed out. 

Biden states that if elected he will make COVID-19 tests “widely available and free” by establishing at least 10 mobile testing sites per state and expanding programs which offer tests to people who may not know how to ask for a test, such as nursing home residents. He also plans to amend the Public Health Service Act and the Social Security Act to make sure individuals aren’t charged for COVID-19 tests, treatment or vaccines. 

Biden has also called on every state governor, as well as local authorities like mayors, to pass a mask mandate.

The Biden administration plans to provide up to 12 weeks of paid sick leave for U.S. workers. Biden promotes the passage of an emergency paid leave program that would require 14 days of paid leave for individuals who get sick from the virus or have to quarantine. 

Biden’s plan also includes helping “vulnerable nations” treat coronavirus outbreaks. 

What should the next president do?

Dr. Bill Petri, a professor at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville, said that the next president needs to focus on finding a vaccine for the disease and producing those vaccines within the U.S.

“First, the federal government needs to support fundamental research on immunization and vaccines,” Petri said. “We should be leading the world in providing COVID-19 vaccines, we don’t want China or Russia doing that.”

Petri also said that the federal government should be more involved in coordinating the COVID-19 responses of individual states, which have differed depending on individual governors. 

“What one state does affects us all,” Petri said. 

Many Democratic state governors have criticized the federal government for providing a slow-paced COVID-19 response. Some state governors have coordinated their COVID-19 responses with other states. The governors of Virginia and Maryland, as well as the mayor of Washington D.C, have attempted regional cooperation in battling the pandemic. 

Petri said that the next president should continue to support the CDC as well as individual state departments of health, including the Virginia Department of Health. 

In a recent Pew Research poll, 57% of registered voters surveyed said they are “very or somewhat” confident in Biden’s ability to handle the impact of the coronavirus, while 40 percent say they are “very or somewhat” confident in Trump’s ability to do so.

Capital News Service is a program of Virginia Commonwealth University's Robertson School of Media and Culture. Students in the program provide state government coverage for a variety of media outlets in Virginia.

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