Biden Bits: Light Still Shines in Darkness…

Biden Tweets Christmas Logo. Image by Lenny Ghoul.

President Biden’s public schedule for Friday, December 9th 2022:

9:00 AM The President receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
Closed Press
12:30 PM In-Town Pool Call Time
In-Town Pool
1:00 PM Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

Press briefing:

President Biden has tweeted…

He’s got 1 tweet so far for Friday.

I’m gonna place it down thread.

When the post was posted for Thursday, President Biden had tweeted 4 times. He added 9 tweets giving him a Thursday Tweeting Total of 13 tweets and 0 retweets.

Friday’s 1st tweet:

Wednesday evening, President Biden attended the 10th Annual National Vigil for All Victims of Gun Violence. The YouTube is 13 minutes and 20 seconds long. I shared his full remarks in Thursday’s Biden Bits.

President Biden: Ever since this — that time, this church has been opening its doors to more victims and more families of a violence that rips at the very soul — at the very soul of this nation.

President Biden: Scripture says, “The light shines in darkness, and darkness has not overcome it.”

President Biden: And we ask God to give us the strength to finish the work left undone done on behalf of the lives we’ve lost and all the lives we can save.

President Biden: Jill and I met with you, prayed with you, and have worked with you.  We’ve seen you turn pain into purpose.  Together, we’ve made some important progress: the most significant gun law passed in 30 years, but still not enough.  (Applause.)  Still not enough. Even as our work continues to limit the number of bullets that can be in a cartridge, the type of weapon that can be purchased and sold, the attempt to ban assault weapons — a whole range of things that are just common sense.  Just simple common sense.

President Biden: You know — and we can do it again.  (Applause.)

The YouTube is 12 minutes and 42 seconds long. His full remarks can be found here.

The White House posted (after I posted the post for Thursday) the following fact-sheet; President Biden Announces Historic Relief to Protect Hard-Earned Pensions of Hundreds of Thousands of Union Workers and Retirees

American Rescue Plan prevents pension benefit cuts of roughly 60% in the next few years for over 350,000 Central States Pension Fund workers and retirees

Today, joined by Teamster President Sean O’Brien, AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, and Teamster workers and retirees with multiemployer pensions, President Biden announced $36 billion for the Central States Pension Fund, preventing drastic cuts to the hard-earned pensions of over 350,000 union workers and retirees. These workers paid into the fund for years or even decades, and faced cuts through no fault of their own. Approved by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, this is the largest ever award of federal financial support for worker and retiree pension security and the largest award from the American Rescue Plan’s Special Financial Assistance Program. Known as the “Butch Lewis Act” – named after the heroic Ohio union leader and pension advocate – this program provides security for more than 200 distressed multiemployer pension plans, helping to ensure 2 to 3 million workers’ pension plans remain solvent and pay full benefits through at least 2051. 

Ensuring that workers and their families enjoy the retirement security they earned through a lifetime of work is a central part of President Biden’s economic plan. President Biden is building the economy from the bottom up and middle out, including helping to ensure a dignified retirement for all American workers and their families.

Today’s Announcement Protects the Earned Pensions of more than 350,000 Union Workers and Retirees from 60% cuts:
 Prior to passage of the American Rescue Plan, the Central States Pension Fund, which is largely made up of Teamster workers and retirees, was the largest financially distressed multiemployer pension plan in the nation. Workers in this plan include truck drivers, warehouse workers, construction workers, and food processors.

Without the historic Special Financial Assistance program included in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, these workers and retirees – who have already earned these benefits – would have faced estimated benefit reductions of roughly 60% in the next few years. The Central States Pension Fund estimates that it will now be able to pay full benefits to workers and retirees through 2051. Today’s announcement is estimated to benefit thousands of workers and retirees in individual states across the US, including: 

White 12/08/2022.
  • Michigan – 40,000 workers and retirees
  • Ohio – 40,000 workers and retirees
  • Missouri – 28,000 workers and retirees
  • Illinois – 25,000 workers and retirees
  • Texas – 22,000 workers and retirees
  • Wisconsin – 22,000 workers and retirees
  • Indiana – 20,000 workers and retirees
  • Minnesota –19,000 workers and retirees
  • Florida – 19,000 workers and retirees
  • Tennessee – 14,000 workers and retirees

President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Included Historic Support to Protect  Pension Benefits

The American Rescue Plan’s Special Financial Assistance program is providing financial relief to struggling multiemployer pension plans and ensuring that millions of families facing benefit cuts will receive the full benefits they earned.

