Democrats Scale Back Mention of ‘Build Back Better’ at Convention’s Final Night

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE - JULY 14: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Chase Center July 14, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden delivered remarks on his campaign's 'Build Back Better' clean energy economic plan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda for combatting the coronavirus outbreak and its economic effects received scant mention on the final night of the Democratic National Convention.

The proposal, which has its foundation in an international disaster relief program designed by the United Nations, was mentioned by only three of the night’s most high-profile speakers. One of those individuals was Biden, himself, who only made a single passing reference to the plan, which for weeks has been the centerpiece of his promise to “transform” the country.

“My economic plan is all about jobs, dignity, respect, and community,” Biden told the convention on Thursday when accepting his party’s nomination. “Together, we can, and we will rebuild our economy. And when we do, we’ll not only build it back, we’ll build it back better.”

Apart from the former vice president, the only other two individuals to mention the plan were Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Much like Biden, both only invoked the plan in passing while discussing more broadly their reasons for backing the nominee’s White House ambitions.

“Look, our goal shouldn’t be to bring back the pandemic economy. It should be, as Joe says, to build it back better,” Bloomberg said, without elaborating on what that meant other than more infrastructure spending and fighting climate change.

The scant invocation of “Build Back Better” at the final night of the convention came as a top Biden confidant, former Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-DE), earlier on Thursday downplayed the plan’s spending promises.

“When we get in, the pantry is going to be bare,” Kaufman, who chairs Biden’s presidential transition team, told the Wall Street Journal. “When you see what Trump’s done to the deficit … forget about Covid-19, all the deficits that he built with the incredible tax cuts. So we’re going to be limited.”


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