Category Archives: Biden Administration

STATE FACT SHEETS:
How the Inflation Reduction Act Lowers Energy Costs, Creates Jobs, and Tackles Climate Change Across America

The White House released state fact sheets highlighting how the Inflation Reduction Act tackles the climate crisis in states across the country and how families and communities can benefit from a clean energy future, like providing tax credits covering 30% of the costs to install solar panels and battery storage systems, make home improvements that reduce energy leakage, or upgrade heating and cooling equipment © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Today, the White House released state fact sheets highlighting how the Inflation Reduction Act tackles the climate crisis in states across the country and how families and communities can benefit from a clean energy future. The fact sheet outlines how families can save on their utility bills, get tax credits for electric vehicles and energy-saving appliances, and access the economic opportunities of the clean energy future.
 
President Biden and Congressional Democrats beat back special interests to pass this historic legislation, delivering the most significant action in U.S. history to tackle the climate crisis and strengthen U.S. energy security. By signing the Inflation Reduction Act, President Biden is delivering on his promise to lower energy costs, create good-paying jobs, and deliver a clean, secure, and healthy future for families across America.
 
Fact Sheets by State:

Biden Signs Historic Inflation Reduction Act:  ‘It’s about tomorrow. It’s about delivering progress and prosperity to American families’

Here is an edited, highlighted transcript of President Joe Biden’s remarks as he signed the Inflation Reduction Act, with historic investments in climate action, long-fought improvements in health care and prescription drug affordability, tax reform and deficit reduction, and in the immortal words of Biden as Obama’s VP, a “BFD.” –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

President Joe Biden signs the historic, transformative Inflation Reduction Act, saying “It’s about tomorrow. It’s about delivering progress and prosperity to American families.” The act makes historic investments in climate action, long-fought improvements in health care and prescription drug affordability, tax reform and deficit reduction, and in the immortal words of Biden as Obama’s VP, a “BFD.” (via C-Span)

I’m about to sign the Inflation Reduction Act into law, one of the most significant laws in our history.  Let me say from the start: With this law, the American people won and the special interests lost.  The American people won and the special interests lost. 

For a while, people doubted whether any of that was going to happen. But we are in a season of substance.  This administration began amid a dark time in America — as Jim said, “a once-in-a-century pandemic” — devastating joblessness, clear and present threats to democracy and the rule of law, doubts about America’s future itself.  

And yet, we’ve not wavered.  We’ve not flinched.  And we’ve not given in.  Instead, we’re delivering results for the American people.  We didn’t tear down; we built up.  We didn’t look back; we looked forward.

And today — today offers further proof that the soul of America is vibrant, the future of America is bright, and the promise of America is real and just beginning.  (Applause.) 

Look, the bill I’m about to sign is not just about today, it’s about tomorrow.  It’s about delivering progress and prosperity to American families.

It’s about showing the American and the American people that democracy still works in America — notwithstanding all the — all the talk of its demise — not just for the privileged few, but for all of us.

You know, I swore an oath of office to you and to God to faithfully execute the duties of this sacred office.

To me, the critical duty — the critical duty of the presidency is to defend what is best about America.  And that’s not hyperbole.  Defend what’s best about America.  To pursue justice, to ensure fairness, and to deliver results that create possibilities — possibilities that all of us — all of us can live a life of consequence and prosperity in a nation that’s safe and secure.  That’s the job.  

Fulfilling that pledge to you guides me every single hour of every single day in this job.  

You know, presidents should be judged not only by our words, but by our deeds; not by our rhetoric, but by our actions; not by our promise, but by reality.  

And today is part of an extraordinary story that’s being written by this administration and our brave allies in the Congress.

This law — this law that I’m about to sign finally delivers on a promise that Washington has made for decades to the American people.  

I got here as a 29-year-old kid.  We were promising to make sure that Medicare would have the power to negotiate lower drug prices back then — back then — prescription drug prices.  

But guess what?  We’re giving Medicare the power to negotiate those prices now, on some drugs.

This means seniors are going to pay less for their prescription drugs while we’re changing circumstances for people on Medicare by putting a cap — a cap of a maximum of $2,000 a year on their prescription drug costs, no matter what the reason for those prescriptions are.

That means if you’re on Medicare, you’ll never have to pay more than $2,000 a year no matter how many prescriptions you have, whether it’s for cancer or any other disease.  No more than $2,000 a year.

And you all know it because a lot of you come from families that need this.  This is a Godsend.  This is a Godsend to many families and so, so long overdue. 


The Inflation Reduction Act locks in place lower healthcare premiums for millions of families who get their coverage under the Affordable Care Act.  

Last year, a family of four saved on average $2,400 through the American Rescue Plan that I signed into law that Congress voted in place.

In the years ahead, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, 13 million people are going to continue — continue to save an average of $800 a year on health insurance.

The Inflation Reduction Act invests $369 billion to take the most aggressive action ever — ever, ever, ever — in confronting the climate crisis and strengthening our economic — our energy security.

It’s going to offer working families thousands of dollars in savings by providing them rebates to buy new and efficient appliances, weatherize their homes, get tax credit for purchasing heat pumps and rooftop solar, electric stoves, ovens, dryers.
 
It gives consumers a tax credit to buy electric vehicles or fuel cell vehicles, new or used.  And it gives them a credit — a tax credit of up to $7,500 if those vehicles were made in America. 

American auto companies, along with American labor, are committing their treasure and their talent — billions of dollars in investment — to make electric vehicles and battery and electric charging stations all across America, made in America.  All of it made in America.

This new law also provides tax credits that’s going to create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs and clean energy manufacturing jobs, solar factories in the Midwest and the South, wind farms across the plains and off our shores, clean hydrogen projects and more — all across America, every part of America.

This bill is the biggest step forward on climate ever — ever — and it’s going to allow us to boldly take additional steps toward meeting all of my climate goals — the ones we set out when we ran.

It includes ensuring that we create clean energy opportunities in frontline and fence-line communities that have been smothered — smothered by the legacy of pollution, and fight environmental injustice that’s been going on for so long.

And here’s another win for the American people: In addition to cutting the deficit by $350 billion last year, in my first year in office, and cutting it $1.7 trillion this year, this fiscal year, we’re going to cut the deficit — I point out — by another $300 billion with the Inflation Reduction Act over the next decade.

We’re cutting deficit to fight inflation by having the wealthy and big corporations finally begin to pay part of their fair share.

Big corporations will now pay a minimum 15 percent tax instead of 55 of them got away with paying zero dollars in federal income tax on $40 billion in profit. 

And I’m keeping my campaign commitment: No one — let me emphasize — no one earning less than $400,000 a year will pay a penny more in federal taxes.  (Applause.) 

Folks, the Inflation Reduction Act does so many things that, for so many years, so many of us have fought to make happen.

And let’s be clear: In this historic moment, Democrats sided with the American people, and every single Republican in the Congress sided with the special interests in this vote — every single one.

In fact, the big drug companies spent nearly $100 million to defeat this bill.  A hundred million dollars.

And remember: Every single Republican in Congress voted against this bill. 

Every single Republican in Congress voted against lowering prescription drug prices, against lowering healthcare costs, against a fairer tax system.

Every single Republican — every single one — voted against tackling the climate crisis, against lowering our energy costs, against creating good-paying jobs.

My fellow Americans, that’s the choice we face: We can protect the already-powerful or show the courage to build a future where everybody has an even shot.

That’s the America I believe in.  (Applause.)  That’s what I believe in. 

And today — and today, we’ve come a step closer to making that America real.

Today, too often we confuse noise with substance.  Too often we confuse setbacks with defeat.  Too often we hand the biggest microphone to the critics and the cynics who delight in declaring failure while those committed to making real progress do the hard work of governing.


Making progress in this country as big and complicated as ours clearly is not easy.  It’s never been easy.

But with unwavering conviction, commitment, and patience, progress does come…

And when it does, like today, people’s lives are made better and the future becomes brighter, and a nation can be transformed.

That’s what’s happening now.  From the American Rescue Plan that helped create nearly 10 million new jobs, to a once-in-a-generation infrastructure law that will rebuild America’s roads, bridges, ports; deliver clean water, high-speed Internet to every American; to the first meaningful gun safety law in 30 years — and if I have anything to do with it, we’re still going to have an assault weapons ban, but that’s another story.  And to get significant veterans’ healthcare law in decades, for the first time; to a groundbreaking CHIPS and Science Law that’s going to ensure that technologies and jobs of the future are made here in America — in America.

(Applause.) 

And all this progress is part of our vision and plan and determined effort to get the job done for the American people, so they can look their child in the eye and say, “Honey, it’s going to be okay. Everything is going to be okay.”

Everything is going to make sure that democracy delivers for your generation.  Because I think that’s at stake.

And, now, I know there are those here today who hold a dark and despairing view of this country.  I’m not one of them.

I believe in the promise of America.  I believe in the future of this country.  I believe in the very soul of this nation.  And most of all, I believe in you, the American people.

I believe to my core there isn’t a single thing this country cannot do when we put our mind to it.  We just have to remember who we are.  We are the United States of America.

There is nothing nothing beyond our capacity. That’s why so many foreign companies decided to invest their — make chips in America. Billions of dollars.  We’re the best.  We have to believe in ourselves again.

And now I’m going to take action that I’ve been looking forward to doing for 18 months.  (Laughter and applause.)  I’m going to sign the Inflation Reduction Law.  (Applause.)

Okay.  Here you go. (The bill is signed.)

LEADER SCHUMER:  It’s now law.

(Applause.)

The Inflation Reduction Act by the Numbers: What it Means to You

As part of the Inflation Reduction Act’s effort to transition the economy to clean, renewable energy, families that take advantage of clean energy and electric vehicle tax credits will save more than $1,000 per year. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

President Joe Biden will sign the Inflation Reduction Act today, a distillation of what Americans have been clamoring for, for the past 30 years. It includes the most significant investment in climate action, plus health care and tax reform while also amazingly reducing the deficit. Here’s what the Inflation Reduction Act will mean to you, by the numbers. This is from the White House:

The Inflation Reduction Act will lower costs for families, combat the climate crisis, reduce the deficit, and finally ask the largest corporations to pay their fair share. President Biden and Congressional Democrats have worked together to deliver a historic legislative achievement that defeats special interests, delivers for American families, and grows the economy from the bottom up and middle out.
 
Here’s how the Inflation Reduction Act impacts Americans by the numbers:
 
HEALTH CARE
 
Cutting Prescription Drug Costs

  • Today, Americans pay two to three times what citizens of other countries pay for prescription drugs
  • 5-7 million Medicare beneficiaries could see their prescription drug costs go down because of the provision allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug costs.
  • 50 million Americans with Medicare Part D will have the peace of mind knowing their costs at the pharmacy are capped at $2,000 per year, directly benefiting about 1.4 million beneficiaries each year.
  • 3.3 million Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes will benefit from a guarantee that their insulin costs are capped at $35 for a month’s supply.

 
Lowering Health Care Costs

  • 13 million Americans will continue to save an average of $800 per year on health insurance premiums
  • 3 million more Americans will have health insurance than without the law.
  • The uninsured rate is at an all-time low of 8%, which the historic law will build on.

 
Defeating Special Interests

  • $187 million: The amount the Pharmaceutical industry has spent on lobbying in 2022.
  • 1,600: number of lobbyists the pharmaceutical companies had in 2021 – three times the number of Members of Congress
  • 33 years: the amount of time Congressional Democrats have been trying to lower prescription drug costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
  • 19 years: number of years Medicare has been blocked from negotiating prescription drug costs

 
CLEAN ENERGY
 
Lowering Energy Costs

  • Families that take advantage of clean energy and electric vehicle tax credits will save more than $1,000 per year.
  • $14,000 in direct consumer rebates for families to buy heat pumps or other energy efficient home appliances, saving families at least $350 per year.
  • 7.5 million more families will be able install solar on their roofs with a 30% tax credit, saving families $9,000 over the life of the system or at least $300 per year.
  • Up to $7,500 in tax credits for new electric vehicles and $4,000 for used electric vehicles, helping families save $950 per year.
  • Putting America on track to meet President Biden’s climate goals, which will save every family an average of $500 per year on their energy costs.

 
Building a Clean Energy Economy

  • Power homes, businesses, and communities with much more clean energy by 2030, including:
    • 950 million solar panels
    • 120,000 wind turbines
    • 2,300 grid-scale battery plants
  • Advance cost-saving clean energy projects at rural electric cooperatives serving 42 million people.
  • Strengthen climate resilience and protect nearly 2 million acres of national forests.
  • Creating millions of good-paying jobs making clean energy in America.

 
Reducing Harmful Pollution

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 1 gigaton in 2030, or a billion metric tons – 10 times more climate impact than any other single piece of legislation ever enacted.
  • Deploy clean energy and reduce particle pollution from fossil fuels to avoid up to 3,900 premature deaths and up to 100,000 asthma attacks annually by 2030.

 
TAXES
 
Making the Tax Code Fairer

  • $0: how much some of largest, profitable corporations pay in federal income tax.
  • 55: the number of America’s largest, wealthiest corporations that got away without paying a cent in federal income taxes in 2020.
  • $160 billon: how much the top 1 percent of earners is estimated to evade each year in taxes.
  • 15%: the minimum tax on corporate profits the Inflation Reduction Act imposes on the largest, most profitable corporations.
  • $124 billion: savings over 10 years the Inflation Reduction Act will generate from collecting taxes already owed by wealthy people and large corporations, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
  • And no family making less than $400,000 will see their taxes go up a penny.

 
Reducing the Deficit

  • The Inflation Act will achieve hundreds of billions in deficit reduction.
  • The deficit is projected to fall by more than $1.5 trillion this year after falling by more than $350 billion last year.
  • 126 leading economists – including 7 Nobel Laureates, 2 former Treasury Secretaries, 2 former Fed Vice Chairs and 2 former CEA Chairs – have said reducing the deficit will help fight inflation and support strong, stable economic growth.