Multiemployer plans are created through agreements between employers and a union, with plans typically involving multiple employers in a single industry or related industries. A typical worker whose multiemployer plan became insolvent would see their expected pension benefits slashed substantially. Before the American Rescue Plan, workers and retirees participating in more than 200 multiemployer pension plans faced the prospect of not receiving the full benefits they earned and need to support them and their families in retirement.

These plans are insured by a federal agency – the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) – which provides partial protection of the benefits of approximately 11.2 million workers and retirees in approximately 1,400 private-sector multiemployer, union-connected plans. Prior to the America Rescue Plan, the PBGC’s multiemployer pension insurance program was projected to become insolvent in 2026. Under the Special Financial Assistance program, financially struggling multiemployer pension plans can apply to the PBGC for assistance.

White 12/08/2022.

The American Rescue Plan’s Special Financial Assistance Program Will Have Historic Impacts:

  • Positions multiemployer plans that receive assistance to remain solvent through at least 2051 – with no cuts to earned benefits:Before American Rescue Plan: over 200 multiemployer plans were on pace to become insolvent in the near term.
  • Now: Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, every multiemployer pension plan that faced near-term insolvency and benefit cuts that receives Special Financial Assistance is projected to remain solvent through at least 2051.
  • Protect benefits for millions of workers who faced cuts:Before the American Rescue Plan: a wave of multiemployer pension plan insolvencies was projected to leave two to three million union workers, retirees, and their families without the full benefits they had earned.
  • Now: Two to three million workers and retirees in plans that receive assistance are expected to have their full pension benefits for the next three decades.
  • Harsh Pension Cuts Reversed for over 80,000 Workers and Retirees in 18 Multiemployer Plans:Before the American Rescue Plan: The Multiemployer Pension Reform Act (MPRA) allowed plans to, for the first time, cut workers’ and retirees’ benefits in order to remain indefinitely solvent. Eighteen multiemployer “MPRA plans” were approved to utilize this program.
  • Now: More than 80,000 workers and retirees in MPRA plans who, through no fault of their own, had their pension benefits cut, are eligible to have those benefits fully reinstated. The Special Financial Assistance program ensures all MPRA plans that were forced to cut benefits are able to restore those cuts in full, maintain full benefits into the foreseeable future, and be projected to remain indefinitely solvent. 
  • Most significant effort to protect the solvency of the multiemployer pension system in almost 50 years: Before the American Rescue Plan: Before the American Rescue Plan, because of the anticipated financial pressures from the need to guarantee minimum (partial) benefits for insolvent plans, PBGC’s Multiemployer Pension Insurance Program was projected to become insolvent in 2026. 
  • Now: The American Rescue Plan’s Special Financial Assistance program extended the solvency of the PBGC multiemployer insurance program from 2026 to 2055. This relief is the most substantial policy to strengthen the solvency of our nation’s multiemployer pensions since the enactment of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) in 1974.

Estimated number of workers and retirees benefiting from Special Financial Assistance to the Central States Pension Fund, by state

StateEstimated number of participantsStateEstimated number of participantsStateEstimated number of participants
Alabama            4,600Maine               100Ohio             39,900
Arizona            1,900Maryland               300Oklahoma               5,500
Arkansas            4,400Massachusetts               500Oregon                  200
California                900Michigan          40,300Pennsylvania               1,300
Colorado            2,700Minnesota          19,300Puerto Rico                  500
Connecticut                100Mississippi            5,100Rhode Island                  100
Delaware                100Missouri          27,800South Carolina               4,400
Florida          18,700Montana               200South Dakota               1,300
Georgia          12,600Nebraska            3,100Tennessee             14,200
Idaho                100Nevada               600Texas             22,500
Illinois          25,000New Hampshire               100Utah                  200
Indiana          19,600New Jersey               800Virginia               1,900
Iowa            8,600New Mexico               300Washington                  300
Kansas            5,700New York            1,200West Virginia               1,400
Kentucky          12,700North Carolina          11,700Wisconsin             21,900
Louisiana            3,900North Dakota            1,900Wyoming                  400

Source: Central States Pension Fund data, available at:

President Biden: One of the big ways we did that was by including the Butch Lewis Act that shored up the pension plans for millions of union workers and represents the most significant investment in pension security for union workers and retirees in the past 50 years.

President Biden: And today, my administration is announcing the single largest approval of funds from the Butch Lewis Act: $36 billion to cover — (applause) — to cover over 1,000 employers, 350,000 union workers and retirees.

President Biden: And let me close with this. I campaigned to restore the backbone of this country: the middle class, the unions. And over the last two years, that’s what we’ve been doing. Americans are working. The economy is growing. And incomes are rising faster than inflation.

President Biden: So, with the American Rescue Plan, we included the Butch Lewis Act — named after an Army veteran and a true champion of union workers — to protect the pensions you all worked so damn hard for, the pensions you sacrificed to secure.

President Biden: *Instead, thanks to today’s announcement, tens of thousands of union retirees and workers in states like Ohio, Michigan, Texas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri can go to bed tonight knowing their pension they worked so damn hard for is going to be there for them when they need it.

*not highlighted cause it’s only semi-related to his tweet*

On Thursday:

President Biden’s full statement:

Today, Congress took a critical step to ensure that Americans have the right to marry the person they love. The House’s bipartisan passage of the Respect for Marriage Act—by a significant margin—will give peace of mind to millions of LGBTQI+ and interracial couples who are now guaranteed the rights and protections to which they and their children are entitled.

After the uncertainty caused by the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, Congress has restored a measure of security to millions of marriages and families. They have also provided hope and dignity to millions of young people across this country who can grow up knowing that their government will recognize and respect the families they build.

I want to once again thank the unwavering champions of this legislation in Congress—Representatives Nadler, Cicilline, and Davids in the House, and Senators Baldwin, Collins, Portman, Sinema, Tillis, and Feinstein in the Senate—who refused to be deterred and brought this vital bill over the finish line. Together, we showed that it’s possible for Democrats and Republicans to come together to safeguard our most fundamental rights.

On this day, Jill and I are thinking of the courageous couples and fiercely committed advocates who have fought for decades to secure nationwide marriage equality at the Supreme Court and in Congress. While we are one step closer on our long journey to build a more perfect union, we must never stop fighting for full equality for LGBTQI+ Americans and all Americans.

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Equal Pay says: Latina Equal Pay Day is the day that we recognize the wage gap that Latina women face. This year we will raise awareness for Latina Equal Pay on December 8. More than 50 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, full time, year-round and part-time Latina workers earn only 54 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men. Those who work full time year-round only earn 57 cents to the dollar.

The video is 13 seconds long. It was filmed yesterday in the Oval Office. It captures the moment Cherelle Griner wife of Brittney Griner the basketball player released from Russia after a prisoner swap.

President Biden: She’s on the ground.

Cherelle Griner: Stop it.

President Biden: Yep, she’s on the ground.

Cherelle Criner: Great day. It’s just such a good day! Oh my God.

When the post was posted for Thursday, the White House had not posted the transcript of President Biden announcing the release of Brittney Griner. The YouTube of the announcement is 6 minutes and 48 seconds long. Brittney’s wife Cherelle also offered remarks.

President Biden:

Well, good morning, folks.  And it is a good morning. 

Moments ago, standing together with her wife, Cherelle, in the Oval Office, I spoke with Brittney Griner.  She’s safe.  She’s on a plane.  She’s on her way home.

After months of being unjustly detained in Russia, held under intolerable circumstances, Brittney will soon be back
in the arms of her loved ones, and she should have been there all along.

This is a day we’ve worked toward for a long time.  We never stopped pushing for her release.

It took painstaking and intense negotiations, and I want to thank all the hardworking public servants across my administration who worked tirelessly to secure her release.

I also want to thank the UAE for helping us facilitate Brittney’s return, because that’s where she landed. 

These past few months have been hell for Brittney and for Charlee [Cherelle], and her entire family, and all her teammates back home.

People all across the country have learned about Brittney’s story, advocated for her release, stood with her throughout this terrible ordeal.  And I know that support meant a lot to her family.

I’m glad to be able to say that Brittney is in good spirits.  She — she’s relieved to finally be heading home.  And the fact remains that she’s lost months of her life, experienced a needless trauma, and she deserves space, privacy, and time with her loved ones to recover and heal from her time being wrongfully detained.

Brittney is an incomparable athlete, a two-time Olympic Gold medalist for Team USA.  She endured mistreatment and a show — at a show trial in Russia with characteristic grit and incredible dignity.  She represents the best America — the best about America — just across the board, everything about her.  

She wrote to me back in July.  She didn’t ask for special treatment, even though we’ve been working on her release from the day one.  She requested a simple, quote, “Please don’t forget about me and the other American detainees.  Please do all you can to bring us home.”

We never forgot about Brittney.  And we’ve not forgotten about Paul Whelan, who has been unjustly detained in Russia for years.  This was not a choice of which American to bring home.  We brought home Trevor Reed when we had a chance earlier this year.  Sadly, for totally illegitimate reasons, Russia is treating Paul’s case differently than Brittney’s.  And while we have not yet succeeded in securing Paul’s release, we are not giving up.  We will never give up.

We remain in close touch with Paul’s family, the Whelan family.  And my thoughts and prayers are with them today.  They have to have such mixed emotions today.  And we’ll keep negotiating in good faith for Paul’s release.  I guarantee that.  I say that to the family: I guarantee you. 

And I urge Russia to do the same to ensure that Paul’s health and humane treatment are maintained until we can — are able to bring him home.

I don’t want any American to sit wrongfully detained one extra day if we can bring that person home.

My administration has now brought home dozens of Americans who were wrongfully detained or held hostage abroad, many of whom had been held since before I took office.

And today we also remember the other Americans that are being held hostage and wrongfully detained in Russia or anywhere else in the world.

Reuniting these Americans with their loved ones remains a priority — a priority for my administration and every person in my administration involved in this.

And we’re going to continue to work to bring home every American who continues to endure such an injustice.  

We also want to prevent any more American families
from suffering this pain and separation.  And I strongly urge — I strongly urge all Americans to take precautions, including reviewing the State Department’s travel advisories before they travel overseas, which now includes warnings about the risk of being wrongfully detained by a foreign government.

Make no mistake about it: This work is not easy.  Negotiations are always difficult.  There are never any guarantees.

But it’s my job as President of the United States to make the hard calls and protect American citizens everywhere in the world.  Anywhere in the world.  And I’m proud that, today, we have made one more family whole again.

So, welcome home, Brittney. 

And now I’d like invite Cherelle to say a few words to you all.  Of course, she’s not excited at all about this.  Cherelle, it’s all yours, kiddo.  Congratulations again.

White 12/08/2022.

Cherelle Griner:

Thank you.  Thank you. 

So, over the last nine months, you all have been so privy to one of the darkest moments of my life.  And so, today, I’m just standing here overwhelmed with emotions.  But the most important emotion that I have right now is just sincere gratitude for President Biden and his entire administration. 

He just mentioned this work is not easy, and it has not been.  There’s been so many hands involved, and so I’d like to take a moment to just specifically mention a few: Vice President Harris, Secretary Blinken, Jake Sullivan, Josh Geltzer from the National Security Council.  Roger Carstens and Fletcher Schoen from the Hostage Envoy’s Office.  A special thank you to Governor Richardson and Mickey.  The Mercury players, the WNBPA for your advocacy.  And also, you guys may not know this, but my family has been tremendously supported by the Wasserman agency.  BG’s agent, Lindsay Colas, has just been amazing for me and my family throughout this process.

So, today, my family is whole.  But as you all are aware, there’s so many other families who are not whole, and so BG is not here to say this, but I will gladly speak on her behalf and say that BG and I will remain committed to the work of getting every American home, including Paul, whose family is in our hearts today as we celebrate BG being home.  We do understand that there are still people out here who are enduring what I endured the last nine months of missing tremendously their loved ones.

So, thank you, everybody, for your support.  And today is just a happy day for me and my family.  So, I’m going to smile right now.  Thank you.

The White House also posted the background press call; on the Release of Brittney Griner

I’ll see you guys Monday…

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Member of the Free Press who is politically homeless and a political junkie.