Category Archives: Biden Administration

Biden Acts to Expand Affordable Care Act, Fix ‘Family Glitch’, Lower Health Care Costs

With former President Barack Obama making his first visit to the White House since leaving office, President Joe Biden took action to expand access to the Affordable Care Act, fix the “family glitch” and lower health care costs for one million Americans. The ACA is stronger now than it has ever been and today we are strengthening it further,” Biden declared. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via msnbc.

President Joe Biden, with former President Barack Obama at his side, signed an Executive Order to expand access to the Affordable Care Act, which he said was fittingly dubbed “Obamacare”, fix the “family glitch” and lower health care costs for one million Americans. Recalling the difficulty of passing Obamacare, Biden remarked on Obama’s unwavering commitment toward the goal of universal health care, where a medical emergency wouldn’t bankrupt a family and people did not live with the insecurity of being denied coverage. Obama reflecting on the strong opposition from Republicans – who have attempted to repeal the ACA more than 70 times, and only last week, vowed to repeal it when they regain control of Congress – said that compromises had to be made in order to achieve what presidents had failed to do for 100 years in providing access to health care. As Biden said, it was the most consequential legislation since Medicare of 1965. Obama said it was always recognized that the law would need to be improved. That’s what Biden did today.

From day one of his presidency, Biden has worked to expand access to health care, and now, some 30 million have health insurance coverage because of Obamacare, while 100 million Americans with pre-existing conditions are assured of having health insurance (a number that will be vastly expanded with over 75 million having contracted COVID-19 and millions suffering effects of Long-COVID), children can stay on their parents’ plan until age 26, and there are no longer lifetime caps on coverage. Here’s a Fact Sheet from the White House on how Biden-Harris Administration proposes to fix the “family glitch” and lower health care costs – the most significant administrative action to improve implementation of Obamacare since its enactment 12 years ago. “The ACA is stronger now than it has ever been and today we are strengthening it further,” Biden declared.

President Biden and Vice President Harris believe that health care is a right, not a privilege. They promised to protect and build on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), lowering costs and expanding coverage so that every American has the peace of mind that health insurance brings.
 
The Biden-Harris Administration continues to deliver on that promise. Thanks to the landmark American Rescue Plan, ACA premiums are at an all-time low, while enrollment is at an all-time high. Four out of five Americans can find quality coverage for under $10 a month, and families are saving an average of $2,400 on their annual premiums—$200 in savings every month back to families. The Administration has lowered costs and increased enrollment to a record high of 14.5 million Americans—including nearly 6 million who newly gained coverage. With the addition of Missouri and Oklahoma, two states that expanded Medicaid last year, nearly 19 million low-income Americans are enrolled in the ACA’s Medicaid expansion coverage, adding up to a record nearly 80 million children, pregnant women, seniors, people with disabilities, and other low-income Americans covered by Medicaid.
 
PROPOSING TO FIX THE “FAMILY GLITCH”
 
Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is proposing a rule to strengthen the ACA by fixing the “family glitch,” which would save hundreds of thousands of families hundreds of dollars a month.
 
Under the ACA, people who do not have access to “affordable” health insurance through their jobs may qualify for a premium tax credit to purchase affordable, high-quality coverage on the ACA’s health insurance marketplaces. Current regulations define employer-based health insurance as “affordable” if the coverage solely for the employee, and not for family members, is affordable, making family members ineligible for a premium tax credit even though they need it to afford high-quality coverage through the Marketplace.  For family members of an employee offered health coverage through an employer, the cost of that family coverage can sometimes be very expensive and make health insurance out of reach. The “family glitch” affects about 5 million people and has made it impossible for many families to use the premium tax credit to purchase an affordable, high-quality Marketplace plan.
 
The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are proposing to eliminate the “family glitch.” Should today’s proposed rule be finalized, family members of workers who are offered affordable self-only coverage but unaffordable family coverage may qualify for premium tax credits to buy ACA coverage. Should the proposed change be made, it’s estimated that 200,000 uninsured people would gain coverage, and nearly 1 million Americans would see their coverage become more affordable. Many families would be able to save hundreds of dollars a month thanks to lower premiums. This proposed rule would amount to the most significant administrative action to improve implementation of the ACA since its enactment.
 
EXECUTIVE ORDER CONTINUING TO STRENGTHEN AMERICANS’ ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE, QUALITY HEALTH COVERAGE
 
Last January, President Biden signed an Executive Order directing federal agencies to take action to strengthen Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. Today, President Biden is building on that directive with a new Executive Order directing federal agencies to continue doing everything in their power to expand affordable, quality health coverage. This includes:

  • Making it easier for people to enroll in and keep their coverage.
     
  • Helping people better understand their coverage options so they can pick the best one for them.
     
  • Strengthening and improving the generosity of benefits and improving access to health care providers.
     
  • Improving the comprehensiveness of coverage and protecting Americans from low-quality coverage.
     
  • Continuing to make health coverage more accessible and affordable by expanding eligibility and lowering costs for Americans with ACA, Medicare, or Medicaid coverage.
     
  • Connecting people to health care services by improving access to health care providers and linkages between the health care system and communities to help Americans with health-related needs.
     
  • Taking steps to help reduce the burden of medical debt that far too many Americans experience.

 
ADDITIONAL EFFORTS TO STRENGTHEN THE ACA AND MEDICAID
 
These latest actions build on months of work to strengthen the ACA and Medicaid by lowering costs and expanding coverage.

  • Lowered premiums and out of pocket costs for millions of Americans. As the biggest expansion of affordable health care since the ACA, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) included enhanced subsidies that lowered premiums for 9 million Americans by an average of $50 per month per person. The enhanced subsidies helped expand the availability of free and low-cost health plans to millions of consumers with nearly half of existing consumers able to enroll in a silver level plan with no premium and 70 percent of existing able to enroll in a low-premium silver plan. In addition, the Administration lowered the cap on total out-of-pocket costs by $400 in 2022.
     
  • Made it easier to sign up for affordable coverage, including opening a Special Enrollment Period in 2021. In addition to opening a Special Enrollment Period last year, which enabled nearly 3 million Americans to newly sign up for coverage under the ACA, the Administration extended HealthCare.gov’s Open Enrollment period by one month, giving people more time to sign up for coverage The Administration operated the most successful Open Enrollment Period in history last year, with a historic 14.5 million Americans signing up for ACA coverage and another million people signing up for the Basic Health Program, an alternative coverage program created by the ACA.  The Administration also eliminated unnecessary paperwork and increased outreach, quadrupling the number of trained Navigators to help Americans sign up for coverage on HealthCare.gov. These efforts helped reach communities that have historically been left behind, with the HealthCare.gov enrollment rate increasing by 26 percent for Hispanic Americans and 35 percent for Black Americans.
     
  • Facilitated the expansion of Medicaid in Missouri and Oklahoma. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) helped Missouri and Oklahoma become the 38th and 39th states to expand Medicaid, which will cover nearly half a million more low-income Americans in those two states. Missouri and Oklahoma are also taking advantage of the ARP’s financial incentive to expand Medicaid, which is expected to provide an extra $968 million and $500 million in federal dollars to these states, respectively. 
     
  • Expanded and strengthened access to home care for millions of older Americans and people with disabilities. The ARP provided states with increased Medicaid funding to help expand access to home care services, furthering the Administration’s commitment to ensuring people can get the care they need in their homes and communities.  The additional Medicaid funding will also help states strengthen their home- and community-based services programs by investing in the home care workforce and other innovations to improve the delivery of care.
     