FACT SHEET: Back to School 2022 – Giving Every School the Tools to Prevent COVID-19 Spread and Stay Safely Open All Year Long

As another school year gets underway, the Biden Administration is laying out key supports and guidance for protecting students, teachers, and school communities this upcoming school year, and managing and mitigating the risks of COVID-19 spread. This includes making an abundance of federal resources available to schools to implement these strategies. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The White House provided this fact sheet of what the Biden administration is doing to prevent COVID-19 spread and keep schools safe and open all year long:

When President Biden took office, less than half of K-12 schools were open for in-person learning. The President made getting schools safely reopened and our children back in the classroom a top priority. Over the past 18 months, driven by the President’s American Rescue Plan and a comprehensive COVID-19 response, the Biden-Harris Administration has provided schools with unprecedented resources to reopen safely, while keeping students and workers safe. As a result, all schools were open this past school year. Now, as students, educators, and school staff get ready for another school year, every school in America has the tools it needs to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and its impact, to open safely, to stay open all year long, and to ensure that students are back in the classroom full-time.
 
Because of the investments the Administration has made — including $122 billion in American Rescue Plan funding to keep schools open safely, combat learning loss, and address student mental health — and because of the tools we now have in place, we can prevent school closures, even as COVID-19 cases in a community fluctuate.
 
Today, as we start another school year, the Administration is laying out key supports and guidance for protecting students, teachers, and school communities this upcoming school year, and managing and mitigating the risks of COVID-19 spread. This includes making an abundance of federal resources available to schools to implement these strategies.
 
These resources and guidance include:

Using COVID-19 vaccines and boosters as the first line of defense to protect in-person learning. Every American age 6 months and over is eligible to get vaccinated, and everyone age 5 and over is eligible for a booster shot after completing their primary series. Getting vaccinated and staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations are the most important ways that we can minimize the most serious impacts that COVID-19 can have on our children, their teachers, and their school communities. Schools, early care and education programs, and health departments can promote vaccination in many ways:

  • Getting school staff boosted against COVID-19: The Administration will work with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA) – which collectively represent more than 5 million teachers and school staff – to encourage members to get a COVID-19 booster as they return to school and during the fall. The Administration will provide materials that the organizations can use, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Stay Up to Date with Your COVID-19 Vaccines page and Booster tool, as well as information about where and how they can get a COVID-19 booster in their communities using Vaccines.gov. AFT and NEA will highlight the opportunity to get a second booster for their members age 50 and over who have not gotten a booster shot this calendar year, with an additional focus on communicating with their retirees.
  • Hosting school-located vaccine clinics nationwide: The Administration is once again calling on all school districts to host at least one school-located vaccine clinic at the start of the school year, and it is providing resources to help schools do so. The CDC has made information and recommendations for hosting clinics available in its guide for planning school vaccination clinics, and American Rescue Plan and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds are available to help cover the costs of hosting a vaccine clinic. Throughout the last school year, pharmacies in the federal pharmacy program supported schools nationwide in hosting thousands of school-located vaccine clinics.
  • Encouraging children to catch up on routine childhood vaccines: CDC is working with providers and the public to encourage families to catch up on routine childhood vaccinations that protect them against preventable diseases such as polio, measles, and whooping cough. As part of these efforts, CDC will apply lessons learned and focus on rebuilding and reconnecting with communities and partners to encourage routine vaccinations.

 
Providing robust access to COVID-19 testing at schools to help detect infection early. Diagnostic testing is a helpful strategy that all schools can use to understand whether students, staff, or family members have COVID-19 when they are symptomatic or have been exposed to the virus. Additionally, CDC advises in its latest Operational Guidance for K-12 Schools and Early Care and Education Programs that schools in areas with high COVID-19 Community Levels can consider screening testing strategies for their students and staff for high-risk activities and for key events and times of the year. Last year, the Administration made millions of COVID-19 tests and supports available for free to schools, and will continue to do so in the school year ahead:

  • Providing free access to COVID-19 tests: The Administration will extend the efforts it launched last January in making millions of COVID-19 tests freely available to schools each month. This will include 5 million over-the-counter rapid tests, 5 million swab-and-send PCR tests, and additional point-of-care rapid tests, all of which will now be available to order through January 2023. During the last half of the 2021-22 school year, schools requested and received more than 30 million tests through this program. In addition, schools may supplement their test supplies through extended use of the $10 billion allocated to K-12 school testing through the CDC Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity program, which states are now authorized to use through the upcoming 2022-23 school year.
  • Expanding access to COVID-19 testing to child care and early learning programs: COVID-19 tests will also now be available to early childhood care and education sites through the same distribution channel available to K-12 schools. Early care and education centers are invaluable community institutions that help keep our economy running, help parents stay at work, and help businesses remain strong. Child care programs have been essential in our fight against COVID-19.

 
Improving indoor air quality across America’s school buildings. Effective ventilation and air filtration are important parts of COVID-19 prevention. In addition to other layered prevention strategies, taking actions to improve indoor air quality can reduce the risk of exposure to particles, aerosols, and other contaminants, reduce the spread of COVID-19, and improve the health of building occupants. The American Rescue Plan and other federal dollars may be used to make indoor air quality improvements, and the Administration will continue to provide supports to schools to help in making these improvements:

  • Helping schools plan and implement indoor air quality improvements, including through use of federal funds: Schools can use funding provided through the American Rescue Plan to improve ventilation in schools by making inspections, repairs, upgrades, and replacements in Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning systems; purchasing and installing air conditioners, fans, portable air cleaners, and germicidal UV light systems; repairing windows, doors, and dampers that let fresh air into school buildings; and more. To support this work, the Environmental Protection Agency’s  Clean Air in Buildings Challenge and its Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools provides specific steps schools can take to improve indoor air quality and reduce the risk of airborne spread of viruses and other contaminants. CDC has published guidance on Ventilation in Schools and Childcare Programs, including an Interactive School Ventilation Tool that shows how particle levels change as you adjust ventilation settings. The Department of Energy (DOE) has launched the Efficient and Healthy Schools campaign to support investments and improvements for healthy school facilities, including through recognition, training, technical assistance, and 1-1 consultations on indoor air quality with individual schools and districts.
  • Connecting schools with experts to provide support for indoor air quality: The Administration is collaborating with organizations that provide expert guidance and technical support from skilled, trained, and qualified technicians to help make indoor air quality improvements easier for schools to navigate. HVAC professional associations, including the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning EngineersInternational Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation WorkersNational Energy Management Institute, and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association, are committed to working with schools to help them develop and implement plans to improve ventilation and can help schools get connected to local technical experts.
  • Recognizing champion schools and districts who are leading the way on indoor air quality: Over the coming months, the Administration will highlight school districts excelling in efforts to improve indoor air quality. This includes efforts through the DOE and Department of Education (ED) to support and uplift schools and districts undertaking critical work in indoor air quality. DOE’s Efficient and Healthy Schools Campaign will be announcing criteria for recognition for the upcoming school year in the coming weeks, with a continued priority on projects that accelerate indoor air quality improvements. ED’s Green Ribbon Schools program allows schools to earn federal accolades for their sustainability work that exhibits indoor air quality, resource efficiency and conservation, and environmental learning. 

