Washington, DC – The following is a statement from BPC President Jason Grumet on the imminent inauguration of President Joe Biden:
“In the United States, presidential transitions are generally unremarkable. Over the past 10 weeks, however, the unprecedented irresponsibility of the outgoing president has transformed this routine process into one of the greatest threats to American democracy since our nation’s founding. Tomorrow’s inauguration should be celebrated by all Americans regardless of party.
“It would be understandable for the Biden administration, Congress, and the American people to seek a little time to heal. But the multiple crises facing the nation require the new administration and Congress to get to work immediately. The surging pandemic and resulting economic instability have left millions of Americans facing joblessness, homelessness, and hunger. Whether our wounded government can respond to the immediate crises—let alone produce solutions to the complex, generation-defining problems that predate and transcend the current emergency—is the question that hangs over the nation.
“Among the incoming administration’s many promises, none is more important than President Biden’s commitment to represent all Americans—including the 74 million people who voted against him. The new administration and Congress face a choice: continue emphasizing their differences or do the harder and braver work of compromising to advance the nation’s interests.
“The abhorrent attack on the Capitol on January 6 shattered the premise that our nation’s leaders can denigrate our democracy without consequences. Following the attack, BPC commended Congress for swiftly reconvening to certify the election of President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. During that extraordinary session, many lawmakers offered inspiring statements about the imperative to protect our vital traditions and heal our divisions. The proof of these assertions will be in our elected officials’ commitment and ability to repair our damaged institutions and constructively engage the profound challenges facing our nation.
“BPC calls on President Biden and the bipartisan leadership of Congress to engage in a multi-day summit at Camp David following the inauguration. In the past, Camp David has served as a venue for healing divisions in other nations. It is now clear that we must rediscover the capacity to lead ourselves before we can lead the world. Our nation is in crisis and requires a bold demonstration of immediate action—not just hopeful words.
“As the 117th Congress begins, our hope is that the nation’s leaders focus on two legislative imperatives primed to generate broad-based bipartisan support. First is to extend and improve upon critical COVID-19 relief measures which are needed to help families make it through the winter. The second opportunity is a major infrastructure investment that will create millions of jobs while modernizing our economy. For too long, national infrastructure investment has been the best idea that never happens. President Biden and Congress must seize this opportunity to jump start our economy, repair aging systems, advance the modern technologies, and confront climate change.
“BPC has set forth a pragmatic early agenda focused on supporting American workers and families and joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and over 130 national and local organizations to urge lawmakers to enact a fiscally and environmentally responsible infrastructure package by the Fourth of July 2021. In addition to their economic impact, early success in these two arenas is essential to rebuild trust in our institutions and restore a measure of dignity to our system of government: Democracy is the world’s greatest team sport, and momentum matters.
“BPC recognizes that incentives for rigidity and division are strong. We will work every day to support leaders with the courage and creativity to overcome their differences. As BPC co-founder and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle remarked at a recent BPC event, ‘Compromise is not capitulation. Compromise is the oxygen of democracy.’”