FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Historic Rules to Create Good-Paying, High-Quality Clean Energy Jobs

Inflation Reduction Act final rules build on Administration actions to develop a skilled, well-paid workforce to build the clean energy economy and combat the climate crisis. The Biden Administration has created mechanisms and collaborations to connect those who want to work in the clean energy industry with jobs. This fact sheet was provided by the White House:

Since day one, President Biden has committed to building a clean energy economy that creates good-paying and union jobs for American workers. Spurred by President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, which includes the most significant investment in climate and clean energy in history, America has unleashed a clean energy manufacturing and deployment boom that has attracted hundreds of billions of dollars in private sector investment and created more than 270,000 new good-paying and union clean energy jobs. These investments are flowing to the places President Biden promised not to leave behind, including the historic energy communities that have powered this nation for generations and economically distressed communities, providing jobs and economic opportunity, particularly for workers without a college degree.

The Inflation Reduction Act delivered on President Biden’s commitment to be the most pro-worker, pro-union president in history, attaching strong labor protections and incentives to climate and clean energy tax credits for the first time ever. Outside analysis projects that the Inflation Reduction Act could create 1.5 million additional jobs over the next decade, and these provisions will ensure that those jobs building wind farms, installing solar panels, and constructing hydrogen and carbon capture facilities will be good-paying and support proven pathways into the clean energy industry that will allow workers to earn while they learn.

Today, the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service announced final rules implementing the prevailing wage and registered apprenticeship increased credit provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Clean energy projects that meet the requirements of these final rules will receive a fivefold increase for clean energy tax credits for deployment of wind, solar, nuclear, hydrogen, and other clean energy technologies, as well as for projects receiving allocations under the Section 48C Advanced Energy Projects credit., providing a significant incentive for project developers to pay prevailing wages to workers for construction, alteration, and repair of clean energy projects and to hire registered apprentices to earn while they learn by working on those projects.  

Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen and Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su also published a blog highlighting the use of Project Labor Agreements as a best practice for large construction projects and a tool to help project developers comply with the prevailing wage and apprenticeship requirements. Project Labor Agreements, or pre-hire collective bargaining agreements that set the terms and conditions for employment on a construction project, help workers and developers alike by providing strong worker and wage protections while ensuring a reliable supply of skilled workers to help deliver projects on time and on budget.

The final rules provide certainty for clean energy developers and workers to realize the benefits of President Biden’s historic investments in the clean energy economy. To protect workers and ensure compliance with these requirements, the IRS also released a Fact Sheet that can be posted at job sites and used to educate workers about the prevailing wage and registered apprenticeship standards for clean energy projects, including information on how to use IRS Form 3949-A to report suspected violations of tax law. The IRS and Department of Labor (DOL) also announced that they are working on an MOU, to be signed by the end of the year, that will harness DOL’s extensive prevailing wage and registered apprenticeship expertise, to facilitate joint education and public outreach, develop training content for IRS examiners, and formalize a process for DOL to share with IRS, any credible tips or information about potential noncompliance with the prevailing wage and registered apprenticeship requirements.

Today’s announcement builds on efforts across the Administration to create strong pathways into good-paying and union jobs in clean energy and build a high-quality, diverse pipeline of workers prepared to build the clean energy economy of the future:

  • The Department of Labor launched an interactive map to highlight for workers, unions, and the public more than 1,000 planned clean energy projects nationwide, including the estimated number of workers at each project who stand to benefit if taxpayers satisfy the prevailing wage and apprenticeship requirements.
  • The Biden-Harris Administration launched a series of Investing in America Workforce Hubs, partnerships with state and local officials, employers, unions, community colleges, high schools, and other stakeholders in regions with significant investments through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, to connect Americans to good-paying jobs in industries of the future, including Hubs focused on clean energy.
  • First Lady Jill Biden announced the first set of five Hubs in May 2023, fueling significant progress in building and scaling new job training opportunities, while President Biden announced four more hubs in April to build on the success of the first set.
    • The Augusta, Georgia Workforce Hub announced partnerships between employers, unions, nonprofits, philanthropy, school districts, and colleges to build workforce and skills development efforts to meet the needs of the energy, battery and battery materials, and nuclear sectors.
  • The Pittsburgh Workforce Hub announced hundreds of new job opportunities and training pathways—including registered apprenticeships—in clean energy, as well as in cyber occupations that support clean energy and other critical sectors.
  • Building on historic investments in electric vehicle and battery manufacturing, President Biden launched the Michigan Electric Vehicle Workforce Hub, building on significant efforts underway, to ensure that the transition to electric vehicle supports the union workers and communities that have driven the auto industry for generations.
    • Vice President Kamala Harris visited Detroit in May to announce a suite of actions to support small- and mid-sized auto manufacturers and auto workers to lead the electric vehicle future.
  • In the Columbus Workforce Hub, Columbus State Community College is working with partners across the state to quadruple the number of students trained for engineering technology jobs. In addition, partners are preparing at least 10,000 skilled construction trades workers, including for clean energy jobs in the area.
  • The Department of Energy launched the Community Workforce Readiness Accelerator for Major Projects (RAMP) initiative, a pilot initiative that places selected fellows from across the nation in target geographies in order to  convene and  catalyze effective, inclusive workforce strategies to prepare and connect local workers to good jobs on large clean energy infrastructure and supply chain projects funded the Investing in America agenda.
  • The Department of Energy continues to incentivize grant and loan recipients across a wide array of Investing In America programs to commit to the use of registered apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships, project labor agreements, collective bargaining agreements, community benefits agreements, and other established tools to ensure that workers have accessible on-ramps to good-paying and union jobs in the growing clean energy economy.
  • The Department of Energy, in coordination with the Department of Labor and the AFL-CIO, launched the Battery Workforce Initiative, a national workforce development strategy for lithium-battery manufacturing with $5 million to support pilot training programs. Recently, the Battery Workforce Initiative announced National Guideline Standards for registered apprenticeships for battery machine operators, created in partnership with battery manufacturers, community colleges, and unions, which lay out rigorous training requirements to support the skilled battery workforce.
  • Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that it would invest $60 million from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act to advance climate-ready workforce projects in coastal and Great Lakes states, Tribes, and territories. The Climate-Ready Workforce Initiative will fund skills training in emergency preparedness and response, floodproofing, structural elevation, water and wastewater treatment, geographic information systems, and other critical climate-ready jobs. Every awarded project supports a community identified as disadvantaged by the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool.
  • The Department of Labor announced the award of nearly $94 million in grants to support 34 public-private partnerships to provide worker-centered sector strategy training programs in 25 states and the District of Columbia to meet workforce needs created by the Biden-Harris administration’s “Investing in America” agenda. The training will support jobs in sectors including clean energy. This investment will build career pathways in manufacturing Electric Vehicles (EVs), EV batteries, and EV charging infrastructure in places like Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. The Department of Labor also announced the availability of approximately $35 million in funding through the second round of Building Pathways to Infrastructure Jobs grants to be awarded.
  • The Department of Energy announced up to $24 million in high-quality training for union apprentices, incumbent workers, and students for in-demand jobs in advanced manufacturing and clean energy through the Industrial Assessment Centers (IAC) Program. The announcement is part of the IAC Program’s unprecedented expansion to include Registered Apprenticeship, union-led training, and community and technical college programs through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. It follows DOE’s $40 million investment, announced in November, to support 17 new IACs as well as the inaugural cohort of 10 Building Training and Assessment Centers. 
  • The Biden-Harris Administration launched the Advanced Manufacturing Sprint, an intensive drive to build a diverse, skilled pipeline of workers for needed to fill the good advanced manufacturing jobs created by President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda, including in clean energy, biotechnology, semiconductors, and more. As part of the Sprint, the Department of Labor announced that more than 4,700 apprentices have been hired and more than 150 new programs and occupations created or under development during the course of its Advanced Manufacturing Registered Apprenticeship Accelerator Series—including in the clean energy, semiconductor, aerospace, automotive, and biotechnology sectors.
  • The Department of Labor launched a $20 million cooperative agreement with TradesFutures, the nonprofit organization of partner of North America’s Building Trades Unions) and the National Urban League, to enroll more than 13,000 participants in apprenticeship readiness programs, giving them hands-on learning experience and skills development, and place at least 7,000 participants into Registered Apprenticeships in the construction industry. The launch followed the Department of Labor’s announcement of nearly $200 million in grants to expand registered apprenticeships, including for clean energy jobs.
  • The Biden-Harris Administration launched the Infrastructure Talent Pipeline Challenge, nationwide call to action that brought together more than 350 employers, unions, education and training providers, states, local governments, Tribes, territories, philanthropic organizations, and other stakeholders to make tangible commitments that support equitable workforce development in critical sectors, including electrification.
    • As part of the Talent Pipeline Challenge, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers trained more than 20,000 members through the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program to meet the training requirements for the Department of Transportation National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program to install fast EV chargers on national corridors and in communities.
  • The Department of Labor has invested more than $440 million to expand, diversify, and modernize registered apprenticeships, including in high demand clean energy occupations including electricians, water treatment specialists, wind turbine maintenance technicians and other occupations. DOL has also invested in a clean energy apprenticeship industry intermediary, Interstate Renewable Energy Coalition, to increase industry awareness, connect employers and labor organizations with workforce and education partners, and provide technical assistance to launch, scale, and diversify Registered Apprenticeship programs. These investments and resources expand the capacity of the Registered Apprenticeship system, supporting the education and training needs of more than 1 million apprentices across the country, including the clean energy sector. 
  • The Department of Energy is working with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on a first of its kind national Energy Workforce Needs Assessment to project employment impacts from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda and related private investments by occupation and geography, analyze current education and training capacity, and identify the most acute workforce gaps and strategies to fill them. 

The Department of Energy has convened a federal advisory committee called the 21st Century Energy Workforce Advisory Board to develop a strategy and recommendations on how DOE and other federal agencies should address the workforce needs, challenges, and opportunities of a rapidly changing energy system. The report is expected in early August. 

Fact Sheet: Biden-Harris Administration Takes Action to Expand Access to Capital for Small- and Medium-Sized Climate Businesses

The Biden Administration is accomplishing a real transition to clean energy and a sustainable green economy through promoting investments in technology, businesses, and innovation with state and local governments and private businesses, while demanding a framework of economic and environmental justice. This fact sheet listing Biden Administration actions to expand access to capital for small and medium sized climate businesses was provided by the White House:

Through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the U.S. is making the largest public investment in climate action in history. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, the largest-ever investment in climate action, introduced and expanded grants, loans, tax incentives, and other programs to accelerate clean energy deployment, invest in resilience, and seed breakthrough innovative technologies. Combined with unprecedented executive action, these investments are setting the United States on a path to achieve President Biden’s ambitious climate goals — including cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050. President Biden’s historic economic policies have spurred unprecedented levels of private investment into America’s clean energy economy. Since the start of the Biden-Harris Administration, the private sector has announced $866 billion in new investments in clean energy and manufacturing.

Creating economic opportunity for all American communities, entrepreneurs, and workers is central to President Biden’s economic and climate agenda. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed not only to catalyzing investment for climate and clean energy companies, but also to expanding access to that investment, ensuring all communities, including those historically left behind, benefit from these unprecedented resources.  

Today, National Economic Advisor Lael Brainard, National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi, and Small Business Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman will host a Climate Capital Convening at the White House with investors, climate technology start-ups, small business owners, and entrepreneurs to discuss opportunities to mobilize capital for climate-focused businesses across America.
The Biden-Harris Administration will also announce new actions and resources to expand access to climate capital:
Releasing the new Climate Capital Guidebook:

The Biden-Harris Administration is releasing a new Climate Capital Guidebook to provide a simple, comprehensive map of capital programs across the federal government that are available to climate-related start-ups, small- and medium-sized businesses, and their investors. While larger, institutionally-backed climate companies may have the resources to identify and access federal funding opportunities, smaller enterprises may face greater challenges in navigating these federal programs.

The Guidebook includes financing and funding programs created and expanded by the Biden-Harris Administration, including those made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act, and longstanding annual appropriations. It inventories opportunities across the entire federal government, including the Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture, the Small Business Administration, and the Export-Import Bank of the United States. Together, these programs comprise hundreds of billions of dollars in grants, loans, loan guarantees, and other funding tools to spur the financing and deployment of new clean energy and climate projects — while simultaneously focusing on delivering cleaner air, good-paying jobs, and affordable clean energy to disadvantaged communities, energy communities, and other communities in need.  The Guidebook also indicates programs that are part of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which set the goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal climate, clean energy, and other investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.

Expanding financing to support small businesses’ adoption of clean energy:

Small businesses are a critical part of achieving net zero by 2050 and should have access to capital to deploy new clean energy and climate projects.

The Small Business Administration’s 504 Loan Program provides long-term, fixed rate loans of up to $5.5 million from Small Business Administration-approved lenders to small businesses for certain energy and manufacturing projects to support capital expenditures such as real estate or equipment. Previously, this program was capped at three loans per company, allowing each company to receive a total of $16.5 million in loans backed by the Small Business Administration.  This month, the Small Business Administration is lifting its cap on the number of 504 loans that small businesses may receive for “energy public policy projects,” which include projects that reduce energy consumption such as retrofits and/or renewable energy projects such as adding solar. In lifting this cap, small businesses may now bundle multiple 504 loans to finance projects that leverage clean energy technologies to lower production costs, improve energy efficiency, and contribute to emissions reductions goals.

This change increases the total financing available to small businesses tackling climate change and investing in a clean energy future.

Today’s announcements build on prior Biden-Harris Administration actions to expand access to climate capital, including:

Expanding Financing for Clean Energy and Climate Solutions:

  • Thanks to the President’s Inflation Reduction Act, the Environmental Protection Agency is implementing the $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, a first-of-a-kind national financing program to catalyze private investment in clean energy projects. The agency announced $14 billion for a National Clean Investment Fund, $6 billion for the Clean Communities Investment Accelerator, and $7 billion for the Solar for All Program. Together, these investments are creating new clean energy job opportunities and reducing pollution in low-income and disadvantaged communities, as part of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative.
  • The Inflation Reduction Act contains new and expanded tax credits to support investment in new clean electricity generation projects, clean energy manufacturing plants, electric vehicle charging stations, and other clean energy projects. The law also contains new credit monetization provisions for direct pay and transferability, which are expanding eligibility to tax-exempt entities like cities, states, and nonprofit organizations and helping to lower the cost of financing clean energy investments.
  • Made possible by funding from the American Rescue Plan, the Department of the Treasury allocated nearly $10 billion through the State Small Business Credit Initiative to deliver funding to states, territories, and Tribal governments that spurs lending and support to small businesses. Several states are using funds from the State Small Business Credit Initiative to support climate-focused initiatives, for example: Connecticut is leveraging $89 million to launch a climate equity and venture capital program, Illinois is using $20 million to support its Climate Bank Finance Participation Loan Program, and New Jersey is committing $80 million to its Clean Energy Loans Program.
  • The Department of the Treasury, through the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund), is promoting access to capital in low-income communities through monetary awards and tax credits to certified CDFIs. The program recently began collecting data on climate-centered financing by CDFIs — including projects related to climate resilience, extreme weather response or preparation, emission reduction, sustainability, energy or water efficiency, and clean energy projects.
  • The Department of Defense and the Small Business Administration are jointly rolling out the Small Business Investment Company Critical Technologies Initiative to increase capital investment in technologies critical to U.S. economic and national security. The initiative provides equity, debt, and other capital investments in specified critical technology areas, including renewable energy generation and storage.

Funding Clean Energy and Climate Projects Across the Economy:

  • The Small Business Administration’s flagship 7(a) Loan Program provides small businesses access to financing for a wide variety of projects, including acquiring new real estate, working capital, refinancing, and purchasing new equipment. In August 2023, the Small Business Administration announced its Affiliation Rule and SBLC Rule. This rule included changes to how affiliation is assessed and removed “control” as a factor in determining eligibility of a borrower under current size standards. In effect, this change will enable more small businesses, especially innovative venture-backed companies, to access the credit they need to start up and grow. 
  • The Small Business Administration plans to establish a new Working Capital Pilot Program under its signature 7(a) lending program to provide lines of credit to small businesses, including clean energy and climate technology manufacturers, to support their domestic or export finance needs. The program will be paired with business counseling from the Small Business Administration.
  • The Department of Energy is accepting Round 2 applications on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service for the Qualifying Advanced Energy Project Tax Credit, funded by the Inflation Reduction Act. After $4 billion in tax credits were allocated to taxpayers in Round 1 in Spring 2024, the program will allocate an additional $6 billion in tax credits to projects in three areas: clean energy manufacturing, critical materials, and industrial decarbonization. A portion of the funds have also been set aside for projects in certain designated energy communities.
  • The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act created the Clean Ports Program and the Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities Program, both of which help advance the Justice40 Initiative. Through the Clean Ports Program, the Environmental Protection Agency is awarding $3 billion to fund zero-emission port equipment and infrastructure as well as climate and air quality planning projects at ports. Through the Reduction of Truck Emissions at Port Facilities Program, the Department of Transportation is investing $400 million in port electrification and efficiency; $148 million in awards were made earlier in 2024, and companies can apply to a second funding opportunity that will go live later this year.
  • The Departments of Energy and Transportation are working together with states to build out the infrastructure for an electric mobility future while furthering the Justice40 Initiative. The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program is providing a total of $5 billion over five years to states to deploy electric vehicle charging infrastructure along corridors, and the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Program is providing an additional $2.5 billion over five years to fill gaps in the national network by installing chargers in various communities. The SMART Program is granting states $500 million over five years to conduct demonstration projects focused on advanced smart community technologies and systems that improve transportation efficiency and safety. And the Communities Taking Charge Accelerator Program is providing $54 million in funding for projects that expand community e-mobility access and provide reliable clean energy, accelerating the transition to electric vehicles, including in disadvantaged communities.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Energy are collaborating with state and local partners to ensure that funding for affordable housing development can also be used to deploy clean energy technologies like heat pumps. Programs like the Green and Resilient Retrofit Program, the annual Innovative Housing Showcase, and the Buildings Upgrade Prize highlight how funds for affordable housing can simultaneously benefit clean energy and climate companies.

Building Federal Resource Hubs and Providing Technical Assistance:

  • The Small Business Administration launched its Investing in America Small Business Hub, a new digital resource to help small businesses identify and access industry-specific tax credit, rebate, contracting, and grant opportunities made possible by President Biden’s Investing in America agenda.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency published a list of Clean Energy Finance Tools and Resources to help state and local governments access financing for clean energy and climate programs. This includes a toolkit for state and local decision-makers on financing opportunities such as green banks, revolving loan funds, municipal bonds, and green bonds.
  • The Department of the Treasury launched the IRA Taxpayer Resource Huba one-stop-shop for information on the Inflation Reduction Act’s clean energy tax benefits. The Hub details how businesses can take advantage of clean energy tax credits to help finance new investments in clean power systems, energy efficiency upgrades, or electric vehicles.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development launched the Build for the Future Hub to connect users — including state and local governments, Tribal entities, private entities, and non-profits — to funding opportunities, technical assistance, and other information related to clean energy, climate resilience, energy efficiency, green workforce development, and more.
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership provides a government-to-business and business-to-business portal for supplier scouting. Public and private organizations can access this portal for business or technology connections, including in clean energy and climate-related industries. Local Manufacturing Extension Partnership Centers facilitate government, original equipment manufacturer, and small and medium-sized manufacturer matchmaking events for clean energy companies.
  • The Department of Labor offers workforce development opportunities for clean energy and climate technology companies. The Office of Apprenticeship connects employers with workforce and education partners and provides technical assistance to launch and expand Registered Apprenticeship programs. The Battery Workforce Initiative — an industry-driven, government-facilitated partnership coordinated by the Department of Energy — is accelerating the development and use of high-quality, standardized training materials in key occupations for companies and local training providers in the battery manufacturing industry.

Seeding Commercial Innovation:

  • The U.S. Economic Development Administration designated 31 communities across the United States as Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs (Tech Hubs) to drive regional innovation, private investment, and job creation to strengthen each region’s capacity to manufacture, commercialize, and deploy technology that advances national security. The hubs in Florida, Idaho/Wyoming, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, New York, and South Carolina/Georgia cite a growing need for clean energy technologies to build global economic competitiveness.
  • The U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Build to Scale Program makes awards to strengthen regional innovation ecosystems that equitably support diverse technology innovators, entrepreneurs, and start-ups, including in clean energy and other climate-related industries.

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Launches Federal-State Initiative to Bolster America’s Power Grid

If you want to transition from planet-killing fossil fuels that contribute to global warming and climate change to clean, renewable, sustainable energy, much more has to be done to increase the capacity and reliability of the electric grid. This fact sheet on what the Biden-Harris Administration is doing to bolster America’s power grid was provided by the White House:

Since Day One, President Biden has positioned America as a leader in the global race for a clean energy future, including by taking ambitious action to deliver a clean, reliable electric grid, which will help ensure that communities don’t lose power during extreme weather events, lower energy costs for hardworking families, and create good-paying jobs – all while tackling the climate crisis. Under the President’s leadership, the U.S. is projected to build more new electric generation capacity this year than we have in two decades – 96 percent of that clean energy. In addition, ten major transmission projects have begun construction, expected to connect nearly 20 gigawatts of new power to the grid. America is investing tens of billions to strengthen our grid to bolster resiliency, strengthen energy security, and drive innovation. And in recent weeks, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken critical steps to build out the nation’s power grid – from making the federal permitting process for new transmission lines more efficient to launching a public-private mobilization to upgrade 100,000 miles of existing lines.
Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is building on this momentum by launching a Federal-State Modern Grid Deployment Initiative, with commitments from 21 leading states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai‘i, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin. Building on the Biden-Harris Administration’s legislative accomplishments and executive actions in tackling the grid modernization challenge, the initiative aims to bring together states, federal entities, and power sector stakeholders to help drive grid adaptation quickly and cost-effectively to meet the challenges and opportunities that the power sector faces in the twenty-first century.
Participating states have committed to prioritize efforts that support the adoption of modern grid solutions to expand grid capacity and build modern grid capabilities on both new and existing transmission and distribution lines. Historically, expanding the capacity of the U.S. power grid has typically relied on building new transmission lines with technologies that have not changed since the mid-twentieth century. Today, a new generation of modern grid technologies provides a significant opportunity to achieve power system capacity expansion, including through high-performance conductors that have the benefit of being able to carry double or more of the amount of power of conventional transmission wires, as well as Grid Enhancing Technologies that maximize electricity transmission across the existing system through a family of technologies that includes sensors, power flow control devices, and analytical tools. These solutions increase the capacity and throughput based on real-time conditions. Deploying these tools means that renewables and other clean sources of power can be integrated sooner and more cost-effectively than waiting for new transmission construction, which will address load growth challenges more rapidly, create good-paying jobs, and lower Americans’ utility bills.
Alongside this announcement, the U.S. Climate Alliance announced the availability of policy, technical, and analytical assistance to help participating members advance state-level efforts to carry out these commitments. In conjunction the Department of Energy is elevating the host of technical assistance programs that can support varying levels of analysis for utilities, policy makers, regulators, state energy offices, and other stakeholders. 

In particular, the 21 states signing on as inaugural members will focus on:

  • Meeting the shared challenges and opportunities of increased load growth, a rapidly changing energy landscape, aging infrastructure, and new grid-enhancing technologies – while delivering reliable, clean, and affordable energy to consumers.
    • Deploying innovative grid technologies to bolster the capacity of our electric grid and more effectively meet current and future demand, maximize benefits of new and existing transmission infrastructure, increase grid resilience to the growing impacts of climate change, and better protect consumers from variability in energy prices.

Last month, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a public-private mobilization to upgrade 100,000 miles of existing lines with these types of high-impact solutions over the next five years as part of a suite of announcements in the power sector. The Administration is advancing this goal by:

Catalyzing Nationwide Collaboration on Modern Grid Technologies: Governors, regulators, utilities, labor unions, and industry all play vital roles in determining how energy infrastructure gets built. For that reason, the Biden-Harris Administration is convening these stakeholders at the White House today to explore innovative policy solutions to unlock the deployment of modern grid technologies and share best practices. The Federal government stands ready to provide technical and financial assistance and can help provide additional forums to ensure that the best ideas from states, industry, and community stakeholders can be more readily shared.

Accelerating Permitting through New Categorical Exclusions for Reconductoring:
Previously, projects to upgrade a transmission line above 20 miles in length could trigger a detailed environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  The Department of Energy last month expanded a categorical exclusion for upgrading and rebuilding transmission lines, replacing the previous length limits. DOE also made changes to categorical exclusions for certain energy storage and solar projects on previously developed lands. With these changes, most reconductoring projects now qualify for the simplest form of environmental review, which can take years off of project development time and allow the benefits of the transmission expansion to be realized even sooner.

Funding the Deployment of Advanced Grid Technologies: President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) have provided the largest investment in history to strengthen the nation’s power grid, including programs that can support transmission line upgrades. For example, DOE’s Grid Deployment Office is administering $10.5 billion in competitive grant funding through the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) Program. The first round of GRIP awards included 10 projects that will help deploy Grid Enhancing Technologies and calls for applications for the second round placed even greater emphases on these solutions. The DOE Loan Programs Office has $250 billion of loan guarantee authority to provide low-interest financing to projects that upgrade existing energy infrastructure, with program guidance that highlights reconductoring as a qualifying project example. The Department of Agriculture’s Empowering Rural America (New ERA) program provides $9.7 billion in low interest loans or grants and represents the largest investment in rural electrification since 1936, with eligibility for transmission system upgrades.

Each of these programs advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative which sets a goal that 40% of the overall benefits of certain Federal climate, clean energy, affordable and sustainable housing, and other investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.

Reinforcing Administration Accomplishments on New Transmission Lines: The Biden-Harris Administration’s new goal to expand capacity of existing transmission lines will work alongside a historic set of actions to accelerate buildout of new projects. Since 2021, ten major transmission projects have begun construction, expected to connect nearly 20 gigawatts (GW) of new generation to the grid and reflecting over $22 billion in investment, including several projects on public lands that received approvals from the Department of the Interior. The Department of Energy issued a final rule to launch the Coordinated Interagency Transmission Authorization and Permits Program (CITAP), which streamlines the federal permitting process for qualifying electric transmission projects and helps set a standard two-year schedule for authorizations and permits, cutting the average timeframe in half. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a final rule on Regional Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation, Order 1920, that adopts specific requirements addressing how transmission providers must conduct long-term planning for regional transmission facilities, consider the use of advanced conductors and Grid Enhancing Technologies, and determine how to pay for them, so needed transmission is built. 

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Principles for High-Integrity Voluntary Carbon Markets

People talk about putting a price on carbon as a key means of addressing climate change. But what would a carbon market look like? This fact sheet on the Biden Administration’s principles for high-integrity voluntary carbon markets was provided by the White House:

Since Day One, President Biden has led and delivered on the most ambitious climate agenda in history, including by securing the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest-ever climate investment, and taking executive action to cut greenhouse gas emissions across every sector of the economy. The President’s Investing in America agenda has already catalyzed more than $860 billion in business investments through smart, public incentives in industries of the future like electric vehicles (EVs), clean energy, and semiconductors. With support from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act, and Inflation Reduction Act, these investments are creating new American jobs in manufacturing and clean energy and helping communities that have been left behind make a comeback.

The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to taking ambitious action to drive the investments needed to achieve our nation’s historic climate goals – cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050. President Biden firmly believes that these investments must create economic opportunities across America’s diverse businesses – ranging from farms in rural communities, to innovative technology companies, to historically- underserved entrepreneurs.

As part of this commitment, the Biden-Harris Administration is today releasing a Joint Statement of Policy and new Principles for Responsible Participation in Voluntary Carbon Markets (VCMs) that codify the U.S. government’s approach to advance high-integrity VCMs. The principles and statement, co-signed by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Senior Advisor for International Climate Policy John Podesta, National Economic Advisor Lael Brainard, and National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi, represent the U.S. government’s commitment to advancing the responsible development of VCMs, with clear incentives and guardrails in place to ensure that this market drives ambitious and credible climate action and generates economic opportunity.

The President’s Investing in America agenda has crowded in a historic surge of private capital to take advantage of the generational investments in the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. High-integrity VCMs have the power to further crowd in private capital and reliably fund diverse organizations at home and abroad –whether climate technology companies, small businesses, farmers, or entrepreneurs –that are developing and deploying projects to reduce carbon emissions and remove carbon from the atmosphere.

However, further steps are needed to strengthen this market and enable VCMs to deliver on their potential. Observers have found evidence that several popular crediting methodologies do not reliably produce the decarbonization outcomes they claim. In too many instances, credits do not live up to the high standards necessary for market participants to transact transparently and with certainty that credit purchases will deliver verifiable decarbonization. As a result, additional action is needed to rectify challenges that have emerged, restore confidence to the market, and ensure that VCMs live up to their potential to drive climate ambition and deliver on their decarbonization promise. This includes: establishing robust standards for carbon credit supply and demand; improving market functioning; ensuring fair and equitable treatment of all participants and advancing environmental justice, including fair distribution of revenue; and instilling market confidence.

The Administration’s Principles for Responsible Participation announced today deliver on this need for action to help VCMs achieve their potential. These principles include:

  1. Carbon credits and the activities that generate them should meet credible atmospheric integrity standards and represent real decarbonization.
  2. Credit-generating activities should avoid environmental and social harm and should, where applicable, support co-benefits and transparent and inclusive benefits-sharing.
  3. Corporate buyers that use credits should prioritize measurable emissions reductions within their own value chains.
  4. Credit users should publicly disclose the nature of purchased and retired credits.
  5. Public claims by credit users should accurately reflect the climate impact of retired credits and should only rely on credits that meet high integrity standards.
  6. Market participants should contribute to efforts that improve market integrity.
  7. Policymakers and market participants should facilitate efficient market participation and seek to lower transaction costs.

The Role of High-Quality Voluntary Carbon Markets in Addressing Climate Change

President Biden, through his executive actions and his legislative agenda, has led and delivered on the most ambitious climate agenda in history. Today’s release of the Principles for Responsible Participation in Voluntary Carbon Markets furthers the President’s commitment to restoring America’s climate leadership at home and abroad by recognizing the role that high- quality VCMs can play in amplifying climate action alongside, not in place of, other ambitious actions underway.

High-integrity, well-functioning VCMs can accelerate decarbonization in several ways. VCMs can deliver steady, reliable revenue streams to a range of decarbonization projects, programs, and practices, including nature-based solutions and innovative climate technologies that scale up carbon removal. VCMs can also deliver important co-benefits both here at home and abroad, including supporting economic development, sustaining livelihoods of Tribal Nations, Indigenous Peoples, and local communities, and conserving land and water resources and biodiversity. Credit-generating activities should also put in place safeguards to identify and avoid potential adverse impacts and advance environmental justice.

To deliver on these benefits, VCMs must consistently deliver high-integrity carbon credits that represent real, additional, lasting, unique, and independently verified emissions reductions or removals. Put simply, stakeholders must be certain that one credit truly represents one tonne of carbon dioxide (or its equivalent) reduced or removed from the atmosphere, beyond what would have otherwise occurred.

In addition, there must be a high level of “demand integrity” in these markets. Credit buyers should support their purchases with credible, scientifically sound claims regarding their use of credits. Purchasers and users should prioritize measurable and feasible emissions reductions within their own value chains and should not prioritize credit price and quantity at the expense of quality or engage in “greenwashing” that undercuts the decarbonization impact of VCMs. The use of credits should complement, not replace, measurable within-value-chain emissions reductions.

VCMs have reached an inflection point. The Biden-Harris Administration believes that VCMs can drive significant progress toward our climate goals if action is taken to support robust markets undergirded by high-integrity supply and demand. With these high standards in place, corporate buyers and others will be able to channel significant, necessary financial resources to combat climate change through VCMs. A need has emerged for leadership to guide the development of VCMs toward high-quality and high-efficacy decarbonization actions. The Biden-Harris Administration is stepping up to meet that need.

