For the first time ever, G20 Leaders agree to establish a historic Global Minimum Corporate Tax
The White House provided this fact sheet summarizing what was accomplished at the G20:
At the G20 Summit in Rome, President Biden coordinated with fellow Leaders on shared interests, including the climate crisis, global health and pandemic preparedness, and the global economic recovery, using the power of diplomacy to address key issues that matter to the American people. Together with the European Union, we achieved a major breakthrough arrangement to negotiate the world’s first carbon-based sectoral arrangement on steel and aluminum, protecting and creating American jobs and lowering costs for families while fighting the climate crisis.
Throughout the G20 President Biden stressed the need for balanced, well-supplied, and competitive global energy markets to underpin an inclusive economic recovery that supports working families at home and abroad. Leaders committed to guaranteeing just and orderly energy transitions of our energy systems that ensure affordability, including for the most vulnerable households and businesses as we recover from the global pandemic. They expressed their intent to explore among other things, paths to enhanced energy security and markets stability.
President Biden met with Leaders from France, Germany, and the United Kingdom to discuss the risks posed to international security by Iran’s escalating nuclear program, and hosted a supply chain summit with 14 countries and the European Union to discuss how we collectively tackle the immediate supply chain challenges from this unprecedented economic recovery and build long-term supply chain reliance for the future. President Biden also held bilateral meetings on the margins of the G20 with Chancellor Angela Merkel and Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore.
After the Summit, the G20 Leaders came to a consensus across a host of issues, including:
Historic Global Minimum Tax: G20 Leaders representing 80% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) endorsed the establishment of a historic Global Minimum Tax (GMT) to end the race to the bottom, ensure giant corporations pay their fair share no matter where they are located, help prevent the offshoring of good American jobs, and invest in our people at home. One recent independent study found that this agreement to establish a 15% GMT—up from 0% today—would lead to at least $60 billion in revenue per year in the United States alone. Today’s announcement is a testament to American diplomacy and leadership.
COVID-19 Pandemic and Health Security: The Leaders came together in support of the COVID-19 response and global vaccination targets. The Leaders also decide to take next steps toward the design and establishment of an inclusive, sustained, and adequate financing facility to improve global health security and bolster pandemic preparedness around the world. The Leaders agreed to establish a G20 Finance and Health Task Force to enhance global cooperation to detect and response to emerging health threats. The G20 Leaders also came out in support of a global ambition to channel $100 billion worth of reallocation of special drawing rights (SDRs) to help the world’s most vulnerable countries and restructuring debts for low-income countries on a case by case basis – a major step towards global economic recovery. The Leaders also supported efforts to shorten the cycle for the development of safe and effective vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics from 300 to 100 days (following the identification of such threats) and work to make them equitably and widely available. This work follows calls for more urgent action and continued focus from the United States following the President’s Global COVID-19 Summit.
Climate Change: G20 Leaders came out in support of ending public finance for new unabated coal power generation abroad, to contribute to keeping a 1.5 degrees Celsius limit on global temperature rise with reach. They stressed the importance of fully meeting, as soon as possible, the developed country collective goal of mobilizing $100B per year to help developing countries in the face of climate change. After a four-year absence of U.S. federal leadership, President Biden’s commitment to climate finance, alongside strong new pledges from other donors, are fundamental to achieving this goal no later than 2023. This is a decisive decade for climate action and the President will continue to rally the world to tackle the climate crisis together.
Anticorruption and Ransomware: The Leaders also lifted up the global fight against corruption as a shared priority, which includes transparency for beneficial ownership and real estate, and they committed to fight any new and sophisticated forms of corruption. The Leaders recognized the need for international cooperation to counter ransomware and other forms of cybercrime. Just this month, the Biden Administrationheld a meeting with more than 30 countries to accelerate cooperation to counter ransomware, including to improve collective resilience, address the misuse of virtual currency to launder ransom payments, and investigate and prosecute cyber criminals. This work builds on U.S. international efforts to promote cybersecurity, including our commitment to work with G7 partners to address criminal ransomware networks, our support for updating NATO cyber policy for the first time in seven years, and our continuing efforts to work with allies and partners to attribute malicious cyber activity, as evidenced by the broad international support we garnered in our attributions for SolarWinds and Hafnium malicious cyber activity.
Leaders also committed to achieving food security and adequate nutrition, particularly in famine-stricken parts of the world where armed conflicts have exacerbated these problems—such as Ethiopia. Leaders will continue to enhance concrete measures to advance gender equality in national policies. President Biden issued the first-ever national gender strategy to advance the full participation of all people – including women and girls – in the United States and around the world.
Back in August, President Biden met with private sector and education leaders to discuss the whole-of-nation effort needed to address cybersecurity threats. Recent high-profile cybersecurity incidents demonstrate that both U.S. public and private sector entities increasingly face sophisticated malicious cyber activity. Cybersecurity threats and incidents affect businesses of all sizes, small towns and cities in every corner of the country, and the pocketbooks of middle-class families. Compounding the challenge, nearly half a million public and private cybersecurity jobs remain unfilled. The White House provided a fact sheet outlining steps the Biden Administration is taking to address cybersecurity:
Cybersecurity is a national security and economic security imperative for the Biden Administration and we are prioritizing and elevating cybersecurity like never before. On May 12, 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order that modernizes Federal Government defenses and improves the security of technology. To secure our critical infrastructure, this spring the Biden Administration launched a 100-day initiative to improve cybersecurity across the electric sector with others to follow. On July 28, the President issued a National Security Memorandum establishing voluntary cybersecurity goals that clearly outline our expectations for owners and operators of critical infrastructure. The Administration has also engaged with the private sector on the importance of prioritizing cybersecurity as a central part of their efforts to maintain business continuity. And internationally, the Biden Administration has rallied G7 countries to hold accountable nations who harbor ransomware criminals and to update NATO cyber policy for the first time in seven years.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss opportunities to bolster the nation’s cybersecurity in partnership and individually. Several participants announced commitments and initiatives including:
The Biden Administration announced that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will collaborate with industry and other partners to develop a new framework to improve the security and integrity of the technology supply chain. The approach will serve as a guideline to public and private entities on how to build secure technology and assess the security of technology, including open source software. Microsoft, Google, Travelers, and Coalition committed to participating in this NIST-led initiative.
The Biden Administration also announced the formal expansion of the Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity Initiative to a second major sector: natural gas pipelines. The Initiative has already improved the cybersecurity of more than 150 electric utilities that serve 90 million Americans.
Apple announced it will establish a new program to drive continuous security improvements throughout the technology supply chain. As part of that program, Apple will work with its suppliers — including more than 9,000 in the United States— to drive the mass adoption of multi-factor authentication, security training, vulnerability remediation, event logging, and incident response.
Google announced it will invest $10 billion over the next five years to expand zero-trust programs, help secure the software supply chain, and enhance open-source security. Google also announced it will help 100,000 Americans earn industry-recognized digital skills certificates that provide the knowledge that can lead to secure high-paying, high-growth jobs.
IBM announced it will train 150,000 people in cybersecurity skills over the next three years, and will partner with more than 20 Historically Black Colleges & Universities to establish Cybersecurity Leadership Centers to grow a more diverse cyber workforce.
Microsoft announced it will invest $20 billion over the next 5 years to accelerate efforts to integrate cyber security by design and deliver advanced security solutions.Microsoft also announced it will immediately make available $150 million in technical services to help federal, state, and local governments with upgrading security protection, and will expand partnerships with community colleges and non-profits for cybersecurity training.
Amazon announced it will make available to the public at no charge the security awareness training it offers its employees. Amazon also announced it will make available to all Amazon Web Services account holders at no additional cost, a multi-factor authentication device to protect against cybersecurity threats like phishing and password theft.