Additionally, ED will continue to work with CDC to help ensure that K-12 schools and early care and education centers know and understand the latest guidance on COVID-19 mitigation and how they can remain safely open for full-time in-person learning throughout the upcoming school year. CDC’s latest Operational Guidance for K-12 Schools and Early Care and Education Programs to Support Safe In-Person Learning includes updated recommendations aligned with COVID-19 Community Levels, including information on when to mask, how to manage cases and exposures, and best practices for responding to outbreaks. Some students may need additional protections to ensure that they can remain safe in the classroom – including students who are immunocompromised, with complex medical conditions, or with other disabilities that may put them at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19. ED will continue to work with schools on strategies to ensure all students can access safe, in-person instruction.

FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Launches Effort to Create More Affordable, Equitable Outdoor Recreation Opportunities as Part of America The Beautiful Initiative

House on Fire at Cedar Mesa, Bears Ears National Monument. As part of President Biden’s America the Beautiful Initiative, The Bureau of Land Management, the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, and the five Tribes of the Bears Ears Commission formalized their partnership for co-management of the Bears Ears National Monument. The Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, and the Pueblo of Zuni will be joint managers of the National Monument and will receive resources from Federal agencies to participate in and take leadership on the management of their ancestral lands. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

As part of the President’s America the Beautiful Initiative, the Biden-Harris Administration launched an interagency effort, called the Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor Recreation (FICOR), that will work to create more safe, affordable, and equitable opportunities for Americans to get outdoors.

The FICOR – which includes leaders from the Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, and Defense – will focus on improving access to nature, expanding outdoor recreation opportunities, and providing the public with improved and more affordable experiences on America’s public lands and waters.

Increasing access to outdoor recreation is one of the six areas of focus outlined in President Biden’s America the Beautiful Initiative. The FICOR will help coordinate policies, facilitate partnerships, and improve implementation on issues such as:  

  • Investing in resilient recreation infrastructure, such as electric vehicle charging stations, trails, campgrounds, visitor centers, docks, and boating access;
     
  • Bolstering education and career opportunities in conservation, outdoor recreation, habitat restoration, and resource management work, and  providing comprehensive visitor information for the hunting, fishing, hiking, biking, birding, climbing, and boating communities;
     
  • Cooperating with State, Tribal, territorial, and local governments, including those in communities near Federal lands and waters; and
     
  • Improving equitable access to Federal lands and waters and creating a welcoming visitor experience in collaboration with private, public, Tribal, and nonprofit organizations.

The launch of the FICOR renews and re-energizes a body that was originally created in 2011 but was suspended by the previous administration. Prior to being suspended, the FICOR successfully launched recreation.gov, helped the Bureau of Economic Analysis begin tracking outdoor recreation as an economic sector, and worked to establish the Every Kid Outdoors Pass.

With outdoor recreation continuing to grow rapidly as an economic sector, including by contributing 1.8 percent of GDP and generating $374.3 billion in economic output, and America’s parks and public lands experiencing record-level visitation, the Biden-Harris Administration is taking unprecedented steps to expand equitable access to the outdoors and to protect natural, cultural, and historic resources.
In addition to launching the FICOR, the Administration has:

  • Launched historic investments through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in the restoration of Federal lands and waters, including by improving availability of and equitable access to outdoor recreation opportunities.
    • Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo announced funding opportunities from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) $2.96 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds to address the climate crisis and strengthen coastal resilience and infrastructure. Over the next five years, NOAA’s targeted investments in the areas of habitat restoration, coastal resilience, and climate data and services will advance ongoing Federal efforts toward building climate resilience. Projects focused on building “Climate Ready Coasts” will invest in natural infrastructure projects that power outdoor recreation along our coasts by restoring coastal habitats, removing marine debris, storing carbon, and creating jobs.
       
    • Established the America the Beautiful Challenge, a $1 billion public-private competitive grant program which funds locally led, voluntary conservation and restoration activities, including the development of outdoor recreation access and workforce development. The first round of grants – totaling $85 million – will be released in November 2022.
       
    • The Interior Department announced more than $61 million in grant funding to communities in 26 cities to create new parks and trails, or substantial renovations to existing parks, through the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program. The program, established in 2014 and supported by the Land and Water Conservation Fund, enables urban communities to create new outdoor recreation spaces, reinvigorate existing parks, and form connections between people and the outdoors in economically underserved communities.
       
    • As the largest Federal provider of water-based outdoor recreation in America, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is investing $120 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2022 to improve recreation facilities across the nation. These investments will promote equitable access to outdoor recreation opportunities and support local communities. USACE recreation areas had 268 million visits in the last fiscal year, resulting in spending that supports approximately 217,000 jobs and generates nearly $14.5 billion for local economies.
       
  • Expanded hunting and sport fishing opportunities on National Wildlife Refuge System lands and waters.
    • The U.S. Department of the Interior expanded hunting and fishing access on 2.1 million acres of National Wildlife Refuge System lands and waters in 2021, the largest expansion of outdoor recreation opportunities in recent history. The Department is continuing to explore opportunities to provide additional access to refuge system lands. Hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities contributed more than $156 billion in economic activity in communities across the United States in 2016, according to the Service’s National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, published every five years. More than 101 million Americans — 40 percent of the U.S. population age 16 and older — pursue wildlife-related recreation, including hunting and fishing.
       
  • Focused acquisitions and improvements of Federal lands and waters under the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) of 2020, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.
     
    • The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced more than $503 million in funding for National Forests and Grasslands. The funds will go to projects to address deferred maintenance and improve campgrounds, trails, and facilities on National Forests. Funds will also be spent on land acquisition to expand recreation opportunities for visitors and strengthen resource protection partnerships with State agencies and private organizations.
       
    • The Department of the Interior announced $279 million to support Federal lands and waters and expand outdoor recreation access utilizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to all 50 states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia for state-identified outdoor recreation and resource protection projects.
       
  • Expanded outdoor recreation opportunities by protecting areas for future generations.
     
    • In celebration of National Trails Day, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced the designation of nine new National Recreation Trails in seven states, adding nearly 600 miles to the National Trails System.
       
    • Secretary Deb Haaland announced the establishment of the Lost Trail Conservation Area in Northwest Montana as the 568th and newest unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This expansion – the first new unit in the Refuge System for the Biden-Harris Administration – is the culmination of a 20-year, locally-led effort to conserve important big game corridors and recreational areas in the region. The Service worked in partnership with the Trust for Public Land and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) to purchase the 38,052-acre conservation easement from its continuing owner, Southern Pine Plantations.
       
    • The Bureau of Land Management, the U.S Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, and the five Tribes of the Bears Ears Commission formalized their partnership for co-management of the Bears Ears National Monument. The Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, and the Pueblo of Zuni will be joint managers of the National Monument and will receive resources from Federal agencies to participate in and take leadership on the management of their ancestral lands.
       
    • The USDA Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management are considering a 20-year withdrawal of 225,000 acres of U.S. Forest System lands in Minnesota to protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness – the most visited wilderness area in the country. The Rainy River watershed flows north toward the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park, landscapes renowned for high-quality fishing, wildlife viewing, and recreational opportunities due to the large number of interconnected lakes and pristine water quality. The proposed mineral withdrawal aims to prevent further negative environmental impacts from future mining operations. It also evaluates the impacts of future mining on important social, cultural, and economic values.
       
    • On World Oceans Day, NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad announced NOAA’s initiation of the designation process for a new national marine sanctuary to conserve Hudson Canyon in the Atlantic Ocean. A sanctuary designation would help conserve the area’s rich marine wildlife and habitats, and promote scientific research, ocean education, and recreation opportunities such as whale watching, recreational fishing, and boating.
       
  • Created workforce development opportunities with the establishment of an Indian Youth Service Corps Program.
    • The Biden-Harris Administration announced the launch of the Indian Youth Service Corps Program, which will provide meaningful education, employment, and training opportunities to Indigenous youth through conservation projects on Federal and Indian lands – thereby putting young people on a path to good-paying jobs while helping to address the climate crisis.

FACT SHEET: 10 Ways the Biden-Harris Administration Is Responding to Extreme Heat

Glen Canyon, Utah. Drought and extreme heat at is impacting health and economy across the country. The Biden Administration, in addition to taking action to mitigate the impacts of climate change, are taking actions to help people survive the extreme heat © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

This summer, millions of Americans are grappling with extreme heat and record-breaking temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit – sending tens of thousands of Americans to the emergency room, increasing health problems, and putting seniors, children, and workers at risk. As the impacts of extreme heat are intensifying across the country due to climate change, President Biden and Vice President Harris are taking action to protect communities, including by:  
 

  1. Lowering cooling costs for families: In April, the Administration released $385 million through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), including to reduce summer cooling costs. Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services released guidance to help states use this funding to get more air conditioners and electric heat pumps into homes.
     
  2. Supporting community cooling centers: The new LIHEAP guidance also helps states, Tribes, and territories establish community cooling centers in public facilities where people can keep cool during the hottest periods of the day. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency is using American Rescue Plan funding to help create cooling centers in public school facilities.
     
  3. Keeping workplaces safe: In April, Vice President Harris and Labor Secretary Walsh launched the first national program to protect indoor and outdoor workers from heat stress. Since then, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has already conducted over 500 heat-related inspections, focused on over 70 high-risk industries across 43 states.
     
  4. Developing the first national heat standard to protect workers: OSHA has initiated the rulemaking process toward the first-ever national heat standard to ensure protections in indoor and outdoor workplaces across the country.
     
  5. Providing real-time data and response resources: To equip local officials and the public with robust and accessible information, the Administration has launched Heat.gov, a new centralized portal with real-time, interactive data and resources on extreme heat conditions, preparedness, and response.
     
  6. Identifying and addressing disproportionate impacts: Recent EPA analysis confirms that climate-driven changes in extreme temperatures disproportionately impact groups that are socially vulnerable. EPA’s Let’s Talk About Heat Challenge is supporting local communication strategies to inform people of extreme heat risks and ways to keep safe, with a focus on engaging underserved and overburdened communities.
     
  7. Leveraging nature to cool down cities: The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration is helping communities map urban heat islands, areas that can be up to 20 degrees hotter due to factors including higher pavement concentration and lower tree cover. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service has developed a guide for communities and is helping to fund urban tree and greening projects to reduce extreme temperatures and heat exposure.
     
  8. Investing in proactive resilience projects: Last week, President Biden announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will have $2.3 billion for the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program to help communities increase resilience to heat waves, drought, wildfires, flood, hurricanes, and other hazards by preparing before disaster strikes.
     
  9. Funding innovative cooling technologies: The Department of Homeland Security recently announced winners of the first-ever Cooling Solutions Challenge prize competition, supporting innovative ideas to help first responders, individuals, households, or displaced populations keep cool during extreme heat events.
     
  10. Helping health professionals prepare and respond: The Department of Health and Human Services, through the Administration’s new Office of Climate Change and Health Equity, launched a Climate and Health Outlook to inform health professionals of climate events expected in the next 30-90 days and support proactive action to reduce health risks from heat waves and other extreme weather events.

FACT SHEET: President Biden’s Executive Actions on Climate to Address Extreme Heat and Boost Offshore Wind

Standing at the site of a former coal-fired power plant in Brayton Point, Massachusetts that is being repurposed as a cable manufacturing facility to support the flourishing offshore wind industry, President Biden reiterated his long-held position that climate change is a clear and present danger to the United States and announced a series of executive actions to turn the climate crisis into an opportunity to create good-paying jobs in clean energy and lower costs for families. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Standing at the site of a former coal-fired power plant in Brayton Point, Massachusetts that is being repurposed as a cable manufacturing facility to support the flourishing offshore wind industry, President Biden reiterated his long-held position that climate change is a clear and present danger to the United States. Since Congress is not acting on this emergency, President Biden is. In the coming weeks, President Biden will announce additional executive actions to combat this emergency. 
 
Biden announced his latest set of executive actions to turn the climate crisis into an opportunity, by creating good-paying jobs in clean energy and lowering costs for families. His actions will protect communities from climate impacts already here, including extreme heat conditions impacting more than 100 million Americans this week, and expand offshore wind opportunities and jobs in the United States.
 
The transformation of the coal-fired power plant to instead manufacture cable to transmit energy generated by offshore wind is representative of how the President’s leadership is accelerating the nation’s transition away from the pollution, environmental injustice, and volatile price swings of the past toward the good-paying jobs and energy security of the future.

President Biden’s new executive actions will:

  • Protect Communities from Extreme Heat and Dangerous Climate Impacts: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is announcing $2.3 billion in funding for its Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program for Fiscal Year 2022— the largest BRIC investment in history, boosted by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This funding will help communities increase resilience to heat waves, drought, wildfires, flood, hurricanes, and other hazards by preparing before disaster strikes. BRIC is among hundreds of federal programs that the Biden-Harris Administration is transforming to support the Justice40 Initiative and prioritize delivering benefits to disadvantaged communities.
     
  • Lower Cooling Costs for Communities Suffering from Extreme Heat: Today, the Department of Health and Human Services is issuing guidance that for the first time expands how the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) can promote the delivery of efficient air conditioning equipment, community cooling centers, and more. In April, the Biden-Harris Administration released $385 million through LIHEAP to help families with their household energy costs, including summer cooling—part of a record $8 billion that the Administration has provided, boosted by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 
  • Expand Offshore Wind Opportunities and Jobs: The Department of the Interior is proposing the first Wind Energy Areas in the Gulf of Mexico, a historic step toward expanding offshore wind opportunities to another region of the United States. These areas cover 700,000 acres and have the potential to power over three million homes. President Biden is also directing the Secretary of the Interior to advance wind energy development in the waters off the mid- and southern Atlantic Coast and Florida’s Gulf Coast —alleviating uncertainty cast by the prior Administration. These actions follow the President’s launch of a new Federal-State Offshore Wind Implementation Partnership that brought together Governors to deliver more clean, affordable energy and new jobs. 

