1,000 signatures reached
To: Vice President Joe Biden
Sign Our Letter to Vice President Biden: We Have Some Plans for That
Dear Vice President Biden,
Tuesday night in Philadelphia, you indicated that there is a place in your campaign for supporters of progressive candidates and policies. Your willingness to listen has galvanized us—a group of Warren Democrats, volunteers, and organizers—to reach out to you. We are encouraged that you have long been an advocate for working people. You fought for gun violence prevention against the NRA, championed the Violence Against Women Act, and were an integral part of passing the Affordable Care Act. You have spent your life building coalitions, and we know that you are no stranger to a righteous fight. That is why we ask you to consider the following plans (see below, in "Why is this important?") that we believe are vital for our country going forward.
Though we have highlighted plans that have received less national attention below, we also must stress the urgent need to address climate change and health care. We firmly believe that healthcare is a human right, and that climate change is an existential threat. Senator Warren famously has a plan for everything (elizabethwarren.com/plans). Her commitment to elevating progressive and pragmatic plans is what drew many of this letter’s authors to volunteer for her campaign. Senator Warren appreciated, however, that no one has a monopoly on good ideas; she reached out to former opponents (Secretary Castro, Governor Inslee, and Senators Booker, Gillibrand, and Harris) in order to incorporate some of their policies into her platform once they left the race. We urge you to do the same.
Let’s build a broad coalition and unite the party around the best plans from every campaign. There are far too many people living on the margins who are desperate for the bold, progressive agenda that you spoke about on Tuesday. As volunteers who have worked on a campaign with a powerful ground game, if you are ready to listen, we are ready to be in this fight with you and push forward an agenda that works for every American.
Dream Big Fight On
Why is this important?
We first urge you to approach the problems that face our country using an intersectional equity lens. Challenges compounded by race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and ability are present at every level from health care to housing to climate change to education. Addressing these needs must be at the center, not the sidelines, of our government’s policy goals. We also point to Senator Warren’s—and Secretary Castro’s—practice of bringing activists with direct knowledge of and experience with these needs to the table. We ask that you not only follow that example and use these on-the-ground experts to help shape your policies, but also that you appoint them to key roles in your administration. Personnel is policy.
Senator Warren framed her campaign around dismantling the corrupt channels that perpetuate structural inequity and prevent any meaningful reform. Your plan to establish the Commission on Federal Ethics aligns with Senator Warren’s proposed U.S. Office of Public Integrity, which would oversee efforts to restore transparency to our government. We ask that you go further: support a ban on professional lobbying by any former president, vice president, cabinet secretary, federal judge, or member of Congress. We ask also that you make passage of a constitutional amendment to limit campaign contributions—nullifying Citizens United—a top priority. We must have trust in our government, and that begins with ensuring our officials and elections cannot be bought.
We applaud your commitment to a moratorium on deportations during your first 100 days as president, but further action is needed to eliminate the cruelty and abuse perpetrated in the name of immigration enforcement. We need comprehensive reform of our immigration justice system, and we must start with decriminalizing immigration. To prevent future abuses, we urge you to commit to the establishment of professional, independent Article I immigration courts, and to provide access to counsel in all immigration courts. You have condemned the horrific actions of the Trump administration at the border. We urge you to adopt Senator Warren’s plan for a Department of Justice task force to investigate and prosecute all reported crimes committed against detained immigrants.
Student Loan Debt
The rising cost of tuition across the country means that many students are crushed by student loan debt—and it’s impacting our entire economy. Black students are particularly affected: they are more likely to have federal student loans and owe more than their original debt 12 years after finishing college. We are supportive of public service, but strongly believe that across-the-board college loan debt reduction is the best approach, especially for those with increased barriers (poor and working-class students, students with family obligations, and working students). We ask you to adopt Senator Warren's approach and cancel student loan debt through executive action, immediately enabling 95% of student loan debt holders to pursue their dreams.
Universal Child Care
Universal child care is an investment in working parents. It provides millions of children with access to quality care and early learning. It also creates millions of well-paying jobs for child care workers and early education teachers, many of whom are women of color. Research shows that every dollar spent on quality early education saves seven dollars in the long run. We encourage you to adopt Senator Warren’s plan, which mandates that universal child care be free to any family that earns less than 200% of the federal poverty line. Crucially, the plan also establishes a partnership between the federal government and local providers to offer a network of early childhood options—including child care and preschool centers—to every family.
Equality for Americans with Disabilities
You have a strong history advocating for Americans with disabilities through your work on the ADA, the ADAAA, IDEA, and VAWA. It is critical that you collaborate with disability rights leaders and advocates moving forward to form a comprehensive disability rights plan. We ask that you use Senator Warren’s plan for Protecting the Rights and Equality of Americans With Disabilities as a model. This includes our ask that you to commit to combating discrimination in the labor market and workplace, ending the subminimum wage, fully funding the Office of Disability Employment Policy, improving SSI and SSDI programs, breaking down barriers to marriage, providing national paid family and medical leave, improving critical elements of the long-term services, and supporting coverage to enable the right to live in the community. We also urge you to protect the civil rights of all Americans with disabilities, including decriminalizing poverty, addressing language deprivation for Deaf and hard-of-hearing students, and enforcing the ADA everywhere that it is applicable. We urge you to work with the disability rights community to incorporate key priorities relating to employment, housing, opioid medications, disaster preparedness, healthcare, education, equity in criminal justice, deinstitutionalization, and other key civil rights issues into your platform.
These plans have a price tag. We believe in fiscal responsibility—every American should pay their fair share. We believe ultra-millionaires, who benefit most from our country’s infrastructure, should invest a little more in our country. Therefore, we ask you to adopt Senator Warren’s two cent wealth tax, which requires those Americans lucky enough to have vast fortunes to pay a two cent tax on every dollar of net worth above $50 million. Over 10 years, this tax will raise an estimated $3.75 trillion that we can reinvest in working families by supporting education, childcare, family leave, and more.
We invite you to join us in signing this letter to Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden.