On Tuesday, March 21st, President Biden will host an East Room ceremony at the White House to present the 2021 National Humanities Medals and the 2021 National Medals of Arts. First Lady Jill Biden will attend the ceremony as well.
The National Medal of Arts is the highest award given to artists, arts patrons, and groups by the United States Government and honors exemplary individuals and organizations that have advanced the arts in America and offered inspiration to others through their distinguished achievement, support, or patronage. The National Humanities Medal honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities and broadened our citizens’ engagement with history, literature, languages, philosophy, and other humanities subjects.
The President previously awarded a National Humanities Medal to Sir Elton John in September 2022, during a White House event, “A Night When Hope and History Rhyme.”
Here is the list of 2021 recipients:
2021 National Medal of Arts Recipients
Judith Francisca Baca: Judith Francisca Baca’s collaborative work has turned forgotten histories into public memory—pioneering an art form that empowers communities to reclaim public space with dignity and pride.
Fred Eychaner: From dance and architecture to arts education and a lifetime of LGBTQI+ advocacy, Fred Eychaner has helped give millions of people strength to be themselves and moved our country forward.
Jose Feliciano: Over 60 years, 60 albums, and 600 songs, Jose Feliciano has opened hearts and built bridges—overcoming obstacles, never losing faith, and enriching the goodness and greatness of the Nation.
Mindy Kaling: Imbued with humor and heart, Mindy Kaling’s work across television, film, and books inspires and delights—capturing and uplifting the experiences of women and girls across our Nation.
Gladys Knight: Gladys Knight’s exceptional talent influenced musical genres—from rhythm and blues to gospel to pop—and inspired generations of artists, captivated by her soundtrack of a golden age in American music.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus: As one of the most decorated comedic actors of our time, Julia Louis-Dreyfus has blazed a trail for women in comedy and across American life through her commitment to excellence and the power of her example.
Antonio Martorell-Cardona: Transcending generation and genre, Antonio Martorell-Cardona’s art exposes hard truths with whimsy and color, to help us remember and grow, as people and as a Nation.
Joan Shigekawa: Throughout her career, Joan Shigekawa has championed artists, created global exchanges, and promoted the power of the arts to heal, build strong economies, and help people and Nations reach their full potential.
Bruce Springsteen: One of our greatest performers and storytellers, Bruce Springsteen’s music celebrates our triumphs, heals our wounds, and gives us hope, capturing the unyielding spirit of what it means to be American.
Vera Wang: From the runway to red carpets to retail stores, Vera Wang’s modern designs and bridal collections express individualism and elegance, making beauty and style accessible to all.
The Billie Holiday Theatre: Channeling its namesake’s exploration of freedom and identity, The Billie Holiday Theatre cultivates some of our Nation’s most renowned Black actors, writers, designers, and musicians and has expanded the reach of American artistic expression and achievement.
The International Association of Blacks in Dance: Through teaching, training, and performance, The International Association of Blacks in Dance promotes dance by people of African ancestry and origin, explores and exchanges art, spans cultures and generations, and enriches the dance culture of America.
2021 National Humanities Medal Recipients
Richard Blanco: An award-winningpoet and author, professor and public speaker, and son of Cuban immigrants, Richard Blanco’s powerful storytelling challenges the boundaries of culture, gender, and class while celebrating the promise of our Nation’s highest ideals.
Johnnetta Betsch Cole: A scholar, anthropologist, and academic pace-setter, Johnnetta Betsch Cole’s pioneering work about the on-going contributions of Afro-Latin, Caribbean, and African communities have advanced American understanding of Black culture and the necessity and power of racial inclusion in our Nation.
Walter Isaacson: Through the stories of our Nation’s remarkable citizens, Walter Isaacson’s work, words, and wisdom bridge divides between science and the humanities and between opposing philosophies, elevating discourse and our understanding of who we are as a Nation.
Earl Lewis: As a social historian and academic leader, Earl Lewis has made vital contributions to the field of Black history, educating generations of students, while also being a leading voice for greater diversity in academia and our Nation.
Henrietta Mann: The pioneering efforts of Henrietta, Ho’oesto’oona’e, Mann, led to programs and institutions across the country devoted to the study of Native American history and culture, honoring ancestors that came before and benefiting generations that follow.
Ann Patchett: With her best-selling novels and essays, and her bookstore, readers from around the world see themselves in the pages of Ann Patchett’s books that take people to places of the heart and feed the imagination of our Nation.
Bryan Stevenson: An advocate fighting tirelessly for the poor, incarcerated, and condemned, Bryan Stevenson follows the Book of Micah’s instruction to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly as he chronicles the legacy of lynching and racism in America, shining a light on what has been and all that we can be as a Nation.
Amy Tan: By bravely exploring experiences of immigrant families, heritage, memories, and poignant struggles, Amy Tan’s writing makes sense of the present through the past and adds ground-breaking narrative to the diverse sweep of American life and literature.
Tara Westover: Tara Westover’s memoirs of family, religion, and the transformative power of education, has moved millions of readers and served as a powerful example of how the humanities can set people—and a Nation—free.
Colson Whitehead: With genre-defying craftsmanship and creativity, Colson Whitehead’s celebrated novels make real the African-American journey through our Nation’s continued reckoning with the original sin of slavery and our ongoing march toward a more perfect Union.
Native America Calling: Through its interactive shows on the radio and online,Native America Calling educates the American public about Indigenous issues while preserving Indigenous history and culture to honor their contributions that strengthen the sacred Nation-to-Nation relationship.
Today, in Monterey Park, California, President Biden announced an Executive Order with the goal of increasing the number of background checks conducted before firearm sales, moving the U.S. as close to universal background checks as possible without additional legislation. The Executive Order will also keep more guns out of dangerous hands by increasing the effective use of “red flag” laws, strengthen efforts to hold the gun industry accountable, and accelerate law enforcement efforts to identify and apprehend the shooters menacing our communities. President Biden is also encouraging the Federal Trade Commission to issue a public report analyzing how gun manufacturers market firearms to minors.
President Biden traveled to Monterey Park to grieve with the families and community impacted by the mass shooting that claimed 11 lives and injured nine others in January. Monterey Park is part of a growing list of communities all across the country that are forever changed due to gun violence—not only mass shootings, but also daily acts of gun violence that may not make national headlines.
Last year, President Biden signed into the law the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the most significant gun violence reduction legislation enacted in nearly 30 years. When celebrating the Act’s passage, he called on Congress to seize the bipartisan momentum and advance additional commonsense steps to reduce gun violence. Again and again, he has called for Congress to act, including by banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, requiring background checks for all gun sales, requiring safe storage of firearms, closing the dating violence restraining order loophole, and repealing gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability.
As he continues to call on Congress to act, President Biden will do everything he can to reduce gun violence and save lives. That is why, over the past two years, President Biden has taken more executive action to reduce gun violence than any other president at this point in their presidency.
The President’s new Executive Order to reduce gun violence includes the following additional actions, all of which fall within existing executive authority and outside of the right protected by the Second Amendment:
Keeping guns out of dangerous hands
The Executive Order directs the President’s Cabinet to:
Increase the number of background checks by ensuring that all background checks required by law are conducted before firearm purchases, moving the U.S. as close to universal background checks as possible without additional legislation. A large majority of Americans support background checks and agree it’s common sense to check whether someone is a felon or domestic abuser before allowing them to buy a gun. The President will continue to call on Congress to pass universal background check legislation. In the meantime, he is directing the Attorney General to do everything he can to ensure that firearms sellers who do not realize they are required to run background checks under existing law, or who are willfully violating existing law, become compliant with background check requirements. Specifically, the President is directing the Attorney General to move the U.S. as close to universal background checks as possible without additional legislation by clarifying, as appropriate, the statutory definition of who is “engaged in the business” of dealing in firearms, as updated by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. This move would mean fewer guns will be sold without background checks, and therefore fewer guns will end up in the hands of felons and domestic abusers. The President is also directing the Attorney General to develop and implement a plan to prevent former federally licensed firearms dealers, whose licenses have been revoked or surrendered, from continuing to engage in the business of dealing in firearms.
Improve public awareness and increase appropriate use of extreme risk protection (“red flag”) orders and safe storage of firearms. 19 states and the District of Columbia have enacted red flag laws, allowing trusted community members to petition a court to determine whether an individual is dangerous, and then to temporarily remove an individual’s access to firearms. However, these laws are only effective if the public knows when and how to use red flag orders. President Biden is directing members of his Cabinet to encourage effective use of extreme risk protection orders, including by partnering with law enforcement, health care providers, educators, and other community leaders. In addition, President Biden is directing members of his Cabinet to expand existing federal campaigns and other efforts to promote safe storage of firearms.
Address the loss or theft of firearms during shipping. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) data indicates an over 250% increase in the number of firearms reported as lost or stolen during shipment between federally licensed firearms dealers, from roughly 1,700 in 2018 to more than 6,100 in 2022. President Biden is directing the Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the Department of Justice, to work to reduce the loss or theft of firearms during shipment and to improve reporting of such losses or thefts, including by engaging with carriers and shippers.
Holding the gun industry accountable
The Executive Order directs the President’s Cabinet to:
Provide the public and policymakers with more information regarding federally licensed firearms dealers who are violating the law. Gun dealers violating federal law put us all at risk by increasing the likelihood that firearms will fall into dangerous hands. The President is directing the Attorney General to publicly release, to the fullest extent permissible by law, ATF records from the inspection of firearms dealers cited for violation of federal firearm laws. This information will empower the public and policymakers to better understand the problem, and then improve our laws to hold rogue gun dealers accountable.
Use the Department of Defense’s acquisition of firearms to further firearm and public safety practices. The Department of Defense buys a large number of firearms and other weapons to protect and serve our country. The President is directing the Secretary of Defense to develop and implement principles to further firearm and public safety practices through Department of Defense acquisition of firearms, consistent with applicable law.
President Biden is also encouraging the independent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to issue a public report analyzing how gun manufacturers market firearms to minors and how such manufacturers market firearms to all civilians, including through the use of military imagery.
Additional steps to make our communities safer and support communities impacted by gun violence
The Executive Order will direct the President’s Cabinet to:
Help catch shooters by accelerating federal law enforcement’s reporting of ballistics data. The National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN) allows federal, state, and local law enforcement to match fired cartridge casings to the guns from which they were fired, making it easier for law enforcement to connect multiple crime scenes and catch shooters. In order to maximize NIBIN’s effectiveness, federal, state, and local law enforcement all have an important role to play in ensuring timely submission of ballistics data to NIBIN. Today, the President is directing all federal law enforcement agencies to issue rigorous requirements regarding NIBIN data submission and use of this tool.
Accelerate and intensify implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA). BSCA is the most significant gun safety legislative accomplishment in nearly 30 years, and the Biden-Harris Administration is treating it as such by making the most of every opportunity it provides to reduce gun violence. President Biden is directing each agency responsible for the law’s implementation to send a report to him, within 60 days, on progress toward full implementation of BSCA and additional steps they will take to maximize the benefits of the law, including by increasing public awareness and use of the resources made available by BSCA.
Improve federal support for gun violence survivors, victims and survivors’ families, first responders to gun violence, and communities affected by gun violence. When a hurricane overwhelms a community, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) coordinates federal, state, local, and non-profit organizations in order to assess and meet community needs. However, when a mass shooting overwhelms a community, no coordinated U.S. government mechanism exists to meet short- and long-term needs, such as mental health care for grief and trauma, financial assistance (for example, when a family loses the sole breadwinner or when a small business is shut down due to a lengthy shooting investigation), and food (for example, when the Buffalo shooting closed down the only grocery store in the neighborhood). The President is directing members of his Cabinet to develop a proposal for how the federal government can better support communities after a mass shooting, and identify what additional resources or authorities the executive branch would need from Congress to implement this proposal.
Advance congressional efforts to prevent the proliferation of firearms undetectable by metal detectors. In recent years, we’ve seen the rise of technology that allows guns to be made with polymers and other materials that are increasingly capable of avoiding detection by metal detectors. President Biden is directing the Attorney General to help Congress modernize and make permanent the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988, which is currently set to expire in December 2023.
New York State Governor Kathy Hochul, who had to rejigger 100-year old gun regulation law after the radical rightwing majority on the Supreme Court overturned the law, commented, “Too many families in this country have experienced loss due to gun violence. Too many communities, including my hometown of Buffalo, have been devastated by weapons of war. We have a moral obligation to act — and that’s why New York strengthened our nation-leading gun safety laws, expanding the use of red flag laws to prevent domestic abusers and other dangerous individuals from causing harm to themselves or others.
“President Biden’s new Executive Order brings New York’s approach to a national scale. The Executive Order strengthens rules around individuals with a “red flag” by requiring federally licensed gun dealers to check if an individual is a domestic abuser or convicted felon. It increases federal resources for proven crime-fighting tools, like the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network we are utilizing in Crime Analysis Centers across New York. This EO builds on the major success last year, when President Biden worked closely with Leader Schumer and bipartisan members of Congress to pass the first new gun safety legislation in a generation. This Executive Order is the significant next step our country needed.”
This fact sheet from the White House outlines the top 15 highlights from two years of recovery under the American Rescue Plan:
Led to the Strongest Jobs Recovery on Record: When President Biden came into office, there was tremendous economic uncertainty. Unemployment was at 6.1% when the American Rescue Plan (ARP) passed. It was expected to average 5% in 2022. With the passage of ARP, unemployment averaged 3.6% in 2022 and fell to 3.4% at the beginning of 2023.
ARP Drove the Strongest 2-year job growth ever: Over 12 million jobs have been added since President Biden took office – the largest 2-year total in US history and more jobs in two years than in any previous administration’s full year term.
Powered the Fastest Recovery in the World: After the American Rescue Plan passed, the US recovered significantly faster than our G7 Peers – with 5.9% growth in 2021 – while our inflation is in the middle of the pack and slower than other countries that did significantly less to help their economies recover.
Powered the Most Equitable Recovery in Memory: In past recessions, persistent high long-term and youth unemployment as well as high foreclosures of evictions led to long term harms – “scarring” for millions of Americans and hard, long roads back for Black and Hispanic Americans.
President Biden’s Rescue Plan ensured that didn’t happen this time:
Historic drops in Black and Hispanic Unemployment: With the strong recovery powered by ARP, Black unemployment saw its largest 1-year drop since 1984 and is near record lows; Hispanic unemployment saw its fastest 1-year drop and reached its lowest annual rate ever in 2022. Asian American unemployment fell significantly as well – falling by more than half from its January 2021 rate.
Least scarring in any recovery in memory: The American Rescue Plan led to the fastest drop in long-term and youth unemployment ever, which both now stand at pre-pandemic levels. It kept foreclosures historically low and evictions 20% below historic averages even after the end of the CDC Eviction Moratorium.
Lowered Health Care Premiums by $800 for over 13 Million Americans: ARP lowered health care premiums – which were extended by the Inflation Reduction Act, increased eligibility to middle- income families and provided strong incentives for states to expand Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act. Result:
Saved over 13 million Americans an average of $800 a year on their health premiums.
Led to most Americans in history having health insurance
Provided health coverage to 3 million Americans who would have otherwise had no health insurance.
Provided an extra $1.5 billion in Medicaid funding to Missouri, Oklahoma, and South Dakota for Medicaid expansion coverage to over half a million people.
Gave states an easier pathway to extend Medicaid postpartum coverage for a full 12 months – ensuring access to critical care for over 438,000 women nationwide.
Largest Small Business Formation Boom in History Due ARP-Driven Strong Recovery and Small Business Investments: The Biden Administration:
Increased COVID Emergency Injury Disaster Loans to $2 million, while increasing anti-fraud controls
Reformed PPP to more equitably distribute funds to the smallest businesses.
Restaurant Revitalization Fund helped over 100,000 Restaurants, Bars, and Food Trucks stay open.
Shuttered Venues Program provided relief to 13,000 venues.
Invested a historic $10 Billion in the State Small Business Credit Initiative
This, and the strong recovery that ARP powered, led to:
A record 10.5 million new small business applications over the past 2 years
Hispanic entrepreneurs started small businesses at the highest rate in more than a decade in 2021 and 23 percent faster than pre-pandemic levels.
Asian American entrepreneurs started small businesses at the fastest rate in over a decade in 2021.
Led to Lowest Child Poverty Rate in American History: The American Rescue Plan and its expanded monthly Child Tax Credit led to:
Child Poverty nearly cut in half to lowest rate – 5.2% – ever.
Black child poverty cut by 52%, Hispanic child poverty cut by 43%, Native American child poverty cut by 51%, and dramatic drops in white and Asian child poverty — all to record lows.
~9 million children in rural areas benefited from the expanded credit.
5 million children in Veteran and Active-Duty families benefited from the expanded credit
Child Tax Credit payments were delivered reliably with the first ever monthly payment – on the 15th of each month with 90% using direct deposit.
Over 65 million children in 40 million working families received largest Child Tax Credit in history.
Historic Child Tax Credit Expansion already reached over 230,000 Puerto Rico families: Recent data shows that over 230,000 Puerto Rico households will get the expanded Child Tax Credit. 8X the number from the previous year.
Funded a Historic Vaccination Campaign: ARP provided $160 billion to support vaccination, therapeutics, testing and mitigation, PPE, and the broader COVID Response effort.
This led to:
Over 230 million Americans are fully vaccinated, up from 3.5 million when President Biden took office.
Helped Over 8 Million People Stay in Their Homes:
Emergency Rental Assistance – the first national eviction prevention policy in history – was main American Rescue Plan source of multi-month assistance to help over 8 million hard-pressed renters stay in their homes without sacrificing other basic needs.
Emergency Rental Assistance and Other ARP Housing Policies led Eviction Filings to remarkably stay 20% below historic averages in 1.5 years after end of the eviction moratorium.
Called the “the most important eviction prevention policy in American history” by Matthew Desmond, Pulitzer Prize Winner author of “Evicted” – and the “deepest investment the federal government has made in low-income renters since the nation launched its public housing system.”
HUD Emergency Housing Vouchers have already helped 47,500 households at risk of homelessness lease their own rental housing – these American Rescue Plan funded vouchers support those at risk of or experiencing homelessness or housing instability, and those fleeing domestic violence.
Helped Keep 200,000 Child Care Centers Open
American Rescue Plan Stabilization Assistance has reached 200,000 Child Care Providers – that employ 1 million child care workers – and have the capacity to serve more than 9 million children.
90% of programs reported that American Rescue Plan funds helped them stay open.
More than 8 in 10 licensed child care centers nationwide have received ARP assistance.
Benefited 30,000 rural child care programs – in most states, 97+% of rural counties received aid.
For First Time in History, Direct Relief to Every Town, City, County and State – No Matter How Big or Small, Urban or Rural So they Could Design their Own Recovery:
Before ARP, 70% of cities anticipated layoffs or major cuts in services and half of states were freezing or cutting jobs. Today, cities and states have funds to invest in major challenges – like public safety, housing, workforce, and rehiring, instead of making dramatic cuts.
ARP provided direct fiscal relief to every state & territory and 30,000 cities and towns – while previous plans reached only 154 local governments, or fewer, with direct flexible relief.
This has led to:
American Rescue Plan Led to Surge in State Revenue Growth – Powering Economic Resilience: Before ARP, state revenues were expected to grow just 3.7% in 2021, after falling in 2020. After ARP, state revenues grew by 16.6% in 2021 (record high growth) – and over 14% growth in 2022. As a result, state surpluses are powering resilience economy-wide.
Major investments in critical areas:
Over $25 billion to Jumpstart Universal Broadband Access – including Broadband Connections for 16 million students through the Emergency Connectivity Fund for schools and libraries to close the homework gap.
Over $10 billion from ARP’s State & Local Fund invested in over 3,000 workforce projects
Over $20 billion in State & Local funds invested in water infrastructure
Over $14 billion in State & Local Funds invested in housing – expanding supply, investing in homeless services, and providing 3.7 million additional households rent, mortgage, and utility relief.
One of the Largest Federal Investments in Preventing Crime, Reducing Violence, and Investing in Public Safety in History.
Over $10 billion committed to preventing crime and reducing violence, with investments by hundreds of state and local governments to avoid cuts to police budgets, hire more police officers for safe, effective, and accountable community policing, ensure first responders have the equipment they need to do their jobs, and expand evidence-based community violence intervention and prevention programs.
Toledo, Ohio used this funding to train a second cohort of new police recruits for the first time and plans for 100 new officers in the next few years; Mercer County invested in a county-wide radio system and improved its 911 system; Baltimore invested $50 million for its comprehensive violence prevention strategy, including community violence intervention programs.
That includes $1.2 billion Medicaid Mobile Crisis Intervention Services – the American Rescue Plan included $1.2 billion to fund mobile crisis intervention units staffed with mental health professionals & trained peers.
It also includes $1 billion Family Violence Prevention and Services Program to reduce domestic violence with immediate crisis intervention, health supports, and safety.
Funding School Districts Across the Nation to Reopen K-12 Schools, Support Academic Recovery, and Invest in Student Mental Health:
ARP provided critical relief to 16,000 school districts and other local education agencies to reopen safely, support academic recovery, and invest in student mental health.
Data from School District Plans show that schools are using these funds well:
Nearly 60% of funds are committed to investments like staffing, tutoring, after-school and summer learning, new textbooks and learning materials, and mental and physical health supports.
Another 23% is going to keep schools operating safely, including providing PPE and updating school facilities. This includes investments in lead abatement and nearly $10 billion for HVAC.
This has led to:
Going from 46% of schools that had safely opened to full-time in-person teaching to 100%: In January 2021, CDC data showed that just 46% of schools were open full-time in-person. Today, all schools are open.
A major increase in staffing and investments to address student mental health: Schools now employ 36% more school social workers, 11% more school counselors, and 28% more school nurses than pre-pandemic.
Major Investment in Workforce Training and Connecting Americans to Good Jobs:
Over $40 billion from the American Rescue Plan has gone to workforce training efforts, including over $10 billion from ARP’s State and Local Fund invested in over 3,000 workforce projects across the country, including pre-apprenticeships and other programs to prepare for new infrastructure, health care and care jobs.
$500 million Competitive Good Jobs Challenge Awards for 32 Workforce Training Partnerships across the country
$1 billion Competitive Build Back Better Regional Challenge – 21 Winners won between $25 million and $65 million to execute transformational projects and revitalize local industries. Projects include developing workforce training programs and connecting workers to jobs – and other transformational investments.
Historic Investment in Expanding and Supporting our Health Care Workforce, including:
$1.1 Billion investment in the Community Health Workforce, including increasing the mental health workforce
Well over $10 Billion of American Rescue Plan Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) funds being used for workforce efforts.
Rapid deployment of over 14,000 community outreach workers (through over 150 national and local organizations).
Establishment of the first-of-its-kind Public Health AmeriCorps to build and train the next generation of public health leaders, already serving 82 organizations across the country and supporting more than 3,000 AmeriCorps members.
Supporting the largest field strength in history (over 22,700 providers) for the National Health Service Corps, Nurse Corps, and Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery programs, treating more than 23.6 million patients in underserved communities
Eighteen Million College Students Have Received Direct Financial Assistance from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fundthat was expanded by ARP:
Colleges have reached an estimated 18 million students with direct financial aid from Higher Education Emergency Relief (HEERF) since the beginning of 2021 to help them stay in school and help cover basic needs during the pandemic, like food, housing, and child care.
Direct financial assistance for an estimated 6 million community college students.
80% of Pell Grant recipients received direct financial relief in 2021.
An estimated 450,000 students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) received direct financial aid. Further, in 2021, 77 percent of HBCUs used HEERF funds to discharge unpaid student balances.
Nine in 10 institutions reported that HEERF funds enabled them to keep students enrolled who were at risk of dropping out due to pandemic-related factors.
Historic Investment in the Pension Security for up to 3 million Union workers & retirees: ARP’s Special Financial Assistance is the most significant investment in pension security for union workers and retirees in the past 50 years.
Over 200 multiemployer plans that were on pace to become insolvent in the nearterm will now have solvency ensured until at least 2051 solvent & paying full benefits thanks to ARP.
Preventing a wave of multi-employer insolvencies for 2-3 million workers who would have seen major cuts to their earned retirement benefits.
Pension Cuts Reversed for over 80,000 Workers and Retirees in 18 “MPRA” Multiemployer Plans that had taken cuts to avoid insolvency.
Most significant effort to protect the solvency of the multiemployer pension system in almost 50 years.
First-Ever Summer Nutrition Benefit for Students with Nationwide Reach– Extended Permanently:
ARP created the first-ever summer nutrition benefit with nationwide reach.
30 million young people: Reached the families of 30 million students.
Permanent: Congress extended this innovative program permanently in last year’s Omnibus bill, the first major new permanent food assistance program in nearly five decades.
President Joe Biden’s FY 2024 Budget lays out his plan to invest in America, lower costs for families, protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare, and reduce the deficit.
Hardly an “entitlement” – as if some sort of charity – millions of Americans have been working their whole lives, paying into Medicare with every working day –more like an annuity – and want to know that they can count on Medicare to be there for them when they turn 65. The President’s Budget extends the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by at least 25 years. It achieves these gains with no benefit cuts—indeed, while lowering costs for Medicare beneficiaries. This fact sheet is from the Whit eHouse:
Extending Medicare Solvency
The proposals in the President’s Budget would extend the solvency of Medicare’s Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund by at least 25 years, the Medicare Office of the Chief Actuary estimates. While the most recent Medicare Trustees Report projected that the HI Trust Fund would be insolvent in 2028, the President’s Budget would extend solvency at least into the 2050s.
The Budget extends the life of Medicare by:
Modestly increasing the Medicare tax rate on income above $400,000. The Budget proposes to increase the Medicare tax rate on earned and unearned income above $400,000 from 3.8 percent to 5 percent. Since Medicare was passed, income and wealth inequality in the United States have increased dramatically. By asking those with the highest incomes to contribute modestly more, we can keep the Medicare program strong for decades to come.
Closing loopholes in existing Medicare taxes and dedicating the Medicare net investment income tax to the HI Trust Fund. High-income people are supposed to pay a 3.8 percent Medicare tax on all of their income, but some high-paid professionals and other wealthy business owners have managed to shield some of their income from tax by claiming it is neither earned income nor investment income. The Budget would ensure that Medicare taxes apply to incomes over $400,000 per year, without loopholes. It would also dedicate the revenue from the Medicare net investment income tax to the HI Trust Fund, as originally intended.
Crediting savings from prescription drug reforms to the HI Trust Fund. Building on the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which gave Medicare the authority to negotiate prices for high-cost drugs, the Budget strengthens this newly-established negotiation power by allowing Medicare to negotiate prices for more drugs and bringing drugs into negotiation sooner after they launch. It also strengthens the IRA requirement that drug companies pay rebates to Medicare when they increase prices faster than inflation by extending this rule to commercial health insurance. The Budget credits the savings from these additional prescription drug reforms, amounting to $200 billion over 10 years, to the HI Trust Fund.
Lowering Costs for Beneficiaries
Not only does the President’s Budget extend the life of the Medicare Trust Fund without benefit cuts, it does so while lowering costs for beneficiaries in key areas.
Lower out-of-pocket costs for drugs subject to negotiation. By reducing prices for high-cost drugs, the Budget’s expansion of Medicare drug negotiations will not only save money for the federal government, it will also cut beneficiary’s out-of-pocket costs by billions of dollars.
$2 cost-sharing for generic drugs for chronic conditions. The Budget proposes capping Part D cost-sharing on certain generic drugs, such as those used to treat chronic conditions like hypertension and high cholesterol, to $2 per prescription per month.
Lowering behavioral health care costs in Medicare. The Budget eliminates cost-sharing for three mental health or other behavioral health visits per year and requires parity between physical health and mental health coverage in Medicare. It also requires coverage and payment for new types of Medicare providers, such as peer support workers and certified addiction counselors, and evidence-based digital applications and platforms that facilitate delivery of mental health services, while removing unnecessary limitations on beneficiary access to psychiatric hospitals.
The White House released a fact sheet detailing President Biden’s proposed budget, aimed at investing in America, lowering costs for working class and middle class families, cutting taxes for working families, and protecting and strengthening Medicare and Social Security. It demonstrates the president’s long-held values that seeks to achieve stable, sustainable economy that grows from the bottom up and the middle out.
President Biden has long believed that we need to grow the economy from the bottom up and middle out, not the top down. Over the past two years, in the face of significant challenges, that economic strategy has produced historic progress for the American people.
Under the President’s leadership, the economy has added more than 12 million jobs—more jobs in two years than any president has created in a four-year term—including 800,000 manufacturing jobs. The unemployment rate has fallen to 3.4 percent, the lowest in 54 years. The Black and Hispanic unemployment rates are near record lows. The past two years were the best two years for new small business applications on record. The President has taken action to lower costs and give families more breathing room, including cutting prescription drug costs, health insurance premiums, and energy bills, while driving the uninsured rate to historic lows. And the President’s plan is rebuilding America’s infrastructure, making the economy more competitive, investing in American innovation and industries that will define the future, and fueling a manufacturing boom that is strengthening parts of the country that have long been left behind while creating good jobs for workers, including those without college degrees.
The President has done all of this while delivering on his commitment to fiscal responsibility. While the previous Administration passed a nearly $2 trillion unpaid-for tax cut with benefits skewed to the wealthy and big corporations while dramatically increasing the deficit, President Biden cut the deficit by more than $1.7 trillion during his first two years in office—the largest decline in American history. And the reforms he signed into law to take on Big Pharma, lower prescription drug costs, and make the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share will reduce the deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars more over the coming decade.
The President’s Budget details a blueprint to build on this progress, deliver on the agenda he laid out in his State of the Union, and finish the job: continuing to grow the economy from the bottom up and middle out by investing in America, lowering costs for families, protecting and strengthening Medicare and Social Security, and reducing the deficit by nearly $3 trillion over the next decade by making the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share and cutting wasteful spending on Big Pharma, Big Oil, and other special interests. No one earning less than $400,000 per year will pay a penny in new taxes.
Congressional Republicans have taken a very different approach. While they have consistently said that reducing the deficit is a top priority, Congressional Republicans have already proposed policies that would add an additional $3 trillion to the debt over the next decade—all while raising costs for working families and handing out tax giveaways to the wealthy and big corporations. As the President has made clear, they owe the American people a detailed accounting of exactly what they plan to cut in order to cover the costs of their proposals, while also achieving the kinds of fiscal targets that they claim to support. Until they produce a plan, we’re left to rely on a wide array of Republican budgets, statements, and proposals—past and present—which provide clear and consistent evidence that many critical programs the American people count on will be on the chopping block.
Lowering Costs and Giving Families More Breathing Room
As our economy transitions from a historically strong recovery to stable and steady growth, the President has remained laser-focused on continuing to lower costs for families and giving them more breathing room, without giving up the historic economic gains we’ve made. While more work remains, there are clear signs that the President’s strategy is working. Annual inflation is lower than it was seven months ago, gas prices are down $1.60 per gallon since their peak last summer, and unemployment remains at its lowest level in 54 years, while take home pay has gone up. And the Biden-Harris Administration has taken historic action to lower the costs of health care, clean energy, and prescription drugs, eliminate junk fees that make it harder for families to make ends meet, promote greater competition to lower costs, and address pandemic-driven supply chain bottlenecks. While some Congressional Republicans have proposed repealing the Inflation Reduction Act and taken other actions that would raise costs for working families, the President’s Budget takes a very different approach—proposing a package of policies to continue lowering everyday costs for the American people.
Cuts Taxes for Families with Children and American Workers. The President is calling for the restoration of the full Child Tax Credit enacted in the American Rescue Plan, which cut child poverty in half in 2021, to the lowest level in history. The Budget would expand the credit from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child for children six years old and above, and to $3,600 per child for children under six. The Budget would also permanently reform the credit to make it fully refundable. The President also calls on the Congress to make the Earned Income Tax Credit expansion for childless workers permanent, which would help pull low-paid workers out of poverty.
Lowers Health Care Costs. The President believes that health care should be a right, not a privilege. With enrollment in affordable health coverage at an all-time high, the Budget builds on the remarkable success of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), by making permanent the average $800 per year premium cuts through expanded premium tax credits that the Inflation Reduction Act extended. It also provides Medicaid-like coverage to individuals in States that have not adopted Medicaid expansion under the ACA, paired with financial incentives to ensure States maintain their existing expansions.
Reduces Prescription Drug Costs for All Americans. The Budget builds upon the Inflation Reduction Act to continue lowering the cost of prescription drugs. For Medicare, this includes further strengthening the newly established negotiation power by extending it to more drugs and bringing drugs into negotiation sooner after they launch. The Budget also proposes to limit Medicare Part D cost-sharing for high-value generic drugs used for certain chronic conditions like hypertension and high cholesterol to no more than $2. For Medicaid, the Budget includes proposals to ensure Medicaid and CHIP programs are prudent purchasers of prescription drugs, authorizing HHS to negotiate supplemental drug rebates on behalf of interested States in order to pool purchasing power. For the commercial market, the Budget includes proposals to curb inflation in prescription drug prices and cap the prices of insulin products at $35 for a monthly prescription.
Expands Access to Quality, Affordable Health Care. The Budget invests $150 billion over 10 years to improve and expand Medicaid home and community-based services, such as personal care services, which would allow seniors and individuals with disabilities to remain in their homes and stay active in their communities as well as improve the quality of jobs for home care workers. And because community health centers—which provide comprehensive services regardless of ability to pay—serve one in three people living in poverty and one in five rural residents, the Budget puts the Health Center Program on a path to double its size and expand its reach. To bolster the health care workforce, the Budget provides a total of $966 million in 2024 to expand the National Health Service Corps, which provides loan repayment and scholarships to health care professionals in exchange for practicing in underserved areas, and a total of $350 million to expand programs that train and support the nursing workforce.
Expands Access to Affordable, High-Quality Early Child Care and Learning. Too many families across America cannot access high-quality, affordable child care—preventing parents from working and holding back our entire economy. The President’s Budget enables states to increase child care options for more than 16 million young children and lowers costs so that parents can afford to send their children to high-quality child care. The Budget also funds a Federal-State partnership that provides high-quality, universal, free preschool to support healthy child development and ensure children enter kindergarten ready to succeed.
Lowers Housing Costs by Increasing Affordable Housing Supply and Expanding Access to Homeownership and Affordable Rent. The President believes that everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to live. To address the critical shortage of affordable housing in communities throughout the country that has exacerbated inflation, the Budget includes $59 billion in mandatory funding and tax incentives aimed at increasing the affordable housing supply, including for extremely low-income households. The Budget also includes $10 billion in mandatory funding to incentivize State, local, and regional jurisdictions to make progress in removing barriers to affordable housing developments, such as restrictive zoning. By expanding the supply of housing, the Budget would help prevent the kind of rapid increases in rental and homeownership costs we have seen in recent years. The Budget also includes $10 billion in mandatory funding for a new First-Generation Down Payment Assistance program to help address racial and ethnic homeownership and wealth gaps—making homeownership more attainable for Americans who have been locked out of the generational wealth building that can come with owning a home. And the Budget expands access to affordable rent through the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program to well over 200,000 additional households. In addition to assisting all current voucher recipients and providing new vouchers for tens of thousands of additional families, the Budget includes mandatory funding to support two populations that are particularly vulnerable to homelessness—guaranteed assistance for all 20,000 youth who age out of foster care annually and an incremental expansion to cover the 450,000 extremely low-income (ELI) veteran families nationwide.
Improves College Affordability and Expands Free Community College. The Budget proposes to increase the discretionary maximum Pell Grant by $500—helping more than 6.8 million students pay for college, building on successful bipartisan efforts to increase the maximum Pell Grant award by $900 over the past two years, and laying out a path to double the award by 2029. The Budget also invests mandatory and discretionary funding to expand free community college, and provides mandatory funding for two years of subsidized tuition for students from families earning less than $125,000 enrolled in a participating four-year Historically Black College or University (HBCU), Tribally-Controlled College or University (TCCU), or Minority-Serving Institution (MSI).
Lowers Home Energy and Water Costs. The Budget provides $4.1 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), building on the $13 billion provided in the Inflation Reduction Act to reduce energy bills for families, expand clean energy, transform rural power production, and create thousands of good-paying jobs for people across rural America. Since the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) expires at the end of 2023, the Budget proposes to expand LIHEAP funding and allow States the option to use a portion of their LIHEAP funds to provide water bill assistance to low-income households.
Increases Food Security. As called for in the National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, the Budget provides over $15 billion to allow more States and schools to leverage participation in the Community Eligibility Program and provide healthy and free school meals to an additional 9 million children. The Budget also includes $6.3 billion to support the 6.5 million individuals expected to participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
Protecting and Strengthening Medicare and Social Security
The President has always believed that Medicare and Social Security are a promise—a rock-solid guarantee generations of Americans have counted on to be able to retire with dignity and security. The President will reject any efforts to cut the Medicare or Social Security benefits that seniors and people with disabilities have earned and paid into their entire working lives. The Budget honors that ironclad commitment—not only by rejecting benefit cuts, but by embracing reforms and investments that will protect and strengthen both programs. The President is committed to working with Congress to ensure Medicare and Social Security remain strong for their beneficiaries, now and in the future.
Protects and Strengthens Medicare. The Budget strengthens Medicare by extending the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund by at least 25 years, without cutting any benefits or raising costs for beneficiaries. The Budget includes key reforms to the tax code to ensure high-income individuals pay their fair share into the Medicare HI trust fund. It also directs the revenue from the Net Investment Income Tax into the HI trust fund as was originally intended. Finally, the Budget directs the savings from the Budget’s proposed Medicare drug reforms into the HI trust fund.
Protects the Social Security Benefits that Americans Have Earned. The Administration is committed to protecting and strengthening Social Security and opposes any attempt to cut Social Security benefits for current or future recipients. The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to responsibly strengthen Social Security by ensuring that high-income individuals pay their fair share. The Budget also invests in staff, information technology, and other improvements at the Social Security Administration, providing an increase of $1.4 billion, a 10 percent increase, over the 2023 enacted level. These funds would improve customer service at Social Security Administration field offices, State disability determination services, and teleservice centers for retirees, individuals with disabilities, and their families.
Growing the Economy from the Bottom up and Middle Out by Investing in America and Its People
The Budget proposes smart, targeted investments to grow the economy from the bottom up and middle out, not the top down, by investing in America and its people—investing in the foundations of our country’s economic strength; confronting the climate crisis while creating clean energy jobs; and advancing equity, dignity, and opportunity and strengthening our democracy.
Investing in the Foundations of Our Economic Strength
Invests in American Manufacturing. The Budget provides $375 million for the National Institutes of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Industrial Technology Services to support the progress of NIST’s existing manufacturing institute, fund a new institute to be launched in 2023, and promote domestic production of institute-developed technologies. The Budget also includes $277 million for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a public-private partnership that offers advisory services to small and medium enterprises.
Makes Historic Investments in Innovation and Cutting-Edge Research. The Budget provides almost $21 billion in discretionary spending for CHIPS and Science Act-authorized activities. This funding includes $1.2 billion for the CHIPS and Science Act-authorized Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships to help accelerate and translate scientific research into innovations, industries, and jobs, as well as $300 million for NSF’s Regional Innovation Engines program to galvanize use-inspired research, technology translation, and workforce development. Within DOE’s Office of Science, the Budget also supports cutting-edge research in artificial intelligence, quantum information sciences, microelectronics, and isotope production at the national laboratories and universities. In addition, the Budget requests $4 billion in new mandatory funding for the Regional Technology and Innovation Hub Program at the Economic Development Administration. And the Budget provides $210 billion for Federal research and development, an historic level of investment in American science, technology and innovation.
Provides National, Comprehensive Paid Family and Medical Leave and Calls for Paid Sick Leave for All Workers. Workers power our economy—and when they thrive, our economy thrives. The Budget proposes to establish a national, comprehensive paid family and medical leave program, providing up to 12 weeks of leave to allow eligible workers to take time off to care and bond with a new child; care for a seriously ill loved one; heal from their own serious illness; address circumstances arising from a loved one’s military deployment; or find safety from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The President also calls on Congress to require employers to provide seven job-protected paid sick days each year to all workers.
Expands Workforce Training that Provides Pathways to Good Jobs. The Budget invests in evidence-based training models to ensure all workers—including women, workers of color, and workers in rural areas—have the skills they need for the good jobs being created by the President’s historic legislative accomplishments. The Budget invests $335 million in Registered Apprenticeship, an earn-and-learn model, to provide debt-free pathways to careers in construction, clean energy, semiconductor manufacturing, and other in-demand industries. The Budget also provides $200 million for the new Sectoral Employment through Career Training for Occupational Readiness (SECTOR) program, which will support development and expansion of public-private partnerships to equitably deliver high-quality training in growing industries, and invests $100 million to help community colleges partner with employers and the public workforce system to design and deliver effective training models in communities across the Nation.
Invests in High-Poverty Schools. The Budget provides $20.5 billion for Title I, a $2.2 billion increase above the 2023 enacted level, delivering critical funding to 90 percent of school districts across the Nation and helping them provide students in low-income communities the academic opportunities and support they need to succeed. This increase in funding addresses chronic funding gaps between high-poverty schools—which disproportionately serve students of color—and their wealthier counterparts.
Taking Historic Action to Cut Energy Bills for Families and Confront the Climate Crisis While Creating Clean Energy Jobs Across America
Cuts Energy Bills for Families and Creates Jobs Building Clean Energy Infrastructure. The Budget invests $4.5 billion in clean energy across America, bringing jobs to rural communities and cities, leaving no one behind. The Budget supports clean energy workforce development and sustainable infrastructure projects across the country, including $1.8 billion to weatherize and retrofit low-income Americans’ homes, and $83 million to electrify Tribal homes and transition Tribal Colleges and universities to renewable energy.
Makes Historic Investments in Science & Research to Continue to Cut the Cost of Clean Energy. To boost American innovation and sustain American leadership in research and scientific discovery, the Budget also provides a historic investment of $16.5 billion in climate science and clean energy innovation. The Budget includes $3.5 billion of the $8.8 billion total for DOE’s Office of Science and $1.6 billion at NSF, and makes advancements toward the CHIPS and Science Act authorizations, including $1 billion for fusion, the largest ever investment in the promise of a clean energy power source.
Cuts Global Warming Pollution. The Budget invests in reducing global warming pollution and achieving the President’s target to cut greenhouse gas emissions 50-52 percent by 2030. These investments include an additional $64.4 million at EPA to implement the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act and continue phasing out potent greenhouse gases known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The Budget supports $1.2 billion in DOE industrial decarbonization activities.
Helps Increase Climate Resilience and Bolsters Conservation. The Budget invests more than $24 billion to help build communities’ resilience to floods, wildfires, storms, extreme heat, and drought brought on by climate change, expand conservation and ecosystem management, strengthen America’s natural disaster response capabilities, increase the resilience of rural housing to the impacts of climate change while reducing rent burdens, and ensure the resilience of our nation’s defense to climate change.
Advances Equity and Environmental Justice. The Administration continues to prioritize efforts to deliver environmental justice in communities across the United States, including meeting the President’s Justice40 Initiative to ensure that 40 percent of the overall benefits of Federal investments in climate and clean energy reach disadvantaged communities, including rural and Tribal communities. The Budget bolsters these efforts by investing nearly $1.8 billion at EPA across numerous programs that will support securing environmental justice for communities that bear the brunt of toxic pollution and climate change. The Budget also provides EPA $219 million to help remediate lead contamination in water, an increase of $163 million over the 2023 enacted level.
Increases Global Energy Security, Infrastructure, and Resilience. The Budget supports the President’s pledges to more than quadruple international climate finance and to provide more than $3 billion for the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE). This includes a $1.6 billion contribution to the Green Climate Fund and a $1.2 billion loan to the Clean Technology Fund. The Budget also advances new tools, such as loan guarantees, to re-assert U.S. leadership in the Indo-Pacific to finance energy security and infrastructure projects and reduce reliance on volatile energy supplies and prices.
Expanding Access to High-Quality Health Care and Improving Health Outcomes
Advances Maternal Health and Health Equity. The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate among developed nations, and rates are disproportionately high for Black and American Indian and Alaska Native women. The Budget includes $471 million to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity rates; expand maternal health initiatives in rural communities; implement implicit bias training for health care providers; create pregnancy medical home demonstration projects; and address the highest rates of perinatal health disparities, including by supporting the perinatal health workforce. In addition, the Budget requires all States to provide continuous Medicaid coverage for 12 months postpartum, eliminating gaps in health insurance at a critical time.
Advances Cancer Moonshot Goals. The Cancer Moonshot aims to reduce the cancer death rate by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years and improve the experience of people who are living with or have survived cancer, their families, and caregivers. The Budget includes $1.7 billion for dedicated Cancer Moonshot activities across the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in addition to targeted investments at the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Defense, Agriculture, and other Cancer Cabinet agencies, and a total investment of $7.8 billion at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to drive progress on ways to prevent, detect, and treat cancer. The Budget also provides an increase of $1 billion for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), for a total of $2.5 billion, to drive innovative health research and speed the implementation of breakthroughs that would transform the treatment, prevention, and early detection of cancer and other diseases.
Transforms Behavioral Health Care. The United States is facing a mental health crisis. While recently enacted legislation takes significant steps to address this crisis, much more can be done. For people with private health insurance, the Budget expands coverage of mental health benefits and strengthens the network of behavioral health providers. For people with Medicare, the Budget lowers patients’ costs for mental health services, requires parity in coverage between behavioral health and medical benefits, and expands coverage for behavioral health providers. The Budget provides historic investments in the behavioral health workforce, youth mental health care, Certified Community Based Behavioral Health Clinics, Community Mental Health Centers, and mental health research.
Making Our Communities Safer, Advancing Equity and Opportunity, and Strengthening American Democracy
Invests in Federal Law Enforcement, Community Violence Interventions, and Prevention to Combat Gun Violence and Other Violent Crime. The Budget continues to fund the President’s comprehensive Safer America Plan, including funding to put 100,000 additional police officers on our streets for accountable, community-oriented policing; $19.4 billion over 10 years for crime prevention strategies; and $5 billion over 10 years for community violence interventions. The Budget also includes $17.8 billion for DOJ law enforcement, including a total of nearly $2 billion for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to expand multijurisdictional gun trafﬁcking strike forces with additional personnel, increase regulation of the ﬁrearms industry, and implement the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. The Budget also includes $1.9 billion for the U.S. Marshals Service to support personnel dedicated to ﬁghting violent crime, as well as $51 million to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to support the continued implementation of enhanced background checks required by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
Prioritizes Efforts to End Gender-Based Violence. The Budget proposes $1 billion to support implementation of programs through the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA), which was recently reauthorized and strengthened in 2022. The Budget supports substantial increases for longstanding VAWA programs, including key investments in legal assistance for victims, transitional housing, and sexual assault services. The Budget also includes $519 million for the Family Violence Prevention and Services (FVPSA) program and the National Domestic Violence Hotline to support domestic violence survivors—double the 2023 enacted level.
Advances Child and Family Well-Being in the Child Welfare System. The Budget proposes to expand and incentivize the use of evidence-based foster care prevention services to keep families safely together and reduce the number of children entering foster care. The Budget provides States with support to place more foster children with relatives or other adults who have an existing emotional bond with the children, while also providing additional funding to support youth who age out of care without a permanent caregiver. In addition, the Budget proposes to make the adoption tax credit refundable and to extend the credit to legal guardianships. This would reduce the financial burden on low- and moderate-income families wishing to pursue adoption, as well as for families who opt for legal guardianship.
Strengthens Our Democracy. To continue efforts to restore and strengthen American democracy, the Budget proposes $5 billion in new election assistance funding to be allocated over 10 years, $1.5 billion to support increasing the living allowance provided to AmeriCorps members so that national service is a more accessible pathway to success, and $73 million to support American history and civics education programs.
Keeping America Safe and Confronting Global Challenges
Even as he has taken decisive action to strengthen America at home, the President has worked with allies and partners to confront pressing global challenges. The Budget builds on that progress through proposals to continue addressing threats to global security and strengthening the U.S. military, addressing pressing global challenges, strengthening border security and the U.S. immigration system, and honoring America’s commitment to veterans, servicemembers, families, caregivers, and survivors.
Supports Ukraine, European Allies, and Partners. The Budget continues support for Ukraine, the United States’ strong alliance with the states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and other European partner states by prioritizing funding to enhance the capabilities and readiness of U.S. forces, NATO allies, and regional partners in the face of continued Russian aggression.
Invests in New Ways to Out-Compete China and Deepens Alliances and Partnerships in the Indo-Pacific. China is the United States’ only competitor with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to do it. During these unprecedented and extraordinary times, the Budget requests both discretionary and mandatory resources to out-compete China and advance American prosperity globally. The mandatory proposal will strengthen the U.S. role in the Indo-Pacific, and advance the U.S. economy by investing $2 billion to create a new International Infrastructure Fund to support “hard” critical infrastructure; $2 billion to create a new equity revolving fund at the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation to support equity investments; and $2 billion to make game-changing investments in the Indo-Pacific to strengthen partner economies and support their efforts in pushing back against predatory efforts. As part of this mandatory proposal, the Budget also requests a total of $7.1 billion over the next 20 years for the Compacts of Free Association with the Freely Associated States of the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau.
Promotes Integrated Deterrence in the Indo-Pacific and Globally. The Budget prioritizes China as America’s pacing challenge in line with the 2022 National Defense Strategy. The Department of Defense’s 2024 Pacific Deterrence Initiative highlights $9.1 billion of targeted investments the Department is making to U.S. force posture, infrastructure, presence, and readiness as well as efforts to bolster the capacity and capabilities of U.S. allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region.
Strengthens Democracy and Promotes Human Rights Globally. The Budget provides more than $3.4 billion to advance democratic governance and foster democratic renewal globally. The Budget would strengthen free and independent media, fight corruption, bolster democratic institutions, advance technology for democracy, promote gender equality and women’s civic and political participation, and defend free and fair elections and political processes.
Enhances Border Security and Immigration Enforcement. Strengthening border security and providing safe, lawful pathways for migration remain top priorities for the Administration. The Budget includes nearly $25 billion for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Budget includes funds for CBP to hire an additional 350 Border Patrol Agents, $535 million for border technology at and between ports of entry, $40 million to combat fentanyl trafficking and disrupt transnational criminal organizations, and funds to hire an additional 460 processing assistants at CBP and ICE.
Expands Health Care, Benefits, and Services for Military Environmental Exposures. The PACT Act represents the most significant expansion of VA health care and disability compensation benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other environmental exposures in more than 30 years. As part of the PACT Act, the Congress authorized the Cost of War Toxic Exposures Fund (TEF) to fund increased costs above 2021 funding levels for health care and benefits delivery for veterans exposed to a number of environmental hazards—and ensure there is sufficient funding available to cover these costs without shortchanging other elements of veteran medical care and benefit delivery. The Budget provides $20.3 billion for the TEF in 2024, which is $15.3 billion above the 2023 enacted level.
Reducing Deficits by Nearly $3 Trillion by Making the Wealthy and Big Corporations Pay Their Fair Share and Cutting Wasteful Spending on Big Pharma, Big Oil, and Special Interests
After inheriting historically high deficits from the previous Administration, President Biden told the American people he would reduce the deficit, pay for his proposals, and ensure that no one making less than $400,000 a year would pay a penny more in new taxes. That’s exactly what he has done—and exactly what he will continue to do.
The President’s Budget builds on the record-breaking deficit reduction he achieved during his first two years in office. It more than fully pays for its investments, reduces deficits by nearly $3 trillion over the next decade by making the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share and cutting wasteful spending on Big Pharma, Big Oil, and other special interests, and ensures that no one making less than $400,000 per year will pay a penny more in new taxes.
The Budget reflects the President’s ironclad belief that we need a tax system that rewards work, not wealth—and that ensures the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations don’t pay lower tax rates than teachers or firefighters. That’s in sharp contrast with Congressional Republicans, who in recent months have proposed policies that would add $3 trillion to the debt over the next decade while handing out tax giveaways to the wealthy and big corporations.
Building on the progress the President has already made to promote a fairer tax code, the Budget proposes additional reforms that would ensure the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share while cutting wasteful spending on Big Pharma, Big Oil, and other special interests.
Proposes a Minimum Tax on Billionaires. The tax code currently offers special treatment for the types of income that wealthy people enjoy. While the wages and salaries that everyday Americans earn are taxed as ordinary income, billionaires make their money in ways that are taxed at lower rates, and sometimes not taxed at all. This special treatment, combined with sophisticated tax planning and giant loopholes, allows many of the wealthiest Americans to pay lower rates on their full income than many middle-class households pay. To finally address this glaring problem, the Budget includes a 25 percent minimum tax on the wealthiest 0.01 percent.
Ensures Corporations Pay Their Fair Share. The Budget includes an increase to the rate that corporations pay in taxes on their profits. Corporations received an enormous tax break in 2017, cutting effective U.S. tax rates for U.S. corporations to a low of less than 10 percent. While their profits soared, their investment in the economy did not. Their shareholders and top executives reaped the benefits, without the promised trickle down to workers, consumers, or communities. The Budget would set the corporate tax rate at 28 percent, still well below the 35 percent rate that prevailed prior to the 2017 tax law. This tax rate change is complemented by other proposals to incentivize job creation and investment in the United States and ensure large corporations pay their fair share.
Stops the Race to the Bottom in International Corporate Tax and End Tax Breaks for Offshoring. For decades, countries have competed for multinational business by slashing tax rates, at the expense of having adequate revenues to finance core services. Thanks in part to the Administration’s leadership, more than 130 nations signed on to a global tax framework to finally address this race to the bottom. Building on that framework, the Budget proposes to reform the international tax system to reduce the incentives to book profits in low-tax jurisdictions, stop corporate inversions to tax havens, and raise the tax rate on U.S. multinationals’ foreign earnings from 10.5 percent to 21 percent. These reforms will ensure that profitable multinational corporations pay their fair share.
Quadruples the Stock Buybacks Tax. Last year, the President signed into law a surcharge on corporate stock buybacks, which reduces the differential tax treatment between buybacks and dividends and encourages businesses to invest and grow as opposed to funneling tax-preferred profits to foreign shareholders. The Budget proposes quadrupling the stock buybacks tax from one percent to four percent to address the continued tax advantage for buybacks and encourage corporations to invest in productivity and the broader economy.
Repeals Trump Tax Cuts for the Wealthy and Reform Capital Gains Tax to Ensure the Wealthy Pay Their Fair Share. The 2017 tax law lowered rates for the wealthiest Americans, delivering massive tax cuts to the top one percent. The Budget repeals the Trump tax cuts for the highest-income Americans, restoring the top tax rate of 39.6 percent for single filers making more than $400,000 a year and married couples making more than $450,000 per year. It also proposes taxing capital gains at the same rate as wage income for those with more than $1 million in income and finally closes the carried interest loophole that allows some wealthy investment fund managers to pay tax at lower rates than their secretaries.
Cuts Wasteful Spending on Big Pharma, Big Oil, and Other Special Interests, Combats Fraud, and Makes Programs More Efficient. The Budget puts forward reforms that cut wasteful spending on Big Pharma, Big Oil, and other special interests, crack down on fraud, and strengthen program integrity—saving taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. For example, the Budget cuts Federal spending by $160 billion—and saves billions of dollars for seniors—by increasing the number of drugs Medicare can select for negotiation and bringing more drugs into the negotiation process sooner, building on the Inflation Reduction Act’s reforms. It also includes a package of reforms to crack down on systemic fraud—combatting identity theft and other fraud in Unemployment Insurance, increasing funding for the Anti-Pandemic Fraud Strike Force, and investing in Inspectors General.
Over the past two years, President Biden has worked to advance racial equity and ensure the promise of America for Black Americans and all communities across the country. From increasing access to homeownership and rooting our discrimination in the housing market to promoting entrepreneurship, from reducing child poverty to historic lows to expanding access to quality affordable healthcare, from advancing voting rights and police accountability to ensuring equal access to a good education, the Biden-Harris Administration is ensuring that all African American families and communities can live with dignity, safety, and respect and enjoy true equal opportunity. Highlights of the actions the Biden-Harris Administration has taken to advance equity and opportunity for Black Americans include:
Creating Economic Opportunity for Black Families and Communities. By signing into law the historic American Rescue Plan (ARP), Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and implementing robust regulatory reform, President Biden has led the most equitable economic recovery on record, creating more than 12 million jobs since coming to office and helping create new economic opportunities for African Americans, including Black-owned businesses, and made long overdue investments in Black communities. The President’s economic agenda has led to historically low unemployment, including among Black Americans, and is laying the groundwork for even greater economic growth in Black communities for years to come.
Protecting Black Americans’ Access to Housing by Combating Housing Discrimination. Following President Biden’s Presidential Memorandum directing his Administration to address racial discrimination in the housing market, in January 2023, the Department of Housing and Urban Development published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to fulfill obligations under the Fair Housing Act to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing. This rule will help overcome patterns of segregation and to hold state, localities, and public housing agencies that receive federal funds accountable for ensuring that underserved communities have equitable access to affordable housing opportunities.
Launching a Whole-Of-Government Initiative to Advance Equity and Justice for Underserved Communities, Including Black Communities. On his first day in office, President Biden signed the historic Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. The President’s Order emphasized the enormous human costs of systemic racism, persistent poverty, and other disparities, and directed the Federal Government to advance an ambitious whole-of-government equity agenda.
To strengthen the federal government’s equity mandate, on February 16, 2023, President Biden signed a second Executive Order on equity that directs the federal government to continue the work to make the promise of America real for every American. This second equity Executive Order requires agencies to designate senior leaders accountable for implementing the equity mandate; directs agencies to produce Equity Action Plans annually and report to the public on their progress; requires agencies to improve the quality, frequency, and accessibility of their community engagement; formalizes the President’s goal of increasing the share of federal contracting dollars awarded to small disadvantaged business by 50 percent by 2025; directs agencies to spur economic growth in rural areas and advance more equitable urban development; instructs agencies to consider bolstering the capacity of their civil rights offices and focusing their efforts on emerging threats like algorithmic discrimination in automated technology; directs the White House Office of Management and Budget to support agencies’ Equity Action Plans and invest in underserved communities each year through the formulation of the President’s budget; and further promotes data equity and transparency.
Lowering Health Care Costs and Improving Health Outcomes for Black Communities. President Biden is committed to keeping health care costs down for individuals and families and improving access to health care to address disparities in Black communities, including by creating the Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis.
Millions of lower- and middle-income Black families enrolled in health insurance marketplaces saw their premiums lowered or eliminated as a result of the ARP and will continue to benefit from provisions included in the Inflation Reduction Act. More than three quarters of uninsured Black Americans had access to a plan with a monthly premium of $50 or less and about two thirds could find a plan for $0-premium plan in 2021. After substantially increasing Affordable Care Act Marketplace outreach and education, from 2020 to 2022 there was an increase of 400,000 Black Americans enrolled in ACA coverage – a 49% increase.
Among adults 65 and older, Black Medicare beneficiaries were roughly 1.5 times as likely as White beneficiaries to have trouble affording medications, and about 2 times as likely to not fill needed prescriptions due to cost. The President’s prescription drug law caps the amount that seniors on Medicare will have to pay for insulin at $35 per monthly prescription, caps the amount that seniors will have to pay for prescription drugs they buy at the pharmacy at $2,000 a year and will further lower prescription drug costs for seniors by allowing Medicare to negotiate the price of high-cost drugs and requiring drug manufacturers to pay Medicare a rebate when they raise prices faster than inflation.
Ensuring Equitable Educational Opportunity in K-12 Schools and an Education Beyond High School. President Biden has delivered the support necessary to enable every school to return to full-time, in-person instruction and ensure student success by accelerating academic recovery and addressing the mental health needs of students. President Biden has made college more affordable, provided college students with supports for completion, and helped federal student loan borrowers as they recover from the pandemic. He has also worked to ensure equitable access to high-quality education for Black students and invested nearly $6 billion in HBCUs.
Helping Working Families Afford Child Care. The high cost of child care continues to make it hard for parents – especially women — to work outside the home and provide for their families. Difficulty in finding high-quality, affordable child care leads some parents to drop out of the labor force entirely, some to reduce their work hours, and others to turn down a promotion. As part of the end-of-year omnibus appropriations bill, the Administration secured a 30% increase in funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, which will more families afford child care and access better child care options. Forty percent of children benefiting from this program are Black. The new law also made significant investments in programs Head Start, which disproportionately serves Black children and families.
Advancing Effective, Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Reform. After Senate Republicans blocked passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act last year – even though law enforcement groups supported a deal – President Biden signed a historic Executive Order to advance effective, accountable policing and strengthen public safety. The order requires federal law enforcement agencies to: ban chokeholds; restrict no-knock warrants; mandate the use of body-worn cameras; implement stronger use of force policies, including with the duty to intervene and duty to render medical aid; provide de-escalation training; submit officer misconduct records into a new national database; and restrict the transfer of military equipment to local law enforcement agencies, among other things. The Administration is actively implementing the order. For example, agencies have already prohibited chokeholds and restricted no-knock entries, updated their use of force-policies, and prohibited the transfer of military-grade weapons and equipment to local law enforcement agencies.
Protecting the Sacred Right to Vote. The President signed into law the bipartisan Electoral Reform Count Act, which establishes clear guidelines for our system of certifying and counting electoral votes for President and Vice President, to preserve the will of the people and to protect against the type of attempts to overturn our elections that led to the January 6 insurrection. Agencies across the federal government have announced steps they are taking to respond to the President’s historic Executive Order on promoting access to voting. And the Department of Justice has taken strong actions to protect the right to vote, including doubling the number of voting rights attorneys.
As USDOT works to ban family seating junk fees, new tool spotlights progress made on pushing airlines to guarantee parents can sit with their children fee-free
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is making it easier for parents to avoid paying junk fees to sit with their children when they fly by rolling out a new family seating dashboard that highlights the airlines that guarantee fee-free family seating, and those that do not. As recently as a month ago, no U.S. airlines guaranteed fee-free family seating. Now, after weeks of USDOT and the Biden Administration pressing airlines to improve their customer service, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Frontier Airlines have stepped forward to guarantee that parents can sit with their young children without getting nickel and dimed. While this represents significant progress, USDOT is not stopping there – and has already begun work on a common-sense rulemaking to ban airlines from charging families junk fees to sit together.
“Parents traveling with young kids should be able to sit together without an airline forcing them to pay junk fees,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “We have been pressing airlines to guarantee family seating without tacking on extra charges, and now we’re seeing some airlines start to make this common-sense change. All airlines should do this promptly, even as we move forward to develop a rule establishing this as a requirement across the board.”
Last summer, Secretary Buttigieg pressed U.S. airlines to do more for passengers who had a flight canceled or delayed because of the airline. He informed the CEOs of the 10 largest U.S. airlines that the Department would publish a dashboard on amenities and services provided such as rebooking, meals, or hotels in the event of a controllable delay or cancellation. Prior to his urging, none of the 10 largest U.S. airlines guaranteed meals or hotels when a delay or cancellation was within the airlines’ control, and only one offered free rebooking. Now, all 10 airlines guarantee meals and rebooking, and nine guarantee hotels when an airline issue causes a cancellation or delay.
Like the prior dashboard, the Department’s family seating dashboard provides a clear comparison of services the airlines have committed to provide, which will assist consumers when deciding which airline to fly. It makes it easier to know which airlines have stepped up and guarantee adjacent seats for young children traveling with an accompanying adult at no additional cost and which airlines do not.
USDOT issued a notice last July stating that it is the Department’s policy that U.S. airlines ensure that children who are age 13 or younger are seated next to an accompanying adult with no extra charge. During a four-month review period following that notice, USDOT found that none of the airlines guaranteed family seating at no additional cost even though most asserted that they would make best efforts. This new dashboard allows parents to sidestep airlines’ confusing claims on family seating. To receive a green check on the dashboard, an airline must guarantee that parents can sit next to children age 13 and younger for free if adjacent seats are available when they book. And they must include that guarantee as part of their customer service plan so that it is backstopped by USDOT enforcement if they fail to deliver.
Since most airlines currently do not guarantee that they will seat a parent and a child together at no extra cost, USDOT has begun work on a rulemaking to ensure a young child is able to sit adjacent to an accompanying adult. Because the rulemaking process can be lengthy, the President has called upon Congress to enact legislation, and the Administration plans to send Congress proposed legislation in the coming weeks. This is just one part of USDOT’s and the Administration’s ongoing efforts to strengthen consumer protections.
Additional work that USDOT has done to protect traveling public includes:
USDOT issued the largest fines in the history of the consumer protection office last year, primarily for failing to provide timely refunds.
Since taking office, Secretary Buttigieg and USDOT have helped get hundreds of thousands of people more than $1 billion back in refunds.
NPRM on Airline Ticket Refunds and Consumer Protections. The Department’s proposed rule on Airline Ticket Refunds, if adopted, would: 1) require airlines to proactively inform passengers that they have a right to receive a refund when a flight is canceled or significantly changed, and 2) define a significant change and cancellation that would entitle a consumer to a refund. The rule would also 3) require airlines to provide non-expiring vouchers or travel credits when people can’t travel because they have COVID-19 or other communicable diseases; and 4) require airlines that receive significant government assistance in the future related to a pandemic to issue refunds instead of non-expiring travel credits or vouchers when passengers are unable or advised not to travel because of a serious communicable disease. A public hearing on this rulemaking is scheduled to take place on March 14, 2023, and you can register here to attend this hearing.
NPRM on Enhancing Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees. Under the proposed rule, airlines and travel search websites would have to disclose upfront – the first time an airfare is displayed – any fees charged to sit with your child, for changing or cancelling your flight, and for checked or carry-on baggage. The proposal seeks to provide customers the information they need to choose the best deal. Otherwise, surprise fees can add up quickly and overcome what may look at first to be a cheap fare. A public hearing on this rulemaking is scheduled to take place on March 16, 2023, and you can register here to attend the hearing.
As Republicans advance laws intended to suppress voting rights, they are also impeding access to the ballot – undermining, sabotaging and reducing ballot boxes, shutting polling places on college campuses, moving polling places where they are hard to reach without a car, making it unlawful to provide food or water to people standing on line for hours on end, creating Election Police to intimidate voters, giving people false information about their ability to register, then prosecuting them for voter fraud, while ignoring actual voter fraud by those who vote “the right way.” The Biden Administration has worked to counter these efforts. On the 58th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the White House issued this fact sheet on its whole-of-government efforts to promote access to voting:–Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Today, President Biden is traveling to Selma, Alabama to commemorate the 58th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday. In 1965, John Lewis and other civil rights leaders led peaceful protesters demanding voting rights in a march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where they were brutally beaten by state troopers. The Nation’s reaction to Bloody Sunday helped produce the long overdue landmark Voting Rights Act, which put in place key protections against racial discrimination in voting and sought to provide equal access to the ballot for every American.
Since their first days in office, President Biden and Vice President Harris have prioritized strengthening our democracy and protecting the sacred right to vote in free, fair, and secure elections. Unconscionably, state legislatures across the country have enacted and continue to introduce laws that make it harder to vote and undermine the will of the people. Congress must restore the protections of the Voting Rights Act and take additional steps to ensure access to the ballot box by passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act—it’s the only way we can fully secure the right to vote in every state.
In December 2022, President Biden signed into law the Electoral Count Reform Act, which establishes clear guidelines for our system of certifying and counting electoral votes for President and Vice President, to preserve the will of the people and to protect against the type of attempts to overturn our elections that led to the January 6 insurrection. Congress must apply the same courage and conviction that it took to secure these reforms to passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. President Biden supports eliminating the filibuster to prevent a minority of Senators from blocking action on voting rights—when it comes to protecting majority rule in America, the majority should rule in the United States Senate.
In the meantime, the Biden-Harris Administration remains committed to using every tool at its disposal to protect the right to vote. On March 7, 2021, the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, President Biden signed an executive order directing an all-of-government effort to promote access to voting. As previously outlined, agencies continue leveraging their resources to provide Americans with access to voter registration services and nonpartisan information about elections:
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The ability to vote is both a right and a responsibility that comes with U.S. citizenship. The Department of Homeland Security’s USCIS strives to ensure all newly naturalized citizens understand this privilege and have the opportunity to register to vote following their naturalization ceremony. To improve and strengthen these efforts, USCIS will issue updated policy guidance to its 88 field offices to standardize and lift up best practices for voter registration services, including providing a clear roadmap for how to successfully partner with state and local election administration officials and nonpartisan organizations to provide voter registration applications to all new Americans. In Fiscal Year 2022, USCIS administered the Oath of Allegiance for 967,400 new Americans, across more than 20,000 naturalization ceremonies. Voter registration information and additional resources for newly naturalized Americans are available on the USCIS website for New U.S. Citizens.
Department of Education. By the end of March, the Department of Education will use StudentAid.gov to help connect borrowers to voter registration services by linking to vote.gov. StudentAid.gov is the Department’s primary customer website about postsecondary education. With more than 355 million visits in 2022, StudentAid.gov provides critical information and tools for students, families, and borrowers as they prepare and plan for college, apply for and receive federal student aid, and repay student loans. Building off guidance issued in April 2022, the Department continues to encourage colleges and career schools to make good-faith efforts to register students to vote.
Department of Agriculture. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) will enhance efforts to promote access to voting by encouraging all USDA agency field offices to make nonpartisan information about voter registration available in customer service locations, which exist across the country in thousands of rural, suburban, and urban communities.
Indian Health Service. The Indian Health Service (IHS) will promote access to voting in Indian Country by piloting high-quality voter registration services to patients across five IHS facilities by the end 2023.
General Services Administration. Vote.gov is now accessible in twelve languages, with more translations coming online soon, and GSA will continue working to enhance the website to make it easier for Americans to register to vote and obtain nonpartisan information about voting.
Department of Treasury. In addition to supporting the third-party Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) partners in offering voter registration services to individuals who seek tax assistance, Treasury is now providing information about voter registration in the instructions for IRS Form 1040 and in direct mail pieces delivered to approximately 900,000 Americans who receive Social Security Benefits, Railroad Pension benefits, and federal retirement benefits.
Department of the Interior. In 1993, Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act, which authorized states to request that federal agencies provide voter registration services. For nearly 30 years, no federal agency was designated as a voter registration agency. Last year, the Department of the Interior became the first agency to be designated as voter registration agency when two Bureau of Indian Education-operated post-secondary institutions—Haskell Indian Nations University in Kansas and the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute in New Mexico—formed partnerships with state election authorities to provide the opportunity to register to vote. Additionally, because federal public lands are one of the most common touch points between the federal government and the American people, the Department will explore options to expand access to voter registration on public lands across the country.
Department of Justice. Promoting voting access and education is an important part of preparing individuals who are exiting the criminal justice system for a successful return to society, because encouraging full citizenship helps make them stakeholders in the communities to which they return. The Department has developed a program to educate individuals about their voting rights, specific to each state and territory. The Department is also promoting access to voting for those who remain eligible to vote while in federal custody, including by putting in place procedures to facilitate voter registration and voting.
Department of Defense. The Federal Voting Assistance Program, which works to ensure Service members and overseas citizens have access to voting, will make the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) for voter registration or ballot request and the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) available in seven languages. Additionally, in February 2023, the Department began the Effective Absentee Systems for Elections (EASE) grant program to provide state and local election offices with funding to increase the percentage of ballots successfully returned by Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) voters, reduce the failure rates for UOCAVA voters, and establish and maintain a pipeline of ideas, techniques, and best practices of election officials and the services they provide for UOCAVA voters.
Department of State.Travel.state.gov now reflects up-to-date information on absentee voting and registration for U.S. citizens abroad. This coming year, the Department will promote Vote.gov in the waiting rooms of its 26 public passport agencies.
The White House is piercing the secrecy, backroom plans of Congressional Republicans to yet again, repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and slash Medicaid, under the guise of “balancing the budget”. Instead, the Republicans’ agenda would add $3 trillion to the national debt while leaving hundreds of millions living with the anxiety and insecurity of being without access to health care or destroyed by medical debt. The Republicans’ policy goes against the grain of Americans who overwhelmingly support Obamacare, which has delivered record numbers of Americans who have health insurance. Repealing the ACA would thrust millions into the life-and-death insecurity of not having health insurance at all or finding health insurance unaffordable, the 100 million people who have “pre-existing conditions” (now likely 200 million because of COVID), also being uninsurable by the for-profit insurance industry. Likewise, slashing Medicaid would not only leave millions, including millions of children, without health care, but result in more hospitals shutting down. This fact sheet from the White House is issued in advance of President Joe Biden’s remarks from Virginia Beach:–Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Virtually every Republican budget or fiscal plan over the last decade has included repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and deep cuts to Medicaid. That would mean: higher health care costs for tens of millions of Americans; ending critical protections for people with pre-existing conditions; millions of people losing health coverage and care; and threats to health care for seniors and people with disabilities, including growing home care waiting lists and worse nursing home care.
The American people deserve to see congressional Republicans’ full and detailed budget plan, including what it cuts from the ACA and Medicaid, Social Security and Medicare, and other critical programs, and should have the chance to compare it with the President’s budget plan, which he will release March 9.
If Republicans are successful in repealing the Affordable Care Act and making deep cuts to Medicaid:
Millions of Americans Will Have Higher Health Care Costs
More than 100 million people with pre-existing health conditions could lose critical protections. Before the ACA, more than 100 million Americans with pre-existing health conditions could have been denied coverage or charged more if they tried to buy individual market health insurance. Republican repeal proposals either eliminate these protections outright or find otherways to gut them.
Up to 24 million people could lose protection against catastrophic medical bills. Before the ACA, insurance plans were not required to limit enrollees’ total costs, and almost one in five people with employer coverage had no limit on out-of-pocket costs, meaning they were exposed to tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills if they became seriously ill.
Tens of millions of people could be at risk of lifetime benefit caps. Prior to the ACA, 105 million Americans, mostly people with employer coverage, had a lifetime limit on their health insurance benefits, and every year up to 20,000 people hit that cap and saw their benefits exhausted just when they needed them most.
Millions of people could lose free preventive care. The ACA requires private health insurers to cover preventive services, like cancer screenings, cholesterol tests, annual check-ups, and contraceptive services, at no cost. Before these requirements were in place, millions of Americans with health insurance faced cost sharing – sometimes high costs – for these services, which is part of why the ACA resulted in increased use of critical preventive care.
Over $1,000 average increase in medical debt for millions covered through Medicaid expansion. Repealing the ACA, in particular the expansion of Medicaid to low-income adults, would reverse major gains in financial security. Within the first two years of the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid, medical debt sent to collection agencies dropped by $3.4 billion, and there were 50,000 fewer medical bankruptcies. Among people gaining coverage through expansion, medical debt fell by an average of over $1,000. Expansion states also saw significant drops in evictions compared to non-expansion states.
Tens of millions of people could see their prescription drug coverage scaled back. Prescription drug coverage is an optional benefit under Medicaid. If states faced large cuts to their federal Medicaid funding, millions of Medicaid enrollees could see their coverage scaled back or have a harder time getting their prescriptions because of extra red tape.
Millions of Americans Will Lose Their Health Insurance
40 million people’s health insurance coverage would be at risk. Over 16 million people have signed up for ACA marketplace coverage for 2023, over 22 million people are enrolled in Medicaid expansion coverage available due to the ACA, and another 1 million people have coverage through the ACA’s Basic Health Program. The total number of people with some form of ACA coverage has risen significantly since 2017, when the Congressional Budget Office estimated the House-passed repeal bill would grow the ranks of the uninsured by 23 million.
An additional 69 million people with Medicaid could lose critical services, or could even lose coverage altogether. Slashing federal funding for Medicaid would force states to make Medicaid eligibility changes that would make it harder to qualify for and enroll in Medicaid coverage. States would also likely consider capping or limiting enrollment, cut critical services, and cut payments rates, making it harder for people with Medicaid to access care.
Thousands more preventable deaths each year. The ACA Medicaid expansion is preventing thousands of premature deaths among older adults each year, research finds, likely because it improves access to care, including medications to control chronic conditions and preventive care such as cancer screenings. ACA marketplace coverage also prevents premature deaths.
Worse Care for Seniors and People With Disabilities
Over 7 million seniors and people with disabilities could receive worse home care, with ballooning wait lists for those still in need. The number of people on home care wait lists has dropped by 20 percent since 2018. This progress would likely be reversed under a block grant or per-capita cap because there would be fewer dollars available for home care services, an optional benefit in Medicaid. Faced with large federal funding cuts, states would almost certainly ration care. That would likely mean wait lists for home care in the 13 states and DC that don’t currently have them, and skyrocketing wait lists in 37 states that do.
Hundreds of thousands of nursing home residents would be at risk of lower quality of care. Over 60 percent of nursing home residents are covered by Medicaid. With large cuts in federal funding, states would be forced to cut nursing home rates to manage their costs, as many states have done during recessions. Research shows that when nursing homes are paid less, residents get worse care.
Millions of People Will Lose Access to Opioid Treatment and Mental Health Care
Millions of people could lose access to substance use treatment or mental health care. Across the country, the ACA, especially its expansion of Medicaid, has dramatically expanded access to opioid treatment and other substance use disorder care, including increases in medication assisted treatment prescriptions for opioid and other substance use treatment and improved access to mental health care.
34 million children at risk of losing guaranteed access to mental health care. Past Republican plans proposed ending Medicaid’s guarantee of comprehensive health coverage for children. This would jeopardize children’s access to mental health care at a critical point in efforts to address the burgeoning youth mental health crisis. It would also cause children to go without other services, like annual check-ups and speech and physical therapy. And Republican proposals could endanger schools’ ability to bill Medicaid for mental health care, speech therapy, or physical therapy for students.
Rural Hospitals Would Be Forced to Close
More of the over 500 rural hospitals at risk of closure could close. The ACA, especially its expansion of Medicaid, helped cut hospital uncompensated care by about $12 billion, helping hospitals, especially rural hospitals, stay afloat. Between 2010 and 2021, nearly three-fourths of rural hospital closures were in states that have not adopted Medicaid expansion, with research finding that expansion disproportionately improved rural hospital margins and helped avert rural hospital closures. If the ACA is repealed, and millions lose coverage, closures among at-risk hospitals could increase significantly.
House Republicans commit to radical ultra MAGA budget that takes health care from millions and increases costs:
Confirming President Biden’s warning that House Republicans are threatening to cause an unforced economic catastrophe unless they can make disastrous cuts that increase millions of American’s health care costs, the top House Republican on the Budget Committee now says outright that they are using a ultra MAGA plan to do just that.
House Budget Chairman Jodey Arrington says Republicans are modeling their budget off of a hard right proposal from former Trump OMB Director Russell Vought – a plan that calls for draconian cuts to the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid. This would deprive countless Americans of their health coverage, make the costs of health care skyrocket cross the board, cause a spike in the price of prescription drugs, and devastate rural hospitals.
What sacrifices does Vought’s budget ask of rich special interests? None. And House Republicans simultaneously back enormous tax giveaways to the wealthy that economists warn would aggravate inflation.
President Biden and the American people want to go in the opposite direction, building on the historic deficit reduction he has led by having the rich and big corporations pay their fair share and reduce the deficit by a further $2 trillion.
“In their own words, Congressional Republicans keep proving President’s Biden’s warnings to the middle class right,” said White House spokesperson Andrew Bates. “The House Republican leading their budget process now admits that the foundation of their approach will be a radical, ultra MAGA plan that takes health coverage away from millions of middle class families, causes health care and prescription drug costs to skyrocket, and devastates rural hospitals. And they’re threatening to intentionally plunge our economy into chaos and kill millions of jobs and businesses if they don’t get their way. Meanwhile, Republicans are pushing exorbitant tax welfare for rich special interests that would increase the deficit and worsen inflation. This is the definition of trying to force our economy to work from the top-down, when they should be joining with President Biden to keep rebuilding the American middle class.”
About 40 cars participated in a “Drive Out Santos” caravan event on Saturday, February 25, organized by Courage for America, Concerned Citizens of NY 03, and Moveon.org. The event was aimed at “driving” home and keeping top-of-mind the many lies, frauds, and failures of George Santos, who remains in Congress months after his frauds came to light, despite investigations by federal, state, local, and even international (Brazil) authorities.
The caravan route was a veritable tour through the labyrinth of Santos’ lies, passing key landmarks that represent the main categories: an animal hospital, exemplifying the bogus charities he set up to bilk people out of money; Citibank, emblematic of his fabricated resume; Lake Success Jewish Center, a reminder of the pain he caused by claiming a Jewish heritage and grandparents who escaped the Holocaust, then saying he didn’t mean he was “Jewish,” but rather he was “Jew-ish:; Il Bacco, where he spent $26,000, encapsulating the campaign finance violations and financial dealings, which are actual crimes, now being investigated by federal, state and local authorities; ending at Santos office (still with former Congressman Tom Suozzi’s name) at 242-09 Northern Blvd, Queens, where he ghosts his own constituents.
(To be refreshed about the dozens and dozens of Santos’ lies, text Santos to 50409 and you can see one by one 40 to 50 of Santos lies, and generate a letter to your Congressmember to vote to expel Santos, a campaign set up by Concerned Citizens of NY 03.)
The route, and the website are aimed at highlighting Santos’ lies and frauds “he wants us to forget” but which have strong emotional impact on the constituents he defrauded, said Casey Sabella. “He lied his way to Congress. And while he is a lackluster legislature [not able to serve on committees] he is pushing legislation that doesn’t comport with the needs, wants and values of NY-03.”
For example, Santos is co-sponsoring legislation to make the AR-15 the “national gun,” – which should also be a reminder that he lied about having four employees massacred at the Pulse Nightclub in Florida. But, it must be said, brings him closer under the protection of the most radical extremists, the Sedition Caucus.
“That encourages violence and makes it harder for teachers and people in public service to do their jobs,” Sabella said, who must be fearful about the next mass shooting, which now happen with more frequency than the days of the month,
Governor Kathy Hochul reacted to Santos co-sponsoring the bill, stating, “It’s outrageous and appalling that New York Congressman Santos would attach his name to legislation that would designate the AR-15 as the ‘national gun of the United States.’ This weapon of war has been used in mass shootings across the United States – from my hometown of Buffalo, where the shooter used a modified AR-15 to murder ten people in a despicable act of white supremacist terrorism, to Parkland, Florida, where the shooter killed seventeen innocent people with an AR-15-style weapon. The families and friends of those killed in Parkland have become heroic advocates for gun safety – including the Beigel-Schulman family of Dix Hills, who fight for change in memory of their son, Scott. This bill, which attempts to glorify the weapons that have been part of such horrific tragedies, adds unforgivable insult to injury for those families. It should never become law, and Congressman Santos should immediately remove his name from it, if he has any respect for New Yorkers.”
The route went past Lake Success Jewish Center, to highlight Santos’ lies about having Jewish heritage, which really rankled Charlie Robbins, a Moveon volunteer and NY03 constituent with his children and grandchildren. “At a time when antisemitism is growing, somebody lying about being Jewish, about being a descendant of Holocaust survivors, is offensive, disqualifying. A man of his character shouldn’t be in Congress. Expel him.” Instead, Santos (who boasted about being at the January 6 rally and contributing money to bail out Capitol rioters) has allied himself with the White Christo Fascists in Congress – including Marjorie Taylor Greene,.
(Indeed, while these constituents were rallying, White Christo Fascists have become so emboldened by Trumpism, as to declare February 25 “National Hate Day,” prompting Governor Hochul, at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah’s Shabbat of PeacN not Hate, to state, “There are 20 million New Yorkers who are with you today and every day as we stand up and call out antisemitism and racism and homophobia and all the other isms, because there’s still far more of us than there are of them, and I want them to know that. There is strength in numbers, but there’s also strength and a legacy of courage of standing up to evil. In the last century, what we saw, the lessons, what happened with the Holocaust.”)
“There is no question in my mind that Mr. Santos is not fit to represent the people of Congressional District 3. We have no idea what he stands for except himself and his power and greed,” Robbins said.
Marie Marsina, who lives within walking distance of two of the sites along the caravan route, Il Bacco restaurant in Little Neck, and Santos’ district office in Douglaston, said, “Santos may think he got away with lying about campaign finance, funding, spending, but these are serious violations of federal law. They are illegal.” Santos patronized Il Bacco frequently – listing expenses of $199.99, exactly one cent short of the $200 threshold for requiring documentation, seven times; he listed items at $199.99 at least 37 times, totaling $7000, on everything from airlines, to purchases at BJ’s to Target. “Where did the money really go?”
“In TV interviews, Santos can play the victim and normalize candidate fraud, he can blame his treasurer [Nancy Marks, who has since resigned] or errors, but he is a grafter under investigation by federal, state, local authorities. Where did the money really go?” she declared. “NY03 deserves a representative, not a fraud. We are being held hostage by Santos, while he is earning $174,000 salary. We are not going away. New York Republican representatives need to step up and call on Congress to vote to expel Santos now.”
“George Santos is a career grifter who seeks out people’s vulnerabilities, including repeatedly preying on their good qualities of compassion and love for vulnerable animals. These actions, among so many other things he has done, make him manifestly unqualified to serve in Congress,”said Emily Raphael from Plainview, a member of the Steering Committee of Concerned Citizens of NY-03.
The route also highlighted Santos’ animal charity fraud, and is even accused of stealing money intended to save the life of a veteran’s dog (many participating in the caravan brought their dogs), prompting a cheer that is unlikely to ever have been used in any rally, “Woof woof. Bow wow. We want Santos gone now.”
The drive passed Citibank in New Hyde Park, represented how Santos fabricated his entire work history, including having worked for Citibank. “If anyone lied about those things, they would be fired. But Santos is still in power,” Sabella said. “And that makes it harder to do our jobs.”
The caravan ended in front of Santos’ office – still with Tom Suozzi’s name on the window and awning – to highlight the fact that though Santos has been back in the district during the Congressional recess, intended for Congressmembers to meet with constituents, he has had no town halls and no engagement.
“He can’t serve as our representative. Every day Congress fails to do something, is an insult to the community,” Sabella said. Santos, she said, betrays the district’s “wants, needs and values.”
“George Santos told real and significant lies that impacted all of us. It’s unacceptable that he is still in Congress actively legislating against us, and he needs to be expelled,” Sabella said.
Follow on social media: @Courage4America, @MoveOn, @CCNY03