Royal Oak Tribune

Biden addresses COVID relief bill, holiday pandemic precaution­s

- By Alexandra Jaffe

WILMINGTON, DEL. » President- elect Joe Biden on Tuesday expressed empathy with struggling families and applauded Congress for passing the coronaviru­s relief bill as the nation deals with a COVID-19 surge that’s casting a shadow over the Christmas holiday.

He called out to frontline workers, scientists, researcher­s, clinical trial participan­ts and those with deployed family members during the holiday season.

“Our hearts are always with you — keep the faith,” he said in a year- end address from Wilmington, Delaware.

Noting the ways that the pandemic has altered his own holiday celebratio­ns, which typically include up to two dozen relatives, Biden said, “not this year.”

“This season of reflection carries a much deeper meaning than it usually does,” Biden said, encouragin­g Americans to continue to take precaution­s to try to stem the spread of the virus, which has now killed more than 320,000 people in the United States. “Jill and I send our prayers, as I’m sure all of you do, to all that are facing this dark winter.”

The day before, Biden got vaccinated on live television as part of an effort to reassure people that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe.

“I look forward to the second shot, and I have absolute confidence in the vaccine,” Biden said. “But we’re

in short supply.”

On the $900 billion coronaviru­s aid bill passed by Congress on Monday, Biden called the bill a “down payment” on a broader relief bill he plans to introduce when he takes office in January.

“Like all compromise­s, this is far from perfect,” Biden said. “Congress did their job this week, and I can and I must ask them to do it again next year.”

On Tuesday, Biden’s team also announced a new round of White House staff appointmen­ts, led by longtime aide Bruce Reed as deputy chief of staff. Reed served as Biden’s chief of staff during his first term as vice president and has long been a close member of Biden’s inner circle of advisers.

But throughout the weeks of speculatio­n over Biden’s Cabinet selections, progressiv­es have expressed concerns about what they see as Reed’s moderate po

litical views and fiscal conservati­sm.

Progressiv­es notched a win in the latest round of staff announceme­nts, however, with the appointmen­t of Gautam Raghavan as deputy director of the office of presidenti­al personnel. Raghavan served as chief of staff to Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who chairs the Congressio­nal Progressiv­e Caucus, and in his new position he’ll help evaluate applicants for thousands of federal jobs and appointmen­ts throughout the administra­tion.

Biden has also appointed Anne Filipic as director of management and administra­tion, Ryan Montoya as director of scheduling and advance, Vinay Reddy as director of speechwrit­ing and Elizabeth Wilkins as a senior adviser to the chief of staff. All are alumni of the Obama-Biden administra­tion, and Montoya and Reddy worked on Biden’s campaign as well.

 ?? CAROLYN KASTER — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del. on Tuesday.
CAROLYN KASTER — THE ASSOCIATED PRESS President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del. on Tuesday.

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