Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the floor regarding the progress and accomplishments of the first 100 days of the Biden presidency and the new Senate Democratic Majority, focusing today on the confirmation of President Biden’s historic team. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks which can also be viewed here:
Yesterday, I highlighted a number of accomplishments the Senate Democratic majority made during the first 100 days of the Biden Administration. Thanks primarily to the American Rescue Plan – the most sweeping federal recovery effort in decades – shots are going into arms, money is going into people’s pockets, and businesses, schools, and restaurants are starting to re-open.
Americans finally, finally, have some reasons for hope. Jobs are coming back. The economic recovery is accelerating. And the pace of vaccinations has far exceeded even President Biden’s own goals.
After one of the most difficult years in the recent memory, the first 100 days of the Biden presidency and the new Senate Democratic Majority has seen the country turn a corner. Slowly but surely, we are proving to the American people that government—and the Senate—can work for them.
As President Biden prepares to take stock of where we’ve come from and where we still need to go with a joint address to Congress, it’s worth looking back at some of the accomplishments of these first 100 days.
Among those accomplishments is the fact that the Senate has confirmed the most diverse Cabinet in history—faster than under both Presidents Trump and Obama. And all of them with bipartisan support.
Eleven are people of color. Ten are women. And among them we have a former teacher, a former construction worker, several former veterans, and small businessmen—even a musician. A far cry from the, shall we say, less economically diverse cabinet chosen by the former President.
Now more than ever before, we have a cabinet that looks like America.
In our nation’s history, the Treasury Secretary has only ever been a white man: an unbroken streak of 77 white men in a row. This Senate confirmed the first woman to serve as Treasury Secretary in our history, Janet Yellen.
The list of firsts goes on: the first African American to serve as Defense Secretary, the first Black man to serve as EPA Administrator, the first ever Indigenous American and the first ever openly gay Secretary to lead any Cabinet agency. Last week, the Senate confirmed Vanita Gupta to Associate Attorney General, the first woman of color and the first civil rights attorney to ever hold that position. Last month, Dr. Rachel Levine became the deputy secretary of Health and Human Services, the first openly transgender federal official in American history.
Federal agencies have enormous influence over the policies that affect the day-to-day lives of the American people. Whether registering for social security, filing for unemployment, veterans’ benefits, or seeking a small business loan—average folks interact with these cabinet agencies every single day, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of times.
Having capable, experienced and energetic public servants at the top of these agencies matters. And it matters, too, that they come from different backgrounds and have lived different experiences. By confirming historically diverse nominees, we’re showing the American people that their government represents them, and that all of their voices matter. We also know that a cabinet with diverse views will produce policies that better reflect the needs of a diverse nation.
I am proud of the nominees we have confirmed over the first 100 days. As we move forward, the Senate will continue working with the White House on confirming nominees and judicial appointments that reflect the diversity and dynamism of our great country.