Political

Trump-Biden transition live updates: Biden introduces education secretary pick

narvikk/iStockBy CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump is slated to hand over control of the White House to President-elect Joe Biden in 29 days.

Here is how the transition is unfolding. All times Eastern:

Dec 23, 12:41 pm
Harris pledges to fight for additional relief for educators, schools

Vice president-elect Kamala Harris lauded Miguel Cardona’s nomination to education secretary in remarks Wednesday, saying he “represents the very best of our nation.”

Harris also pledged that she and Biden would continue fighting for additional relief for schools.

“We need to get this virus under control and reopen our schools safely as the resident-elect always says, and that is why the president-elect and I are supporting funding for our education system in this recently-passed COVID-19 relief legislation,” she said. “And we will continue to fight for additional emergency relief for our educators and our schools.”

“And even as we do, we must also build a public education system that lifts up all Americans, regardless of race, background, or zip code,” Harris added.

Harris said that under Cardona’s leadership, “we will work together to put together an outstanding education system that will be within reach for everyone, breaking down barriers to equality, opening new paths to opportunity and helping to fulfill America’s promise to all of our children.”

Dec 23, 12:30 pm
Cardona says education was ‘the great equalizer’ for him

Biden’s education secretary pick, Miguel Cardona, also spoke at the event in Wilmington, Delaware, where the president-elect introduced him to the public on Wednesday.

“I know how challenging this year has been for students, for educators and for parents,” Cardona said. “I’ve lived those challenges alongside millions of American families. Not only in my role as state education commissioner, but as a public school parent.”

“For so many of our schools, far too many of our students, this unprecedented year has piled on crisis after crisis,” he added. “It’s taken some of our most painful, longstanding disparities and wrenched them open even wider.”

Cardona spoke about his childhood growing up in public housing and his time attending public schools in Connecticut, saying this is where he was able to expand his horizons and become the first in his family to graduate college.

“I, being bilingual and bicultural, am as American as apple pie and rice and beans,” he said. “For me, education was the great equalizer. But for too many students, your zip code and your skin color remain the best predictor of the opportunities you’ll have in your lifetime.”

“We must embrace the opportunity to reimagine education and build it back better,” he added.

Cardona said he is “grateful for the chance to take on this responsibility” as education secretary.

“I look forward to getting to work on behalf of America’s children and the families and the communities and the nation they will grow up to inherit and lead,” Cardona said.

Dec 23, 12:05 pm
Biden introduces Cardona as education secretary pick

The president-elect and vice president-elect publicly introduced Miguel Cardona as their nominee for secretary of education at an event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday. Cardona is currently Connecticut’s commissioner of education.

“Once again during this pandemic we’ve seen who our educators are — they are selfless, they are dedicated and they are cut from a true cloth of character and commitment,” Biden said. “They represent one of the most critical professions in America and that’s not hyperbole, that’s a fact.”

“In this critical moment of our nation’s history, it’s essential that there is an educator serving as secretary of education,” he added, pledging that Cardona will be ready “on day one.”

Biden also mentioned the historic nature of his Cabinet, saying, “already there are more people of color in this Cabinet than any Cabinet in the history of the United States.”

Biden pledged his team will open schools safely and that this will be a “national priority for the administration.”

The president-elect said that the next education secretary needs to be someone “who understands the need to prevent the pandemic from further exacerbating the inequities in our education system.” He noted how remote learning has been especially difficult for low-income communities.

Biden added that we need to make sure “every child in this nation has access to good education regardless of zip code.”

“The secretary of education we nominate is Dr. Miguel Cardona, fourth-grade public school teacher, the youngest principal in the state of Connecticut, first official Latino to serve as the education commissioner,” Biden said.

Dec 23, 11:36 am
Georgia secretary of state backs GOP call to require an excuse for absentee ballots

In a virtual hearing on elections before the Georgia state House Governmental Affairs Committee, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said for the first time that he supports changing state law so that voters must have an excuse to request an absentee ballot.

The Georgia Senate Republican Caucus called for this in a Dec. 8 statement.

“This cycle has shown, we need to move to an excuse-based system for absentee voting. The no-excuses system voted into law in 2005 — long before most of you, if not all of you, long before I was in the General Assembly — it makes no sense when we have three weeks of in-person, early voting available. It opens the door to potential illegal voting,” Raffensperger said.