Millions of Americans feel the effects of climate change each year when their roads wash out, power goes down, homes are destroyed by wildfires, or schools get flooded. Last year alone, the United States faced 20 extreme weather and climate related disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each – a cumulative price tag of more than $145 billion. People of color and underserved communities are disproportionately vulnerable to the climate crisis and are more likely to experience the negative health and environmental effects of climate-related and extreme weather events. Further, the country’s critical infrastructure is at risk from climate and extreme weather.
 
President Biden will not back down from addressing this emergency. Since taking office, he has mobilized his entire Administration to tackle the climate crisis and secured historic clean energy and climate resilience investments in his Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. He will continue taking bold action to secure a safe, healthy, clean energy future—all while saving families money, delivering clean air and water, advancing environmental justice, and boosting American manufacturing and competitiveness.
 
PROTECTING COMMUNITIES FROM EXTREME HEAT
 
This summer, millions of Americans are navigating the challenges and dangers that come with extreme heat advisories and record-breaking temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The climate crisis is making heat waves more intense and frequent, taking a toll on health across the country—sending tens of thousands of Americans to the emergency room, increasing risks of heart and respiratory problems, and especially endangering our workers, children, seniors, historically underserved and overburdened communities, and people with underlying health conditions.
 
To respond, last year the Biden-Harris Administration launched a broad set of new initiatives to  advance workplace safety, build local resilience, and address the disproportionate impacts of extreme heat. Today, the Administration is announcing additional steps and progress on:
 

  • Providing Record Funding to Increase Community Resilience: Last year, President Biden doubled the funding available through FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program. This year, he is doubling it again, to a historic level of $2.3 billion available for states, local communities, Tribes, and territories to proactively reduce their vulnerability to heat waves, drought, wildfires, flood, hurricanes, and other hazards boosted by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. As part of the President’s Justice40 Initiative, which set a goal of delivering 40% of the overall benefits of Federal investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities, FEMA is prioritizing communities that have long been marginalized, overburdened, and underserved. 
  • Expanding Access to Home Air Conditioners and Community Cooling Centers: In April, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released $385 million through LIHEAP to help families with their household energy costs, including summer cooling—part of a record $8 billion that the Administration has provided, boosted by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, to reduce cooling and heating costs for low-income Americans. Today, HHS is issuing guidance that will help states, Tribes, and territories expand how they respond to extreme heat and support vulnerable communities through LIHEAP. The guidance provides for a range of flexible options including increasing funding for cooling assistance through the American Rescue Plan; establishing community cooling centers; and purchasing, distributing, or loaning efficient air conditioning equipment, evaporative coolers and electric heat pumps—a more energy-efficient alternative for providing cooling services—to vulnerable households and individuals. HHS has also developed a LIHEAP and Extreme Heat website to provide online resources including the Heat Stress Geographic Information (GIS) Dashboard to help grant recipients and stakeholders track, visualize, and respond to heat stress trends and needs across the country. 
  • Enforcing Workplace Safety: Heat is a growing threat to workplace safety, especially in high-risk sectors like agriculture and construction. In April, Vice President Harris and Secretary of Labor Walsh launched the first-ever National Emphasis Program to protect millions of workers from heat illness and injuries. Since then, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has already conducted 564 heat-related inspections, which are focused on over 70 high-risk industries across 43 states. On days when the heat index is 80°F or higher, OSHA inspectors and compliance assistance specialists are engaging in proactive outreach and technical assistance to help stakeholders keep workers safe on the job.
     

Through the Extreme Heat Interagency Working Group under the National Climate Task Force, the Administration is advancing a wide range of additional efforts, including a historic OSHA rulemaking process toward the first federal heat standard to protect workers, EPA support for community communication strategies to help people keep safe on the hottest days, a DHS Cooling Solutions Challenge to fund innovative extreme heat responses,  NOAA’s community-led urban heat island mapping campaign, a USDA urban and community forestry program to equitably improve heat resilience, and a new HHS Climate and Health Outlook to inform health professionals about extreme heat and other climate-related health hazards. 
 
BOOSTING THE OFFSHORE WIND INDUSTRY AND CREATING JOBS
 
Since President Biden set a bold goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, the Administration has approved the first large-scale projects and new wind energy areas, held record-breaking wind auctions, and issued an action plan to accelerate permitting. The private sector is following suit with investments to expand an American-made wind energy supply chain. In 2021 alone, investors announced $2.2 billion in new supply chain funding, including commitments to develop nine major manufacturing facilities to produce the foundations, towers, cables, and blades of offshore wind turbines. Historic project labor agreements are helping to grow a diverse union workforce, create good-paying jobs, and support training programs.
 
To further expand these opportunities, today President Biden is: 

  • Kickstarting Potential for Offshore Wind in Gulf of Mexico: Today, the Department of the Interior is announcing draft Wind Energy Areas and an accompanying draft Environmental Assessment to consider potential offshore wind power in the Gulf of Mexico. The Administration will seek public input on two potential Wind Energy Areas—one off the coast of Galveston, Texas and another off the coast of Lake Charles, Louisiana. The area for review covers over 700,000 acres, with the potential to power over three million homes with clean energy. As with prior proposals, the Administration is committed to working in partnership with stakeholders to advance offshore wind development while protecting biodiversity and promoting ocean co-use.
     
  • Promoting Offshore Wind Opportunities in the Southeast: The prior Administration cast uncertainty over the future of offshore wind and other clean energy development off the coasts of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Today, President Biden is directing the Secretary of the Interior to advance clean energy development in these federal waters—ensuring that these southeast states will be able to benefit from good-paying jobs in the burgeoning offshore wind industry.

 
These actions follow the President’s announcement last month of a new Federal-State Offshore Wind Implementation Partnership, joining with Governors to ensure that federal and state officials are working together to build a U.S.-based supply chain, including manufacturing and shipbuilding, for the rapidly-growing offshore wind industry. 

FACT SHEET: 10 Ways the Biden Administration Is Making America Resilient to Climate Change

Destructive wildfires have become commonplace in drought-plagued California and the West. The Biden Administration is investing $1 billion for 53 states, territories, and D.C., to improve their infrastructure and make communities more resilient, with an emphasis on increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

We know that the impacts of the climate crisis are here and that we must invest in building resilience to protect our communities, infrastructure, and economy. That is why Vice President Kamala Harris went to Miami, Florida to announce over $1 billion for 53 states, territories, and D.C., to improve their infrastructure and make communities more resilient, with an emphasis on increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events. These awards, which will be distributed through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) Program, are double the funding from last year’s historic $500 million. Next year, this funding will more than double to $2.3 billion, boosted by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
 
The announcement is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s broad efforts to strengthen our nation’s resilience and tackle the climate crisis. President Biden’s National Climate Task Force has launched interagency efforts to build resilience to climate impacts, including extreme heat, wildfires, drought, flooding, coastal threats, financial risks, and more. This builds on the historic investments President Biden and Vice President Harris secured in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for clean energy, wildfire mitigation, legacy pollution cleanup, ecosystem restoration, and resilient infrastructure. These investments create jobs building a clean energy economy that’s resilient to climate change and revitalizing our domestic manufacturing base. 

The President and Vice President’s key actions include: 

  1. Providing historic investments for climate resilient infrastructure projects: Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, President Biden secured $50 billion in resilience investments, the most in American history, to protect communities against extreme weather. For example, the Department of Transportation recently announced $7.3 billion in formula funding through the PROTECT program, which will help states and communities make transportation infrastructure more resilient by focusing on resilience planning, making resilience improvements to existing transportation assets and evacuation routes, and addressing at-risk highway infrastructure.
     
  2. Combating growing wildfire threats: Agencies are undertaking various actions, such as the joint planning and coordination of historic investments in conservation programs and natural resource infrastructure projects across the West, including the new Community Wildfire Defense Grant Program, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. These investments improve wildfire response and reduce the overall loss of infrastructure and critical resources, while prioritizing assistance to underserved communities. This summer, as directed by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Wildland Fire Mitigation and Management Commission was established, gathering Federal and non-Federal members to formulate and deliver policy recommendations to Congress for wildland fire prevention, mitigation, suppression, and management.
     
  3. Protecting communities and workers from extreme heat: The Biden-Harris Administration is taking a wide range of actions to respond to intensifying heat waves and reduce associated health risks, especially for vulnerable groups and underserved communities. These efforts include using the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to reduce cooling costs and deliver air conditioners and electric heat pumps to homes, developing nationwide standards and enforcement programs to protect workers on the job, launching Heat.gov as a one-stop hub for accessible information and response tools, and supporting community-led urban heat island mappingoutreach and communication strategiesinnovative cooling technologiesurban tree and greening projects, and more.
     
  4. Strengthening drought resilience: In June, Vice President Harris highlighted the Drought Resilience Interagency Working Group First Year Summary Report, which details the efforts accomplished and underway to assist drought-stricken communities and build their resilience to worsening conditions. A new Federal-state task force was launched in partnership with Western governors to coordinate conservation programs. Many agencies – in collaboration with states, Tribes, and local governments, as well as non-governmental organizations – are utilizing Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to support projects that improve our Nation’s water infrastructurerehabilitate watershedspromote water reuse, and enhance soil and drought monitoring systems.
     
  5. Reducing flood risk for households and communities: President Biden re-established the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard that will reduce flood risk and protect infrastructure investments. The White House is coordinating Federal efforts on flood resilience and ensuring that federal investments include safety standards for flooding and sea-level rise. Agencies are already taking action by implementing guidance to ensure communities are protected from floods. In addition, FEMA launched an updated website for purchasers to evaluate property-level flood risk and released a report highlighting best-practices for states requiring flood risk disclosures during real estate transactions.
     
  6. Protecting coastal communities from storms, sea-level rise, and other climate impacts: The Biden-Harris Administration announced $3 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds to strengthen coastal resilience, improve climate data and services, and more. As directed in President Biden’s Earth Day Executive Order, the Administration is exploring greater deployment of nature-based solutions to address coastal and other climate impacts. Through the Coastal Resilience Interagency Working Group, agencies have developed a resource guide to help communities build climate resilience along coastlines with nature-based solutions—streamlining access to more than 100 information resources and 48 federal programs.
     
  7. Supporting disadvantaged communities: Through the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC), the White House formed a new WHEJAC Climate Resilience Working Group to advise on how to promote and execute equitable climate change resilience and disaster management. The White House continues to coordinate with agencies to implement the President’s Justice40 Program, ensuring that 40% of program benefits reach disadvantaged communities. This includes benefits offered through the FEMA BRIC program. 
  8. Prioritizing assistance to Tribal communities: Tribal communities and lands face particular risks to climate effects. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $216 million in funding to establish a new Tribal transition and relocation assistance program under DOI, which supports the voluntary, community-led transition for Tribal communities severely threatened by climate change and accelerating coastal hazards. The White House launched a new Community-Driven Relocation Subcommittee, which will convene agencies to explore key considerations, issues, and strategies for working in partnership with communities to support voluntary movement away from high-risk regions.
  1. Addressing climate risks to the economy: The Biden-Harris Administration launched the first comprehensive, government-wide strategy to measure, disclose, manage, and mitigate the systemic risks that climate change poses to American families, businesses, and economy. Climate change has cost Americans an additional $600 billion in physical and economic damages over the past five years alone. To respond, Federal agencies are taking action to protect the hard-earned life savings of workers and homeowners while protecting the broader financial system and the Federal Government’s fiscal health against climate-related financial risk.
     
  2. Leading by example across the Federal Government: The White House worked with Federal agencies to develop more than 20 climate adaptation and resilience plans to enhance climate readiness across their facilities and operations. This will reduce costs and damages caused by extreme weather, minimize disruptions to Federal programs and services, and protect workers and communities. Last week, USDA announced a strategy to address a reforestation backlog of four million acres on national forests and plant more than one billion trees over the next decade as part of its climate adaptation plan. Agencies are implementing the actions identified in their climate adaptation and resilience plans and will provide annual progress updates.

Justice Department Sues Idaho to Protect Reproductive Rights

Complaint Alleges Idaho Law Violates the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act
 

Protesting for reproductive rights © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit to protect the rights of patients to access emergency medical care guaranteed by federal law. The suit challenges Idaho Code § 18-622 (§ 18-622), which is set to go into effect on Aug. 25 and imposes a near-total ban on abortion.

The complaint seeks a declaratory judgment that § 18-622 conflicts with, and is preempted by, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) in situations where an abortion is necessary stabilizing treatment for an emergency medical condition. The United States also seeks an order permanently enjoining the Idaho law to the extent it conflicts with EMTALA.

“On the day Roe and Casey were overturned, we promised that the Justice Department would work tirelessly to protect and advance reproductive freedom,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland.  “That is what we are doing, and that is what we will continue to do. We will use every tool at our disposal to ensure that pregnant women get the emergency medical treatment to which they are entitled under federal law. And we will closely scrutinize state abortion laws to ensure that they comply with federal law.” 

“Federal law is clear: patients have the right to stabilizing hospital emergency room care no matter where they live,” said Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Women should not have to be near death to get care. The Department of Health and Human Services will continue its work with the Department of Justice to enforce federal law protecting access to health care, including abortions.”

“One critical focus of the Reproductive Rights Task Force has been assessing the fast-changing landscape of state laws and evaluating potential legal responses to infringements on federal protections,” said Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “Today’s lawsuit against the State of Idaho for its near-absolute abortion ban is the first public example of this work in action. We know that these are frightening and uncertain times for pregnant women and their providers, and the Justice Department, through the Task Force’s work, is committed to doing everything we can to ensure continued lawful access to reproductive services.”

EMTALA requires hospitals that receive federal Medicare funds to provide necessary stabilizing treatment to patients who arrive at their emergency departments while experiencing a medical emergency. When a physician reasonably determines that the necessary stabilizing treatment is an abortion, state law cannot prohibit the provision of that care. The statute defines necessary stabilizing treatment to include all treatment needed to ensure that a patient will not have her health placed in serious jeopardy, have her bodily functions seriously impaired, or suffer serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part.

As explained in the complaint, once § 18-622 enters into effect in Idaho, a prosecutor can indict, arrest and prosecute a physician merely by showing that an abortion has been performed, without regard to the circumstances. A physician who provides an abortion in Idaho can ultimately avoid criminal liability only by establishing as an affirmative defense that “the abortion was necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant woman” or that, before performing the abortion, the pregnant patient (or, in some circumstances, their parent or guardian) reported an “act of rape or incest” against the patient to a specified agency and provided a copy of the report to the physician. The law provides no defense for an abortion necessary to protect the health of the pregnant patient. 

Idaho’s criminal prohibition of all abortions, subject only to the statute’s two limited affirmative defenses, directly conflicts with EMTALA and stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment of EMTALA’s federal objectives of providing stabilizing care and treatment to anyone who needs it. The Justice Department is committed to protecting access to reproductive services. Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, the Justice Department established the Reproductive Rights Task Force, chaired by Associate Attorney General Gupta. The Task Force is charged with protecting access to reproductive freedom under federal law. For additional information on the work of the Task Force visit www.justice.gov/reproductive-rights.

Biden Administration’s DoJ, HHS Work to Protect Reproductive Freedom Under Federal Law

Long Islanders react to Supreme Court overturning Roe’s constitutional protections of reproductive freedom. The Biden Administration is setting up a task force within the Justice Department to insure rights are protected, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is issuing guidance to roughly 60,000 U.S. retail pharmacies, reminding them of their obligations under federal civil rights laws. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Justice Department Announces Reproductive Rights Task Force

The Task Force Formalizes the Department’s Ongoing Work to Protect Reproductive Freedom Under Federal Law

The Justice Department announced today the establishment of the Reproductive Rights Task Force. The Task Force formalizes an existing working group and efforts by the Department over the last several months to identify ways to protect access to reproductive health care in anticipation of the possibility of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta will chair the Task Force, which will consist of representatives from the Department’s Civil Division, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney community, Office of the Solicitor General, Office for Access to Justice, Office of Legal Counsel, Office of Legal Policy, Office of Legislative Affairs, Office of the Associate Attorney General, Office of the Deputy Attorney General and Office of the Attorney General and will be supported by dedicated staff.

“As Attorney General Garland has said, the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision is a devastating blow to reproductive freedom in the United States,” said Associate Attorney General Gupta. “The Court abandoned 50 years of precedent and took away the constitutional right to abortion, preventing women all over the country from being able to make critical decisions about our bodies, our health, and our futures. The Justice Department is committed to protecting access to reproductive services.”

The Task Force will monitor and evaluate all state and local legislation and enforcement actions that threaten to:

  • Infringe on federal legal protections relating to the provision or pursuit of reproductive care;
  • Impair women’s ability to seek reproductive care in states where it is legal;
  • Impair individuals’ ability to inform and counsel each other about the reproductive care that is available in other states;
  • Ban Mifepristone based on disagreement with the FDA’s expert judgment about its safety and efficacy; or
  • Impose criminal or civil liability on federal employees who provide reproductive health services in a manner authorized by federal law.

The Task Force will identify such actions and coordinate appropriate federal government responses, including proactive and defensive legal action where appropriate. The Task Force will work with agencies across the federal government to support their work on issues relating to reproductive rights and access to reproductive healthcare. 

The Justice Department is working with external stakeholders such as reproductive services providers, advocates and state attorneys general. The Task Force will continue this important effort. It will also work with the Office of Counsel to the President to convene a meeting of private pro bono attorneys, bar associations and public interest organizations in order to encourage lawyers to represent and assist patients, providers and third parties lawfully seeking reproductive health services throughout the country. In order to assist attorneys working to protect access to comprehensive reproductive health services, the Task Force will centralize online legal resources, such as filed Justice Department legal briefs and information about the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.

Recognizing that the best way to protect reproductive freedom is through congressional action, the Task Force will also coordinate providing technical assistance to Congress in connection with federal legislation to codify reproductive rights and ensure access to comprehensive reproductive services. It will also coordinate the provision of technical assistance concerning Federal constitutional protections to states seeking to afford legal protection to out-of-state patients and providers who offer legal reproductive healthcare.

HHS Issues Guidance to the Nation’s Retail Pharmacies Clarifying Their Obligations to Ensure Access to Comprehensive Reproductive Health Care Services
 

Today, following President Biden’s Executive Order on ensuring access to reproductive health care, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is issuing guidance to roughly 60,000 U.S. retail pharmacies, reminding them of their obligations under federal civil rights laws. The guidance makes clear that as recipients of federal financial assistance, including Medicare and Medicaid payments, pharmacies are prohibited under law from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability in their programs and activities. This includes supplying prescribed medications; making determinations regarding the suitability of prescribed medications for a patient; and advising a patient about prescribed medications and how to take them.  The action is the latest step in the HHS’ response to protect reproductive health care.

“We are committed to ensuring that everyone can access health care, free of discrimination,” said Secretary Becerra. “This includes access to prescription medications for reproductive health and other types of care.”

Under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (Section 1557), 42 U.S.C. 18116, recipients of federal financial assistance cannot exclude an individual from participation in, denying them the benefits of, or otherwise subjecting them to discrimination based on sex and other bases (i.e., race, color, national origin, age, and disability) in their programs and activities. Under federal civil rights law, pregnancy discrimination includes discrimination based on current pregnancy, past pregnancy, potential or intended pregnancy, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.

Read the guidance here: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pharmacies-guidance.pdf.

HHS is committed to ensuring that people can access reproductive health care, free from discrimination. If you believe that your or another person’s civil rights have been violated, you can file a complaint with HHS at: https://www.hhs.gov/ocr/complaints/index.html.

Below are a list of actions HHS has taken in the days following the Supreme Court’s ruling to ensure access to reproductive health care:

  • Launched the ReproductiveRights.gov public awareness website, which includes a know-your-rights patient fact sheet;
  • Convened a meeting with health insurers, and sent them a letter, calling on the industry to commit to meeting their obligations to provide coverage for contraceptive services at no cost as required by the Affordable Care Act; 
  • Issued guidance to patients and providers that addresses the extent to which federal law and regulations protect individuals’ private medical information when it comes to seeking abortion and other forms of reproductive health care, as well as when it comes to using health information apps on smartphones;
  • Announced nearly $3 million in new funding to bolster training and technical assistance for the nationwide network of Title X family planning providers; 
  • Met with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Oregon Governor Kate Brown, and Maine Governor Janet Mills and state attorneys general to discuss state-specific concerns;
  • Issued guidance on the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) reaffirming that it protects providers when offering legally-mandated, life- or health-saving abortion services in emergency situations.