WASHINGTON, DC – Greek-American Congressman John Sarbanes (D-MD) released the following statement about the Presidential Inauguration and the priorities for the Biden Administration and the new Democratic Congress:
“On Wednesday, January 20, our nation will come together and celebrate the 59th Presidential Inauguration, swearing in Joe Biden as President and Kamala Harris as Vice President.
In light of recent safety concerns, and following public health guidance amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies has announced that it will significantly limit in-person attendance at the inauguration. The National Mall will also be closed. You can join the largely virtual inauguration ceremonies online or via your local television provider. The ceremonies begin at 10:00 AM.
Building Back Better for the American People
The inauguration comes at an incredibly fraught and difficult moment for our country — arguably one of the most challenging times in American history. But it also offers us hope.
Alongside the Biden Administration, my colleagues and I in the new Democratic Congress will work to advance several critical priorities for the American people:
- Ending the Pandemic, Saving Lives and Supercharging America's Economic Recovery: As a result of the Trump Administration's willful negligence, incompetence and abject failure to protect our country from COVID-19, we remain in the throes of a raging pandemic that has killed nearly 400,000 Americans and led to devastating job losses and economic displacement. In the days ahead, we will move swiftly to pass President Biden's American Rescue Plan to deliver urgently needed relief to American families, small businesses, schools, hospitals, health care providers and state and local governments. The package will also implement a national strategy to get the virus under control and improve the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to every American. The American Rescue Plan will help our country get to the other side of this crisis, put our economy back on track and offer us the opportunity to rebuild and recover in an equitable way for every community across the nation.
- Cleaning Up Washington and Restoring Trust: To confront the daunting challenges that face our nation, we must strengthen our democratic institutions and restore the public's confidence in our government. That's why Democrats have made H.R. 1, the For the People Act, our first priority. This transformational anti-corruption and clean elections bill — which I proudly assembled as Chair of the Democracy Reform Task Force — will protect the right to vote, ensure the integrity of our elections, hold elected officials accountable and end the era of big, secret, special-interest money in our politics. Once we revive our democracy and restore public trust in our government, we can deliver the kind of sweeping and empowering change that Americans want to see.
- Delivering Racial Justice and Equality: The promise of America continues to be betrayed by police officers who do not value Black lives, by prosecutors who turn a blind eye to racial injustice and, more broadly, by systems of power and privilege that are all too comfortable with the status quo. The anger and frustration that keeps boiling over in so many communities across our country is real — and it is warranted. We must end this corruption of justice. That's why I am committed to advancing several critical efforts in Congress, like the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the End Racial Profiling Act, the Commission on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation and the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act, along with many other racial justice reforms, to help make our country live up to its promises and provide equal opportunity for every American in every community.
- Lowering the Cost of Health Care and Prescription Drugs: For far too long, wealthy pharmaceutical companies have called the shots in Washington and saddled Americans with out-of-control and unaffordable prescription drug prices. But Big Pharma is due for a reckoning. As a long-serving member of the House Health Subcommittee, I've helped advance many proposals to reduce the cost of prescription drugs — including the landmark Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act — and to make health care more affordable. Working closely with my colleagues in Congress and with the Biden Administration, we will advance legislation to reduce prescription drug prices, lower out-of-pocket costs for seniors, protect Americans with pre-existing conditions and increase access to high-quality and affordable care.
- Acting Swiftly on Climate Change and Climate Justice, and Protecting the Chesapeake Bay: 2020 just tied 2016 as the warmest year on record. We cannot wait another moment to act on climate. As a newly minted member of the House Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee, I look forward to working with the Biden Administration as we quickly rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, reduce our carbon footprint, make robust investments in renewable energy and infrastructure, bring our electric grid into the 21st Century and put America back on the path to a clean energy future. At the same time, I will continue my role as Co-Chair of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Task Force and build on the incredible success we've had over the last couple of years to protect the health and vitality of the Chesapeake Bay so that our children and grandchildren can enjoy this national environmental treasure for years to come.
- And many other priorities: From to LGBTQ+ rights to gun safety and from paycheck fairness and better wages to veterans benefits, we will work to make life better and build a more just, equitable and successful country for all Americans.
In closing, I want to extend warm wishes to you and your families for a safe, healthy, hopeful and prosperous year ahead.
Please remember that my office is always available to help you and your families access important federal services and benefits, like Social Security and Medicare. If you need assistance, please send me an email or call 410-832-8890 during normal business hours.”
More information is available online: https://youtu.be/C-qYgs_yOXA.