Biden-Harris Administration Actions to Develop Voluntary Carbon Markets

These newly released principles build on existing and ongoing efforts across the Biden-Harris Administration to encourage the development of high-integrity voluntary carbon markets and to put in place the necessary incentives and guardrails for this market to reach its potential. These include:

  • Creating New Climate Opportunities for America’s Farmers and Forest Landowners. Today, The Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published a Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register asking for public input relating to the protocols used in VCMs. This RFI is USDA’s next step in implementing the Greenhouse Gas Technical Assistance Provider and Third-Party Verifier Program as part of the Growing Climate Solutions Act. In February 2024, USDA announced its intent to establish the program, which will help lower barriers to market participation and enable farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners to participate in voluntary carbon markets by helping to identify high-integrity protocols for carbon credit generation that are designed to ensure consistency, effectiveness, efficiency, and transparency. The program will connect farmers, ranchers and private landowners with resources on trusted third-party verifiers and technical assistance providers. This announcement followed a previous report by the USDA, The General Assessment of the Role of Agriculture and Forestry in the U.S. Carbon Markets, which described how voluntary carbon markets can serve as an opportunity for farmers and forest landowners to reduce emissions. In addition to USDA AMS’s work to implement the Growing Climate Solutions Act, USDA’s Forest Service recently announced $145 million in awards under President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act to underserved and small- acreage forest landowners to address climate change, while also supporting rural economies and maintaining land ownership for future generations through participation in VCMs.
  • Conducting First-of-its-kind Credit Purchases. Today, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced the semifinalists for its $35 million Carbon Dioxide Removal Purchase Pilot Prize whereby DOE will purchase carbon removal credits directly from sellers on a competitive basis. The Prize will support technologies that remove carbon emissions directly from the atmosphere, including direct air capture with storage, biomass with carbon removal and storage, enhanced weathering and mineralization, and planned or managed carbon sinks. These prizes support technology advancement for decarbonization with a focus on incorporating environmental justice, community benefits planning and engagement, equity, and workforce development. To complement this effort, the Department of Energy also issued a notice of intent for a Voluntary Carbon Dioxide Removal Purchase Challenge, which proposes to create a public leaderboard for voluntary carbon removal purchases while helping to connect buyers and sellers.
  • Advancing Innovation in Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) Technology. Aside from direct support for voluntary carbon markets, the Biden-Harris Administration is investing in programs that will accelerate the development and deployment of critical carbon removal technologies that will help us reach net zero. For example, DOE’s Carbon Negative Shot pilot program provides $100 million in grants for small projects that demonstrate and scale solutions like biomass carbon removal and storage and small mineralization pilots, complementing other funding programs for small marine CDR and direct air capture pilots. DOE’s Regional Direct Air Capture Hubs program invests up to $3.5 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in demonstration projects that aim to help direct air capture technology achieve commercial viability at scale while delivering community benefits. Coupled with DOE funding to advance monitoring, measurement, reporting, and verification technology and protocols and Department of the Treasury implementation of the expanded 45Q tax credit under the Inflation Reduction Act, the U.S. is making comprehensive investments in CDR that will enable more supply of high- quality carbon credits in the future.
  • Leading International Standards Setting. Several U.S. departments and agencies help lead the United States’ participation in international standard-setting efforts that help shape the quality of activities and credits that often find a home in VCMs. The Department of Transportation and Department of State co-lead the United States’ participation in the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), a global effort to reduce aviation-related emissions. The Department of State works bilaterally and with international partners and stakeholders to recognize and promote best practice in carbon credit market standard-setting—for example, developing the G7’s Principles for High-Integrity Carbon Markets and leading the United States’ engagement on designing the Paris Agreement’s Article 6.4 Crediting Mechanism. The
    U.S. government has also supported a number of initiatives housed at the World Bank that support the development of standards for jurisdictional crediting programs, including the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility and the Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes, and the United States is the first contributor to the new SCALE trust fund.
  • Supporting International Market Development. The U.S. government is engaged in a number of efforts to support the development of high-integrity VCMs in international markets, including in developing countries, and to provide technical and financial assistance to credit-generating projects and programs in those countries. The State Department helped found and continues to coordinate the U.S. government’s participation in the LEAF Coalition, the largest public-private VCM effort, which uses jurisdictional-scale approaches to help end tropical deforestation. The State Department is also a founding partner and coordinates U.S. government participation in the Energy Transition Accelerator, which is focused on sector-wide approaches to accelerate just energy transitions in developing markets. USAID also has a number of programs that offer financial aid and technical assistance to projects and programs seeking to generate carbon credits in developing markets, ensuring projects are held to the highest standards of transparency, integrity, reliability, safety, and results and that they fairly benefit Indigenous Peoples and local communities. This work includes the Acorn Carbon Fund, which mobilizes $100 million to unlock access to carbon markets and build the climate resilience of smallholder farmers, and supporting high-integrity carbon market development in a number of developing countries. In addition, the Department of the Treasury is working with international partners, bilaterally and in multilateral forums like the G20 Finance Track, to promote high-integrity VCMs globally. This includes initiating the first multilateral finance ministry discussion about the role of VCMs as part of last year’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.
  • Providing Clear Guidance to Financial Institutions Supporting the Transition to Net Zero. In September 2023, the Department of the Treasury released its Principles for Net- Zero Financing and Investment to support the development and execution of robust net- zero commitments and transition plans. Later this year, Treasury will host a dialogue on accelerating the deployment of transition finance and a forum on further improving market integrity in VCMs.
  • Enhancing Measuring, Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MMRV) The Biden-Harris Administration is also undertaking a whole-of-government effort to enhance our ability to measure and monitor greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a critical function underpinning the scientific integrity and atmospheric impact of credited activities. In November 2023, the Biden-Harris Administration released the first-ever National Strategy to Advance an Integrated U.S. Greenhouse Gas Measurement, Monitoring, and Information System, which seeks to enhance coordination and integration of GHG measurement, modeling, and data efforts to provide actionable GHG information. As part of implementation of the National Strategy, federal departments and agencies such as DOE, USDA, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Commerce, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration are engaging in collaborative efforts to develop, test, and deploy technologies and other capabilities to measure, monitor, and better understand GHG emissions.
  • Advancing Market Integrity and Protecting Against Fraud and Abuse. U.S. regulatory agencies are helping to build high-integrity VCMs by promoting the integrity of these markets. For example, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) proposed new guidance at COP28 to outline factors that derivatives exchanges may consider when listing voluntary carbon credit derivative contracts to promote the integrity, transparency, and liquidity of these developing markets. Earlier in 2023, the CFTC issued a whistleblower alert to inform the American public of how to identify and report potential Commodity Exchange Act violations connected to fraud and manipulation in voluntary carbon credit spot markets and the related derivative markets. The CFTC also stood up a new Environmental Fraud Task Force to address fraudulent activity and bad actors in these carbon markets. Internationally, the CFTC has also promoted the integrity of the VCMs by Co-Chairing the Carbon Markets Workstream of the International Organization of Securities Commission’s Sustainable Finance Task Force, which recently published a consultation on 21 good practices for regulatory authorities to consider in structuring sound, well-functioning VCMs.
  • Taking a Whole-of-Government Approach to Coordinate Action. To coordinate the above actions and others across the Administration, the White House has stood up an interagency Task Force on Voluntary Carbon Markets. This group, comprising officials from across federal agencies and offices, will ensure there is a coordinated, government- wide approach to address the challenges and opportunities in this market and support the development of high-integrity VCMs.

The Biden-Harris Administration recognizes that the future of VCMs and their ability to effectively address climate change depends on a well-functioning market that links a supply of high-integrity credits to high-integrity demand from credible buyers. Today’s new statement and principles underscore a commitment to ensuring that VCMs fulfill their intended purpose to drive private capital toward innovative technological and nature-based solutions, preserve and protect natural ecosystems and lands, and support the United States and our international partners in our collective efforts to meet our ambitious climate goals.

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Releases Agency Climate Adaptation Plans, Demonstrates Leadership in Building Climate Resilience

This fact sheet on the Biden-Harris Administration’s agency climate adaptation plans to build climate resilience was provided by the White House:

Across the country, communities are experiencing the devastating impacts of climate change. From record-high average temperatures and extreme heat to changing precipitation patterns and sea-level rise, climate impacts – including disasters made worse by climate change – are affecting every corner of society and every community in America. The magnitude of challenges posed by the climate crisis was underscored last year when the nation endured a record 28 individual billion-dollar extreme weather and climate disasters that caused more than $90 billion in aggregate damage. Just this week, more than 82 million Americans have been under heat alerts due to extreme temperatures made worse by climate change. That is why President Biden is leading the most ambitious climate, conservation, and environmental justice agenda in history, which includes directing federal agencies to lead by example.

The Biden-Harris Administration released updated Climate Adaptation Plans developed by more than 20 federal agencies that expand agency efforts to ensure their facilities, employees, resources, and operations are increasingly resilient to climate change impacts like extreme weather. This work advances the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Climate Resilience Framework, which helps to align climate resilience investments across the public and private sector through common principles and opportunities for action to build a climate-resilient nation. These efforts are backed by President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, through which more than $50 billion is being delivered to advance climate adaptation and resilience across the nation, including in communities that are the most vulnerable to climate impacts.

At the beginning of his Administration, President Biden tasked agencies with leading a whole-of-government effort to address climate change through Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. Federal agencies released initial Climate Adaptation Plans in 2021 and progress reports outlining advancements toward achieving their adaptation goals in 2022. With more than 300,000 buildings, four million employees, 640 million acres of public land, and $700 billion in annual purchases of goods and services, the federal government must continue to be a leader and partner in advancing adaptation and resilience.

In coordination with the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), agencies updated their Climate Adaptation Plans for 2024 to 2027 to better integrate climate risk across their mission, operations, and asset management, including:

  • Combining historical data and projections to assess exposure of assets to climate-related hazards including extreme heat and precipitation, sea level rise, flooding, and wildfire;
    • Expanding the operational focus on managing climate risk to facilities and supply chains to include federal employees and federal lands and waters;
    • Broadening the mission focus to describe mainstreaming adaptation into agency policies, programs, planning, budget formulation, and external funding;

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is making available more than 20 updated Climate Adaptation Plans from major federal agencies. Highlights of key actions to address the effects of climate change on agency operations and mission-delivery include:

  • Building facility climate resilience. Agencies are retrofitting and upgrading federal buildings to better withstand climate hazards and provide emergency backup systems for power, water, and communications. For example, the Department of Defense’s Tyndall Air Force Base is working with local, state, and national partners to build an “Installation of the Future,” which includes using updated building codes that capture future conditions, and constructing living shorelines adjacent to the base to preserve water quality, enhance overall ecosystem health, and strengthen flood resilience. The General Services Administration (GSA) is integrating localized flood risk information into its asset management systems, asset planning processes, and site acquisition guidance for GSA-controlled, federally owned buildings.
    • Fostering a climate-ready workforce. Agencies are establishing protocols to ensure continuity of operations and safeguard federal employee wellbeing in the face of increasing exposure to climate-related hazards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration within the Department of Labor is providing resources to help federal agencies address employee exposure to climate hazards such as extreme heat, flooding, and wildfires, with guidance on how to manage impacts and exposure to these hazards. To ensure employee safety, the Department of Energy is enhancing communication systems to alert employees to climate hazards in the workplace and, where needed, improving air filtration standards to manage health impacts of wildfire smoke.
    • Developing climate-resilient supply chains. Agencies are assessing mission-critical supply chains, diversifying their suppliers, and encouraging climate-smart sourcing to enhance resilience to climate-related disruptions. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is developing a toolset to analyze risks and address impacts from climate change and real-time disaster disruption on NASA’s supply chains. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is evaluating suppliers’ locations, infrastructure, and vulnerability to climate-related risks, including identifying critical supply chain nodes vulnerable to climate change impacts, such as ports, warehouses, and transportation routes.
    • Managing lands and waters for climate adaptation and resilience. Federal land and water management agencies are protecting, connecting, and conserving federal lands and waters to provide strongholds for species and enhance community wellbeing in a changing climate. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) within the Department of Commerce continues to advance its Mission Iconic Reefs Initiative, a first-of-its-kind effort to restore coral reef sites and promote coastal resilience to climate impacts in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The Department of the Interior is advancing “Keystone Initiatives” that include restoring Atlantic salt marshes to buffer coastal communities to flooding, supporting watershed restoration projects in the Klamath Basin to improve drought resilience, conducting fuels management activities in sagebrush ecosystems to manage wildfire risk.
    • Applying climate data and tools to decision-making. Agencies are using data and tools to better understand climate risks and inform decisions and investments. CEQ worked with NOAA to develop a beta screening tool that enabled agencies to overlay their buildings and employee data with climate hazard data to understand where agencies may be most exposed to climate-related hazards. Agencies are developing their own internal tools to understand site-specific climate risks to their assets and use that risk information to inform their investments. The Department of Transportation’s Climate Hazard Exposure and Resilience Tool integrates high-quality, publicly available natural hazard and climate projection data layers with vulnerability assessments from site managers to present a climate risk score for each facility or asset. The Department of Justice’s Facility Climate Hazard Assessment Tool supports components in assessing the extent to which their real property assets are exposed to current and future climate hazards, including coastal flooding, extreme heat, drought, wildfire, riverine flooding, hurricanes, and tornadoes.
    • Developing climate-informed policies and programs. Agencies are incorporating consideration of climate impacts and adaptation actions in federal policies and guidance, where relevant. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service is updating or proposing climate-informed revisions to guidance and policies related to silviculture practices, beneficial uses of forest restoration byproducts, recreation, and designated areas planning, habitat and water resource management, and forest-level land management planning. The Department of Veterans Affairs is integrating health, demographic, and climate change information to anticipate the effects of climate change on Veterans’ health and plan for adjustments to their program delivery in the future. The Environmental Protection Agency is integrating consideration of climate risks into multiple actions as appropriate and where consistent with its statutory authorities: for example, in the development of rules, policy and guidance; permitting and environmental reviews; in monitoring, enforcement, and compliance activities; and in grant making.
    • Integrating climate resilience into external funding opportunities. Agencies are encouraging the consideration of climate impacts on federally-supported projects and advancing climate resilience through federal project delivery and grant-making, including incorporating climate-smart infrastructure practices across the Administration’s historic infrastructure investments. Department of State Bureaus have reviewed grant and foreign assistance announcements and requirements to ensure relevant grants and foreign assistance include climate risk and adaptation considerations. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is including climate change preference points in Notices of Funding Opportunities to encourage applications that invest in climate resilience, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency continues to incentivize and support climate adaptation at state and local levels via financial assistance programs such as the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, the Flood Mitigation Assistance program, and the Building Resilient Infrastructure in Communities program.

The agencies releasing updated Climate Adaptation Plans are:

  • Army Corps of Engineers
    • Department of Agriculture
    • Department of Commerce
    • Department of Defense
    • Department of Education
    • Department of Energy
    • Department of Health and Human Services
    • Department of Homeland Security
    • Department of Housing and Urban Development
    • Department of the Interior
    • Department of Justice
    • Department of Labor
    • Department of State
    • Department of the Treasury
    • Department of Transportation
    • Department of Veterans Affairs
    • Environmental Protection Agency
    • General Services Administration
    • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    • National Archives and Records Administration
    • National Capital Planning Commission
    • Smithsonian Institution
    • Social Security Administration
    • Tennessee Valley Authority

All plans are available at www.sustainability.gov/adaptation.

National Security Advisor Affirms Importance of Civilian, Military Mariners to America’s Global Primacy in Commencement Address to US Merchant Marine Academy

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) at Kings Point, NY graduated 214 new U.S. Merchant Marine and Military Officers in its Class of 2024 commencement ceremony © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

By Karen Rubin, News-Photos-Features.com, [email protected]

In a commanding display how important civilian and military mariners are to U.S. national and economic security, this year’s U.S. Merchant Marine Academy graduation featured an array of top brass including keynote speaker National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan; U.S. Congressman Tom Suozzi; Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg; Maritime Administer Rear Admiral Ann C. Phillips; General Eric M. Smith, the 39th Commandant of the Marine Corps; Vice Admiral Joanna M. Nuna, the 14th Superintendent of USMMA; and Rear Admiral Dianna Wolfson (USMMA class of ’96), who delivered the distinguished  Alumna speech on the 50th anniversary of the first women to be admitted to USMMA, indeed, any federal  service academy.

In a commanding display how important civilian and military mariners are to U.S. national and economic security, this year’s U.S. Merchant Marine Academy graduation featured an array of top brass including keynote speaker National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan; Congressman Tom Suozzi; Deputy Transportation Secretary Polly Trottenberg; Maritime Administer Rear Admiral Ann C. Phillips; General Eric M. Smith, the 39th Commandant of the Marine Corps;Vice Admiral Joanna M. Nuna, the 14th Superintendent of USMMA; and Rear Admiral Dianna Wolfson (’96), who delivered the distinguished  Alumna speech on the 50th anniversary of the first women to be admitted to USMMA, indeed, any federal  service academy. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Their speeches were inspiring and captured the “pivotal” inflection of time as the U.S. fights to maintain its primacy of the sea and keep commerce (90 percent of trade conducted by sea) free flowing, tackle the challenges of Ukraine, China’s incursions into the Pacific, the threats in the Mediterranean by non-state actors. In all of these, mariners in civilian shipping and mariners in the military play a key role to keep the seas open and free to trade, or to deliver critical supplies to the front lines

In his keynote address, Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor told the 214 graduates, “as the President’s National Security Advisor, I see the impact of the U.S. Merchant Marine every single day.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

In his keynote address, Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor told the 214 graduates, “You have much to be proud of and the path you have chosen is a tremendously honorable one. As soon-to-be ensigns and second lieutenants, assistant engineers, and third mates, you will crew ships that are essential to our Nation’s security,” said Sullivan. “You’ll spend a large part of your life at sea so your fellow Americans can live safely at home.”

Rear Admiral Ann c. Phillips, Maritime Administrator emphasizes the importance of the United States maintaining its primacy on the sea and the role the US Merchant Marine Academy plays © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

He continued, “Now, as the President’s National Security Advisor, I see the impact of the U.S. Merchant Marine every single day. In the Atlantic, you are making sure that ammunition reaches Ukrainian soldiers fighting for their freedom. In the Pacific, you are deterring aggression and upholding freedom of navigation. In the Red Sea, as Admiral Nunan and Administrator Phillips referenced, you’re facing down unprecedented attacks against international trade in one of the most vital waterways in the world. At ports, on decks, and in engine rooms around the globe, the Blue and Gray help keep our people safe and our country strong. And in return, we owe it to you to keep the merchant marine strong and that’s why President Biden is taking historic steps to spur investment in ships made in American shipyards, built with American supplies, and crewed by American Mariners.”

Vice Admiral Joanna M. Nunan, USMMA superintendent, addressed the “Covid kids,” the Class that arrived at the height of the pandemic, and said, “Class of 2024, you were always determined, a breed apart, the essence of Acta non Verba!” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

As Superintendent, Vice Admiral Joanna M. Nunan, USMS, addressed the “Covid kids,” the Class that arrived at the height of the pandemic, and said, “Somehow, you kept your faith in Kings Point’s promise that the world would open to you. Class of 2024, you were always determined, a breed apart, the essence of Acta non Verba!”

Distinguished Alumna Rear Adm. Dianna Wolfson, USN, Director of Fleet Maintenance, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Class of ’96, said, “We stand at a pivotal moment today, facing formidable challenges on the horizon but I have every confidence that the men and women graduating here today are not just equipped to face these challenges, but to conquer them.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Speaking to the new graduates, Distinguished Alumna Rear Adm. Dianna Wolfson, USN, Director of Fleet Maintenance, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Class of ’96, said, “We stand at a pivotal moment today, facing formidable challenges on the horizon but I have every confidence that the men and women graduating here today are not just equipped to face these challenges, but to conquer them.”

General Eric M. Smith, USMC, 39th Commandant of the Marine Corps, administered the commissioning oath  to the 214 graduates before an audience of more than 3,000 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

As part of the commencement exercises, General Eric M. Smith, USMC, 39th Commandant of the Marine Corps, administered the commissioning oath  to the 214 graduates before an audience of more than 3,000, including family members, and representatives from the federal government, U.S. military, and maritime industry.

The 214 US Merchant Marine Academy graduates take their oath © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Rear Adm. Michael E. Platt, USCG, Commander, First Coast Guard District, administered the Merchant Mariner Oath to all the graduates and 56 graduates were also sworn in as active-duty officers in the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. The remaining graduates will serve as Navy reservists in the Strategic Sealift Officer Program while working as USCG-Licensed Mariners aboard deep-sea vessels, offshore supply vessels, tugs, and towing vessels.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan congratulates the USMMA valedictorian Midshipman First Class Zachary Makram Almadani of Colorado Springs, CO © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

After the ceremony concluded, Admiral Nunan said, “the presence of the National Security Advisor and the Commandant of the Marine Corps was not just an honor but a testament to the critical role the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy plays in protecting our nation.  Their participation added overwhelming excitement and pride among the graduates and their families, and was matched only by the enjoyment they showed in joining us.”

Graduates give the US Merchant Marine Academy traditional “hip hip hurray” cheer © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Each Congressionally nominated graduate received a Bachelor of Science Degree and an unlimited Merchant Marine Officer license from the Coast Guard, and an officer’s commission in the Navy or other branch of the military. In exchange for their education, each has the option of serving as a Merchant Marine Officer while concurrently serving in any branch of the U.S. military in the reserves or serving five years of active duty. USMMA graduates ensure a steady stream of Merchant Marine Officers who support the nation’s economic and security requirements in times of peace and war.

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, located in Kings Point, N.Y, educates and graduates leaders of exemplary character who are inspired to serve the national security, marine transportation, and economic needs of the United States as licensed Merchant Marine Officers and commissioned officers in the Armed Forces. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the Academy, which was established under the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, as the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 1943. It is administered by the Maritime Administration under the auspices of the Department of Transportation.


© 2024 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email [email protected]. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures. ‘Like’ us at facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures, Tweet @KarenBRubin

VP Harris at UNITE HERE Union Convention Stands Up for Workers, Working Families: ‘Are You Ready to Fight for Freedom, for Opportunity’

Vice President Kamala Harris came to New York City for the UNITE HERE union convention and drew a sharp contrast to what the Biden-Harris administration has done for labor and will do, and what Trump and the Republicans stand for © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Vice President Kamala Harris came to New York City for the UNITE HERE union convention in which she stood up for workers and labor as a representative of the most pro-union administration possibly ever, and drew a sharp contrast to what the Biden-Harris administration has done for labor and will do, and what Trump and the Republicans stand for.

She was warmly received by UNITE HERE, a labor union representing 300,000 across Canada and the United States who work in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries.

Here is an edited transcript of her remarks: –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everyone.  Good morning, UNITE HERE.  (Applause.)  Good morning.

     Oh, it’s good to be in the house of labor.  Good morning.  (Applause.)

     AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you, Kamala!

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  And you know I love you.

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  You know, in 2020, in states like Georgia, Nevada, and Arizona, it was you — it was the members of this union who energized, who organized, and mobilized.  It is because of your work and your support that Joe Biden is President of the United States and I am the first woman elected Vice President of the United States.  (Applause.)  I’m really clear about how we got here….