Resilience, a cyber insurance provider, announced it will require policy holders to meet a threshold of cybersecurity best practice as a condition of receiving coverage.
Coalition, a cyber insurance provider, announced it will make its cybersecurity risk assessment & continuous monitoring platform available for free to any organization.
Code.org announced it will teach cybersecurity concepts to over 3 million students across 35,000 classrooms over 3 years, to teach a diverse population of students how to stay safe online, and to build interest in cybersecurity as a potential career.
Girls Who Code announced it will establish a micro credentialing program for historically excluded groups in technology. The program will make scholarships and early career opportunities more accessible to underrepresented groups.
University of Texas System announced it will expand existing and develop new short-term credentials in cyber-related fields to strengthen America’s cybersecurity workforce. A major part of this effort will be to upskill and reskill over 1 million workers across the nation by making available entry-level cyber educational programs through UT San Antonio’s Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute. Credentials do not depend on traditional degree pathways, and should also contribute significantly to diversifying the pipeline.
Whatcom Community College announced it has been designated the new NSF Advanced Technological Education National Cybersecurity Center, and will provide cybersecurity education and training to faculty and support program development for colleges to “fast-track” students from college to career. The nature of community colleges dispersed in every community in the nation makes them an ideal pipeline for increasing diversity and inclusion in the cybersecurity workforce.
(This is a fact sheet from the White House concerning its proposal for Immigration reform from August 18, 2021. The Biden Administration has come under attack from both sides concerning immigration. The problem, though, lies with inaction by Congress to adopt necessary reforms and create a new system to responsibly manage and secure the border, provide a pathway to citizenship and better manage migration.)
The United States can have an orderly, secure, and well-managed border while treating people fairly and humanely. In January, the Biden-Harris Administration launched a broad, whole of government effort to reform our immigration system, including sending to Congress legislation that creates a new system to responsibly manage and secure our border, provide a pathway to citizenship, and better manage migration across the Hemisphere.
In the months since, the Administration has made considerable progress to build a fair, orderly, and humane immigration system while continuing to call on Congress to make long overdue reforms to U.S. immigration laws. We successfully processed over 12,500 people who had been returned to Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocols. We expanded lawful pathways for protection and opportunity, including the Central American Minors (CAM) program to reunite children with their parents in the United States. We strengthened collaborative migration management with regional partners, including through a new Human Smuggling and Trafficking Task Force to disrupt and prevent migrant smuggling and human trafficking operations. And we continue to deter irregular migration at our Southern border.
The Biden-Harris Administration has accomplished this and more while reckoning with the prior Administration’s cruel and reckless immigration policies, which exacerbated long-standing challenges and failed to securely manage our border. Case in point: the total number of unique encounters at the Southern border to date this fiscal year remains below the total number of unique encounters to date during fiscal year 2019 under the Trump Administration.
Today the Administration is releasing a blueprint that outlines the next steps Federal agencies will be taking to continue implementing the President’s transformative vision for a 21st century immigration system that secures the border, fairly and efficiently considers asylum claims, strengthens regional migration management efforts in North and Central America, and addresses the root causes of migration from Central America. Success in building this fair, orderly, and humane immigration system won’t be achieved overnight, especially after the prior Administration’s irrational and inhumane policies, but this Administration has a blueprint to get there and is making real progress.
We will always be a nation of borders, and we will enforce our immigration laws in a way that is fair and just. We will continue to work to fortify an orderly immigration system.
ENSURING A SECURE, HUMANE AND WELL-MANAGED BORDER
The United States can allow people to exercise their legal right to apply for asylum while also reducing irregular migration and maintaining an orderly, secure, and well-managed border.
• Making better use of existing enforcement resources. Since fiscal year 2011, U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) discretionary budget has grown from $9.9 billion to $15 billion in FY 2021. The President’s Budget redirects resources from a needless border wall to make robust investments in smarter border security measures, like border technology and modernization of land ports of entry, that are proven to be more effective at improving safety and security at the border. These investments will serve as a force multiplier to the over 19,500 Border Patrol Agents currently helping secure our Nation’s borders and the over 25,500 CBP Officers working at our land, air, and sea ports. The investments will also facilitate more robust and effective security screening to combat human smuggling and trafficking and the entry of undocumented migrants.
• Improving the expedited removal process for those who arrive at the border. The Administration is working to improve the expedited removal process at the border to fairly and efficiently determine which individuals have legitimate claims for asylum and other forms of protection. Asylum and other legal migration pathways should remain available to those seeking protection. Those not seeking protection or who don’t qualify will be promptly removed to their countries of origin.
• Facilitating secure management of borders in the region by providing training and technical assistance, supporting the improvement of border infrastructure and technology, and promoting collaborative migration and border management approaches.
• Strengthening anti-smuggling and anti-trafficking operations by working with regional governments to investigate and prosecute individuals involved in migrant smuggling, human trafficking, and other crimes against migrants. In April 2021, DHS announced Operation Sentinel, a new operation targeting organizations involved in criminal smuggling.
• Bolstering public messaging on migration by ensuring consistent messages to discourage irregular migration and promote safe, legal, and orderly migration.
IMPLEMENTING ORDERLY AND FAIR PROCESSING OF ASYLUM APPLICATIONS
The Administration is committed to fairly and efficiently considering asylum claims. Asylum and other legal migration pathways should remain available to those seeking protection. But those not seeking protection or who don’t qualify will be returned to their country of origin.
• Establishing a dedicated docket to consider asylum claims. The Administration has set up a special immigration court docket to promptly and fairly consider the protection claims of certain recent arrivals.
• Further improving the efficiency and fairness of the U.S. asylum system by authorizing asylum officers to adjudicate asylum claims for those arriving at the border and establishing clear and just eligibility standards that harmonize the U.S. approach with international standards. The Administration has already begun to rescind Trump administration policies and decisions that unjustly prevent individuals from obtaining asylum. On June 16, the Department of Justice reversed two of the former administration’s rulings severely restricting asylum protections for victims of domestic and gang violence.
• Maximizing legal representation and legal orientation programs by working closely with pro bono legal service providers. The President’s FY 2022 Budget requests $15 million to provide representation to families and vulnerable individuals, as well as $23 million to support DOJ legal orientation programs. • Reducing immigration court backlogs by ensuring priority cases are considered in a timely manner and hiring more immigration judges. The FY 2022 Budget requests an additional 100 immigration judges and provides support for additional court staff to ensure the efficient and fair processing of cases. The Department of Justice also restored the discretion of immigration judges to administratively close cases in another step to ensure priority cases are considered in a timely manner.
STRENGTHENING COLLABORATIVE MIGRATION MANAGEMENT WITH REGIONAL PARTNERS
The United States seeks to expand U.S. and multilateral efforts to address the dire humanitarian situation in Central America and strengthen regional collaborative migration management. The United States believes that all individuals should be able to have a safe, stable and dignified life within their own countries, while ensuring that asylum and other legal migration pathways remain available to those who need them.
• Providing humanitarian support to address the acute needs that pressure individuals to abandon their homes. U.S. efforts will address food insecurity and malnutrition, mitigate the impacts of successive droughts and food shortages, promote protection for vulnerable individuals, and provide materials to support rebuilding of homes and schools damaged by the hurricanes. The United States will also work with the United Nations to mobilize international support for the deteriorating situation in the Northern Triangle. As part of these efforts, the United States in April provided $255 million in assistance to meet immediate and urgent humanitarian needs for people in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, refugees, other displaced people, and vulnerable migrants in the region.
• Expanding access to international protection to provide safety to individuals closer to their homes by building and improving national asylum systems, enhancing efforts to resettle refugees, and scaling up protection efforts for at-risk groups.
• Establishing Migration Resource Centers in the Northern Triangle countries with the support of international organizations and in coordination with governments in Central America to provide referrals to services for people seeking lawful pathways for migration and protection. The centers also provide referrals to reintegration support for migrants returned from the United States and other countries.
• Restarting and expanding the Central American Minors (CAM) program to provide children the opportunity to receive protection and reunite with parents in the United States. In March 2021, the United States reopened the CAM program and, in June 2021, expanded it to additional categories of eligible U.S.-based relatives who can petition for their children.
• Expanding refugee processing in the region, including in-country processing in Northern Triangle countries, and helping international organizations and local nongovernmental organizations to identify and refer individuals with urgent protection needs to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and other resettlement countries. The U.S. Department of State and Department of Homeland Security have resumed interviewing individuals via the Protection Transfer Arrangement (PTA) to expand protection for vulnerable nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
• Expanding access to temporary work visas in the region. DHS announced a supplemental increase of 6,000 H-2B visas for temporary non-agricultural workers from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador in FY 2021. The Administration is also exploring ways to enhance access to H-2A visas for temporary agricultural workers when there are insufficient qualified U.S. workers to fill these jobs, while ensuring strong labor protections for all workers. The Administration will also encourage other governments to develop and expand regional labor migration programs that protect workers’ rights and allow access for individuals to find meaningful, temporary work.
• Reducing immigrant visa backlogs. The United States aims to reduce the backlog of immigrant visa applications for Northern Triangle nationals as quickly as possible.
INVESTING IN CENTRAL AMERICA TO ADDRESS THE ROOT CAUSES OF MIGRATION
We cannot solve the challenge at our border without addressing the lack of economic opportunity, weak governance and corruption, and violence and insecurity that compel people to flee their homes in the first place. The impact of two major hurricanes in late 2020, a prolonged drought, and COVID-19 have aggravated these long-standing challenges. The FY 2022 Budget requests $861 million to address the root causes of migration.
• Addressing economic insecurity and inequality by investing in programs that foster a business-enabling environment for inclusive economic growth; enhancing workforce development, health, and education; and building resilience to climate change and food insecurity so individuals can find economic opportunity at home. The U.S. will also work with stakeholders to increase trade and diversify industry, as well as with the private sector to build on the Call to Action to catalyze investments in the region and support economic development.
• Combatting corruption and strengthening democratic governance by working with governments, civil society, and independent media to improve government services, increase transparency, promote accountability and respect for human rights, sanction corrupt actors, and provide protection to at-risk youth, victims of violence, and other marginalized populations.
• Promoting respect for human rights, labor rights and a free press by working with governments and civil society to strengthen legal frameworks and build institutional capacity, hold perpetrators accountable, promote labor rights compliance, and ensure citizens have access to information from independent sources to inform their choices.
• Countering and preventing violence, extortion, and other crimes by strengthening accountable law enforcement, focusing on crime prevention, and encouraging regional cooperation to address shared criminal threats. • Combatting sexual, gender-based and domestic violence by working with governments and civil society to prevent and prosecute violence and support victims.
While President Biden can implement significant parts of this strategy within his executive authority, Congress must also act. Millions of noncitizens call our country home. Immigrants are key a key part of our communities and make significant contributions to our economy. Over the past year, millions of immigrants have risked their health to work side by side with other Americans to perform jobs that are essential to the functioning of the country. They are Americans in every way but on paper. The American public supports a path to citizenship and a fair and efficient legal immigration system that welcomes talent from around the globe and allows families to reunite and make a life in our country.
Congress should pass through reconciliation or other means:
• The U.S. Citizenship Act (H.R. 1177/S. 348) that reunites families, gives businesses access to a workforce with full labor rights, and creates a path to citizenship for those already living and working in the United States. These critical reforms, coupled with measures to address the root causes of migration from Central America, will relieve pressure at the border by dissuading irregular migration.
• The Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6) and Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 1603) to create a path to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS recipients, and farmworkers. Both bills passed the House with bipartisan support. They will protect millions of families, children, and essential workers who live, work, study, and worship in our communities.
WESTBURY, NY (October 28, 2021) – Today, Governor Kathy Hochul signed landmark legislation to crack down on “ghost guns,” untraceable firearms used by criminals to evade background checks. The move follows action by the New York State Senate and Assembly, who passed the legislation in June, 2021. Together, The Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act (S.13a), sponsored by Senator Anna M. Kaplan (D-North Hills) and Assemblymember Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove), and The Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act (S.14a), sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman (D/WFP-Manhattan) and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal (D/WF-Manhattan), create the strongest protections from these dangerous weapons in the nation.
“Gun violence is a public health and public safety crisis that must be dealt with aggressively,” said Governor Hochul. “Working with partners at all levels, my administration will continue to crack down on the distribution and possession of dangerous weapons and put an end to the gun violence epidemic.”
“If you can’t pass a background check to get a gun, then you shouldn’t be able to get a gun–period. For too long, the unfinished receiver loophole let anyone get their hands on all the parts needed to build an untraceable, unregistered AR-15 without ever going through a background check, but today, we’re taking historic action here in New York to close that dangerous loophole for good” said State Senator Anna M. Kaplan.
“I’m proud to be the sponsor of the Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act because I know it’s going to save lives, just like Scott Beigel did when he gave his life to protect his students from gunfire during the attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I’m grateful for my partners in this effort, Governor Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senator Brad Hoylman, Assemblymember Chuck Lavine, and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, each of whom have shown extraordinary leadership to make sure our state is combating the scourge of gun violence. And most importantly, I want to thank Scott Beigel’s parents Linda and Michael, for never giving up the fight to ensure that our communities are safe from gun violence.”
State Senator Brad Hoylman said: “In the last three years, we’ve seen a 479% increase in ghost gun seizures across the state. Thanks to the Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act being signed today we’re addressing this growing problem by banning the sale and possession of ghost guns, so nobody will be able to purchase these firearms without first passing a background check. I’m deeply grateful for the advocacy and support of Jose Webster’s sister, Nathalie Arzu, along with Assembly Member Rosenthal, Senator Kaplan, Assembly Member Levine, Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Governor Hochul for their leadership on this important issue.”
During the COVID-19 crisis, gun violence has spiked; so have sales of firearms and ghost guns. At the beginning of the pandemic, gun manufacturers reported massive sales of ghost gun kits; at least 16 manufacturers told customers they were experiencing shipping delays due to a high volume of orders.
Ghost guns continue to pose a threat, both in New York and nationwide. Last week, a Queens man who had been ordering gun parts online was caught with an arsenal of do-it-yourself “ghost guns”. ProPublica reported that the “Boogaloo Boys,” a right-wing militia group involved with the January 6 Capitol riots, have embraced ghost guns as one of their preferred weapons.
“The Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act”, sponsored by Senator Anna M. Kaplan and Assemblymember Charles Lavine, specifically addresses the proliferation of “unfinished receivers” or “80% Receivers” which can be purchased online without a background check and which are easily converted into operable firearms by people with limited skills. The legislation:
Defines what constitutes an unfinished frame or receiver
Makes possession of an unfinished frame or receiver by anyone other than a licensed gunsmith or dealer illegal
Prohibits the possession of major components of a firearm, rifle, or shotgun by persons who are otherwise lawfully prohibited from possessing such weapons
Makes it illegal to sell or transfer an unfinished frame or receiver to anyone other than a licensed gunsmith or dealer
“Amidst an epidemic of gun violence plaguing the United States, I commend my good friend Governor Kathy Hochul for supporting and signing this bill which I sponsored in the Assembly,” said Assemblymember Charles Lavine. “It is incumbent upon the states to enact common-sense reforms that close dangerous loopholes that allow untraceable weapons to flood our communities. This new law further strengthens New York’s existing gun safety laws, already among the toughest in the country. It also significantly increases protection to our community and our children by creating much more accountability. It is intended, just as Scott intended, to save lives.”
Senator Kaplan and Assemblymember Lavine’s legislation is named in memory of Scott J. Beigel, the hero teacher of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who lost his life during the shooting over three years ago while shielding his students from gunfire. Beigel’s parents, Linda Beigel Schulman and Michael Schulman of Long Island, are nationally recognized advocates in the fight against gun violence.
Speaking to the crowded room at the “Yes We Can” community center in Westbury, Long Island, Linda Beigel Schulman reflected back to Feb 13, 2018, when she spoke to Scott, exchanged, “I love yous” and “Have a good rest of today. I’ll speak to you tomorrow.” “He walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and gave his last breath after saving lives. A 19 year old shot him 16 times with an AR15 assault rifle. I made a vow to myself and my son to do everything to end gun violence…Nothing will bring Scott back, but these new laws today will save lives.”
“The Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act” sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, prohibits the sale and possession of unregistered ghost guns and ensures law enforcement will be able to track the manufacture and sale of all guns in New York. The legislation:
Defines a “ghost gun” as any firearm, rifle, or shotgun that isn’t serialized and registered in accordance with either state or federal law
Prohibits the possession of ghost guns by anyone but a licensed gunsmith
Prohibits the sale of ghost guns entirely
Prohibits the manufacture or assembly of a firearm, rifle, or shotgun by anyone other than a licensed gunsmith
Requires New York gunsmiths to serialize all firearms, rifles, shotguns, or unfinished frames or receivers they manufacture or assemble, and to register any such gun, or unfinished frame or receiver that isn’t otherwise covered by federal serialization law with the Division of State Police
“Ghost guns have exploded in popularity as people have taken to the internet to evade New York’s strong laws requiring background checks and licensing, to gain access to deadly weapons they can construct in the comfort and privacy of their own homes,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “Closing the ghost gun loophole by signing the Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act, along with the Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receivers Act, will help to keep our communities safe. Thank you to Governor Hochul for signing these bills into law. I look forward to working with the Executive to passing more legislation to keep New Yorkers safe from gun violence in the future.”
Senator Hoylman and Assemblymember Rosenthal’s legislation is named in memory of Jose Webster, a young man from The Bronx killed by gun violence in 2011. Webster’s sister, Nathalie Arzu, has become a gun violence prevention advocate.
The Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act, S.13a, will take effect in 180 days. Individuals who currently possess an unfinished frame or receiver as defined in the new law have 360 days from today to either voluntarily surrender the unfinished frame or receiver to authorized law enforcement officials, or bring the piece into compliance with the law regarding serialization and registration.
The Jose Webster Untraceable Firearms Act, S.14a, will take effect in 180 days. There is a six month grace period to turn in ghost guns or have them registered and serialized.
Legislation S.7152/A.6522 adds firearms capable of being concealed and designed to resemble toys to the definition of a ‘disguised gun’ and prohibits their manufacture, design, or sale. Weapons capable of causing severe injury and death but that resemble toys are unjustifiably deceptive, and pose a clear threat to the safety of both children, who may mistake them for actual toys, and the public at large.
“The gun violence epidemic has stolen the lives of so many in our state and country, and we have only seen the problem grow worse in recent years,” said Senator John Brooks. “Common sense measures like this legislation to crackdown on disguised guns are critical to protecting New Yorkers. No one should live in fear of gun violence, not when walking down the street, serving our communities in law enforcement, while learning at schools, spending time at home, or anywhere else. I am thankful to local law enforcement for the support they provided in getting this bipartisan bill passed and I applaud Governor Hochul for her continued effort to keep New Yorkers safe.”
“I am proud to sponsor this critically important legislation that will prohibit the design, manufacture and possession of disguised guns in New York State,” said Assemblymember Steve Stern. “These weapons put our law enforcement personnel at a dangerous disadvantage in situations when they are facing down the barrel of a gun and have a split second to decide if it is a toy or a real weapon, a split second that could make the difference between life or death. This legis will protect our entire community and save lives. I thank my colleagues in the Legislature for their bi-partisan support of this legislation and applaud Governor Hochul’s strong leadership on this important issue.”
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, speaking directly to Linda Biegel Schulman and husband Michael: “I know your story, your pain, and the fact you are out everyday to fight for common sense gun laws is inspiring. Nassau County is rated the safest community in America for two years in a row. But I won’t rest until everyone in county feels it is the safest.”
Governor Hochul added, “it is nothing short of extraordinary – so many affected. To have lost someone you treasured, when you lose a child, it is more than heartbreak, it is a permanent mark on your soul. So many retreat in pain, suffer in silence. It takes an extraordinary person to say, I won’t suffer in silence.
“This is a new era of collaboration, we are changing things. What we accomplished solidifies New York as having the toughest gun laws in the nation.”
By Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features, news-photos-features.com
Thousands gathered in Foley Square, in front of the federal court house, to hear calls for justice, equal rights and full personhood for women in face of the assault on abortion rights from Texas and dozens of states and the right wing majority Supreme Court’s deference and then marched up to Washington Square Park, bringing their messages of “Save Roe” “Keep Your Rosaries Off My Ovaries”, “Hands off Our Privates” “We Won’t Go Back” and “Ruth Sent Us.” (See: NYC Joins Millions Across Country in Rallies, Marches for Women’s Reproductive Freedom)
By Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features, news-photos-features.com
Thousands gathered in Foley Square, in front of the federal court house, to protest for justice, equal rights and full personhood for women in face of the assault on abortion rights from Texas and dozens of states and the right wing majority Supreme Court’s deference. The timing was key, just days before the Supreme Court begins its session in which it will hear a Mississippi case banning abortions after 15 weeks. Texas SB8 bans abortions after six-weeks, the theoretical point when a fetus has a heartbeat, and deputizes vigilantes and bounty hunters to enforce it against anyone even suspected of aiding a woman who gets an abortion and collect $10,000.
Rana Abdelhamid: “This is not about religion, not about life. They called us ‘hysterical’ for warning about the effort to overturn Roe v. Wade. It’s time for congress to do what’s right and protect our constitutional right to abortion. End the filibuster. We know what it is to have our bodies policed. Abolition Justice!
Donna Lieberman, executive director of the NYCLU: We stand with women in Texas, Mississippi and all over the country. Abortion Justice. Reproductive Justice. Make New York a safe haven, close every loophole in state law, so anyone can come for reproductive health. We won’t turn back. We will be at every polling place in every election. Hold elected leaders accountable.
Heidi Sieck, Vote Pro Choice: Reproductive freedom and abortion justice are at stake. Small, massively overfunded group of white supremacist, Christian conservatives have invested in state legislatures, built an anti-choice infrastructure. They stole two Supreme Court seats. That changes now. Over 80 percent support reproductive freedom. Pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (that passed the House, but not the senate), end the filibuster, rebalance Supreme Court. In November, 2021, 40,000 seats are up for election. Every ingle elected has a role to protect reproductive rights. Not just congress but state and local. Run for office, donate to VoteProChoice.us.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney: They have been chipping away at abortion rights for years, but now they are bulldozing our rights into the ground.Last week, chaired House Oversight Committee on Texas SB8, when three Congresswomen told their abortion stories. Women are speaking out. In December, Mississippi comes before the Supreme Court. For my entire time in Congress we hadn’t had a pro-choice majority, until this year. We passed the Women’s Health Protection Act, codifying Roe. It has to pass in the Senate. We could pass it except for the filibuster. We have to carve out an exception. There is no democracy if women cannot control their own bodies, make their own reproduction choices. It is so outrageous, I can’t believe we are still fighting for this.
Brita Filter: Abortion rights are LGBTQ rights.
Congressman Jerry Nadler, who, over 50 years ago, lobbied the New York State Assembly to legalize abortion: It’s been 30 days since women were stripped of their constitutional rights, their freedom to make their own decisions of their lives, their bodies. That’s 30 days too many.
Amsi: The battle for reproductive rights is not new. It’s been long, hard, frustrating.
Pascale Bernard, Planned Parenthood of New York City: History is repeating. We have been here before. Enough is enough. Women in Texas are having to drive to Oklahoma, having to choose between paying for an abortion or feeding their children. People are scared. Justice Ginsburg told us to dissent, she left a roadmap to protect reproductive rights. We are lucky in New York, but we nee dto close loopholes, we need an abortion fund so women can come to New York for care, for safety.
Cathy Rojas, a teacher and candidate for NYC mayor running as a Socialist: We need to build a sustainable people-powered movement ion New York City, In Texas, where people were freezing and is one of worst states to live – hunger, poverty of children, maternal mortality – they are leading the attack on abortion rights. So when claim is about protecting life, is really about protecting profit over lives.The right wing don’t give a damn about lives. Instead of dealing with the real crises are attacking abortion rights. Congress is ineffective at passing laws for basic necessities, but quick to bail out banks and the ultra rich. They always find time to attack women, LGBTQ and the vulnerable. This is not just about a bad law, but the whole damn system – the bigots, the politicians for hire, the courts up to the Supreme Court, the corporate control of the media, the police and ICE. I am fed up with capitalism. We need systemic change.
The Band Betty: We are one-fourth through the 21st century. I don’t see flying cars or universal health care. I see women being told to be ashamed. Until women have equal rights in the Constitution, we will continue to see how the state commands our fate.
Rev. Nori Rost, New York Society of Ethical Culture: They are “protecting” a fetus with a heartbeat? How about fighting for people who already have a heart beat. Anti-choice, anti-woman is nothing new – it is about subjugation, oppression. We will not give up, shut up, slow down, sit down until all people have agency over their own body. We are among millions marching as one, we will not be stopped.
Jeannie Park (Warriors in the Garden): Abortion bans have no humanity, no exception for rape, incenst. 3 million have experienced rape, the next 3 million will be forced to carry to term. The penalty to abort is more severe than to rape. Women’s bodies are more regulated than guns. What does it mean to be pro life if you only value certain lives. Encouraging vigilantes, bounty hunters is too lcose to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. I will not go back.
Miriam Elhajli sings a song 100 years old, “Wagoner’s Lad,” and sounding so much like Joan Baez who sang it: “Oh, hard is the fortune of all woman kind/She’s always controlled, she’s always confined/Controlled by her parents until she’s a wife/A slave to her husband the rest of her life”
Carol Jenkins, Co-President and CEO of The ERA Coalition and the Fund for Women’s Equality: The Equal Rights Amendment has been around for 100 years; it has been 50 years since passed in Congress, now 38 states have ratified it, so could be published in the Constitution. The only hold up is a time limit, put into the introduction, not the amendment. The root of sexism, misogyny, and racism is in the Constitution, written by slaveholding white males. Everything we’ve been doing since has been to repair what was left out of the Constitution. We have to put the ERA on list of things, so we don’t have to keep repairing the Constitution. Congress has removed the timeline twice, it is now in the Senate. We are done having to beg for rights, gather in the streets and ask “please”. Go to ERACoalition.org.
Federal agencies have responded directly to President Biden’s call for all-of-government action to promote opportunities to register and vote.
“Within weeks of taking office, President Biden issued an Executive Order directing federal agencies to do everything in their power to protect and expand access to the ballot. Today, as we mark National Voter Registration Day, I’m pleased that these agencies have submitted strategic plans outlining a range of creative and impactful ways to strengthen nonpartisan voter registration and participation,” Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice said in a written statement. “In the coming months, we will work with agencies to further build out their capacity to provide relevant information to the public, help eligible voters better understand their opportunities for engagement, and facilitate participation in the electoral process. It is vital that we make it easier for all Americans to vote, and this is an important step by the Administration to do just that.”
Here is a fact sheet provided by the White House of what agencies are doing:
As President Biden has said, democracy doesn’t happen by accident. We have to defend, strengthen, and renew it to ensure free and fair elections that reflect the will of the American people. Too many Americans face significant obstacles to exercising their sacred, fundamental right to vote. For generations, discriminatory policies have suppressed the votes of Black Americans and other voters of color. Voters of color are more likely than white voters to face long lines at the polls and are disproportionately burdened by overly restrictive voter identification laws and limited opportunities to vote by mail. Native Americans likewise face limited opportunities to vote by mail and frequently lack sufficient polling places and voter registration opportunities near their homes. Lack of access to language assistance is an obstacle for many voters. People with disabilities face longstanding barriers to exercising their right to vote, especially when it comes to legally required accommodations to vote privately and independently. Members of our military also face unnecessary challenges to exercising their right to vote.
While the President continues to call on Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act and pass the Freedom to Vote Act, which includes bold reforms to make it more equitable and accessible for all Americans to exercise their fundamental right to vote, he also knows we can’t wait to act. That is why on March 7, the 56th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the President signed an Executive Order to leverage the resources of the federal government to increase access to voter registration services and information about voting, helping deliver on the promise of Congressman Lewis’ fight against these anti-voter burdens and the fight of so many others seeking to protect the right to vote before and since. Today, more than a dozen agencies across the federal government are announcing steps they are taking to respond to the President’s call for an all-of-government action to promote voting access and to further the ability of all eligible Americans to participate in our democracy.
The Executive Order is only part of the President’s efforts to protect the right to vote and ensure all eligible citizens can freely participate in the electoral process. For months, Vice President Harris has engaged the American people; civil and voting rights advocacy groups; pollworkers; and other voting populations around the country that have been historically marginalized to advance the Administration’s efforts to protect the right to vote. The President has appointed strong civil rights leadership at the Department of Justice. And he has partnered with civil rights organizations, the business community, faith leaders, young Americans, and others to activate an all-hands-on-deck effort to protect this sacred right and uphold democratic values.
The Executive Order called for each agency to submit to Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice a strategic plan outlining the ways that the agency can promote nonpartisan voter registration and voter participation. These strategic plans are just the beginning of each agency’s commitments. In the weeks and months to come, agencies will further build out their capacity to get relevant information out to the public, help eligible voters better understand their opportunities for engagement, and facilitate participation in the electoral process.
New key early actions to implement the President’s Order include:
The Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service will encourage the provision of nonpartisan voter information through its borrowers and guaranteed lenders, who interface with thousands of residents in the process of changing their voting address every year. In addition, Rural Development agencies — which are spread throughout field offices across the country where rural Americans can apply for housing, facilities, or business assistance — will take steps to promote access to voter registration forms and other pertinent nonpartisan election information among their patrons.
The Department of Defense will support a comprehensive approach to information and voting awareness for servicemembers and civilian personnel voting at home, in addition to the structure currently assisting members of the military stationed away from home and citizens overseas. The Department will develop materials in additional languages and send nonpartisan information at regular intervals before federal elections to ensure that eligible servicemembers and their families — particularly first-time voters — have opportunities to register and vote if they wish.
The Department of Education will prepare a tool kit of resources and strategies for increasing civic engagement at the elementary school, secondary school, and higher education level, helping more than 67 million students — and their families — learn about civic opportunities and responsibilities. The Department will also remind educational institutions of their existing obligation and encourage institutions to identify further opportunities to assist eligible students with voter registration.
The General Services Administration will ensure vote.gov is a user-friendly portal for Americans to find the information they need most to register and vote. Available in over ten languages and in a format accessible for voters with disabilities, vote.gov will make it easier for eligible users to register to vote or confirm their registration status. Agencies across the federal government will link to vote.gov to encourage Americans to participate in the electoral process.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living will launch a new voting access hub to connect older adults and people with disabilities to information, tools and resources to help them understand and exercise their right to vote. The Indian Health Service will offer its patients assistance with voter registration. The President’s Budget also requests a 25% increase in grants for the Administration for Community Living to distribute to state Protection and Advocacy systems, to provide a range of services that ensure that people with disabilities can fully participate in the electoral process.
The Department of Homeland Security will invite state and local governments and nonpartisan nonprofit organizations to register voters at the end of naturalization ceremonies for the hundreds of thousands of citizens naturalized each year, and will develop a new online resource on voting for recently naturalized citizens. The Department will also provide information and resources for voters impacted by a disaster or emergency event through its training preparedness initiatives.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development will communicate with public housing authorities (PHAs) — more than 3000 authorities, managing approximately 1.2 million public housing units — through a letter to Executive Directors that provides useful information to PHAs about permissible ways to inform residents of non-partisan voter registration information and services. The Department will also assist relevant HUD-funded service providers by highlighting and sharing promising practices that improve non-partisan voting registration and voting access for people experiencing homelessness.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services will create and distribute a toolkit of resources and strategies that libraries, museums, and heritage and cultural institutions can use to promote civic engagement and participation in the voting process.
The Department of the Interior will disseminate information on registering and voting, including through on-site events, at schools operated by the Bureau of Indian Education and Tribal Colleges and Universities, serving about 30,000 students. The Department will also, where possible, offer Tribal College and University campuses for designation by states as voter registration agencies under the National Voter Registration Act.
The Department of Justice has created an online resource for the public that will provide links to state-specific information about registering and voting; detail the Department’s enforcement of federal voting rights laws and guidance it has issued to jurisdictions on the scope of those laws; and explain how to report potential violations. The Department will also provide information about voting to individuals in federal custody, facilitate voting by those who remain eligible to do so while in federal custody, and educate individuals before reentry about voting rules and voting rights in their states. And after the Census Bureau determines localities with specific responsibilities for language access, the Department will deliver guidance and conduct outreach to each covered jurisdiction to facilitate compliance.
The Department of Labor will issue guidance encouraging states to designate the more than 2,400 American Job Centers, which provide employment, training, and career services to workers in every state, as voter registration agencies under the National Voter Registration Act. The Department of Labor will continue to require Job Corps centers to implement procedures for enrollees to vote, and where local law and leases permit, encourage Job Corps centers to serve as polling precincts. The Department will also provide guidance that grantees can use federal workforce development funding, where consistent with program authority, to conduct nonpartisan voter registration efforts with participants.
The Department of Transportation will communicate guidance to transit systems — including more than 1,150 rural public transit systems and more than 1,000 urban public transit systems — to consider providing free and reduced fare service on election days and consider placing voter registration materials in high-transit stations. The Department will also work with state and local entities seeking to mitigate traffic and construction impacts on routes to the polls, particularly in underserved communities.
The Department of the Treasury will include information about registration and voter participation in its direct deposit campaigns for Americans who receive Social Security, Veterans Affairs, and other federal benefit payments.
The Department of Veterans Affairs will provide materials and assistance in registering and voting for tens of thousands of inpatients and residents, including VA Medical Center inpatients and residents of VA nursing homes and treatment centers for homeless veterans. The Department will also facilitate assistance in registering and voting for homebound veterans and their caregivers through VA’s home-based and telehealth teams.
“Our nation and democracy are stronger when everyone participates, and weaker when anyone is left out,” Vice President Kamala Harris said in a written statement.
“Today, as we celebrate National Voter Registration Day, we must continue the work of protecting the fundamental right to vote. The Senate must pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. In addition, the President and I continue to use all the tools available to us to help advance that right. On the 56th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in March 2021, President Biden issued the Executive Order on Promoting Access to Voting. That order instructs federal agencies to deploy resources available to them to work to promote voting access. Agencies across the federal government have submitted strategic plans on precisely how they plan to do that. The President and I will help ensure these plans are fully implemented, and we will continue to work closely with these agencies to bring a whole-of-government approach to making voting accessible for all Americans.”
The White House provided this fact sheet on how President Biden’s Build Back Better framework will support the “sandwich generation”:
Too many Americans struggle with the high costs of raising children, caring for a sick family member, providing long-term care for people with disabilities or older adults, and addressing the myriad other caregiving challenges. These pressures are particularly acute for those with multiple caregiving responsibilities. As of 2018, more than one-in-ten parents (12 percent, or over 8 million parents) had a child under 18 in the home and were providing unpaid care to an adult, making them part of the “sandwich generation.” This work is especially likely to fall on women, as 5 million mothers are part of the sandwich generation, compared to 3.2 million fathers. Three-quarters of these mothers are employed, and more than half work full-time, making their schedules especially hard-stretched.
These millions of sandwich generation adults are caring for multiple generations of family members with few or no formal support, leading them to face difficult, if not impossible, decisions and high economic costs.
The price of child care has risen sharply, increasing faster than incomes over the last several decades. Child care prices increased by 210 percent from 1990 to 2019, while the median family income rose by 143 percent during the same period. Research suggests that lower-income families experience these cost pressures more than higher-income families, which means that basic goods and services, including child care, cut into family budgets more today than in the past. In turn, only 57 percent of children under six years old have parents who report that there are good options for child care where they live. And the United States is one of the only countries in the world that does not guarantee paid leave – 95 percent of the lowest wage workers, who are predominately women and workers of color, lack any access to paid family and medical leave. Still, the United States invests fewer public dollars in early childhood education and care relative to gross domestic product (GDP) than almost all developed countries – ranking 35th out of 37 countries tracked by OECD.
The need for high-quality, accessible, and affordable elder care is also increasing. By 2060, there will be nearly 95 million adults over the age of 65, which is almost twice the number of adults over the age of 65 in 2016. People age 65 today are estimated to have an almost 70 percent chance of needing some type of long-term care services in their remaining years, and 20 percent will need care for five or more years.
Meanwhile, there are not enough care workers to provide the care that is needed, in part because care jobs are often not family-sustaining jobs, making it challenging to recruit and retain a high-skilled workforce. Child care workers are among the most underpaid workers – the average pay is only $24,320 a year and nearly half of child care workers rely on public assistance. With low pay, child care workers turn over frequently – national estimates suggest that 26 to 40 percent of the workforce leave their job each year. Similarly, home care workers are extremely underpaid and 40 to 60 percent of home care workers turn over each year – high levels of churn even relative to other low-wage jobs. An analysis conducted in 2017 estimates that there will be a national shortage of 151,000 direct care workers by 2030 and 355,000 workers by 2040.
Limited access to high-quality care leaves many Americans to fill the gap in professional caregiving by providing unpaid care to their loved ones. The disproportionate caregiving burden that women bear makes them more likely to reduce working hours, choose lower-paying jobs, or leave the labor force entirely, all of which contribute to the gender wage gap and reduce family economic security.
To keep the middle-class in reach for millions of Americans and strengthen our economic security, we need to address our caregiving crisis. President Biden’s Build Back Better plan will lower costs both for families with young children and households with elderly members – and for millions of sandwich generation adults.
The President’s Build Back Better plan:
Expands Access to Long-Term Care Services under Medicaid. Families feel the financial impact of caring for aging relatives and family members with disabilities, and there is a financial strain for people with disabilities living independently to ensure that they are getting care in their homes. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of people who need better care are unable to access it, even though they qualify under Medicaid. Aging relatives and people with disabilities deserve high-quality care that meets their unique needs and personal choices. President Biden is calling on Congress to invest billions toward expanding access to quality, affordable home- or community-based services (HCBS).
Cuts costs of child care by more than half for most American families. The President’s plan also enables families to access more convenient, higher quality care where workers receive a better wage and benefits. It fully covers the cost of high-quality child care for young children for the most hard-pressed working families, and ensures that families earning up to 1.5 times their state’s median income will pay no more than seven percent of their income for high-quality child care for all children under age five. In addition to reducing the cost of child care and freeing up money for other spending, providing access to affordable, high-quality child care also increases parents’ incomes, as they continue working and earn more over time.
Offers universal free preschool to all three- and four-year old children. Only about one-fifth of all preschool aged children are enrolled in a preschool program, and free preschool will help offset the costs of child care that families face or help parents providing unpaid caregiving to go back to work. The President is calling for a national-state partnership that offers preschool to all families in the setting of their choice – whether in a school, Head Start, or child care setting. These investments will especially benefit low-income families and families of color, whose children are less likely to be enrolled in preschool.
Lowers Seniors’ Health Care Costs. The Build Back Better plan would reduce health insurance premiums, saving 9 million people an average of $50 per person per month, and add dental, vision, and hearing coverage to Medicare. By closing the Medicaid coverage gap for low-income Americans, the President’s plan would help 4 million people gain coverage. President Biden’s plan will lower prescription drug costs for Americans by letting Medicare negotiate drug prices, so consumers are no longer at the whim of pharmaceutical companies. Lowering these costs will help reduce the burdens families face. Take, for example, a family in Arizona with two parents who together earn $85,000 per year and care for an elderly parent who needs arthritis medicine, which costs $5,500 per year out-of-pocket, and an eye exam to get a new pair of glasses. Prescription drug reform like that outlined in the Build Back Better plan would cap out-of-pocket costs for the elderly parent’s prescription drugs, saving the family $2,400 per year, while new vision benefits under Medicare would pay for the elderly parent’s eye exam and new glasses and lenses.
Creates a National Comprehensive Paid Family and Medical Leave Program. The program will ensure workers receive partial wage replacement to take time to bond with a new child; care for a seriously ill loved one; deal with a loved one’s military deployment; find safety from sexual assault, stalking, or domestic violence; heal from their own serious illness; or take time to deal with the death of a loved one. This program guarantees twelve weeks of annual paid parental, family, and personal illness/safe leave, and also ensures workers get three days of bereavement leave per year, by year 10. The program will provide workers up to $4,000 a month, with a minimum of two-thirds of average weekly wages replaced, rising to 80 percent for the lowest wage workers. A study of California’s paid leave program, which began in 2004, indicated that paid leave also helped to reduce nursing-home utilization: About one in ten person-years spent in nursing homes were prevented by paid leave, likely because the policy gave workers sufficient flexibility to provide informal care to family members on the side.
Boosts compensation of child care and home care workers. The President’s plan would ensure child care and preschool teachers are paid a living wage, one that is comparable to kindergarten teachers if they have similar credentials. The President’s plan to expand HCBS under Medicaid will support well-paying caregiving jobs that include benefits and the ability to collectively bargain. Investment in higher labor standards for care workers improves these jobs and attracts more workers to the care industry.
Significantly Expands the Child Tax Credit. The Build Back Better plan increases the amount of the credit from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child six-years-old and above, and from $2000 to $3,600 per child for children under six. It also makes 17-year-olds eligible for the first time, and makes the credit fully refundable on a permanent basis, so that low-income families—the families that need the credit the most—can benefit from the full tax credit. For a family with two parents who earn a combined $100,000 per year and have two children under six, the Child Tax Credit expansion means the family’s credit would go from $4,000 total to $7,200 total, an additional $3,200 per year in tax relief. For a family with two parents who earn a combined $24,000 per year and have two children under six, the expansion means even more; they would see roughly $4,400 in additional tax relief because the full credit was not previously available to them.
Provides low- and middle-income families a tax cut based on care expenses. Families would receive a tax credit for up to half of their expenses related to caring for a child under age 13 or a loved one with disabilities. This would extend the dramatic expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) enacted in the American Rescue Plan. With this expanded credit, families earning $125,000 can receive up to a total of $4,000 for one dependent or $8,000 for two or more. And families earning up to $400,000 would get at least as generous of a credit as they receive today.
In a nutshell, President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda comes down to this: seizing this rare opportunity to grow the economy in such a way so that all benefit, or continuing a system that benefits a small slice of society while holding back the rest, states a “memo” from White House Senior Staff to “Interested Parties”. Re: “The Generational Choices in Front of Us to Grow the Economy for All”
Memo: The Generational Choices in Front of Us to Grow the Economy for All To: Interested Parties From: White House Senior Staff
America is at a crossroads right now: whether to create sustained economic growth that benefits everybody by addressing the challenges that have held back working families for decades, or maintain the status quo of a failed strategy to invest government resources in tax cuts for large corporations and the wealthy.
The choice in front of us is simple. We can pass a plan that 17 Nobel Prize winning economists last week said would boost our economy and ease long-term inflationary pressures. We can pass a plan that last week the Economic Policy Institute said would support 4 million jobs per year over the decade. Or we can prioritize the interests of the wealthiest Americans and most profitable corporations over building an economy that works for everyone.
These are the choices in front of us:
1. We can continue to give the wealthiest 0.1% of households – those making $2 million a year – an annual tax cut of $36,000… …OR we can dramatically reduce child poverty by providing a tax cut to nearly 40 million households and the parents of 90% of American children through a historic expansion of the Child Tax Credit.
Economic impact: Last week, 450 economists, including four Nobel Prize winners, highlighted in an open letter the clear evidence of the economic benefits of the CTC – including higher long-term earnings for children in families receiving credit. This led the economists to conclude that “the net cost to taxpayers of the expansion has been estimated to be as little as approximately 16 cents for every $1 of new benefits.”
2. We can let pharmaceutical companies continue to raise prices on drugs that we depend on and allow nearly 1 in 4 Americans to struggle to afford prescription drugs… …OR we can lower drug costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, expand health care coverage to 4 million uninsured people, and reduce health insurance premiums – saving 9 million people an average of $50 per month.
Economic impact: Reducing drug and healthcare would mean putting more money in Americans’ pockets that they can use to drive demand for U.S. goods and services. And, studies show that making health care more affordable enables more Americans to work, boosting employment and expanding the labor market.
3. We can let the wealthiest 1% of Americans evade $160 billion per year in taxes… … OR we can enforce our existing tax laws and invest that money to make universal preschool a reality – benefiting more than 5 million families and bringing down the crushing costs of child care for middle class families, which will help the average family save $13,000 per year.
Economic impact: Investing in universal preschool would help grow our economy for generations to come: research shows that every dollar invested in high-quality early childhood programs for low-income children yields more than $7 in benefits. The Economic Policy Institute study released last week projected that the President’s plan would support 1.1 million caregiving jobs per year this decade.
4. We can continue to allow large, profitable corporations to take advantage of tax loopholes… … ORwe can require big corporations to finally pay their fair share and use that money to invest in small businesses – the engine of our economy in communities throughout the country.
Economic impact: Supporting small businesses would help grow our economy in a way that benefits everyone: small businesses account for 44% of U.S. GDP, create two-thirds of net new jobs, and employ nearly half of America’s workers.
5. We can continue to let 55 Fortune 500 companies pay $0 in taxes on more than $40 billion in profits per year… …OR we can eliminate loopholes like the ones that allow companies to shift jobs and profits overseas and use that money to address the threat of climate change and make critical investments so that our communities are more resilient against extreme weather events. These companies have said we need to take on the existential threat of climate change; now they face a real choice – pay a little more or continue to allow extreme weather events to devastate communities around the country.
Economic impact: Last year alone, the United States faced 22 extreme weather and climate-related disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each – a cumulative price tag of nearly $100 billion. The climate investments in the Build Back Better plan would support more than 750,000 green jobs per year over the coming decade, and prevent economic shocks brought on from extreme weather events.
6. We can allow the middle class to be taxed more for their work than the richest are taxed on their investment income… …OR we can ask the top 0.3% to pay a higher tax rate on their investment income and use that money to drive down housing costs for the 10.5 million renters paying more than half of their incomes on rent and boost housing supply with the construction or rehabilitation of more than two million homes.
7. We can keep the corporate tax rate for the top 1% most profitable corporations at the lowest rate it has been since World War II… …OR we can make a modest increase to the corporate tax rate and use that money to reduce the crushing cost of child and elder care for middle class families. The President’s child care proposal would provide high-quality child care for children up to age 5, saving the average family $14,800 per year.
Economic impact: Investments in child care improve worker productivity, workforce participation, family incomes, and business revenue. One study found a $57 billion annual cost to the economy due to child-care related lost earnings and productivity.
8. We can accept a tax system where a teacher pays a higher tax rate than a hedge fund manager… …OR we can restore fairness in our tax code and expand paid family and medical leave to the nearly four in five private sector workers and 95% of lowest wage workers who currently lack it – so that millions of Americans no longer have to decide between keeping their jobs or caring for loved ones and their personal health.
Economic impact: Comprehensive paid and medical leave policies would increase labor force participation and lead to better outcomes for workers and businesses. The adoption of a paid leave program is associated with a 4.6% increase in revenue per full-time employee and 6.8% increase in profit per full-time employee.
The President believes that these choices are easy. He chooses leveling the playing field to ensure the wealthiest individuals and most profitable corporations pay their fair share and working-class families get a fighting chance to succeed and prosper. He chooses tackling the existential threats facing our country and making investments to position our nation for success for generations to come. These are the choices we face now.
By Karen Rubin, News & Photo Features, news-photos-features.com
President Joe Biden will use his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly to rally allies, partners and institutions to deal with the major challenges of our time: “COVID-19; climate change; emerging technologies; rules of the road on trade and economics; investments in clean infrastructure; a modern approach to counterterrorism; and vigorous competition with great powers, but not a new Cold War,” said a senior administration official during a press call to preview the President’s speech.
“The speech will drive home the message that ending the war in Afghanistan closed a chapter focused on war and opens a chapter focused on purposeful, effective, intensive American diplomacy defined by working with allies and partners to solve problems that can’t be solved by military force and that require the cooperation of many nations around the world as well as nonstate actors from the private sector and nongovernmental organizations and international institutions,” he said.
These big, hard challenges “will define the scope and shape of prosperity and security for the people of the United States and for people of the world in the years ahead.”
The President “will reinforce the notion that our futures and our fortunes are really interconnected and bound up with one another. And so, we all have to work together to cooperate in service of solving problems and seizing opportunities that lie before us.”
After arriving at Kennedy International Airport, President Biden was to have his first extended one-on-one meeting with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, to discuss issues including Afghanistan and Yemen, as well as big global challenges like COVID-19 and climate change.
At the end of the week, the President will host the first-ever in-person Quad Summit, “a gathering of likeminded, democratic partners to tackle these big challenges — COVID, climate, economic investment, technology.”
He will hold bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia in New York on Tuesday, followed by a meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom in the evening in Washington; Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India on Friday, as well as an engagement with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan on Friday in Washington.
On Wednesday, President Biden will host a summit on COVID-19 “to rally the world urgently to work towards ending this pandemic as rapidly as possible and building our systems better to be able to handle the next pandemic.
“He believes that it is high time for the world to come together — and not just national leaders, but he’s placing a heavy emphasis on international institutions, the private sector, nongovernmental organizations — all of the actors who collectively have the capacity to beat COVID-19. And he is going to call for an all-hands-on-deck effort that can end this pandemic much more rapidly than if we allow for things to unfold without the kind of focused, sustained energy and effort that is required,” the official said.
The summit will involve setting bold goals to hit on everything from vaccinations to the supply of lifesaving medications and technologies. And it will also set out a pattern of high-level meetings through the coming months to ensure that we are holding ourselves and the world accountable to following through on achieving these goals.
The United States will also have a series of announcements about further contributions above and beyond what has already been contributed to ending the pandemic globally.
Earlier in the day, the Biden administration announced it was easing up restrictions on foreign travel into the United States, by opening access to foreign nationals who have been vaccinated and have had a negative COVID-19 test within three days of travel. In addition, airlines will be required to keep information for contact tracing, should that be necessary. The new, strict protocols will be in place by early November.
“Critically for our European partners and for the UK, this policy means that we will no longer be implementing the current 212(f) travel policies for individual countries as of early November. We’ll be moving to a consistent requirement for all international air travelers coming to the United States.
“But we’re very proud of the fact that we’ve been able to develop a protocol that will permit travel by individuals and families and business people from the E.U. and the UK, as well as from Brazil and India and other countries, to the United States with proof of vaccination.”
Responding to a question about the controversy over the United States selling nuclear submarines to Australia – which angered France –and whether this would be a new precedent for the United States to sell nuclear technology, the official said, “This is a unique set of circumstances involving a unique actor — Australia – which is a model nonproliferation citizen in the world, has incredibly high standards, has a history of proving out its commitment to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It has proven that not just by word but by deed, decade after decade.
“And so, President Biden felt that with the unique case of Australia and then a unique set of safeguards for this material — the highest possible standards of safeguarding the HEU, stewardship of the HEU, consistent with the International Atomic Energy Agency, with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, in consultation with the relevant international bodies — that we will be able to show that this is not a broad precedent that opens the doors but rather a very narrow-use case involving the combination of a unique set of circumstances.”
There is no plan to sell such technology to South Korea or any others.
With respect to President Macron, he said, President Biden plans to discuss the way forward, and reinforce his deep commitment to the U.S. alliance with France – “an alliance that has fostered security, stability, and prosperity around the world for decades. The President wants to communicate his desire to work closely with France in the Indo-Pacific and globally, and to talk about specific practical measures that we can undertake together.
“We understand the French position. We don’t share their view, in terms of how this all developed, but we understand their position. And we will continue to be engaged in the coming days on this. And we look forward to the phone call between President Biden and President Macron once its time is fixed on the books. We think that will be an important moment and opportunity for the two leaders to speak directly with one another.”
He countered an assertion that the Afghanistan evacuation and the unilateral decision with Australia warrant criticism that the U.S. is not engaging with its partners and that it’s moving on its own.
“If you look at the most significant challenges, the highest-priority issues facing the world today, you see the United States has been deeply engaged with allies and partners and with the relevant international institutions.
“The President is hosting a summit on COVID-19 on Wednesday where allies, partners, and even competitors have been invited to talk about how we find a collective way forward.
“The United States and the European Union are holding a ministerial-level meeting of the Trade and Technology Council on September 29th. This will be an opportunity to talk about how we shape a common way forward on our economy and on emerging technologies, and it’s an unprecedented vehicle to be able to do that.
“So, when you walk through those significant issues — the depth and richness of the engagement with our allies and partners, the work that we have done with the European Union, the work we have done with Asian allies and partners, the deepening of the Quad as a vital part of the institutional framework of Asia — I think the picture is actually quite positive, despite the differences in perspective on Afghanistan and the issues we are dealing with France right now.”
He said that the US and France can find a productive pathway forward, working together on critical security issues.
“So, if you look at the totality of the Biden foreign policy — of the ways in which we have worked on the big issues and done so very much in coordination, consultation, and common action with allies and partners, and then you look at the months ahead and what’s on the docket and the trajectory that we’re setting for ourselves — the President feels very good about the path forward and about how American foreign policy can play a vital role in rallying the world and especially rallying like-minded democracies to solve the great challenges of our time.”
Hosting the leaders of the Quad fundamentally is a demonstration of the priority Biden’s foreign policy is placing of engaging in the Indo-Pacific, including through new multilateral configurations designed to focus on 21st century challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis and clean-energy, partnering on emerging technologies in cyberspace, promoting high-standards infrastructure, and an overarching commitment at the core of the Quad to promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific.