Biden-Harris renew focus on Black issues with lead pipe action plan, voting rights push

president Joe Biden gave the opening address on Friday morning at South Carolina State University, where her esteemed US Congressman James Clyburn went with graduates for the autumn service in 2021.

Clyburn, whose early support for Biden as president had a significant impact on his 2020 election victory, never walked during his graduation 60 years ago when he graduated from university in the fall of 1961. At the time, the university was only holding spring degrees.

U.S. Representative Jim Clyburn, President Joe Biden, and South Carolina State University Interim President Alexander Conyers attend the university’s graduation ceremony in Orangeburg, South Carolina on December 17, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP via Getty Images)

President Biden is again focusing on black America as his polls show a 51% opposition. Black and brown voters are a critical part of Biden’s electoral base that set him and the vice president Kamala Harris over the top in their presidential contest against the former president and vice president Donald Trump and Mike Pence. They will be just as important in election year 2022.

Critical issues affecting black Americans dominated White House talks Thursday as the Biden-Harris administration turned its attention to lead pipe rehabilitation and voting in urban communities.

The government announced this week a 15-point action plan to tackle exposure to lead pipes and paint in blacks and minority communities that has not been addressed by local and state governments for years. Biden vowed to address the issue during his candidacy for the Oval Office.

Next year, the Biden-Harris administration will begin distributing billions of dollars to states, tribes and territories over five years to clean up the country’s lead pipes and paint. The Biden White House originally asked Congress for $ 45 billion to clean up lead contamination that is negatively affecting the health of Americans. However, only a third of Biden’s proposed budget ($ 15 million) was approved by Congress. The first round of these allocations will be $ 2.9 billion

Ali More, Biden’s deputy national climate adviser, said six to 10 million households are affected by senior service lines, but made it clear that the White House cannot quantify what is expected during this year-long project.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris speaks during an infrastructure announcement at the AFL-CIO on December 16, 2021 in Washington, DC. Vice President Harris announced the government’s plan to provide clean drinking water, replace lead pipes, and clean up lead paints that harm Americans’ health. (Photo by Alex Wong / Getty Images)

The White House’s efforts to address America’s flagship problem are aimed at addressing the health inequalities of black and brown communities, especially children. According to a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “African American children had 2.2 times higher lead levels in their second and third trimesters and postnatally 1.9 times higher lead levels in their first year of life.”

Mitch Landrieu, Former New Orleans Mayor appointed by President Biden as his senior advisor and infrastructure coordinator, is working with 10 government agencies to tackle lead contamination damage on all fronts – from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to the Ministry of Education.

President Biden

Landrieu told theGrio that “the incredible amount of lead that is in our water and pipes particularly affects colored children who have made it really difficult for these children to be good. He found that lead poisoning can “destroy brain development”.

The clarification of the lead pipe problem was a promise made by Biden’s presidential campaign, which was shined in another presidential campaign years earlier in 2016 by the then presidential candidate Hillary Clinton who said the infamous lead pipe contamination in the largely black city of Flint, Michigan was “immoral”.

The crisis, which lasted from 2014 to 2019, brought a national focus on the issue and a sense of urgency that drew the attention of civil rights groups and community leaders.

Flint water plant

Separately, President Biden and Vice President Harris met virtually with Democratic senators to discuss another pressing matter for blacks and American minorities: the right to vote. These senators included the majority leader in the Senate Chuck Schumer and Georgia’s freshman Senator Raphael Warnock.

“The right to vote is a priority!” White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Thursday on the podium of the meeting room.

“The president believes the franchise is the cornerstone of our democracy,” said Jean-Pierre, who shared that in addition to talks in Washington with congressional leaders, the Justice Department “doubled its voting rights in the civil rights division. as well as taking measures to comply with voting rights laws. Establishment of a task force to combat the increasing threats against election officials and election workers. “

The DOJ recently announced a lawsuit against the state of Texas over its gerrymandering trial that ignores minorities, particularly Hispanics. The lawsuit focuses on Section 2 of the Suffrage Act of 1965, which was gutted by the Brnovich Supreme Court v. The Democratic National Committee, as was the case in Shelby against Proprietors under Section 5 Past voter discrimination tactics, all changes to their electoral laws had to be approved by the Justice Department.

Protest against voting rights in the White House(Photo: TheGrio / Jessica Floyd)

Jean-Pierre told reporters in the briefing room that President Biden has tasked Vice President Harris with efforts to move forward with the passage of new proxy laws in order to begin efforts to re-establish the pre-screening.

House Majority Whip Congressman James Clyburn on Thursday stressed the urgency for the Biden-Harris White House and the Democrats to pass currently stalled laws aimed at restoring voting rights in America.

Known as a tastemaker and critical voice as the leading black member of Congress, Clyburn warned that doing so could literally keep black voters at home in important elections.

“If the right to vote is not enshrined in law earlier this year, democracy is lost and blacks will not go to the polls and vote in the next round,” he said.

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