President Biden made the following remarks at a virtual ceremony for the latest winners of the Presidential Rank Awards, which go each year to a limited number of career federal employees at the SES and comparable senior levels.
“It was my honor to re-establish these awards last year after the previous administration made the decision to cancel them. Because these awards are about more than individual recognition. They’re a reminder to all of us — to everyone — of the extraordinary capacity, creativity, diversity, and dedication of our federal workforce and a reminder — a reminder of why you all — all the work you do matters so much.
“You know, a couple of weeks before I was sworn in, in January 2021, I sent a message to all career civil servants. And I meant it at the time and I still mean it. I told them that we’re a team. One team. One America. And I meant it.
“Over the last 15 months, you’ve helped us deliver so much to the American people: helping stand up a wartime effort to get the country vaccinated; getting checks into people’s pockets of families who needed help, literally just to keep food on the table, keep a roof over their heads; helping communities rebuild in the wake of storms and wildfires; and caring for our veterans; cleaning up the polluted lands and waters; implementing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to deliver good-paying job opportunities and game-changing investments to communities all across America; and so much more.
“Most of all, you’ve restored the faith — the faith of millions of Americans in their government — that their government sees them and hears them, that we listen to them, respect them, and reflect them.
“You’re helping restore their faith that democracy can deliver in America. And by restoring their faith and coming through for them today, you’re helping strengthen our country for tomorrow, in a literal sense.
“Look, you and your colleagues couldn’t have done — if you had the opportunity, looking back on it, probably would’ve — you could’ve done anything — almost anything with your careers. You’re so talented. But you chose public service. And the families in every corner of this country are better off today because you made that choice.
“Not only are you helping to confront the great challenges of our time, you’re showing America, the world that we can do — what we can do when we come together and lead with honor and integrity, as you all have had being recognized today, with a federal government that looks like America and gets things done for all Americans.
“So I want to say simply: Thank you, thank you, thank you — not only to you, but to your families as well for the sacrifices you’ve all made to serve our nation and to deliver for all those folks around the kitchen tables tonight, and today and this morning and tomorrow and the next day, who might never know your names.
“It makes a difference. I hope that these awards remind each of you of why you’re here and why it matters.
“So, let’s keep it up. Let’s keep delivering for the American people, because I tell you what: We work for them, and we have to do our job. And you’re doing it incredibly well.”