More than a hundred years ago, in Lawrence, Massachusetts, tens of thousands of textile workers — many of them women — came together to demand fair pay and safer working conditions…

And in the decades since, the workers of UNITE HERE have taken on some of the most powerful corporations in our nation, from Big Pharma to the hedge funds, which took over casinos and put profits over workers.  And you have won — you’ve won fair pay, better benefits, safer working conditions, and protection against discrimination and harassment. 

Vice President Kamala Harris at the UNITE HERE union convention, reviews the Biden-Harris Administration’s record of delivering for workers and working families © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Through the power of the collective, you have transformed millions of jobs into middle-class jobs — jobs that come with the dignity that all people deserve.  (Applause.)

And I know of your work.  For many years, I have had the honor to work closely with the leaders of this union.  When I was Attorney General of California, I worked with j- — with you, with many of the leaders here to crack down on wage theft.  As a United States senator, we fought together for paid family leave and medical leave for more workers.  (Applause.) 

And as Elena mentioned, this past October, with pride, I stood in Las Vegas with the workers of Culinary 226 for your Day of Action — (applause) — (laughs) — ohh — for your Day of Action — (applause) —


     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  — and again — 226! — (laughs) —

AUDIENCE:  226!  226!  226!

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  And again, in Las Vegas, a few months later, it was my honor to join Culinary —


THE VICE PRESIDENT:  — once again — (laughs) — to celebrate your contract win.  And, my goodness, what a historic contract win: your historic pay raise of 32 percent.  Extraordinary.  Extraordinary.  (Applause.)  

Vice President Kamala Harris at the UNITE HERE union convention, reviews the Biden-Harris Administration’s record of delivering for workers and working families © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

And, of course, this was a victory for all workers — for all workers — because, as we in this room know, when union wages go up, everyone’s wages go up.  (Applause.)  When union workplaces are more safe, all workplaces are more safe.  When unions are strong, America is strong.  (Applause.)

And President Joe Biden and I are proud to stand by your side.  (Applause.) 

So, together — together, we have fought for affordable healthcare, knowing healthcare should be a right and not just a privilege of those who can afford it.  (Applause.)

We, together — together, we took on Big Pharma and capped the cost of insulin at $35 a month for our seniors.  (Applause.)  And now, because of our work together, three of the largest drug companies in the country are capping the cost of asthma inhalers from hundreds of dollars each to just $35 each.  (Applause.) And we know how that affects so many of our babies, historically, and how expensive those inhalers have been.

And we are finally making it so that medical debt can no longer count against your credit score — (applause) — which means medical debt can no longer get in the way of someone’s ability to get a car loan, to get a home loan, to get a lease for an apartment.  (Applause.) 

Because I don’t need to tell anyone here, medical debt — well, most people come by medical debt because of a medical emergency.  They didn’t ask for it.  They didn’t save for it.  And it happens, and then they’re out tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.  And the way it has been working is it can count against somebody’s credit score. 

Well, your credit score is supposed to be a measure of whether you are financially responsible.  It doesn’t make any sense that you would cause somebody to take a hit to their credit score for a medical emergency, and that’s why we’re getting rid of that.  (Applause.)    

In addition to medical debt, we are also addressing the issue of student loan debt.  (Applause.)  So far, we have forgiven student loan debt for nearly 5 million Americans and twice as much for our public servants, including our teachers, our nurses, and firefighters.  (Applause.)

Vice President Kamala Harris at the UNITE HERE union convention, reviews the Biden-Harris Administration’s record of delivering for workers and working families © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

So, UNITE HERE, I stand here as we are 137 days away from the most important election of our lifetime.  And there is a very clear contrast between who we have looked out for and who the last administration looked out for. 

Whereas the last administration gave tax cuts to billionaires —


THE VICE PRESIDENT:  — we gave tax cuts to families with children through the Child Tax Credit — (applause) — and cut the rate of child poverty in half when we did it.  (Applause.)  

We are also proud to lead the most pro-union administration in the history of America.  (Applause.)  We expanded the power of OSHA to make workplaces safer.  (Applause.)

As head of the White House Labor Task Force, I have led our work to eliminate barriers to organizing in both public and private sectors.  (Applause.)

And we did the long overdue work to protect the pension plans of now more than 1 million union workers — (applause) — including thousands of UNITE HERE members and retirees.  
On the issue of immigration, we believe in keeping families together, not tearing them apart.  (Applause.)  So, now, undocumented spouses of American citizens who have been in the country for 10 or more years can stay in the country while they apply for a green card — (applause) — and so can their children.  (Applause.)

We also made it easier for thousands of DREAMers who have graduated college to secure work permits, because our entire nation benefits from their extraordinary skill, talent, and ambition.  (Applause.)

So, the bottom line is that in all we do, President Biden and I are guided by the belief that we work for you and we will fight with you, alongside you, and for you.  
On the other hand, Donald Trump has made it clear time and time again —


THE VICE PRESIDENT:  — he only cares about himself.  He openly talks about his intention to weaponize the Department of Justice against his enemies.  He openly talks about his admiration for dictators.


THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Has vowed on day one that he will be a dictator on day one. 


     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  He said he is — and I’m going to quote — “proudly responsible” for overturning Roe v. Wade and taking —


THE VICE PRESIDENT:  — taking freedom of choice from millions of women in our country.


THE VICE PRESIDENT:  And get this.  Recently, in Las Vegas — you might have seen this.  Recently, in Las Vegas — well, it was a typical day in Vegas; it was 104 degrees.  (Laughter.)  You know what I’m saying.  But on a day that was 104 degrees and his supporters were outside, Donald Trump told the crowd — and I’m going to quote — “I don’t care about you.  I just want your vote.” 


THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Maya Angelou told us how we should think about these kinds of moments.  Remember what Maya Angelou said?  She said, “When someone tells you who they are, believe them the first time.”  Believe them the first time.  (Applause.)

So, we see what’s happening.  We see what’s happening.

Donald Trump and his allies, they’re working from a playbook: to attack freedoms, to spread hate, to divide our country, and to make people feel alone, to make people feel small. 
But in the face of these attacks, we here know the power of the collective.  And, UNITE HERE, I believe when you know what you stand for, you know what to fight for.

We stand for freedom and opportunity.  We fight for paid family leave and affordable childcare.  We fight to lower rents, and we fight to help more Americans buy a home.  (Applause.)  We fight to secure a pathway for citizenship, including for our DREAMers.  And we fight for the dignity of all people.  (Applause.)  Because we know what we stand for, and so we know what to fight for.   
And in this moment, our nation needs everyone here.  We need you.  We really do.  We need you to continue to do what you know how to do so well.  You’re the best at it. 

     We need you to continue to organize.  We need you to continue to mobilize.  We need you to continue knocking on that door and practicing how to do it.  (Laughs.)  (Applause.)  And we need you to make your voices heard.

Vice President Kamala Harris at the UNITE HERE union convention in NYC: “Are you ready to make your voices heard? Are you ready to fight for freedom?  Are you ready to fight for opportunity?” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

So, UNITE HERE, are you ready to make your voices heard?

     AUDIENCE:  Yes! 

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Are you ready to fight for freedom? 

     AUDIENCE:  Yes! 

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Are you ready to fight for opportunity?

     AUDIENCE:  Yes!   

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Are you ready to fight for the promise of America?

     AUDIENCE:  Yes!  

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  And when we fight —

AUDIENCE:  We win!

     THE VICE PRESIDENT:  — we win!

God bless you.  God bless America.  Thank you all.  (Applause.)

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration on World Refugee Day Celebrates a Rebuilt U.S. Refugee Admissions Program

New Yorkers protest for humane immigration, 2018. On World Refugee Day, the Biden-Harris Administration reviewed its plans to welcome more than 100,000 refugees to their new U.S. communities in Fiscal Year 2024, the most in three decades, and how the administration is encouraging Americans to consider directly supporting and welcoming a refugee into their community. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

On World Refugee Day, the Biden-Harris Administration reviewed its plans to welcome more than 100,000 refugees to their new U.S. communities in Fiscal Year 2024, the most in three decades, and how the administration is encouraging Americans to consider directly supporting and welcoming a refugee into their community.

Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just issued a report that documents the importance immigration plays in the nation’s economic growth and vitality. According to CBO, increased immigration to the US will drive higher economic growth an dlabor supply, grow federal revenues and shrink deficits over the next 10 years. The anticipated surge in immigration is estimated to increase GDP by $9 TRILLION and increase federal revenues by$1.2 trillion. (https://www.axios.com/2024/06/18/immigration-economy-growth-cbo).

It is estimated there are 120 million refugees worldwide – people displaced by conflict and climate crisis, 40 percent of whom are children.

This fact sheet, issued on World Refugee Day, on how the administration is celebrating a rebuilt U.S. Refugee Admissions Program was provided by the White House:

From Day One, the Biden-Harris Administration has prioritized rebuilding and strengthening the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program after its dismantling under the previous administration.

The United States has long been a leader in refugee resettlement, providing a beacon of hope for persecuted people around the world, facilitating international efforts to address record displacement, and demonstrating the generosity and core values of the American people. Today, on World Refugee Day, the Biden-Harris Administration is providing an update on actions taken under the President’s Executive Order 14013 to restore the nation’s refugee resettlement program as a longstanding demonstration of the United States’ promise and welcome.

The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program is rebuilt and stronger than ever. This fiscal year, the United States will resettle more than 100,000 refugees, the most in three decades. The unfortunate reality is there are many more refugees who are still overseas and in need of resettlement. As we look ahead, the Administration encourages Americans to consider directly supporting and welcoming refugees into their community through the Welcome Corps. You can team up with others in your community, apply to sponsor a refugee family today, and welcome them into your community this summer.

Refugee resettlement in the United States represents the opportunity to start anew and pursue a life of safety and dignity without fear of persecution. In turn, refugees and asylees enrich American communities culturally and economically, contributing almost $124 billion to our nation’s economy from 2005 to 2019.

