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In final debate, Biden offers unity, clear path forward

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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During the final presidential debate, Vice President Joe Biden offered not only a clear vision for a future that would help working families, but he described how he would lead as a president for all Americans.

Whether the topic was funding the front lines, health care, battling the coronavirus pandemic, or healing a divided nation, Biden on Thursday night offered a coherent, unifying vision for our country that would reverse course from the chaos of President Donald Trump’s tenure in office.

Biden spoke directly to working families who are facing layoffs and furloughs as a result of the economic fallout from the pandemic.

“They passed [the HEROES Act] all the way back in the beginning of the summer. This HEROES Act has been sitting there,” Biden said, frustrated with the Senate and the president’s inaction.

He added that he would make funding the front lines a priority, just as he did during the Recovery Act, when he sent federal dollars “to local communities … and the states that have to balance their budgets, so they didn’t have to fire firefighters, teachers, first responders, law enforcement officers, so they could keep their cities and counties running.”

Biden added that Trump “would not support that. They have not done a thing for them. And Mitch McConnell said ‘Let ‘em go bankrupt.’” McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, is the Senate majority leader.

“I’m running as a proud Democrat but I’m going to be an American president. I don’t see red states and blue states,” Biden said, “Every state finds themselves in trouble.”

On the topic of the Affordable Care Act, which provides health care to some 22 million Americans, and which Trump wants to overturn, Biden provided a multipoint plan for enhancing it.

This includes adding a public option to Obamacare for uninsured people who don’t qualify for Medicaid or can’t get it through their states; reducing insurance premiums and drug prices; continuing to protect people with preexisting conditions, which Trump has failed to develop a plan for; and preserving private health insurance for millions who receive coverage through their employers.

“Health care is not a privilege. It’s a right,” Biden said. “Everyone should have a right to have affordable health care. … This is something that is going to save people’s lives.”

Biden offered a similarly detailed path forward in dealing with the pandemic, for which Trump still does not have a comprehensive plan.

Key elements of Biden’s COVID-19 plan include: encouraging people to wear masks at all times, deploying rapid testing, creating a national standard to open schools and business, and giving them financial assistance to open safely.

“He says we’re learning to live with it,” Biden said, of Trump’s approach to the pandemic. “But people are learning to die with it. I will end this. I will make sure we have a plan.”

At the debate’s conclusion, Biden offered a vision of hope and unity for a fractured nation. Asked what he would say to those who don’t vote for him, Biden said, “I represent all of you. I will give you hope. We will choose hope over fear. We have enormous opportunities to make things better.”

Biden added that much more than choosing a president is on the ballot.

“What’s on the ballot is the character of the country,” he said. “Decency. Honor. Respect. Treating people with dignity. Making sure everyone has an even chance. I’m going to make sure you get that. You haven’t been getting that the past four years.”

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