The AFL-CIO, the country’s largest coalition of labor unions, endorsed Joe Biden for president Tuesday, with the organization’s top official vowing to wage an aggressive effort to help him defeat President Trump.Union officials cemented their support for the former vice president in a vote of the organization’s general board, joining a long roster of influential labor groups backing the presumptive Democratic nominee. In an interview with The Washington Post, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said his group will be “playing hard” in about a dozen battleground states where it plans to urge members to support his candidacy.“Joe Biden has demonstrated his character,” said Trumka. “We look forward to helping him get elected president and changing the direction of the country.”The AFL-CIO, which includes 55 unions representing 12.5 million workers, is a staunch Democratic ally that has been expected to endorse Biden ever since he effectively clinched the nomination. The organization endorsed Hillary Clinton in June 2016.
Along with this, Biden is looking to kneecap Trump on the one issue he used to rely on heavily: the economy.
The former vice president’s campaign believes he has an opening with voters on an issue that has been a strength of Trump’s given the economic harm caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which has locked down businesses and led to skyrocketing unemployment.
They plan to argue that Trump handled the pandemic poorly, is mishandling the economy, and that their candidate is the better leader to shepherd the country to a recovery.
“No one thinks the economy is in a good place right now,” said one Democratic strategist who supports Biden. “Trump got us here. And Biden can make the case that he’s the one who can lead us out of here.”
Allies say the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee will lean on his record in 2009, when he was a part of the Obama administration handling the recovery from the last big recession.
The decade since that recession included tremendous growth, though the Obama administration also came under heavy criticism from the right and the left for its handling of the issue, raising questions over how effectively the experience can be used to buttress Biden.
Biden signaled his focus on the economy with an interview Friday on CNBC.
His message was focused on the idea that the government’s first job must be handling the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
“The way to fix the economy is to get the public health response correct,” he said.
He also took on Amazon, said he would not raise taxes on households earning $400,000 annually, and sought to take on Trump.
“His slowness is costing lives and costing jobs and costing our ability to rebound,” Biden said.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, called for federal rent and mortgage forgiveness in an interview on Snapchat’s “Good Luck America” political show.
Biden said postponing housing payments wasn’t enough. “Forgiveness. Not paid later, forgiveness,” Biden said in the interview, which was also published by Vanity Fair. “It’s critically important to people who are in the lower-income strata.”
Policies like outright rent and mortgage forgiveness could help Biden as he seeks to court progressive supporters of former candidates such as Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
The issue has largely been left up to state leaders, with governors moving to postpone rent and mortgage payments.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has never really sought or received a reputation as a deep thinker on domestic policy matters. His highest-profile role as a senator involved judicial confirmations and his time chairing the Foreign Relations Committee. As vice president, his best-known work was in the national security domain or as a personal emissary from the White House to Congress.
As a candidate in the 2020 primaries, his pitch was overwhelmingly about electability; his policy profile was defined primarily by the things he wouldn’t embrace. Left-wing journalists and activists criticized his opposition to sweeping proposals from Sen. Bernie Sanders like Medicare-for-all or the Green New Deal. Biden argued that the plans were implausible to make real and that he would take a more pragmatic approach — frustrating proponents of a “political revolution” or Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “big structural change.”
That conflict between what the left wants and what Biden wouldn’t give them became the dominant narrative about him in the mainstream press. Biden was defined by the things he was against, rather than by the substantial overlap between his policy ideas and those of his progressive critics. Biden is a mainstream Democrat, and as the Democratic Party has grown broadly more progressive in recent years, he is now running on arguably the most progressive policy platform of any Democratic nominee in history.
It’s a detailed and aggressive agenda that includes doubling the minimum wage and tripling funding for schools with low-income students. He is proposing the most sweeping overhaul of immigration policy in a generation, the biggest pro-union push in three generations, and the most ambitious environmental agenda of all time.
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