Rebuilding and modernizing resettlement infrastructure

The Biden-Harris Administration inherited a U.S. Refugee Admissions Program that had been systematically weakened by the previous administration. Historically low refugee admissions for four years led to drastic reductions in funding, staffing, and infrastructure across the U.S. Government agencies, international organizations, and nonprofit organizations that manage the program domestically and overseas. Through a whole-of-government effort starting on Day One, this Administration methodically rebuilt and modernized the program:

  • Invested in the domestic resettlement network. The ten national refugee resettlement agencies have opened or reopened more than 150 local resettlement offices, bringing the total to more than 350. As part of this effort, the Department of State and the Department of Health and Human Services worked with resettlement partners to design new innovative programs and provide targeted technical assistance. The Department of State, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Homeland Security, and HHS also recently issued a fact sheet providing information to landlords and property managers about renting to refugees.
  • Hired more than 300 refugee officers. DHS has more than tripled the size of its refugee officer corps. In the first half of 2024 alone, these refugee officers interviewed more than 80,000 refugee applicants overseas. DHS also partnered with the Department of State to expand the international office footprint of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services after many offices were closed under the previous administration.
  • Reimagined overseas processing steps. The Department of State, DHS, and the U.S. Digital Service redesigned the overseas process for Afghan refugees by conducting multiple required steps at the same time rather than sequentially. This overhaul allowed processing to occur within weeks or months—a dramatic decrease from historically years-long processing times—without sacrificing national security. The Administration expanded this new approach to other populations, and by late 2023, more than half of all refugees interviewed worldwide went through concurrent processing.
  • Digitized processes for greater efficiency. In September 2023, the Department of State, DHS, and USDS fully implemented digital case management, shifting away from a paper-based process. Modern case management systems at both departments now support overseas processing that is more secure, efficient, and cost-effective. The Department of State, DHS, the Social Security Administration, and USDS also launched a new automated process that enables most refugees to receive their Employment Authorization Documents and Social Security Cards within weeks of their arrival, easing their path to self-sufficiency and full integration into their new communities.
  • Resolved many of the oldest cases in the program. The Department of State, DHS, and USDS created new case tracking mechanisms to ensure refugees who have been waiting the longest for a decision on their case are prioritized. Since October 2022, more than 32,000 refugees with cases pending for more than five years have been resettled in the United States.
  • Launched the Safe Mobility initiative to expand lawful pathways in the Western Hemisphere. In June 2023, the United States announced the Safe Mobility initiative, in partnership with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration. Safe Mobility offices in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Guatemala provide information and counseling about a range of existing services and local integration assistance available for refugees and migrants, and facilitate access to lawful pathways including refugee resettlement to the United States, Canada, and Spain.
  • Established the Resettlement Diplomacy Network. In 2022, the Department of State launched a new high-level multilateral forum, the Resettlement Diplomacy Network, in partnership with Australia, Canada, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the European Commission. As the network’s chair, the United States is driving an ambitious shared agenda around the global expansion and modernization of resettlement programs.

Building on the generosity of the American people through private sponsorship

Over the past few years, the Americans have extended an extraordinarily generous and welcoming hand to our Afghan allies, Ukrainians displaced by war, and Venezuelans and others fleeing violence and oppression. Following President Biden’s direction in Executive Order 14013, the Administration has created new opportunities for everyday Americans to engage directly in refugee resettlement:

  • In January 2023, the Department of State launched the Welcome Corps, a private sponsorship program to empower Americans from all walks of life to be matched with approved refugees overseas and directly support their resettlement and integration as they build new lives in the United States. Now through July 31, the Sponsor Fund will cover fundraising costs for Americans to welcome refugees through the Welcome Corps. This funding is available to help Americans welcome refugees into their community this summer, thanks to private philanthropy efforts led by the Shapiro Foundation in partnership with the Community Sponsorship Hub, WelcomeNST, and GoFundMe.org.
  • In December 2023, the Welcome Corps expanded to allow sponsors to identify and welcome refugees they know. Sponsors can identify specific refugees they wish to support, a first in the history of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.
  • In August 2024, participating U.S. colleges and universities will welcome the first Welcome Corps on Campus cohort of 31 refugee students to continue their higher education in the United States at 17 participating colleges and universities. This World Refugee Day, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona sent a letter to colleges and universities to consider taking steps to support refugee resettlement.
  • In April 2024, the Department of State launched the Welcome Corps at Work, a targeted pilot initiative where refugees can be matched with U.S. employers in critical industries such as healthcare, education, and information technology, and receive support from private sponsors in the employer’s community. In September 2022, HHS also launched an Employer Engagement Program to help employers develop workplace-based training programs.

Enhancing screening and vetting

The Administration’s commitment to keeping Americans safe is paramount. Refugees undergo mandatory and rigorous security vetting overseas, including biometric and biographic security checks conducted by our nation’s law enforcement, intelligence, and counterterrorism professionals. The Administration has taken steps to reform and further enhance screening and vetting of refugees, including:

  • Repealed the Muslim ban. On his first day in office, President Biden repealed the previous administration’s discriminatory Muslim ban, a stain on our national conscience that was inconsistent with our nation’s foundation of religious freedom and tolerance. The Administration has since taken additional steps to reform legacy nationality-based vetting practices that the previous administration weaponized to implement its Muslim ban and exclude applicants on the basis of their religion or nationality. These reforms have enhanced the program’s rigorous vetting processes and strengthened national security.
  • Integrated refugee vetting into the National Vetting Center. Consistent with Executive Order 14013, the Administration has integrated refugee vetting into the National Vetting Center, which has strengthened and simplified the ways that DHS uses intelligence and law enforcement information to inform decisions, while maintaining strong privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties protections.

Expanding access to resettlement

The Biden-Harris Administration has expanded access to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for particularly vulnerable individuals facing persecution:

  • Opened avenues for resettlement for human rights defenders and the most vulnerable LGBTQI+ refugees. In 2023, the Department of State designated two senior U.S. government human rights officials to identify individuals in need of resettlement who face persecution as a result of their work promoting respect for human rights and those who face persecution on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or sex characteristics.
  • Strengthened the ability of U.S. Embassies to refer the most vulnerable refugees. U.S. ambassadors are now encouraged to refer to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program any vulnerable individuals they have identified as facing persecution and are in need of resettlement, an option previously reserved for exceptional circumstances.
  • Expanded NGO referrals for highly vulnerable cases. As directed in Executive Order 14013, the Department of State partnered with a new consortium of non-governmental organizations to identify and refer highly vulnerable refugees to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program who are in need of resettlement but are unlikely to be identified through traditional resettlement mechanisms, including LGBTQI+ refugees and certain ethnic and religious minorities.
  • Facilitated protection and expanded access to the refugee program for Afghans. In August 2021, the Administration announced a special refugee designation for certain Afghans and their eligible family members, as part of the Administration’s commitment to welcoming those who served alongside us during the 20-year war in Afghanistan. The Administration is also allowing, in certain cases, U.S. government and military officials to refer Afghans to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program who worked with the United States in Afghanistan.

Led the most significant increase of operations in the Americas in the history of the program. As forced displacement in the Western Hemisphere reaches historic highs, the Administration has dramatically expanded operations in the region, in particular through the Safe Mobility initiative. The United States has welcomed 13,000 refugees from the region this year, by far the most in the program’s history. Since January 2021, the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has referred more than twice as many refugees to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program as in the previous three decades combined.

FACT SHEET: President Biden Announces New Actions to Keep Families Together

Families New Yorkers protest against Trump’s family separation policies, June 2018. President Biden, frustrated by Congress’ failure to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform, has taken new action to crate a pathway for undocumented spouses of US citizens who have been in the US for 10 years to obtain permanent residency and has acted to bolster protections and rights of Dreamers © Karen Rubin/news-photo-features.com

This fact sheet on President Biden’s latest actions to keep immigrant families together was provided by the White House:

Since his first day in office, President Biden has called on Congress to secure our border and address our broken immigration system. As Congressional Republicans have continued to put partisan politics ahead of national security – twice voting against the toughest and fairest set of reforms in decades – the President and his Administration have taken actions to secure the border, including:

  • Implementing executive actions to bar migrants who cross our Southern border unlawfully from receiving asylum when encounters are high;
  • Deploying record numbers of law enforcement personnel, infrastructure, and technology to the Southern border;
  • Seizing record amounts of fentanyl at our ports of entry;
  • Revoking the visas of CEOs and government officials outside the U.S. who profit from migrants coming to the U.S. unlawfully; and
  • Expanding efforts to dismantle human smuggling networks and prosecuting individuals who violate immigration laws.

President Biden believes that securing the border is essential. He also believes in expanding lawful pathways and keeping families together, and that immigrants who have been in the United States for decades, paying taxes and contributing to their communities, are part of the social fabric of our country. The Day One immigration reform plan that the President sent to Congress reflects both the need for a secure border and protections for the long-term undocumented. While Congress has failed to act on these reforms, the Biden-Harris Administration has worked to strengthen our lawful immigration system. In addition to vigorously defending the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals) policy, the Administration has extended Affordable Care Act coverage to DACA recipients and streamlined, expanded, and instituted new reunification programs so that families can stay together while they complete the immigration process. 
Still, there is more that we can do to bring peace of mind and stability to Americans living in mixed-status families as well as young people educated in this country, including Dreamers. That is why today, President Biden announced new actions for people who have been here many years to keep American families together and allow more young people to contribute to our economy.  
Keeping American Families Together

  • Today, President Biden is announcing that the Department of Homeland Security will take action to ensure that U.S. citizens with noncitizen spouses and children can keep their families together.
  • This new process will help certain noncitizen spouses and children apply for lawful permanent residence – status that they are already eligible for – without leaving the country.
  • These actions will promote family unity and strengthen our economy, providing a significant benefit to the country and helping U.S. citizens and their noncitizen family members stay together.
  • In order to be eligible, noncitizens must – as of June 17, 2024 – have resided in the United States for 10 or more years and be legally married to a U.S. citizen, while satisfying all applicable legal requirements. On average, those who are eligible for this process have resided in the U.S. for 23 years.
  • Those who are approved after DHS’s case-by-case assessment of their application will be afforded a three-year period to apply for permanent residency. They will be allowed to remain with their families in the United States and be eligible for work authorization for up to three years. This will apply to all married couples who are eligible.  
  • This action will protect approximately half a million spouses of U.S. citizens, and approximately 50,000 noncitizen children under the age of 21 whose parent is married to a U.S. citizen.

Easing the Visa Process for U.S. College Graduates, Including Dreamers

  • President Obama and then-Vice President Biden established the DACA policy to allow young people who were brought here as children to come out of the shadows and contribute to our country in significant ways. Twelve years later, DACA recipients who started as high school and college students are now building successful careers and establishing families of their own.
  • Today’s announcement will allow individuals, including DACA recipients and other Dreamers, who have earned a degree at an accredited U.S. institution of higher education in the United States, and who have received an offer of employment from a U.S. employer in a field related to their degree, to more quickly receive work visas.
  • Recognizing that it is in our national interest to ensure that individuals who are educated in the U.S. are able to use their skills and education to benefit our country, the Administration is taking action to facilitate the employment visa process for those who have graduated from college and have a high-skilled job offer, including DACA recipients and other Dreamers. 

See also:
Biden Acts to Legalize Undocumented Spouses of US Citizens, Advancing Humane Immigration Reform

President Biden Addresses Everytown’s Gun Sense University: ‘You’ve helped power a movement that is turning this cause into reality…Keep it up’

Less than two hours after hearing his only surviving son, Hunter, was found guilty of 3 gun possession offenses, President Joe Biden stood steadfast to uphold policies and laws to reduce America’s gun violence epidemic and change America’s cultural idolatry with guns. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via MSNBC.

Less than two hours after hearing his only surviving son, Hunter, was found guilty of 3 gun possession offenses, President Joe Biden stood steadfast to uphold policies and laws to reduce America’s gun violence epidemic and change America’s cultural idolatry with guns. In that moment, he did two critical things befitting a president and a man of character and commitment: he upheld the rule of Law and the judicial process, saying he would respect the jury’s verdict and would not pardon his son, and vowed to continue the yeoman’s job of reversing America’s uniquely horrendous level of gun violence. (See: Biden Lauds Everytown, Moms Demand Action GunSense Activists; Points to Historic Progress But More to Do to Stem Gun Violence). –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Here is an edited transcript of his remarks:

Julvonnia, I know from experience it takes extraordinary courage for you to stand up here and retell your son’s story — and many of you who have lost someone to gun violence.  It’s been a passion of mine for a long, long time. 

It’s the reason way back, a long time ago, I authored the Violence Against Women Act, which no one thought made any sense at the time.  It had — I had a lot of trouble getting people to think we could make a difference. 

But the fact of the matter is I remember well when you first started it with me — this extraordinary courage.  You know, through your words, you help ensure that your son and all the victims of gun violence are not forgotten.  They didn’t die in vain.  Through your love, you help prevent the next tragedy.  It saves lives. 

And through your actions, you remember us — we’ll never let go of one thing that we must never, never lose.  And I mean this.  I know it’s hard because I’ve gotten those phone calls, too, saying I lost a son, a daughter, a wife.  I know what it’s like.  But guess what?  Never give up on hope — hope, hope, hope.  (Applause.)  

I give you my word.  I know what that feels — that black hole when you receive that phone call that seems like you’re — black hole in your chest — you’re being sucked into it.  Just showing up here and all the work you’ve done takes some courage because it reminds you of the mo- — moment you got that phone call.  It reminds you, no matter how long it goes, until y- — it just — it’s hard.  But you’re so — you’re ma- — you’re making such a difference.  The main reason I’m here is to say — and I mean this from the bottom of my heart –…

Folks, to Everytown and all the leaders and advocates here today, I want to thank you for the dedication to this vital issue you’ve shown.

And to all the survivors, veterans, families, moms who have turned their pain and your purpose into the loss and you’re determined to not focus on your anger but on what you can do.

Look, folks, you’ve helped power a movement that is turning this cause into reality — especially young people, who demanded our nation do better to protect us all — (applause) — who protested, who organized, who voted, who ran for office, and, yes, who marched for their lives.  (Applause.) 

From my perspective, today is about celebrating you.  You’re the reason I’m so optimistic about the future of our country, and I mean that.

In two weeks, we’ll mark the second anniversary of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.  (Applause.)  It’s the most significant gun legislation in nearly 30 years, and we passed it only because you gone out and vou worked like hell to get it done.  May have the idea, but you got it ma- — you made it happen. 

It was designed to reduce gun violence and save lives.  And I’m so proud of the tremendous progress we’ve made since then. 

You know, the year before I came to the presidency, the murder rate was the highest increase on record.  Last year, we saw the largest decrease of murder in the history of (inaudible).  (Applause.)  And those rates are continuing to fall faster than ever. 

Last year, we also saw one of the lowest rates of all violent crime in nearly 50 years.  Murder, rape, aggravated assault, robbery all dropped sharply, along with burglary and property crime.  (Applause.)  Becau- — this matters. 

So much of this progress is because — and I’m not just trying to be solicitous — it’s because of you.  Don’t underestimate what you have done.  It’s amazing what you have done.  You changed people’s minds — your neighbors, your friends, the folks down at the restaurant, the folks at the grocery store.

Through the American Rescue Plan, I was able to invest $15 billion, the largest investment ever to reduce crime.  And we built on that progress, with your help, the Bipa- — (applause) — through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. 

And here’s how.  First, the act is helping reduce community violence and domestic violence.  It invests $250 million in violence intervention programs all across the country.  (Applause.)  People are now — my daughter is a social worker working with violence against women.  What people don’t realize is these things matter.  They change attitudes. 

We’ve already funded nearly 80 programs and counting.  We also made gun trafficking and straw purchasing a federal crime for the first time, giving prosecutors the legal tools to charge traffickers and hold them accountable for the more severe penalties that are available.  (Applause.) 

Additionally, the law strengthens background checks for anyone under the age of 21 trying to purchase a firearm.  And it’s about time.  There’s more we have to do there.  It’s a big deal.  (Applause.)  Since the law was passed and implemented, the FBI has stopped more than 700 sales of firearms for individuals under the age of 21. 

And about 20,000 unlicensed firearms dealer are now required to become licensed to run background checks — (applause) — which will keep guns out of dangerous hands. 

Second, the act helps stops mass shootings, provides $750 million to state — to — to states to implement their crisis interventions like red flag laws that temporarily remove firearms from those who are in danger to themselves or others.  (Applause.)  

It also gives $1.3 billion to thousands of schools across the country to build a safer learning environments, including (applause) updating safety plans, installing security equipment, hiring mental health professionals and school resource officers — (applause) — I’m married to a full-time teacher; I get it — (applause) — as well as violence intervention teams.

Folks, look, third, the act invests over $1 billion, the largest one-time investment ever in mental health — youth mental health in our schools — (applause) — to help them deal with grief and trauma resulting in gun violence.  I’ve attended too many mass shootings — I’ve gone to too many schools across America and stood there and looked at the faces of those young children who made it and look at all the families that lost somebody.  It’s tragic.  But it needs help.  They need help to get through it.

It includes an additional 14,000 mental health professionals to be hired and trained in our schools — to work in our schools full time.  That’s 14,000 more.  And — (applause) — and over 170,000 Americans across the country have been trained to identify when someone is having a mental health crisis and connect them to the help they need.  (Applause.) 

By the way, one of the reasons I wrote the latest veterans bill was because more veterans and more active-duty personnel are dying of suicide than any combat zone.  (Applause.)  It matters. 

And, folks, this historic law is already saving lives.  But there is still so much more to do to maximize the benefits of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. 

That’s why, last September, I established the first-ever White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention.  (Applause.)  And I mean it.  We got first-rate professionals there and overseen by my incredible Vice President — (applause) — who is a pretty fierce prosecutor as well — to drive and coordinate government and nationwide effort to reduce gun violence in America.  That’s why we did it.  And to send a clear message about how important this issue is to me, to you, and to the entire country.

President Joe Biden was cheered on at Everytown’s Gun Sense University, where he thanked the Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action activists for creating a movement that is changing America’s gun culture © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via MSNBC.

Folks — (applause) — you’re changing the nation.  You really are.  You’re changing the nation.  It builds upon the dozen of executive actions my administration has taken to reduce gun violence — more than any of my predecessors, and I suspect more than all of them combined — everything from cracking down on ghost guns, gun trafficking, and so much more.  

Folks, we’re not stopping there.  It’s time, once again, to do what I did when I was a senator: ban assault weapons.  (Applause.)  I mean it. 

AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years! 

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you. 

Who in God’s name needs a magazine which can hold 200 shells?


THE PRESIDENT:  Nobody.  That’s right….

But think about it.  They’re weapons of war. 

And, by the way, it’s time we establish universal background checks — (applause) — and require the safe storage of firearms.  We should hold — (applause) — we should hold families responsible if they don’t provide those locks on those guns…. 

And, by the way, this is the most important: The only industry in America that has immunity are gun dealers.  We got to end it — (applause) — end it now.  No, I mean it.

Imagine — imagine if we gave — if we gave tobacco an exception they could not be prosecuted.  We — what would happen?  We’d still — a thousand more people would be dying of cancer because of smoke inhalation. 

It’s time we increase funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and Explosives and other law enforcement agencies as well — (applause) — to solve the crimes faster.  

Look, unfortunately — this is the only partisan thing I’m going to say — the congressional Republicans oppose all of these — every one of these.  Instead of trying to stop our ban on ghost gun kits that can commit crimes, they’re working like hell to stop it.  They want to abolish the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and Explosives, which is responsible for fighting gun crimes. 

You can’t be pro law enforcement and say you are pro law enforcement and be pro abolishing the AFT.  (Applause.)  You can’t do it.  It’s outrageous…

What in God’s name is the rationale for taking away the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms?

After a school shooting in Iowa that killed a student and a teacher, my predecessor was asked about it.  You remember what he said.  He said, “Have to get over it.”  Hell no, we don’t have to get over it.  (Applause.)  We got to stop it.  We got to stop it and stop it now.  (Applause.)

More children are killed in America by guns than cancer and car accidents combined.  (Applause.)  My predecessor told the NRA convention recently he’s proud that, quote, “I did nothing on guns when I was president.”  And by doing nothing, he made the situation considerably worse. 

That’s why Everytown, why this summit, why all of you here today are so damn important.  We need you.  We need you to overcome the unrelenting opposition of the gun lobby, gun manufacturers, and so many politicians when they oppose commonsense gun legislation. 

When I was no longer the vice president, I became a professor at the University of — of Pennsylvania.  Before that, I taught a constitutional law class, and so I taught the Second Amendment. 

There’s never been a time that says you can own anything you want.  You couldn’t own a cannon during the Civil War.  (Laughter.).. 
And, by the way, if they want to think they — it’s to take on government if we get out of line, which they’re talking again about — well, guess what?  They need F-15s.  They don’t need a rifle.  (Laughter.)

Folks, look, this is crazy, what we’re talking about.  Because whether we’re Democrats or Republicans, we want all families to be safe.  (Applause.)  We all want to drop them off at a house of worship, a mall, a movie theater, a school without worrying if it’s the last time I’m going to get to see them.  (Applause.)  We all want our kids to have the freedom to learn how to read and write in schools instead of learning how to duck and cover, for God sake.  (Applause.) 

And above all — above all, we all agree: We are not finished.  (Applause.)  Look, no single — no single action can solve the entirety of the gun violence epidemic.  But together, our efforts, your efforts are saving lives. 

You can help rally a nation with a sense of urgency and seriousness of purpose.  You’re changing the culture.  We are proving we can do more than just thoughts and prayers — just more than thoughts and prayers.  You’re changing politics.  You’re proving that you’re powerful and you’re relentless, and I mean that.  

Let me close with this.  I know many people here have been impacted by gun violence and are tired and frustrated.  (Applause.)  No — no, I — I know.  I’ve been to too many — I’ve literally spoken with well over a thousand families at these events that I’ve attended for mass shootings.  And the look in their eyes — you can almost feel that black hole they feel in the center of their chest, like they’re being sucked in, there’s no way out.  And if they have remaining children, you look at the children and they wonder, “Mommy, Daddy, how about me?”

And I know you may wonder: Are we ever going to make full progress that we need to make?  I’m here to tell you we have no choice.  We cannot give up trying for all the lives lost and all those who still there to save.  We’re going to get there. 

I have no illusions about how difficult it may be.  But I also have no illusions about the people in this room.

You’re changing the attitude of the public — I really mean it.  I’m going back to why I got here in the first place.  That is to say thank you.

I can come up with all these ideas about the laws we can change to make it easier, but you’re changing people’s lives.  You’re convincing your neighbors and people this is necessary.  It’s beginning to move.

Look at what we’ve already done around the community.  Look at the movement you’ve built, the elected officials standing with you.  Look at all the mothers organizations across the country. 

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Mr. President, you are making a change too!  I love you so much!  (Inaudible.)  (Laughter and applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:    (Applause.) Look —

When there’s a crisis, half of what people affected by a crisis have to know: Is anybody listening?  Do you hear me?  Do they hear what we’re saying?

Listen to the young people who are speaking out.  That’s the power of the memory of your loved ones.  That’s the power of this movement.  That’s the power of America.

We just have to keep going and keep the faith and remember who we are.  We are the United States of America, and there is nothing beyond our capacity when we act and do it together.  (Applause.) So, God bless you all.  And may God protect our troops.  (Applause.)

Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Keep it up.  (Applause.) Thank you.