4th December 2020

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Biden declines to say where he stands on BLM-backed BREATHE Act


President-elect Joe Biden has been silent on his stance on the Black Lives Matter-backed BREATHE Act, despite pushes from the progressive wing of his party to pass sweeping legislation aimed at social justice reform in the first 100 days of his administration.

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The BREATHE Act was introduced by Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and has been a flashpoint for BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who has urged Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to meet with her soon to discuss the future of Black communities under the new administration. 

Despite repeated requests for comment from Biden’s transition team, Fox News did not get a response on whether his administration supports the reforms suggested in the bill, and whether he will make its passage a key priority once assuming the White House come January. 

Biden’s transition team has been tight-lipped about the president’s agenda regarding reforms affecting Black people, even as its senior adviser, Kate Bedingfield, told “Fox News Sunday” that the president-elect will announce his first Cabinet picks on Tuesday, without going into specifics. 

The act proposes eliminating life sentences, retroactively expunging drug crimes for non-violent criminals, shutting down and defunding multiple federal agencies and permanently closing prisons and immigration detention centers, among other agenda items.

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The bill also seeks to end gang databases, establish pilot programs for a universal basic income, and afford voting rights and “lifetime education” to all illegal immigrants and incarcerated criminals.

Although Biden’s campaign made history for electing the first Black female to be his second in command, he repeatedly faced criticism from leftists in his party for not committing to reforms such as defunding the police, especially after months of outrage and protests after the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody in late May. 

Instead, Biden said he would prioritize addressing the country’s racial wealth gaps, environmental issues and invest in racial health disparities, among other wide-reaching goals affecting Black communities. 

His plan promises to build up small-business opportunities for minority communities, reform “opportunity zones” and invest in affordable housing and homeownership. The plan would invest $30 billion, 10% of the $300 billion Biden has said he will invest in research and development to stimulate the economy, to a new small business opportunity fund. 

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Fox News’ Morgan Phillips contributed to this report. 


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