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September 20, 2021
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President-elect Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and others at The Queen theater on November 23, in Wilmington, Delaware. Carolyn Kaster/AP

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice president-elect Kamala Harris on Monday spoke to a group of Democratic and Republican mayors about working together across all levels of government to deliver economic relief to communities and combat the coronavirus pandemic as cases surge in the country.

“All of you have been on the front lines from the very beginning, and as we head into this Thanksgiving in a very dark winter with cases and hospitalizations and deaths spiking, I want you to know that we’re here for you and we’re going to listen to you and work with you,” Biden said, speaking virtually to the United States Conference of Mayors in Wilmington, Delaware. 

“It’s the first priority we’re going to have once sworn in,” Biden said. 

The President-elect stressed the importance of working with Democrats and Republicans alike to deliver for the American people in a time of crisis. His message echoed the one he had delivered to a group of Republican and Democratic governors last week. 

“No matter which party … whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, there’s a strong sense of common purpose, a real desire for a real partnership between the states, cities and the federal government,” Biden said. “And there’s a strong consensus that we have to move forward in a coordinated way among the government on delivering the economic relief to cities, states and tribal communities sooner rather than later.” 

Biden spoke to the mayors about the distribution of a coronavirus vaccine, universal masking, expanding testing and delivering economic relief to cities and states. 

“I know there are so many other issues that your cities are on the front lines of — racial justice, climate change, paid family leave, minimum wage, closing broadband gaps, ending homelessness,” Biden said.

But, Biden said, “the only way to beat these challenges, I believe, and so does Kamala, that we have to come together as a nation. You mayors get it.” 

Biden’s comments come as President Trump continues to refuse to accept he lost the election and the current General Services Administration administrator, Emily Murphy, has yet to sign a letter to release funds to the Biden transition team through a process called ascertainment.

Without the GSA’s signoff, Biden and his team are stuck in limbo, barred from access to federal agencies during the Covid-19 pandemic and classified intelligence briefings.