As the secretary noted in his remarks, no excuse absentee voting has been legal in Georgia since 2005 — so this would be a significant change.

As he has done before, he also advocated for a change in the state law to require voters have ID — as opposed to signature matching — for requesting and submitting absentee ballots.

Despite calling for these changes — and despite saying there are “real substantive questions” about the election — Raffensperger still maintained that “the vast majority of claims we have seen online and in the media, and even discussed in the halls of the Capitol are simply unfounded,” going on to note that far-right news organizations are issuing retractions over their coverage.

Dec 23, 10:32 am
As relief bill stalled by Trump, 803,000 Americans filed new jobless claims

The morning after President Trump said he is not ready to sign the COVID-19 relief bill passed by both the House and the Senate, the Department of Labor said another 803,000 workers lost their job and filed for unemployment insurance last week.

Trump revealed his position on the bill on Twitter in a move giving both Democrats and Republicans a headache after he had been expected to sign the bipartisan deal this week.

The president is asking that the bill be reworked in order to give every American a $2,000 stimulus check instead of the $600 that was negotiated. Democrats had called for more money in the stimulus checks, but Republicans pushed back on the higher amount.

The bill was crafted by Senate Republicans, led by Trump ally Mitch McConnell, in tandem with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, one of Trump’s closest Cabinet members.

In the wake of Trump’s announcement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tweeted that, “Republicans repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks. At last, the President has agreed to $2,000 — Democrats are ready to bring this to the Floor this week by unanimous consent. Let’s do it!” Fellow Democrats echoed her sentiment.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, however, pushed for Trump to sign the bill as is, tweeting: “We spent months trying to secure $2000 checks but Republicans blocked it. Trump needs to sign the bill to help people and keep the government open and we’re glad to pass more aid Americans need.”

It’s unclear what comes next for Congressional Republican leaders. Mnuchin had already promised the $600 direct payments would be going out next week.

Biden has not publicly responded yet. On Tuesday, however, he welcomed the news of the bill passing, telling Americans on Twitter that while the work is far from over, “help is on the way.”

Dec 23, 10:32 am
As relief bill stalled by Trump, 803,000 Americans filed new jobless claims

The morning after President Trump said he is not ready to sign the COVID-19 relief bill passed by both the House and the Senate, the Department of Labor said another 803,000 workers lost their job and filed for unemployment insurance last week.

Trump revealed his position on the bill on Twitter in a move giving both Democrats and Republicans a headache after he had been expected to sign the bipartisan deal this week.

The president is asking that the bill be reworked in order to give every American a $2,000 stimulus check instead of the $600 that was negotiated. Democrats had called for more money in the stimulus checks, but Republicans pushed back on the higher amount.

The bill was crafted by Senate Republicans, led by Trump ally Mitch McConnell, in tandem with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, one of Trump’s closest Cabinet members.

In the wake of Trump’s announcement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tweeted that, “Republicans repeatedly refused to say what amount the President wanted for direct checks. At last, the President has agreed to $2,000 — Democrats are ready to bring this to the Floor this week by unanimous consent. Let’s do it!” Fellow Democrats echoed her sentiment.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, however, pushed for Trump to sign the bill as is, tweeting: “We spent months trying to secure $2000 checks but Republicans blocked it. Trump needs to sign the bill to help people and keep the government open and we’re glad to pass more aid Americans need.”

It’s unclear what comes next for Congressional Republican leaders. Mnuchin had already promised the $600 direct payments would be going out next week.

Biden has not publicly responded yet. On Tuesday, however, he welcomed the news of the bill passing, telling Americans on Twitter that while the work is far from over, “help is on the way.”

Dec 23, 9:16 am
Biden, Harris name additional members of White House counsel’s office

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Wednesday announced additional members they’re naming to the White House counsel’s office, a slate of four deputies who will all work under previously announced incoming White House counsel Dana Remus.

Biden and Harris announced Jonathan Cedarbaum as deputy counsel to the president and national security council legal advisor, Danielle Conley as deputy counsel to the president, Stuart Delery as deputy counsel to the president and Jonathan Su as deputy counsel to the president.

“The charge facing our administration is as big as it is essential: restoring faith in American government,” Biden said in a statement. “We are assembling an accomplished and experienced legal team to ensure this administration operates ethically, transparently and always in service of the American people.”

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