The two elections mark the end of Biden’s announcement of his cabinet’s nominees and come less than two weeks after the president-elect takes office.
Biden highlighted the diversity and historical news in his cabinet and said he had kept his promise to make his cabinet look like America.
“This will be the first cabinet ever formed evenly with as many women as the men in the cabinet. This will be the first cabinet ever with most of the colorful people occupying this cabinet,” the president-elect said. He noted that his nominees, if confirmed, would include the first secretary of the treasury, the first African-American defense minister and the first secretary of the Indian cabinet.
Biden also announced Friday that Isabel Guzman, director of the California office of the Small Business Attorney, will lead the small business administration, and Don Graves, who was executive director of the Presidential Council on Jobs and Competitiveness at the Obama White House, was nominated for Deputy Minister of Trade.
Biden spoke of the challenges his administration will face when he takes office in the midst of a pandemic and economic downturn, when so many Americans have lost their jobs and are struggling financially.
Biden said his administration would prioritize the distribution of emergency economic aid to “the small business on Main Street, which is not rich and well connected, which is facing real economic difficulties through its own fault.”
The president-elect stressed that Americans and small businesses struggling amid the pandemic need immediate and direct economic relief, including $ 2,000 incentive checks.
“$ 600 just isn’t enough when you have to choose between paying rent, putting food on the table, and keeping the lights on,” Biden said of checks on incentives recently approved by Congress.
He sympathizes with Americans across the country who have lost their jobs and are now forced to line up at food banks to feed their families. He pointed out that the gap between unemployment among whites and blacks and Latinos “remains too large.”
Following victories in the Democratic US Senate in Georgia, the president-elect said he hoped that if Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate, changes in the minimum wage would increase.
Here are the key lines of nominees that will require confirmation from the Senate:
Gina Raimondo, Commercial Secretary
“When I announced my candidacy for governor, Rhode Island was in the midst of an eight-month series as the country with the highest unemployment rate in the country. But over the past six years, we have worked hard, turned back and grown on our way back, reaching record numbers. jobs and the lowest unemployment rate in more than 30 years. ”
“I am excited to work nationally to help realize the vision of an elected president and an elected vice president to help the more industrious families in each community write the next chapter of their American stories.”
Marty Walsh, Minister of Labor
“Today we are at a crossroads in America. It is a time of great difficulty. Workers are holding their country together. I saw it up close as the mayor of the city I love, Boston. First health workers responding, grocery workers, delivery drivers, postal workers , sanitary workers, trustees. They are held with us under impossible conditions. “
“Workers have been struggling for a long time under the erosion of their rights and the deep inequalities of race, gender and class. In the last four years, they have been attacked, attacked for their rights, their livelihood and the trade unions we have built the middle class. times, but no one is more difficult than the American worker, and now we have the opportunity to return power to working people across the country. “
Isabel Guzman, small business administrator
“I am honored to return to the SBA at a crossroads for small businesses, the dreams they embody, the people they raise and the communities they serve. So many small businesses across the country have been devastated by the pandemic and the economic crisis. the impact has fallen, as often happens, on our business owned by people of color. “
“Small businesses had to adapt quickly to survive and pursue relief while facing closures, declining revenues, shrinking cash flows and rising debt. I know you wholeheartedly believe, the president-elect and the lady-elected vice president that all of our small business is critical to our collective success as a nation. ”
Don Graves, Deputy Secretary of Commerce
“I have spent my career – in government, the private sector and with non-profit organizations – finding ways to ensure that economic opportunities are comprehensive and wide-ranging. And as it is for all of us in our own way, it is personal. I come from a long line of small business owners, including one who owned and operated the only hotel owned by Africa in the mid to late 1800s, just four short blocks from where the Ministry of Commerce is today. “
“But for too many people in this country, the chance to start and grow a business, realize their idea in the market and sell around the world remains elusive all these years later. But we also know that the government, its resources and experience and capable civil servants can help level the playing field and enable people, communities and our economy to reach their full potential. “
Walsh is a veteran of the union and heads the Boston Building and Building Council, a group that represents the unions of ironworkers and electricians. Walsh has been mayor of Boston since 2013, and in 2016 there was a rumor of a potential Labor member if Hillary Clinton won the presidency. Walsh’s election was a victory for AFL-CIO President Richard Trump, who assembled his federation of 56 unions to support the mayor of Boston shortly after Biden won the election.
Guzman is the director of the California Office of the Small Business Attorney, a government office that works to support and grow small businesses in America’s most populous state. Prior to taking office, Guzman was deputy chief of staff and senior adviser to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the office she will now head.
Graves has served in the Obama White House as executive director of the Presidential Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and as deputy assistant secretary for small business, community development and housing at the U.S. Treasury Department. Graves was previously a partner at Graves, Horton, Askew & Johns, LLC. He was a former director of public policy for the business roundtable, and previously was a policy adviser to the US Treasury Department for domestic finance.
On Thursday, Biden attacked police for treating the pro-Trump mafia and Black Lives Matter protesters during a demonstration last year. The day before, he said the riots in the US Capitol were an “unprecedented encroachment” on US democracy, and called on Trump to go on national television immediately and “demand an end to this siege.”
CNN’s Greg Krieg and Dan Merica contributed to this report.