Promises Made, Promises Kept: President Biden and Vice President Harris are Fighting To Level the Playing Field for Black Americans

In celebration of Black History Month, we’re highlighting the ways that President Biden and Vice President Harris have kept their promise to Black communities and delivered for them – investing in Black students, supporting Black-owned small businesses, and appointing a historic number of Black judges to the federal bench. 

DNC National Press Secretary Sarafina Chitika released the following statement: 

“President Biden and Vice President Harris are keeping their promise to invest in Black communities across America – investing billions into HBCUs, fighting to double the maximum Pell Grant and lower student loan debt for Black students, overseeing record growth in Black-owned small businesses, and appointing a historic number of Black judges to the federal bench. Across the board, President Biden and Vice President Harris are working to ensure all Americans, including Black Americans, can live their American dream. Donald Trump, meanwhile, is only fighting for himself and his ultra-wealthy donors, as he tried to slash funding for HBCUs, turned back the clock on diversity on the federal bench, and left Black families drowning in student debt with no solutions to the crisis. Voters know only one candidate is going to invest in Black communities, and that’s President Joe Biden.”

The Biden-Harris administration has already invested over $7 billion in HBCUs and their new budget provides a tuition subsidy for qualifying students attending HBCUs.

White House Fact Sheet: “Investing over $7 billion in HBCUs, which includes:

  • $3.6 billion for HBCUs through the American Rescue Plan and other COVID relief.
  • $1.6 billion in capital finance debt relief for 45 public and private HBCUs.
  • $1.7 billion in grant funding to expand academic capacity and provide support for low-income students.”

White House Fact Sheet: “Championed the largest increase to Pell Grants in the last decade—a combined increase of $900 to the maximum award over the past two years, affecting the over 60% of Black undergraduates who rely on Pell grants.”

TheGrio: “President Biden’s policies have been intentional to drive equity in education, including investing in HBCUs, increasing Pell Grants and improving the income-based repayment program. ‘We’ve made this much more affordable to student borrowers, and that, again, disproportionately will help Black debtors,’ said [chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors Jared] Bernstein.”

USA Today: “College affordability: Biden budget would double Pell Grant by 2029” 

TheGrio: “Biden-Harris campaign touts ‘billions more for HBCUs’ in new ad” 

Trump promised to “save Black institutions” but his budget would have slashed millions from federal funding, at the detriment of low-income students at historically Black colleges.

Mother Jones: “Trump not only proposed no new funding for HBCUs, but also called for slashing millions of dollars from federal programs that support degree programs at the schools.”

“Taken together, these cuts would disproportionately affect low-income students at black colleges and cost the schools millions in revenue.”

Politico: “In January, Trump baffled HBCU leaders when he claimed he saved their institutions by signing bipartisan legislation that included annual funding for historically Black colleges and universities.

“The bill is a 10-year renewal of funding. During Obama’s eight years in office, mandatory HBCU funding ranged from almost $80 million to $85 million per year. The same has been true during Trump’s administration.”

Biden has vowed to create a court that looks like America, and he delivered – his judicial appointees, including the first Black female Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson – are the most diverse of any U.S. president.

Roll Call: “Seeking court that looks ‘like America,’ Biden picks Ketanji Brown Jackson”

Black Enterprise: “Meet The History-Making Black Women Federal Judges In South Carolina And Indiana”

The 19th: “Two years in, Biden has prioritized nominating women of color as judges”

“He fulfilled that commitment in June when Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first Black woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. While Jackson’s historic confirmation was the most visible sign of systemic change in the judiciary, the president has prioritized diversity throughout the federal court system. Biden’s judicial appointees are the most diverse of any U.S. president to date in terms of race, gender and professional background.” 

The Hill: “Right now, more than one-third of all Black women federal judges in U.S. history have been nominated by Biden. At the appellate court level, President Biden has named more Black women to the circuit courts (13) than all of his predecessors combined (eight).” 

Trump’s judicial appointments worsened racial diversity.

Brennan Center: “Trump and McConnell’s Overwhelmingly White Male Judicial Appointments”

Business Insider: “Trump’s judicial appointments worsened racial diversity in the federal courts”

“In just four years, Trump placed 234 judges with lifetime tenure to the federal courts, making up 28% of the current federal judiciary. An overwhelming number — 192 — of Trump’s active appointments are white, while only 37 of them are people of color.”

President Biden has delivered voting rights wins for Black voters in an effort to restore the protections that the Trump administration wreaked havoc on.

USA Today: “’Let the people vote’: Biden signs executive order promoting voter access, marking anniversary of Selma march”

CNN: “President Joe Biden signed an executive order Sunday expanding voting access in what the White House calls ‘an initial step’ in its efforts to ‘protect the right to vote and ensure all eligible citizens can freely participate in the electoral process.’

“The move comes as Republicans in statehouses around the country work to advance voter suppression legislation, including a bill in Georgia that voting rights groups say targets Black voters.”

Donald Trump attempted to roll back voting rights legislation at every turn, and has continued to do so even after he left office. 

ProPublica: “Trump Administration Quietly Rolls Back Civil Rights Efforts Across Federal Government” 

“Now, under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the DOJ appears to be turning away from this storied tool, called consent decrees. The move is just one part of a move by the Trump administration to limit federal civil rights enforcement. Other departments have scaled back the power of their internal divisions that monitor such abuses.” 

CNN Op-Ed: “Trump administration has Voting Rights Act on life support” 

The Guardian: “Trump and his allies push new Republican effort to restrict voting laws” 

“The moves comes as Trump himself signaled his support for new Republican-pushed legislation in Georgia which critics have slammed as being a major blow to voting rights for communities of color, especially Black voters. Joe Biden called the Georgia laws ‘Jim Crow in the 21st Century’ and ‘an atrocity.’”

Biden kept his promise to require the White House and federal agencies to annually evaluate if they’re keeping in line with equitable decision making wherever possible.

NBC News: “Biden administration touts most diverse White House staff in history”

Bloomberg: “Biden Elevates Racial Equity Actions Across Federal Agencies”

The Hill: “Biden signs executive order to address racial inequity”  

“The Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government order is designed to address systemic barriers that hold communities of color back from prospering. 

“The order is Biden’s second racial equity executive order.”

“Biden’s new order builds on Executive Order 13985 by establishing a new annual process requiring agencies to create an annual public Equity Action Plan.” 

Trump promised to revoke Biden’s racial equity executive order on his first day in office and notoriously had an overwhelmingly white leadership team. 

Press Release, Donald J. Trump for President: “I will revoke this executive order on my first day back in office. I will look forward to it.”

Washington Post: “From the outset, his leadership team has been overwhelmingly White. A Washington Post tally identified 59 people who have held Cabinet positions or served in top White House jobs including chief of staff, press secretary and national security adviser since Trump took office.

“Only seven have been people of color.”