All posts by krubin

FACT SHEET: President Biden Marks Earth Day 2024 with Historic Climate Action

On Earth Day, President Biden is  traveling to Prince William Forest Park in Triangle, VA, a national park system site developed by FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps, to announce $7 billion in awards through EPA’s Solar for All program and unveil major steps to advance the American Climate Corps. This Fact Sheet outlining President Biden’s historic climate actions was provided by the White House :

Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Northeast Canyons are among the 41 million acres of public lands which President Joe Biden has protected, including lands sacred to Tribal peoples, and has set a target of protecting 30 percent of land by 2030. On Earth Day, the Biden Administration announced a rule requires the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees 245 million acres of public land, that conservation and recreation —of natural habitat, cultural resources, recreation areas—be on equal footing with resource extraction in granting licenses © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

When President Biden took office, he pledged to restore America’s climate leadership at home and abroad. On his first day in office, the President signed the United States back into the Paris Agreement. And each day since, the Biden-Harris Administration has continued to lead and deliver on the most ambitious climate agenda in history, including securing the largest ever climate investment and unleashing a clean energy manufacturing boom that has attracted hundreds of billions in private sector investment and created over 270,000 new clean energy jobs. The President’s agenda is also advancing environmental justice and ensuring that the benefits of climate investments reach overburdened communities, mobilizing the next generation of clean energy workers through the American Climate Corps, and delivering historic investments in our nation’s climate resilience. At the same time, the Administration is protecting America’s natural wonders, conserving more than 41 million acres of lands and waters.  

Building on his climate, clean energy, and environmental justice agenda, President Biden will travel today to Prince William Forest Park in Triangle, Virginia, to celebrate Earth Day 2024, and highlight his Administration’s unprecedented progress in tackling the climate crisis, cutting costs for everyday Americans, and creating good-paying jobs.

Expanding Access to Affordable Solar Energy

The President will announce $7 billion in grants through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Solar for All grant competition, a key component of the Inflation Reduction Act’s $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. Selectees under the Solar for All program will serve every state and territory in the nation and deliver residential solar power to over 900,000 households in low-income and disadvantaged communities, saving overburdened households more than $350 million in electricity costs annually – approximately $400 per household – and avoiding more than 30 million metric tons of carbon pollution over the next 25 years.

The selectees will provide funds to states, territories, Tribes, municipalities, and nonprofits across the country to develop long-lasting solar programs that enable low-income and disadvantaged communities to deploy and benefit from distributed residential solar. In total, solar projects funded by this program will create nearly 200,000 jobs. The program also advances the President’s Justice40 Initiative, which set 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.   

Mobilizing the Next Generation of Climate Leaders through the American Climate Corps

Joined by future members of President Biden’s American Climate Corps, including current AmeriCorps members, President Biden will also announce several new actions to stand up the American Climate Corps – a groundbreaking initiative modeled after FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps that will put more than 20,000 young Americans to work fighting the impacts of climate change today while gaining the skills they need to join the growing clean energy and climate-resilience workforce of tomorrow. The President will announce these actions at Prince William Forest Park, a national park system site developed by FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps and stewarded by the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service.

Nearly a century after FDR established the Civilian Conservation Corps, President Biden will announce today that Americans can now apply to join the American Climate Corps through a newly launched website, ClimateCorps.gov. The website will feature nearly 2,000 positions located across 36 states, DC, and Puerto Rico. These positions are hosted by hundreds of organizations advancing clean energy, conservation, and climate resilience. The website, which is launching in its beta form, will be regularly updated with new American Climate Corps positions. Its goal is to make it easy for any American to find work tackling the climate crisis while gaining the skills necessary for the clean energy and climate resilience workforce of the future. The first class of the American Climate Corps will be deployed to communities across the country in June 2024.

The Biden-Harris Administration is also announcing a new partnership with the North America’s Building Trades Unions’ nonprofit partner TradesFutures. Beginning this summer, every American Climate Corps member will have access to TradesFutures’ industry leading apprenticeship readiness curriculum during their term of service in the American Climate Corps, providing members with the opportunity to be trained in the foundational skills necessary for careers in the clean energy and climate resilience economy and putting them on a pathway to good paying, union jobs.

Many American Climate Corps members will also have access to a streamlined pathway into federal service after a recent update to modernize the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Pathways Programs. The update will expand applicant eligibility for the Recent Graduates program to include individuals who have completed qualifying career or technical education service within designated American Climate Corps programs.

Today, three states – Vermont, New Mexico, and Illinois – are launching new state-based climate corps programs, building on 10 states that have already launched successful climate corps programs, demonstrating the power of skills-based training as a tool to expand pathways into good-paying jobs. These states will work with the American Climate Corps as implementing partners to ensure young people across the country are serving their communities, while participating in paid opportunities and working on projects to tackle climate change.

Additionally, beginning as a collaboration between the Department of the Interior, the Energy Communities Interagency Working Group, and AmeriCorps VISTA, a new interagency public private partnership – Energy Communities AmeriCorps – will place American Climate Corps members in priority energy communities across the country. The program will help support community-led projects, including environmental remediation, in the places that have powered our nation for generations.

Conserving America’s Lands, Waters, and Wildlife

These announcements come on the heels of a series of major conservation actions by the Biden-Harris Administration. Just last week, the Department of the Interior published a final rule to maximize protections of significant surface resources such as irreplaceable wildlife habitat for caribou and migratory birds on more than 13 million acres in the western Arctic while supporting subsistence uses and needs of Alaska Native communities. This action brings the number of acres of America’s lands and waters conserved under President Biden to 41 million. Additionally, the Interior Department released a final environmental analysis last week recommending denial of a right of way for the Ambler Road project; the proposed road, which would cross more than 200 miles of pristine lands, would have significant impacts on caribou and other subsistence resources upon which more than 60 Alaska Native communities rely.

In addition to these landmark conservation announcements in Alaska, the Interior Department released a rule to help guide the balanced management of all 245 million acres of America’s public lands that are overseen by the Bureau of Land Management. The rule will help to ensure the BLM continues to protect land health while managing other uses of public lands, such as clean energy development and outdoor recreation.

Throughout Earth Week, the Biden-Harris Administration will announce additional actions to build a stronger, healthier future for all: Tuesday will focus on helping ensure clean water for all communities; Wednesday will focus on accelerating America’s clean transportation future; Thursday will focus on steps to cut pollution from the power sector while strengthening America’s electricity grid; and Friday will focus on providing cleaner air and healthier schools for all children.

Biden-Harris Administration’s Top Climate Accomplishments

Deploying Clean, Affordable Electricity and Strengthening America’s Power Grid – 
President Biden has secured unprecedented investments in a clean power sector, unleashing a boom in American solar, wind, battery storage, and other clean energy technologies that are creating good-paying jobs and saving families money on utility bills. Through the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, U.S. solar generation is projected to increase up to eight-fold and wind generation is projected to triple by 2030. President Biden has jumpstarted the U.S. offshore wind industry, with 10 gigawatts of commercial-scale projects now approved, enough to power nearly four million homes, including two projects that are already delivering power to the grid and others with construction underway. The President’s Investing in America agenda is also supporting transmission buildout and other power grid upgrades, deployment of distributed energy resources in disadvantaged communities, investments in clean electricity across rural America, and American manufacturing of clean energy technologies – all in pursuit of the President’s goal of 100% clean electricity by 2035. Through the President’s Federal Sustainability Plan, the U.S. Government is leading by example and has already signed agreements to provide federal facilities in 18 states with 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2030.

And thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, clean energy project developers get access to expanded tax incentives if they pay workers prevailing wages and employ registered apprentices, helping make more clean energy jobs good-paying and union jobs.

Bolstering Climate Resilience and Adaptation – President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is building communities that are not only resilient to the impacts of the climate crisis, but also safer, more equitable, and economically stronger. To support this vision, the President secured more than $50 billion for climate resilience and adaptation through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act and released the first ever National Climate Resilience Framework. The President’s investments are upgrading aging roads and bridges, including critical evacuation routes, providing tax credits for families to weatherize their homes, restoring critical waterways, forests, and urban greenspaces, supporting resilient and climate-smart agriculture, bolstering water infrastructure and drought resilience across the American West, protecting federal assets from future flood riskmodernizing our electric grid, and funding research to develop the latest energy-storage technologies here in America.

Accelerating a Clean Transportation Future – President Biden is taking a whole-of-government approach to position the U.S. as a global leader in innovative and sustainable transportation.  The Administration’s National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization is a landmark strategy for cutting all greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. transportation sector by 2050. The President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act invest tens of billions to decarbonize shippingtruckingtransitrail, and aviation, all while making communities more walkablebikeable, and connected. And through the President’s Federal Sustainability Plan, the federal government has ordered over 58,000 zero-emission vehicles and has begun installing more than 25,000 charging ports, adding to the 8,000 already in use across the government.

In addition, the President rallied automakers and autoworkers around a historic goal of having electric vehicles (EVs) account for at least 50% of new passenger vehicles sold by 2030. To support this goal while driving down consumer costs, the Administration secured tax credits that reduce the cost of new or used clean vehicles by thousands of dollars directly at the dealership and is investing $7.5 billion into building out a national EV charging network. Since President Biden took office, EV sales have quadrupled, prices have come down by more than 20%, the number of charging stations has grown by over 80% – putting us on track to deploy 500,000 chargers by 2026 – and the U.S. auto industry has added more than 100,000 jobs. Driven by Biden-Harris Administration policies, the sector is experiencing a manufacturing renaissance with more than $160 billion of investments in EVs, batteries, and their supply chains. And just last month, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized the strongest-ever vehicle emission standards for light, medium, and heavy-duty vehicles.

Cutting Energy Costs and Pollution at Homes, Schools, and in Communities – Reducing building emissions through efficiency improvements and electrification lowers energy bills for families, improves resiliency, and creates good-paying jobs. The President has created new programs to save American families on their energy bills through the Department of Energy’s Home Energy Rebates, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Green and Resilient Retrofit Program, and Treasury’s Home Energy Tax Credits. The Biden-Harris Administration is also strengthening energy efficiency standards to save households and businesses money, with standards updated by DOE for dozens of appliances expected to provide nearly $1 trillion in consumer savings over 30 years, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2.5 billion metric tons – equivalent to the emissions of 18 million gas-powered cars over 30 years. By invoking emergency authority, the President is expanding domestic heat pump manufacturing, which will cut the costs of heat pumps. To ensure that the 10 million new homes that will be built by 2030 are efficient and resilient, President Biden’s National Initiative to Advance Building Codes is accelerating adoption of modern building codes that protect people from extreme-weather events and help contribute to avoiding an estimated $1.6 billion a year in damages.

Revitalizing American Manufacturing for the Clean Economy – President Biden’s Investing in America agenda has helped catalyze historic manufacturing growth, with factories opening across the nation. To date, the private sector has announced nearly $700 billion in investments in manufacturing and clean energy. The President’s agenda is helping to make U.S. manufacturing the cleanest and most competitive in the world. The Inflation Reduction Act is investing more than $6 billion to slash climate pollution and support worker and community health at U.S. factories producing the steel, aluminum, cement, and other materials that form the backbone of our economy. To further support U.S. industrial competitiveness, the Biden Administration’s landmark Buy Clean initiative is leveraging the government’s sway as the largest purchaser on Earth to spur demand for low-emissions manufacturing and construction products.

Repowering EnergyCommunities – The Biden-Harris Administration is deploying programs to build capacity and spur economic development in the communities that powered our nation for generations, such as the clean manufacturing investments in the Qualifying Advanced Energy Project Credit (48C) Program and DOE’s Advanced Energy Manufacturing and Recycling Grants Program, in addition to ARC’s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative and EDA’s Assistance to Energy Transition Communities. In addition, new bonus tax credits in President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act are incentivizing clean energy companies to expand access to good-paying jobs in energy communities across the nation.

Advancing Environmental Justice –  Since Day One, the Biden-Harris Administration has prioritized a whole-of-government approach to environmental justice. The President signed a historic Executive Order that calls on the federal government to bring clean energy and healthy environments to all and mitigate harm to those who have suffered from pollution and environmental burdens like climate change. Through the Justice40 Initiative, over 500 programs across 19 federal agencies are being reimagined and transformed to maximize the benefits of President Biden’s unprecedented investments – from clean energy projects to floodwater protections to wastewater infrastructure – to communities that need them most. At the same time, the Administration is taking unprecedented action to protect communities from PFAS pollutionaccelerate Superfund and brownfield cleanupstighten standards for hazardous air pollutants, and enhance air quality enforcement.

Delivering Clean Water and Replacing Lead Pipes – President Biden and Vice President Harris are fighting to ensure a future where every American has access to clean, safe water. The President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests over $50 billion in upgrading the nation’s water infrastructure – the largest investment in clean water in American history. This funding is going towards expanding access to clean drinking water, replacing lead pipes, improving wastewater and sanitation infrastructure, and removing PFAS pollution in waterPresident Biden has also made a historic commitment to replace every toxic lead pipe in the country within a decade, protecting families from lead poisoning that can irreversibly harm brain development in children. Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency issued proposed improvements to the Lead and Copper Rule that would require water systems to rapidly replace lead service lines.

Conserving our Lands and Waters –The Biden-Harris Administration has taken historic action to conserve and restore America’s lands and waters, including signing an Executive Order to set the first-ever national conservation goal to conserve at least 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030 through the America the Beautiful Initiative. Last week the Administration launched Conservation.gov and the American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas, a new website and data portal that will help connect people with information, tools, resources, and opportunities to support land and water conservation projects in communities across the country. The Administration has already protected more than 41 million acres of lands and waters, and President Biden is on track to conserve more lands and waters than any President in history. This includes establishing five new national monuments and restoring protections for three more; creating four new national wildlife refuges and expanding five more; protecting the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, the nation’s most visited wilderness area; safeguarding Bristol Bay in southwest Alaska; and withdrawing Chaco Canyon in New Mexico and Thompson Divide in Colorado from further oil and gas leasing to protect thousands of sacred sites and pristine lands.

To conserve and steward old growth forests, USDA announced a proposal to amend 128 forest land management plans to conserve and steward old-growth forest conditions on national forests and grasslands nationwide. This builds upon the Biden-Harris Administration’s protection of Tongass National Forest, the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world. The Administration is also taking continued action to protect and conserve our nation’s rivers and watersheds for the people and communities that depend on them, protecting the stability and sustainability of the Colorado River Basin in the face of an ongoing megadrought, and beyond. This includes taking historic action to restore healthy and abundant wild salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River Basin, part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s unprecedented commitment to honor the United States’ obligations to Tribal Nations.

Investing in Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry – President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is supporting America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners, who play a critical role in addressing the climate crisis through the deployment of climate-smart practices and systems. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA has supported 80,000 farms in implementing climate-smart practices on over 75 million acres. In Fiscal Year 2023, USDA made record investments in private lands conservation, totaling nearly $3 billion in financial assistance to producers.  Leveraging both climate impact and economic opportunities, the Administration is creating new market opportunities through the groundbreaking Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities and efforts that are part of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Grand Challenge.

Rallying Leaders of the World’s Largest Economies to Raise Global Climate Ambition –President Biden has restored America’s climate leadership at home and abroad. Under his leadership, the Administration is securing commitments from more than 155 countries to reduce methane emissions by at least 30 percent by 2030; successfully galvanizing other countries at COP28 to commit, for the first time, to transition away from unabated fossil fuels, stop building new unabated coal capacity globally, and triple renewable energy globally by 2030 and nuclear energy by 2050; launching a new Clean Energy Supply Chain Collaborative to work with international partners to diversify supply chains that are critical to a clean and secure energy transition; mobilizing other governments to follow the U.S. lead and commit to achieve net-zero government emissions by 2050 through a new Net-Zero Government Initiative; and becoming a world leader in innovative debt-for-nature swaps that have helped countries restructure over $2 billion in debt and unlock hundreds of millions of new financing for nature and climate.

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Action to Implement Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, Expanding Firearm Background Checks to Fight Gun Crime

New Department of Justice final rule sets strong standard for gun sellers who have to get a license and conduct background checks. But President Biden called on Congress to enact universal background checks and finish the job. This fact sheet is provided by the White House: 

New York City protests for sensible gun regulation. New Department of Justice final rule sets strong standard for gun sellers who have to get a license and conduct background checks. But President Biden called on Congress to enact universal background checks and finish the job. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Biden-Harris Administration announced a new rule that will save lives by reducing the number of firearms sold without background checks. This final rule implements the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act’s expansion of firearm background checks—the only significant expansion of the background check requirement since then-Senator Biden helped shepherd the Brady Bill over the finish line in 1993. This action is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s strategy to stem the flow of illegally acquired firearms into our communities and hold accountable those who supply the firearms used in crime. 

“I’ve spent hours with families who’ve lost loved ones to gun violence,” President Joe Biden stated. “They all have the same message: ‘Do something.’ Today, my Administration is taking action to make sure fewer guns are sold without background checks. This is going to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and felons. And my Administration is going to continue to do everything we possibly can to save lives. Congress needs to finish the job and pass universal background checks legislation now.”
 
“Every year, thousands of unlicensed gun dealers sell tens of thousands of guns without a background check, including to buyers who would have failed one – domestic abusers, violent felons, and even children,” stated Vice President Kamala Harris. “This single gap in our federal background check system has caused unimaginable pain and suffering. Today, as the head of the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, I am proud to say that all gun dealers must conduct background checks no matter where or how they sell.”
 
The federal gun background check system is one of the best tools we have to keep guns out of the hands of individuals prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms, including domestic abusers and other violent criminals. But the loopholes in America’s background check laws have enabled domestic abusers, school shooters, violent criminals, and gun traffickers to illegally acquire firearms. Over the past 20 years, there have been numerous failed efforts to close these loopholes and expand background checks, including a bipartisan attempt in 1999 that followed the shooting at Columbine High School, and another bipartisan attempt in 2013 that followed the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
 
In 2022, President Biden accomplished what many had tried for the past 20 years—he succeeded in expanding background checks by signing into law the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. This law broadened the category of gun sellers required to become licensed dealers and run background checks. In 2023, President Biden signed an Executive Order to accelerate implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, including by directing the Attorney General to move the U.S. as close to universal background checks as possible without additional legislation by clarifying the new Act. The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) final rule clarifies the type of conduct that requires a person to get a license to sell guns and to conduct background checks. By setting clear standards for when someone is dealing firearms, the rule provides the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) with proactive tools to enforce the law and keep our communities safe.
 
Background Check Loopholes Have Deadly Consequences
 
Since 1994, federal law has required federally licensed firearms dealers to run background checks prior to selling or transferring a weapon. These background checks have helped keep guns out of the hands of more than three million individuals who are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms. Despite the law, a growing number of unlicensed sellers continue to sell firearms for profit to complete strangers they meet at gun shows and online marketplaces, which has been a critical gap in the background check laws.
 
For the past 30 years, individuals who could not pass a background check sought out unlicensed sellers in order to evade the background check system. One investigation found that 1 in 9 people who respond to online ads from unlicensed sellers would fail a background check. Tragic consequences of this unlawful conduct include: 

  • In 1999, the school shooters from the Columbine High School shooting were both under 18 and too young to purchase firearms legally. The shooters had their acquaintance purchase firearms for them at a gun show through an unlicensed seller to avoid a background check.
  • In 2012, a domestic abuser was barred from possessing firearms following a restraining order taken out by his estranged wife. The day before the abuser killed his wife and two others, and injuring four at the Azana Salon in Wisconsin, he purchased a gun from an unlicensed seller he met online without a background check.
  • In 2019, a man shot and killed seven people and wounded dozens more after a multiple-location shooting in Midland and Odessa, Texas. The shooter had previously tried to purchase a gun from a sporting goods store but was stopped by a background check because of his mental health history. He was ultimately able to purchase an AR-15 assault-style rifle without a background check from an unlicensed seller he met online.

Unlicensed dealers who do not conduct background checks are also the largest source of firearms that are illegally trafficked into our communities. In an assessment of its gun trafficking investigations from 2017 to 2021, ATF identified sales by unlicensed dealers as the most frequently used gun trafficking channel. Moreover, unlicensed dealers were the source of more than half of the firearms identified as having been trafficked during the five-year study period—a total of more than 68,000 illegally trafficked firearms.


Final Rule Implements New Law, Expanding Background Check Requirement to Tens of Thousands of Gun Sales


The Department of Justice’s final rule implements the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act—the largest expansion of background checks since the Brady Bill became law.
The final rule makes clear when a person needs to become a licensed dealer and run background checks, and gives the Department of Justice additional tools to crack down on individuals illegally selling guns without background checks. Specifically, the final rule:

  • Lists the types of commercial activity indicating that a person must become a licensed dealer and run background checks, absent evidence showing they are in fact not engaged in the business of firearms dealing. For example, if a person is repetitively selling guns of the same or similar make and model within one year of their purchase, they are supposed to become a licensed dealer. If a person repetitively sells firearms within thirty days of purchasing those firearms, or selling firearms and tells potential buyers that they can acquire additional firearms for that buyer to purchase, the seller is supposed to become a licensed dealer.
  • States that the gun show or online sale loopholes do not exist. If you are conducting business that in a brick-and-mortar store would require you to become a licensed dealer, you have to become a licensed dealer and run background checks. It does not matter whether you are dealing firearms at a gun show, online, in your home, in the trunk of a car, at a flea market, or anywhere else—you must obtain a license and run background checks results. Evidence that a person placed ads online or reserved a table at a gun show shows that the person is intending to profit from the sale.
  • Prevents people from evading the licensing and background check requirements by claiming that they are just selling a few guns. The final rule clarifies that even a single firearm transaction may be sufficient to require a license, if there is other behavior to suggest commercial activity. For example, a person selling just one gun and then saying to others they are willing and able to purchase more firearms for resale may be required to obtain a license and run background checks.
  • Prevents people from falsely claiming that guns are part of a personal collection in an attempt to evade the law. The statute explicitly states that making occasional sales of a firearm from a personal collection or liquidating collection does not require a federal firearms license or background checks. However, people have evaded the background check requirement by falsely claiming they are selling their personal collection. The final rule makes clear that a personal collection of firearms is limited to collections acquired for specific reasons like study; comparison; exhibition; or for a hobby, like hunting or sport shooting. A bona fide personal collection is not the same as business inventory.
  • Closes the so-called firesale loophole. Gun dealers who have had their licenses revoked have sometimes then sold their former business inventory without running background checks. The final rule makes clear that a business inventory may not be transferred to a person’s personal collection after a license is revoked. Instead, a business could dispose of this inventory through another licensed seller who runs background checks.


There are over 80,000 licensed gun dealers in America. The Department of Justice estimates that there are over 20,000 unlicensed sellers who are selling firearms through online advertisements, gun shows, and other means. These unlicensed sellers should be licensed under the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and the new rule, and therefore conducting background checks. An alternative estimate based on survey data estimates that the new rule could affect gun sales being made by over 80,000 individuals. Legal limitations on tracking firearms make such estimates difficult to quantify.
 
Final Rule Builds on the Biden-Harris Administration’s Commitment to Stopping the Illegal Flow of Guns
 
The Biden-Harris Administration has deployed a historic effort to partner with state and local law enforcement and keep communities safe by addressing the illegal sources of guns. The strategy is focused not just on the person who pulled the trigger of a firearm, but also on all of the links in the chain that led to the firearm being in the wrong hands, including the gun trafficker, the source of the gun trafficker’s firearms, rogue gun dealers who are willfully violating the law, and ghost gun manufacturers. Key Administration actions to stop the illegal flow of guns into our communities include:

  • Gun Trafficking Law Enforcement:  In 2021, the Justice Department launched five new law enforcement strike forces focused on addressing significant firearms trafficking corridors that have diverted guns to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and Washington, D.C. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act also enacted the first ever federal gun trafficking law and federal straw purchasing law. The new gun trafficking law has been used to charge more than 300 people and led to the seizure of over 1,500 firearms.
  • Cracking Down on Rogue Gun Dealers:  The Justice Department enacted a new policy to maximize the efficacy of ATF resources to crack down on rogue gun dealers violating our laws and underscored zero tolerance for willful violations of the law by federally licensed firearms dealers that put public safety at risk. The new ATF inspection policies have led to 245 license revocations over the past two years, which is the highest two-year total in nearly twenty years.
  • Stopping Gun Manufacturers Illegally Selling Ghost Guns:  The Justice Department issued a final rule to rein in the proliferation of ghost guns, which are unserialized, privately made firearms that are increasingly being recovered at crime scenes. According to ATF, the recovery of ghost guns by law enforcement increased 1,083 percent between 2017 and 2021. The Biden-Harris Administration cracked down on ghost guns by making clear that businesses manufacturing the most accessible ghost guns, including “buy-build-shoot” kits and certain polymer handgun frames (including certain Polymer80 handgun frames) must comply with federal firearm laws requiring background checks, a federal license, and markings, such as serial numbers.
  • Senate Confirmed ATF Director: President Biden secured the confirmation of ATF Director Steve Dettelbach, the first permanent ATF Director in over seven years to lead the agency tasked with enforcing our nation’s gun laws.
  • Crime Gun Intelligence Centers: ATF works with state and local law enforcement to establish crime gun intelligence centers, which uses the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN) and crime gun tracing to provide investigative leads to solve shootings and identify gun trafficking channels.
  • New Analysis on Gun Trafficking: In 2021, President Biden announced that the ATF would publish the first gun trafficking analysis in twenty years. ATF has published three volumes, with the most recent volume showing that the most frequent type of trafficking channel identified in ATF gun trafficking investigations was unlicensed firearms dealing by private persons at 40.7 percent. These investigations accounted for over half of the firearms identified as trafficked in ATF investigations. The second most frequent trafficking channel was straw purchasers.

Call for Congress to Act
 
While the Biden-Harris Administration is moving as close as possible to universal background checks without additional legislation, President Biden and Vice President Harris continue to call on Congress to enact universal background checks and finish the job.
 
The President and Vice President also continue to call on Congress to increase funding for the ATF so the agency can continue its life-saving work to stop the flow of illegal firearms into our communities. The President requested $2 billion for ATF as part of his FY 25 budget request.

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Takes Critical Action to Protect Communities from PFAS Pollution in Drinking Water

The EPA announced  first-ever national standard to address PFAS in drinking water, delivers an additional $1 billion through President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to combat PFAS pollution. This fact sheet is provided by the White House:
 

The 8,315 acre Ashokan Reservoir in the Catskills is a major component of the New York City Water supply. The EPA announced first-ever national standard to address PFAS in drinking water, delivers an additional $1 billion through President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to combat PFAS pollution. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

President Biden believes every community has the right to clean, safe drinking water, free of pollutants that harm people’s health and wellbeing. That is why the President launched a comprehensive action plan and provided billions in funding to protect communities from toxic “forever chemicals” that are linked to a range of severe health problems, including cancers, liver and heart damage, and developmental impacts in children. Found in drinking water, soil, air, and our food supply, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) persist in the environment for long periods of time, posing a serious health threat across rural, suburban, and urban areas.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the first-ever national legally enforceable drinking water standard for PFASwhich will protect 100 million people from PFAS exposureprevent tens of thousands of serious illnesses, and save lives. This action complements the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to combatting PFAS pollution and delivering clean water.

President Biden has secured historic levels of funding to meet this new standard. The Biden-Harris Administration also announced an additional $1 billion through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to help every state and territory fund PFAS detection and treatment systems to meet the new standard. This funding is part of the $9 billion in dedicated funding through the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to address PFAS and other emerging contaminants in drinking water – the largest-ever investment in tackling PFAS pollution. An additional $12 billion in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law supports general drinking water investments, including PFAS treatment. The investments are part of the Justice40 Initiative, which aims to ensure that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities.

These actions will help tackle PFAS pollution that has devastated communities like Oakdale, outside of St. Paul, Minnesota, where decades of PFAS-containing waste dumped by a chemical plant has contaminated the community’s drinking water. In this area, cancer was found to be a far more likely cause of death in children than in neighboring areas. The funding announced today will build on funding from the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that is already helping communities address PFAS contamination, including a $33 million award for Tucson, Arizona to treat its PFAS-contaminated drinking water wells.

This funding also builds on President Biden’s action plan to address PFAS pollution, safeguard public health, and advance environmental justice – all while advancing the Biden Cancer Moonshot goal of cutting the cancer death rate by at least half by 2047 and preventing cancer before it starts by protecting communities from known risks associated with PFAS exposure.

As the first-ever Safe Drinking Water Act standard for PFAS – and the first for any new contaminants since 1996 – this rule sets health safeguards and will require public water systems to monitor and reduce the levels of PFAS in our nation’s drinking water, and notify the public of any exceedances of those levels. The rule sets drinking water limits for five individual PFAS, including the most frequently found PFOA and PFOS. Because PFAS can often be found together in mixtures, EPA is also setting a limit for any combination of four PFAS, including GenX Chemicals. This standard will reduce PFAS exposure in our drinking water to the lowest levels that are feasible for effective nationwide implementation.

These announcements advance President Biden’s broader commitment to deliver clean water for every American. The President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests over $50 billion to upgrade water infrastructure – the largest investment in clean water in American history. This includes a historic $15 billion to replace toxic lead pipes and protect children from brain damage, as part of President Biden’s goal of replacing every lead pipe in the country within a decade.

Recent Federal Actions to Protect Communities from PFAS

Under President Biden’s leadership, nearly two dozen federal agencies and offices have made systematic and substantive progress to safeguard public health and protect the environment from PFAS in drinking water and beyond. This work is coordinated by the White House Council on Environmental Quality, which leads the Interagency Policy Committee on PFAS. Other new actions the Biden-Harris Administration has advanced to combat PFAS pollution over the past year include:

Protecting Firefighters from PFAS: The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to protecting firefighters from the harmful effects of PFAS contained in fire suppressing agents and firefighter gear. The Department of Defense is offering PFAS blood tests to military firefighters. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s U.S. Fire Administration is working to reduce PFAS exposure and promoting access to early cancer screenings and participation in the National Firefighter Registry for Cancer led by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health as part of President Biden’s mission to end cancer as we know it.

Reducing PFAS in Fire Suppressants: The Department of Defense (DoD) qualified three fluorine-free foams to replace fluorinated Aqueous Film Forming Foam for shore-based firefighting activities at military installations, which the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has authorized for civilian airports. The FAA is assisting airports to transition to these new foams, and funding foam testing systems for airports that prevent environmental discharge. These changes will reduce the release of PFAS in the environment and protect the health of firefighters and local communities.

Supporting Healthcare Providers: The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released the PFAS: Information for Clinicians resource guide. This information gives clinicians up-to-date resources and information they need to help patients with questions and concerns about PFAS exposure and health effects.

Phasing Out PFAS in Food Packaging: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the completion of the voluntary market phase-out of PFAS used on paper and paperboard food packaging, eliminating the primary source of dietary exposure to PFAS. FDA can now also test for 30 PFAS in a variety of foods to further protect people from dietary PFAS exposure.

Testing for and Cleaning Up PFAS Pollution: EPA continues to take key actions to address PFAS. For example, EPA is gathering data on 29 PFAS in the nation’s drinking water systems has collaborated with DoD to develop a method to test for 40 PFAS in various media including biosolids, groundwater, and fish tissue. EPA also updated its interim PFAS disposal and destruction guidance and has released a new method to test for 30 volatile fluorine-containing compounds in air including potential products of incomplete combustion of PFAS. DoD recently identified 40 installations where interim cleanup actions to prevent further PFAS migration are underway or will start in FY2024. These actions will address PFAS in groundwater to protect public health and the environment.  

Reducing PFAS in Federal Procurement: EPA and the U.S. General Services Administration announced this week that custodial contracts for federal buildings will now only use cleaning products certified to ecolabels such as EPA’s Safer Choice and certain Green Seal standards, thereby avoiding products that contain intentionally added PFAS. This shift will protect the environment, federal custodial workers, other federal employees, and those visiting government buildings.

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Historic $20 Billion in Awards to Expand Access to Clean Energy and Climate Solutions and Lower Energy Costs

First-of-its-kind national network to fund tens of thousands of climate and clean energy projects across America, especially in communities historically left behind and overburdened by pollution

Climate United Fund’s program will focus on investing in harder-to-reach market segments like consumers, small businesses, small farms, community facilities, and schools—with at least 60% of its investments in low-income and disadvantaged communities, 20% in rural communities, and 10% in Tribal communities. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com


Vice President Kamala Harris and EPA Administrator Michael Regan announced s $20 billion in awards to stand up a national financing network that will fund tens of thousands of climate and clean energy projects across the country, especially in low-income and disadvantaged communities, as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda.

This investment is part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, a first-of-its-kind and national-scale $27 billion program funded through President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act to combat the climate crisis by catalyzing public and private capital for projects that slash harmful climate pollution, improve air quality, lower energy costs, and create good-paying jobs. This program will ensure communities across the country have access to the capital they need to participate in and benefit from a cleaner, more sustainable economy.
 
Vice President Kamala Harris and EPA Administrator Michael Regan were joined by Governor Roy Cooper, Mayor Vi Lyles, and Congresswoman Alma Adams in Charlotte, North Carolina to announce the selections under these two grant competitions.
 
This historic investment will support a wide range of climate and clean energy projects, including distributed clean power generation and storage, net-zero retrofits of homes and small businesses, and zero-emission transportation, all of which can lower energy costs for families and improve housing affordability while tackling the climate crisis. Collectively, the selected applicants have committed to reducing or avoiding up to 40 million metric tons of carbon pollution annually over the next seven years, contributing toward the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic climate goals. In addition, selectees plan to mobilize almost $7 of private capital for every $1 of federal fundsapproximately $150 billion total—ensuring that today’s awards will have a catalytic, ongoing effect on the deployment of climate and clean energy technologies at scale, particularly in underserved communities.
 
The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program advances the Biden-Harris Administration’s Justice40 Initiative, which sets the goal that 40% of the overall benefits from certain federal climate, clean energy, and other investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. At least 70% of the funds announced today—over $14 billion of capital—will be invested in low-income and disadvantaged communities, including historic energy communities that have powered our nation for over a century, communities with environmental justice concerns, communities of color, low-income communities, rural communities, Tribal communities, and more. This makes the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund the single largest non-tax investment within the Inflation Reduction Act to build a clean energy economy while benefiting communities historically left behind.
 
Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress are already attempting to roll back these historic investments. Last month, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1023, which would repeal the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. On March 19, President Biden issued a Statement of Administration Policy with his intent to veto that bill if it were to pass the Senate and come to his desk.
 
Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund Selectees
 
The $20 billion in awards announced today will be deployed through eight selected applicants across two separate and complementary programs under EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund—the $14 billion National Clean Investment Fund (NCIF) and the $6 billion Clean Communities Investment Accelerator (CCIA). Together, the two programs will create a first-of-its-kind national network of mission-driven, community-led financial institutions that will finance climate and clean energy projects across the country, especially in low-income and disadvantaged communities.
 
Under the $14 billion National Clean Investment Fund (NCIF), selected applicants will partner with the private sector, community organizations, and others to provide accessible, affordable financing for new clean technology projects nationwide. While EPA required that at least 40 percent of NCIF funds flow to low-income and disadvantaged communities, each selected applicant significantly surpassed that requirement. Therefore, almost 60 percent of NCIF funds will flow to the communities that need it most. The three NCIF selectees are:
 

  • Climate United Fund ($6.97 billion award), a nonprofit formed by Calvert Impact to partner with two U.S. Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Self-Help Ventures Fund and Community Preservation Corporation. Together, these three nonprofit financial institutions bring a decades-long track record of successfully raising and deploying $30 billion in capital with a focus on low-income and disadvantaged communities. Climate United Fund’s program will focus on investing in harder-to-reach market segments like consumers, small businesses, small farms, community facilities, and schools—with at least 60% of its investments in low-income and disadvantaged communities, 20% in rural communities, and 10% in Tribal communities.
     
  • Coalition for Green Capital ($5 billion award), a nonprofit with almost 15 years of experience helping establish and work with dozens of state, local, and nonprofit green banks that have already catalyzed $20 billion into qualified projects—and that have a pipeline of $30 billion of demand for green bank capital that could be coupled with more than twice that in private investment. The Coalition for Green Capital’s program will have particular emphasis on public-private investing and will leverage the existing and growing national network of green banks as a key distribution channel for investment—with at least 50% of investments in low-income and disadvantaged communities.
     
  • Power Forward Communities ($2 billion award), a nonprofit coalition formed by five of the country’s most trusted housing, climate, and community investment groups that is dedicated to decarbonizing and transforming American housing to save homeowners and renters money, reinvest in communities, and tackle the climate crisis. The coalition members—Enterprise Community Partners, LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), Rewiring America, Habitat for Humanity, and United Way—will draw on their decades of experience, which includes deploying over $100 billion in community-based initiatives and investments, to build and lead a national financing program providing customized and affordable solutions for single-family and multi-family housing owners and developers—with at least 75% of investments in low-income and disadvantaged communities.

 
Through the $6 billion Clean Communities Investment Accelerator (CCIA), selected applicants will establish hubs that provide funding and technical assistance to community lenders working to finance clean technology projects in low-income and disadvantaged communities—leading to near-term deployment of climate and clean energy projects while building the capacity of community lenders to finance projects at scale for years to come. 100 percent of CCIA funds will flow to low-income and disadvantaged communities. The five selectees of the CCIA are:

  • Opportunity Finance Network ($2.29 billion award), a ~40-year-old nonprofit CDFI Intermediary that provides capital and capacity building for a national network of 400+ community lenders—predominantly U.S. Treasury-certified CDFI Loan Funds—which collectively hold $42 billion in assets and serve all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories.
     
  • Inclusiv ($1.87 billion award), a ~50-year-old nonprofit CDFI Intermediary that provides capital and capacity building for a national network of 900+ mission-driven, regulated credit unions—which include CDFIs and financial cooperativas in Puerto Rico—that collectively manage $330 billion in assets and serve 23 million individuals across the country.
     
  • Native CDFI Network ($400 million award), a nonprofit that serves as national voice and advocate for the 60+ U.S. Treasury-certified Native CDFIs, which have a presence in 27 states across rural reservation communities as well as urban communities and have a mission to address capital access challenges in Native communities.
     
  • Justice Climate Fund ($940 million award), a purpose-built nonprofit supported by an existing ecosystem of coalition members, a national network of more than 1,200 community lenders, and ImpactAssets—an experienced nonprofit with $3 billion under management—to provide responsible, clean energy-focused capital and capacity building to community lenders across the country.
     
  • Appalachian Community Capital ($500 million award), a nonprofit CDFI with a decade of experience working with community lenders in Appalachian communities, which is launching the Green Bank for Rural America to deliver clean capital and capacity building assistance to hundreds of community lenders working in coal, energy, underserved rural, and Tribal communities across the United States.

 
Expanding Access to Clean Energy
 
Today’s historic Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund announcement builds on a range of innovative tools and programs in President Biden’s Investing in America agenda that aim to empower the communities that can benefit most from new investments to take an active role in building the clean energy economy. These programs leverage a range of approaches to make it easier and more affordable for states, cities, Tribes, schools, nonprofit organizations, and businesses of all sizes to build, own, and benefit from cost-saving clean energy projects, invest in energy efficiency improvements, expand access to clean transportation, and participate fully in decisions that affect underserved communities and populations.
 
For example:

  • In March, the Treasury Department finalized rules for direct pay—a provision in the Inflation Reduction Act that enables, for the first time, tax-exempt entities like states, cities, Tribes, counties, territories, nonprofit organizations, public schools, hospitals, rural electric co-operatives, and more to access clean energy tax credits and fully participate in building and owning new clean energy projects. For example:
     
  • To meet its goal of 100% carbon free operations by 2030, the City of Madison, Wisconsin is planning to access $13 million via direct pay to support transitioning their municipal fleet to low and no-carbon vehicles, as well as for solar and geothermal energy projects.
     
  • The City of San Antonio, Texas is taking advantage of direct pay to build and own the largest municipal onsite solar project in Texas. This $30 million project will install roof top, parking, and park canopy solar photovoltaic systems at 42 city facilities to lower their energy costs and energy consumption and make progress toward their goal of achieving net-zero energy for all municipal buildings by 2040.
     
  • The Inflation Reduction Act’s transferability provision allows businesses to transfer all or a portion of certain clean energy tax credits to a third-party in exchange for cash, so that small businesses, start-ups, and other entities without sufficient tax liability may still take advantage of the credits. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has already registered more than 45,000 new projects seeking to benefit from this new tool, which is lowering financing costs for clean energy projects and helping accelerate the buildout of the clean energy economy.
     
  • The Low-Income Communities Bonus Credit program created by the Inflation Reduction Act promotes cost-saving clean energy investments in low-income communities, on Tribal lands, as part of affordable housing developments, and that benefit low-income households by providing a 10 to 20 percentage point bonus credit for up to 1.8 GW of small clean energy projects per year. In the first year of the program, the administration received more than 46,000 applications for allocations, signaling robust market demand to build projects serving low-income communities. The second year of the program will open for applications later this spring.
     
  • In March, the Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) offered its first conditional commitment through the Tribal Energy Financing Program, which was expanded and provided new loan authority by the Inflation Reduction Act to support tribal entities in building out energy infrastructure. LPO announced up to $72.8 million for a partial loan guarantee to finance the development of a solar-plus long-duration energy storage microgrid on the Tribal lands of the Viejas Band of the Kumeyaay Indians near Alpine, California. 
     
  • Last week, LPO offered its first conditional commitment through the Energy Infrastructure Reinvestment Program under Title 17 Clean Energy Financing Section 1706, first authorized and appropriated by the Inflation Reduction Act, to finance projects that retool, repower, repurpose, or replace energy infrastructure that has ceased operations or enable operating energy infrastructure to reduce pollution. These projects direct new investment in historical energy communities that have powered our nation for over a century. Last week’s offer of a conditional commitment of up to $1.52 billion for a loan guarantee to Holtec Palisades will finance the restoration and resumption of service of an 800-MW electric nuclear generating station in Covert Township, Michigan that closed in May 2022 and upgrade it to produce baseload clean power for decades to come. 
     
  • Last week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Acting Secretary Todman traveled to Chicago to announce that the Department has now awarded more than half of the nearly $1 billion provided through the Inflation Reduction Act to make homes more energy-efficient, comfortable, and climate resilient for low-income Americans. The Green and Resilient Retrofit Program makes grants and loans to finance energy and climate renovations in HUD-assisted multifamily housing for low-income individuals, families, and seniors.
     
  • Since the start of the Biden-Harris Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has invested more than $1.8 billion through their Rural Energy for America Program, which provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding for rural small businesses and agricultural producers to adopt clean energy and save money. President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act invests more than $2 billion to expand this program, and USDA just announced the latest tranche of over $120 million in awards for projects in 44 states last week.
     
  • In December 2023, EPA announced 11 grant makers to receive $600 million from the Inflation Reduction Act through the Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaking Program to offer subgrants for environmental justice projects to local community-based organizations around the country. This new program is designed to make it easier for small community-based organizations to access federal environmental justice funding and responds to feedback about the need to reduce barriers to federal funds and improve the efficiency of the awards process to benefit underserved communities. 
     

In November 2023, EPA announced approximately $2 billion in funding available to support community-driven projects that deploy clean energy, strengthen climate resilience, and build capacity for communities to tackle environmental and climate justice challenges. The Community Change Grants Program is the single largest investment in environmental justice going directly to communities in history, and will advance collaborative efforts to achieve a healthier, safer, and more prosperous future for all. 

Biden Announces $7.4 Billion in Student Debt Cancellation for 277,000 More Americans, Pursuing Every Path Available to Cancel Student Debt

New debt cancellation for borrowers enrolled in SAVE, other Income-Driven Repayment plans, and Public Service Loan Forgiveness comes on the heels of President Biden announcing new plans that could benefit tens of millions of Americans. This latest round of debt cancellation means that $153 billion in student debt relief has been provided for 4.3 million Americans. New plans announced by Biden would cancel student debt for over 30 million when implemented. These state-by-state fact sheets have been provided by the White House:

New debt cancellation for borrowers enrolled in SAVE, other Income-Driven Repayment plans, and Public Service Loan Forgiveness comes on the heels of President Biden announcing new plans that could benefit tens of millions of Americans. This latest round of debt cancellation means that $153 billion in student debt relief has been provided for 4.3 million Americans. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

President Biden announced that 277,000 more Americans will get their student debt canceled, bringing the total debt relief approved by the Biden-Harris Administration to $153 billion for 4.3 million Americans through various actions. This latest round of debt cancellation comes on the heels of President Biden announcing new plans that, if implemented, would cancel student debt for over 30 million Americans when combined with actions the Administration has taken over the last three years. These announcements reinforce the President’s commitment to using every path available to deliver student debt relief to as many borrowers as possible through various actions.

The 277,000 Americans receiving this latest round of debt relief are borrowers enrolled in the SAVE Plan, other borrowers enrolled in Income-Driven Repayment plans, and borrowers receiving Public Service Loan Forgiveness. The Biden-Harris Administration fixed Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) and launched the SAVE Plan last year – the most affordable repayment plan ever. Already 8 million borrowers are enrolled in SAVE, 4.5 million of those borrowers have a monthly payment of $0, and over 1 million additional borrowers have a monthly payment of less than $100. And if borrowers took out low balances of loans, the SAVE Plan puts them on a faster path to debt relief after at least ten years of payments.

Since President Biden took office, his Administration has approved over $54 billion in debt cancellation for 1.3 million borrowers enrolled in income-driven repayment plans, including the new SAVE Plan. This builds on additional actions the Biden-Harris Administration has taken to cancel debt for nearly 900,000 public service workers, 1.3 million borrowers cheated by their schools or borrowers covered by related court settlements, and nearly 550,000 borrowers with a total and permanent disability, including many veterans.

While the Administration continues to cancel Americans’ student debt through improving existing forgiveness programs and through the SAVE Plan, the Biden-Harris Administration is also pursuing new plans that, if implemented, would cancel student debt for tens of millions more. Earlier this week, the President announced his Administration’s alternative path to debt cancellation in the wake of last year’s Supreme Court decision. Learn more about these plans at StudentAid.gov/DebtRelief.

State Fact Sheets:

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Highlights Substantial Progress on the President’s Care Agenda During Month of Action on Care

President Biden was laid out how he is building a Care Economy on transformational investments in child care, home care, paid family and medical leave, tax cuts for workers and families, and other priorities, which are fully paid for by making the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share in taxes. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

This fact sheet on the progress the Biden-Harris Administration has made on the President’s Care Agenda during this proclaimed Month of Action on Care and the comparison to the Republican agenda is from the White House:

During Care Workers Recognition Month, the Biden-Harris Administration is marking the progress we have made to make care more affordable for American families, support family caregivers, boost compensation and job quality for care workers, and expand care options. President Biden was joined by care workers and unions as he laid out how he is building on that progress with transformational investments in child care, home care, paid family and medical leave, tax cuts for workers and families, and other priorities, which are fully paid for by making the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share in taxes. That is in sharp contrast with congressional Republicans, who would make devastating cuts to funding for care, healthcare, Social Security, and Medicare to pay for massive tax cuts for billionaires and big corporations.
 
The Need to Improve Care
 
Too many families and individuals struggle to access the affordable, high-quality care they need. The cost of child care is up 26% in the last decade and more than 200% over the past 30 years. For older adults and people with disabilities, long-term care costs are up 40% over the past decade. As a result, the cost of care is out of reach for many Americans. At the same time, care workers—who are disproportionately women of color—struggle to make ends meet, even as they care for others. Due to the low pay and the demanding nature of care work, turnover rates are high. In addition, at least 53 million Americans serve as family caregivers—including over 5 million caring for service members or veterans—and many face challenges due to the lack of support, training, and respite.
 
The President’s Plan to Lower Costs for Families for Care
 
The President has made child care, long-term care, family caregiving, and paid leave a core part of his domestic and economic agendas. He has referenced these issues in each of his State of the Union Addresses, and proposed transformative investments in each budget. The President’s most recent budget proposes the following:
 
Affordable, High-Quality Child Care and Universal Preschool
 
High-quality early childhood education improves the lives of both children and their parents. The President’s child care plan provides a lifeline to the parents of more than 16 million children by guaranteeing affordable, high-quality child care from birth until kindergarten for low- and middle-income working families. Right now, the average price of child care is nearly $11,000 a year, with low-income families paying as much as a third of their income for child care. Under the President’s plan, most families would pay $10 per day, saving the average family over $600 per child, per month. The budget also invests in free, voluntary, universal preschool for all of the nation’s 4-year-olds and charts a path to expand preschool to 3-year-olds. Together, these investments will make early care and education programs affordable and available where families live and work in communities across the country, increase wages for early childhood education workers, and strengthen the economy.
 
Child Tax Credit
 
The President’s Budget would restore the expanded Child Tax Credit, lifting 3 million children out of poverty and cutting taxes by an average of $2,600 for 39 million low- and middle-income families that include 66 million children. This includes 18 million children in low-income families who would be newly eligible for the full credit, and 2 million children living with a caregiver who is at least 60 years old. It would also provide breathing room for day-to-day expenses by allowing families to receive their tax credit through monthly payments.
 
Long-term Care and Family Caregiving
 
The President is committed to protecting older adults’ and people with disabilities’ health and dignity. His plan would invest in expanding Medicaid home and community-based services to help a larger number of older adults and people with disabilities receive care in their home or community, and promote better opportunities for home care workers and family caregivers. There has been substantial growth amongst the younger population under 65 with disabilities living in nursing homes. The percentage of individuals younger than 65 living in residential nursing facilities grew from 10.6 in 2000 to 16.2 in 2017. The President’s investments will help ensure that they can receive care in their own homes and communities. The President has also proposed substantial investments for family caregivers serving our nation’s heroes, including stipends and support services for family caregivers of eligible veterans.
 
A National Paid Family and Medical Leave Program
 
Many workers with caregiving responsibilities are forced to leave the workforce intermittently or permanently to take care of their loved ones. As of March 2022, only 24% of private sector workers in the United States had access to paid family leave through their employer and only 43% had access to short-term disability insurance through their employer. The President proposes a national, comprehensive paid family and medical leave program, administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to ensure that all workers can take time off to care for and bond with a new child; care for a seriously ill loved one; heal from their own serious illness; address circumstances arising from a loved one’s military deployment; or find safety from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking; or grieve the death of a loved one.  The vast majority of America’s workers do not have access to employer-provided paid family leave, including 73 percent of private sector workers. Among the lowest-paid workers, who are disproportionately women and workers of color, 94 percent lack access to paid family leave through their employers. Some people’s caregiving responsibilities are so demanding that under the current system they have to give up paid work entirely or retire early to take care of their loved ones.
 
The Biden-Harris Administration’s Historic Actions on Care
 
Since day one of the Administration, President Biden and Vice President Harris have been committed to improving the quality of and access to care while supporting care workers and family caregivers. The President’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) provided an historic $39 billion in child care relief funds to provide relief for child care providers and support for families to afford care. The ARP delivered $37 billion across all 50 states for activities and investments that enhance, expand, and strengthen home and community-based services and $145 million to help the National Family Caregiver Support Program deliver counseling, training, and short-term relief to family and other informal care providers. Moreover, over the past three years, the President has secured close to a 50% increase in federal child care assistance and a $1.5 billion increase in funding for Head Start. And in April 2023, President Biden signed an Executive Order on Increasing Access to High-Quality Care and Supporting Caregivers (Care EO) surrounded by people with disabilities, family caregivers, long-term care workers, early educators, veterans, and aging advocates. The EO was celebrated by leaders from across the country. Over the past year, agencies have made substantial progress implementing the Care EO. For example:  
 

  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Administration for Children & Families (ACF), finalized a rule that will reduce the cost of child care for more than 100,000 low-income working families and make sure that more than 140,000 child care providers are paid more fairly and on-time. It also proposed a rule that would boost Head Start teacher wages by $10,000, on average.
    • For child care providers serving families benefiting from federal child care assistance, HHS, through ACF, adopted a pay floor that will increase child care payments for nearly 47,000 center- and home-based child care providers.
    • HHS, through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, proposed rules to ensure that home care workers get a bigger share of Medicaid payments; and establish minimum staffing standards in nursing homes receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding.
    • The Department of Defense reduced the amounts that lower-earning Service members pay out of pocket for child care, lowering child care costs for the families of more than 32,000 children aged 0-12 enrolled in installation Child Development Programs. Military Families earning $45,000 would see a 34% decrease in the amount they pay for child care. This also builds on the President’s Executive Order to advance the economic security of military spouses, veterans, caregivers and survivors.
    • The Department of Veterans Affairs launched a pilot program, known as the Virtual Psychotherapy Program for Caregivers, to provide mental health counseling services to family caregivers caring for our nation’s heroes. The program successfully completed its pilot phase and is now a permanent program. Since October 2023, the program has provided over 4,937 psychotherapy sessions to family caregivers.

 
In addition to these actions, federal agencies have taken dozens of others over the past year to improve family caregiving, long-term care, and child care. A full list can be found here.
 
Republican Officials Want to Provide Massive Taxes to the Rich while Making Devastating Cuts to Programs Working Families Count On
 
President Biden is building our economy from the middle out and bottom up—an economy where we invest in all Americans to make sure the middle class has a fair shot and no one gets left behind.
 
House Republicans have a very different economic vision. Under the RSC budget, care would be on the cutting block. Their budget proposal translates to 264,600 fewer child care slots and 253,500 fewer high-quality Head Start slots. These investments are critical to giving children a strong start and making sure that families have the help they need to thrive.
 
Along with damaging cuts to care funding, House Republicans would slash Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and other supports that working families count on. House Republicans would make these devastating cuts to pay for another $5.5 trillion in tax cuts skewed to the wealthy and big corporations. Their budget would deliver windfall tax cuts to billionaires and their heirs, eliminate the minimum tax on billion-dollar corporations President Biden signed into law, make it easier for the wealthy and corporations to cheat on their taxes, and preserve policies that encourage corporations to move jobs and profits offshore—all while making it more difficult for families to afford child care and education.
 

Photo Highlights: Total Solar Eclipse Above Long Lake, in New York’s Adirondacks is Stellar

In the path of totality of the Solar Eclipse, April 8, 2024, at Long Lake, in New York State’s Adirondacks © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.

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

With a huge swath of New York State in the path of totality for the April 8, 2024 Solar Eclipse, we headed to the Adirondacks, cleverly basing ourselves at The Lorca on Indian Lake, which was scheduled to have totality for two minutes, with a plan to drive 30 minutes further to Long Lake, which was scheduled for totality to last a full minute longer, 3 minutes, 1 second, beginning at 3:24 pm, where we based out of the historic (140 years!) Adirondack Hotel, right on the lake.

That proved fortuitous, because though totality spanned a 124-mile wide path stretching from Chautauqua-Allegheny to the majestic Niagara Falls in Greater Niagara, over the pristine Finger Lakes, mighty Adirondacks, and magical Thousand Islands-Seaway, and while Niagara Falls and Buffalo were scheduled to have totality for as much as four minutes, the weather clouded up for most of it. New York State won’t be in the path of totality again for 400 years.

Meanwhile, we had a magical three minutes of totality on Long Lake, starting exactly at 3:24 pm, experiencing the thrill of night-in-the-daytime where you could see stars, then the Diamond Ring, and hearing a dog howl along with everyone’s collective gasps. Then, only a few minutes after, the sun’s crescent started to reappear, but was hazy behind a thin cloud cover, making us appreciate the experience we had all the more.

Here are highlights of the stellar show:

In the path of totality of the Solar Eclipse, April 8, 2024, at Long Lake, in New York State’s Adirondacks © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.
In the path of totality of the Solar Eclipse, April 8, 2024, at Long Lake, in New York State’s Adirondacks © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.
In the path of totality of the Solar Eclipse, April 8, 2024, at Long Lake, in New York State’s Adirondacks © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.
In the path of totality of the Solar Eclipse, April 8, 2024, at Long Lake, in New York State’s Adirondacks © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.
In the path of totality of the Solar Eclipse, April 8, 2024, at Long Lake, in New York State’s Adirondacks © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.
Day turns to night, stars can be seen, and the moon is a tiny dot in the crown of the sun’s corona, during totality of the Solar Eclipse, April 8, 2024, at Long Lake, in New York State’s Adirondacks © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.
Day turns to night, stars can be seen, and the moon is a tiny dot in the crown of the sun’s corona, during totality of the Solar Eclipse, April 8, 2024, at Long Lake, in New York State’s Adirondacks © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.
The Diamond Ring formation lasts mere seconds during totality of the Solar Eclipse, April 8, 2024, at Long Lake, in New York State’s Adirondacks © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.
The moon is a tiny dot in the crown of the sun’s corona, during totality of the Solar Eclipse, April 8, 2024, at Long Lake, in New York State’s Adirondacks © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.
The sun begins to reemerge as a crescent after totality, but soon, clouds make it hazy © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.
Our family enjoys this once-in-a-lifetime experience of a Total Solar Eclipse in New York’s Adirondacks, on April 8, 2024
The Long Lake community gets set for the Total Solar Eclipse © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
 
Long Lake was a setting for Hudson River School painter Thomas Cole © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.
The Adirondack Hotel was a fabulous base for watching the Total Eclipse © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.
Staying over before and after the Total Solar Eclipse at The Lorca on Indian Lake avoided the traffic coming and going to the Adirondacks  © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com.

The next time you go:

It may be 400 years before a total solar eclipse returns to New York State, and this may have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience for millions, but there will be total solar eclipses coming up around the world. If you are now hooked on pursuing totality or if you regret missing out:

Prepare well in advance – even a year in advance. Research ideal locations based on path of totality and duration of totality (in North America, ranged from two to four minutes, so significant difference). Scout out locations and book hotel accommodations, travel to the extent possible even a year in advance for the best locations. (See: Fjords, Pharaohs or Koalas? Time to Plan for Your Next Eclipse).

Make sure you have solar glasses and necessary camera gear (solar filters, long-focus lens, ie 300 mm. Have TAPE to attach a paper solar filter to camera, as I used, if you don’t have the glass filter, check www.bhphotovideo.com). Practice in advance (the hardest part is switching from partial to total eclipse – you have to remove the solar filter and reset the manual settings). Review videos of techniques and get a list of suggested camera settings.

Go to the location at least the day before. Scout where you will be standing. Take sample photo of where sun will be at the time of the eclipse (usually one hour before and one hour after totality). Fill up gas tank, get supplies (food, water for next day).

Day of: download maps/directions (cell service may not be available). Get to the site EARLY to get parking and a position (set up your chair, so you can roam around, use restroom). Plan for extra traffic/time to get to site. Bring chair, camera, lenses, extra memory cards, SOLAR GLASSES, SOLAR FILTER, tripod, hat, sunglasses, jacket, book, charged cell phone, food, water.

__________________________

© 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

FACT SHEET: 80% of House Republicans Propose Defunding COPS as President Biden Insists on Funding the Police

President Biden’s investment in community policing and violence prevention has resulted in significant drop in violent crime from the surging rates during the Trump Administration but Republicans, who constantly falsely hype crime rates and pretend to support “The Blue” (certainly not during the January 6 insurrection) are seeking to withdraw funding in the 2025 budget they are proposing. This fact sheet was provided by the White House: –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Republicans including Nassau County’s Executive Bruce Blakeman love to rail against crime rates and pretend to “back the Blue”, but ignore the reality that President Biden’s investments in community policing and violence prevention have paid off with lower crime rates. Now Republicans, who make sure to surround themselves with police protection, are proposing to cut funding for law enforcement in the 2025 budget, while Biden is standing firm © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

President Biden has stood with law enforcement his entire career, and worked to ensure law enforcement serves all communities his entire career. And he has the results to show for it.
 
The President inherited a violent crime rate that surged under the prior administration. After taking office, President Biden immediately took action and signed the American Rescue Plan – which led to the largest federal investment in public safety in history, giving state and local governments resources to reduce crime and prevent violence. Even though leaders on the ground sided with the President, the Plan passed without a single Republican vote. 
 
The President also signed one of the most significant gun violence prevention reforms in 30 years, the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which has helped keep guns out of the hands of individuals with felony convictions, and those who have a serious mental illness and are a danger to themselves or others.
 
These swift actions paid off. FBI 2023 data shows that the prior administration’s crime wave has turned around under President Biden, resulting in a record drop in crime.
 
In his State of the Union, President Biden described how cities across the country have used the American Rescue Plan to make historic investments in public safety and urged Congress to build on that progress, including by hiring over 100,000 new police officers accountable to the public, investing in mental health workers and community violence intervention programs across the country, and cracking down on gun crime.
 
But the Republican Study Committee – which speaks for 100% of House Republican leadership and 80% of its members – just released a dangerous plan that would defund law enforcement:
  

  • The Republican Study Committee is proposing defunding the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program on top of other efforts to undermine law enforcement. President Biden voted to create COPS while a Senator, and the COPS Hiring Program is one of the primary ways the federal government supports local law enforcement. Each year, communities seek funding they need to hire officers to engage in community policing and crime prevention, and during this Administration, nearly 500 communities have received awards that put more than 3,700 officers on the beat.
     
  • The Republican Study Committee budget would also gut the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and take steps that prioritize gun industry profits over the lives of the American people.
     
  • Numerous House Republicans also support abolishing the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Although the Border Patrol Union endorses President Biden’s tough bipartisan border security deal, congressional Republicans are blocking it, to the detriment of law enforcement and the benefit of fentanyl traffickers.

 
By contrast, President Biden backs law enforcement and supports programs that reduce crime:
 

  • Through President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, more than 1,000 communities across the country have invested over $15 billion to keep their communities safe and prevent crime. These include investments to avoid cuts to police budgets, hire more police officers for safe, effective, and accountable community policing, ensure first responders have the equipment they need to do their jobs, and expand community violence intervention and prevention programs.
     
  • President Biden’s budget includes $1.2 billion over five years to launch a new Violent Crime Reduction and Prevention Fund.
     
  • The President’s budget also funds his Safer American Plan, including providing for hiring 100,000 additional police officers for effective, accountable community policing.
     

President Biden wants to deploy $17.7 billion for DOJ law enforcement, including $2.0 billion, an increase of over 30 percent since 2021, for the ATF.

FACT SHEET: Vice President Harris Announces OMB Policy to Advance Governance, Innovation, and Risk Management in Federal Agencies’ Use of Artificial Intelligence

The Biden Administration announces completion of 150-day actions tasked by President Biden’s landmark Executive Order on AI. This fact sheet is provided by the White House:
 

Vice President Kamala Harris announced that the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is issuing OMB’s first government-wide policy to mitigate risks of artificial intelligence (AI) and harness its benefits – delivering on a core component of President Biden’s landmark AI Executive Order © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via c-span.org

Vice President Kamala Harris announced that the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is issuing OMB’s first government-wide policy to mitigate risks of artificial intelligence (AI) and harness its benefits – delivering on a core component of President Biden’s landmark AI Executive Order.  The Order directed sweeping action to strengthen AI safety and security, protect Americans’ privacy, advance equity and civil rights, stand up for consumers and workers, promote innovation and competition, advance American leadership around the world, and more. Federal agencies have reported that they have completed all of the 150-day actions tasked by the E.O, building on their previous success of completing all 90-day actions

“All leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector have a moral, ethical, and societal duty to make sure that artificial intelligence is adopted and advanced in a way that protects the public from potential harm while ensuring everyone is able to enjoy its full benefit,” Vice President Harris stated.

This multi-faceted direction to Federal departments and agencies builds upon the Biden-Harris Administration’s record of ensuring that America leads the way in responsible AI innovation. In recent weeks, OMB announced that the President’s Budget invests in agencies’ ability to responsibly develop, test, procure, and integrate transformative AI applications across the Federal Government.
 
In line with the President’s Executive Order, OMB’s new policy directs the following actions:
 
Address Risks from the Use of AI
 
This guidance places people and communities at the center of the government’s innovation goals. Federal agencies have a distinct responsibility to identify and manage AI risks because of the role they play in our society, and the public must have confidence that the agencies will protect their rights and safety.
 
By December 1, 2024, Federal agencies will be required to implement concrete safeguards when using AI in a way that could impact Americans’ rights or safety. These safeguards include a range of mandatory actions to reliably assess, test, and monitor AI’s impacts on the public, mitigate the risks of algorithmic discrimination, and provide the public with transparency into how the government uses AI. These safeguards apply to a wide range of AI applications from health and education to employment and housing.
 
For example, by adopting these safeguards, agencies can ensure that:

  • When at the airport, travelers will have the ability to opt out from the use of TSA facial recognition without any delay or losing their place in line.
  • When AI is used in the Federal healthcare system to support critical diagnostics decisions, a human being is overseeing the process to verify the tools’ results and avoids disparities in healthcare access.
  • When AI is used to detect fraud in government services there is human oversight of impactful decisions and affected individuals have the opportunity to seek remedy for AI harms.

If an agency cannot apply these safeguards, the agency must cease using the AI system, unless agency leadership justifies why doing so would increase risks to safety or rights overall or would create an unacceptable impediment to critical agency operations.   
 
To protect the federal workforce as the government adopts AI, OMB’s policy encourages agencies to consult federal employee unions and adopt the Department of Labor’s forthcoming principles on mitigating AI’s potential harms to employees. The Department is also leading by example, consulting with federal employees and labor unions both in the development of those principles and its own governance and use of AI.
 
The guidance also advises Federal agencies on managing risks specific to their procurement of AI. Federal procurement of AI presents unique challenges, and a strong AI marketplace requires safeguards for fair competition, data protection, and transparency. Later this year, OMB will take action to ensure that agencies’ AI contracts align with OMB policy and protect the rights and safety of the public from AI-related risks. The RFI issued today will collect input from the public on ways to ensure that private sector companies supporting the Federal Government follow the best available practices and requirements.
 
Expand Transparency of AI Use
 
The policy released today requires Federal agencies to improve public transparency in their use of AI by requiring agencies to publicly:

  • Release expanded annual inventories of their AI use cases, including identifying use cases that impact rights or safety and how the agency is addressing the relevant risks.
  • Report metrics about the agency’s AI use cases that are withheld from the public inventory because of their sensitivity.
  • Notify the public of any AI exempted by a waiver from complying with any element of the OMB policy, along with justifications for why.
  • Release government-owned AI code, models, and data, where such releases do not pose a risk to the public or government operations.

 OMB is also releasing detailed draft instructions to agencies detailing the contents of this public reporting.
 
Advance Responsible AI Innovation
 
OMB’s policy will also remove unnecessary barriers to Federal agencies’ responsible AI innovation. AI technology presents tremendous opportunities to help agencies address society’s most pressing challenges. Examples include:

  • Addressing the climate crisis and responding to natural disasters. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is using AI to quickly review and assess structural damage in the aftermath of hurricanes, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is developing AI to conduct more accurate forecasting of extreme weather, flooding, and wildfires.
  • Advancing public health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is using AI to predict the spread of disease and detect the illicit use of opioids, and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services is using AI to reduce waste and identify anomalies in drug costs.
  • Protecting public safety. The Federal Aviation Administration is using AI to help deconflict air traffic in major metropolitan areas to improve travel time, and the Federal Railroad Administration is researching AI to help predict unsafe railroad track conditions.

Advances in generative AI are expanding these opportunities, and OMB’s guidance encourages agencies to responsibly experiment with generative AI, with adequate safeguards in place. Many agencies have already started this work, including through using AI chatbots to improve customer experiences and other AI pilots.
 
Grow the AI Workforce
 
Building and deploying AI responsibly to serve the public starts with people. OMB’s guidance directs agencies to expand and upskill their AI talent. Agencies are aggressively strengthening their workforces to advance AI risk management, innovation, and governance including:

  • By Summer 2024, the Biden-Harris Administration has committed to hiring 100 AI professionals to promote the trustworthy and safe use of AI as part of the National AI Talent Surge created by Executive Order 14110 and will be running a career fair for AI roles across the Federal Government on April 18.
  • To facilitate these efforts, Office of Personnel Management has issued guidance on pay and leave flexibilities for AI roles, to improve retention and emphasize the importance of AI talent across the Federal Government.
  • The Fiscal Year 2025 President’s Budget includes an additional $5 million to expand General Services Administration’s government-wide AI training program, which last year had over 7,500 participants across from across 85 Federal agencies.  

 Strengthen AI Governance
 
To ensure accountability, leadership, and oversight for the use of AI in the Federal Government, the OMB policy requires federal agencies to: 

  • Designate Chief AI Officers, who will coordinate the use of AI across their agencies. Since December, OMB and the Office of Science and Technology Policy have regularly convened these officials in a new Chief AI Officer Council to coordinate their efforts across the Federal Government and to prepare for implementation of OMB’s guidance.
  • Establish AI Governance Boards, chaired by the Deputy Secretary or equivalent, to coordinate and govern the use of AI across the agency. As of today, the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, and State have established these governance bodies, and every CFO Act agency is required to do so by May 27, 2024.

 
In addition to this guidance, the Administration announcing several other measures to promote the responsible use of AI in Government: 

  • OMB will issue a request for information (RFI) on Responsible Procurement of AI in Government, to inform future OMB action to govern AI use under Federal contracts;
  • Agencies will expand 2024 Federal AI Use Case Inventory reporting, to broadly expand public transparency in how the Federal Government is using AI;
  • The Administration has committed to hire 100 AI professionals by Summer 2024 as part of the National AI Talent Surge to promote the trustworthy and safe use of AI.

 
With these actions, the Administration is demonstrating that Government is leading by example as a global model for the safe, secure, and trustworthy use of AI. The policy announced today builds on the Administration’s Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) AI Risk Management Framework, and will drive Federal accountability and oversight of AI, increase transparency for the public, advance responsible AI innovation for the public good, and create a clear baseline for managing risks.
 
It also delivers on a major milestone 150 days since the release of Executive Order 14110, and the table below presents an updated summary of many of the activities federal agencies have completed in response to the Executive Order.

Council of Economic Advisers Issues The 2024 Economic Report of the President

President Biden delivers the2024 State of the Union Address © Karen Rubin/news-p[hotos-features.com via c-span.org

The Council of Economic Advisers under the leadership of Chair Jared Bernstein released the 2024 Economic Report of the President, the 78th report since the establishment of CEA in 1946. The 2024 Report brings economic evidence and data to bear on many of today’s most significant issues and questions in domestic and international economic policy:

Chapter 1, The Benefits of Full Employmentwhich is dedicated to the late Dr. William Spriggs, examines the labor market, distributional, and macroeconomic impacts of full employment, with a particular focus on the benefits for economically vulnerable groups of workers who are much more likely to be left behind in periods of weak labor markets.

Chapter 2, The Year in Review and the Years Ahead, describes macroeconomic and financial market trends in 2023 and presents the Federal government’s FY 2024 macroeconomic forecast.

Chapter 3, Population, Aging, and the Economyexplains how long-run trends in fertility and mortality are shaping the U.S. population and labor force.

Chapter 4, Increasing the Supply of Affordable Housingexplores the causes and consequences of the nation’s longstanding housing shortage and how the Biden-Harris administration’s policy agenda can significantly increase the production of more affordable housing.

Chapter 5, International Trade and Investment Flowspresents key facts about long-term trends in U.S. international trade and investment flows, including the role of global supply chains, and highlights the benefits and costs of global integration for American workers.

Chapter 6, Accelerating the Clean Energy Transition, applies a structural change framework to explain the factors that can accelerate the transition towards a clean energy economy.

Chapter 7, An Economic Framework for Understanding Artificial Intelligenceuses an economic framework to explore when, how, and why AI may be adopted, adapting standard economic models to explore AI’s potential effects on labor markets, while examining policy decisions that will affect social and macroeconomic outcomes.