  • Provided new options to help people experiencing a behavioral health crisis. Thanks to the ARP, states can now receive enhanced Medicaid funding to establish mobile crisis intervention services teams to help provide services to Medicaid beneficiaries experiencing a behavioral health crisis.  This new option is a key component in the Administration’s strategy to address the Nation’s mental health crisis by ensuring that Medicaid beneficiaries experiencing a behavioral health crisis can get connected to the care they need.
     
  • Tackled the maternal health crisis. Medicaid covers more than 40 percent of births in the United States. Thanks to the ARP and the Vice President’s leadership, the Biden-Harris Administration partnered with Illinois, New Jersey, Virginia, and Louisiana to make sure new moms can keep their Medicaid coverage for a year after they deliver. Another 9 states are in the process of seeking CMS approval to expand postpartum coverage to their states as well. Based on HHS estimates, more than 83,000 beneficiaries across five states will benefit from this extended post-partum coverage during the critical first year after delivery.

FACT SHEET: The Biden-Harris Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure

The Biden-Harris Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure aims to upgrade our public schools with modern, clean, energy efficient facilities and transportation—delivering health and learning benefits to children and school communities, saving school districts money, and creating good union jobs. The action plan activates the entire federal government in leveraging investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and American Rescue Plan to advance solutions including energy efficiency retrofits, electric school buses, and resilient design. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

 
Administration Launches $500 million Grant Program from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Program to Save Schools Money with Energy Upgrades

 
Vice President Kamala Harris announced the Biden-Harris Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure to upgrade our public schools with modern, clean, energy efficient facilities and transportation—delivering health and learning benefits to children and school communities, saving school districts money, and creating good union jobs. The action plan activates the entire federal government in leveraging investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and American Rescue Plan to advance solutions including energy efficiency retrofits, electric school buses, and resilient design.
 
The science of learning and development has shown that students need school environments filled with safety, belonging, and health to learn and thrive. Yet many schools rely on outdated heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that make classrooms less comfortable and may pose health risks to students and teachers exposed to contaminants or particles in the air that can trigger allergies or asthma attacks and potentially spread infectious diseases – including COVID-19. Dirty diesel buses pose additional health risks for students on board and the neighborhoods they travel through — and exhaust from idling buses can pollute the air around schools. Studies show that poor air quality inside classrooms takes a toll on student concentration and performance, and diesel exhaust exposure is linked to increased school absences. Reducing this pollution will provide better health and educational outcomes — particularly in low-income communities and communities of color that have long faced underinvestment and the burden of high pollution.
 
The action plan will save schools and taxpayers money. Public K-12 districts spend roughly $8 billion a year on energy bills — the second largest expense after teacher salaries. Energy efficiency improvements to HVAC systems, lighting, insulation, and other energy upgrades can not only protect the health of our children, but also unlock significant savings to go toward students and learning. Off-the-shelf improvements can provide energy savings of 10 to 30 percent and broader upgrades can unlock even more savings for years to come – all while creating opportunities for good paying union jobs for electricians, carpenters, painters, sheet metal workers, plumbers and pipefitters, and more.
 
The Administration is seizing the opportunity to align classrooms with the science of learning and development to improve educational equity and environmental justice. The new actions build on President Biden signing the American Rescue Plan into law one year ago, which helped reopen more than 99% of schools with resources to put in place critical health and safety measures like ventilation improvements to make in-person learning safe and accessible for students and educators.
 
The Biden-Harris Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure will:

  • Invest in More Efficient, Energy-Saving School Buildings: The Department of Energy (DOE) is launching a $500 million grant program through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to make public schools more energy efficient. This new program will lower energy costs, improve air quality, and prioritize schools most in need, enabling schools to focus more resources on student learning.
     
  • Improve Classroom Air Quality through the American Rescue Plan: The Administration is supporting states, school districts, and local communities in leveraging American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief resources to address school infrastructure needs—like repairing, upgrading, or replacing of ventilation systems; purchasing air filters and portable air cleaning devices; and fixing doors and windows so that schools can stay open for in-person learning. Additionally, the Department of Treasury will soon release additional information to help school districts understand how they can use State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds for a range of air quality and other school facility improvements, including energy efficiency.
     
  • Help Schools Access Resources and Best Practices: The White House is releasing a toolkit to help schools and school districts access available funding, as well as technical assistance opportunities and planning tools to help schools improve air quality, energy efficiency, and more. This new toolkit will further support school participation in the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, which the Administration recently launched to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and improve indoor air quality in buildings of all kinds, including schools. The Department of Energy is also announcing the inaugural honorees of the Efficient and Healthy Schools Campaign, which provides technical assistance to school districts seeking to implement high-impact indoor air quality and efficiency improvements that will reduce energy bills and improve student and teacher health.  
     
  • Expand Clean and Safe School Transportation: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with support from the Department of Energy (DOE), is releasing new online resources to help school districts and other eligible recipients prepare for the $5 billion Clean School Bus Program created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—with the first opportunity to fund clean and electric buses opening later this spring. The DOE is working closely with the EPA to develop targeted technical assistance programs that assist school districts in implementing clean and electric buses effectively into their fleets–starting with a technical assistance video series on electric buses. To support projects that help students safely walk and bike to school, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has provided state and local governments with new guidance to access $90 billion in available federal funding, including Bipartisan Infrastructure Law programs.  
     
  • Support for Rural, Tribal, and Puerto Rican Schools: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is announcing its full commitment to use its array of rural development loan and grant programs to support electric school bus acquisition, charging station infrastructure, energy efficiency investments at schools, and broadband and distance learning in rural school districts – to accelerate the shift from dirty fuel sources toward school facilities and vehicles powered by clean electricity. DOE is partnering with the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) to improve the state of our federally-operated schools. And the Administration’s Working Group on Puerto Rico has prioritized supporting school reconstruction.

Today’s announcements build on ongoing efforts to support students, including the Biden-Harris Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan to reduce lead exposure in 400,000 schools and child care facilities and the Justice40 Initiative, which agencies are implementing to deliver 40 percent of the benefits of federal climate and clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities.

Investments to Improve School Energy Efficiency and Indoor Air Quality

The Administration is advancing a suite of investments to upgrade our K-12 public school facilities, many of which face maintenance backlogs and are long overdue for new equipment. While teachers and education leaders have long raised concerns about the level of comfort and air quality in our classrooms, the pandemic has laid bare disparities in access to healthy facilities, including modern, efficient, and clean HVAC systems. Outdated, inefficient buildings also saddle underserved school districts with higher energy bills and generate significant greenhouse gas emissions, keeping them in a cycle of underfunding operations and overpaying maintenance costs. This Action Plan will help schools make facility improvements that simultaneously deliver health protections, savings, and climate benefits.
 
Today, the Department of Energy (DOE) released a Request for Information to launch its new $500 million grant program for energy improvements at public school facilities, funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The projects funded by these grants will improve the quality of the air our students and educators breathe while reducing energy costs and freeing up local funds to invest more in education. These grants can support comprehensive energy efficiency audits and building retrofits, HVAC and lighting upgrades, clean energy installation, and more—along with training to help staff maintain these improvements over the long-term. DOE will prioritize projects in rural and high-poverty schools, and support leveraging of additional private, philanthropic, and public funding to maximize the benefits of these grants. In step with the Administration’s priority to create good union jobs accessible to all workers, the DOE will work to promote high quality labor and equity standards into school improvement grants. The RFI solicits input from schools and other stakeholders on important design considerations to ensure the grant program achieves the greatest reach and impact.
 
The Administration is also leveraging the American Rescue Plan, which President Biden signed into law one year ago, to address a range of health and safety issues in schools. The American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief program has provided $122 billion to states and districts to help schools stay open and address the significant academic and mental health needs of students resulting from the pandemic. Additionally, the American Rescue Plan also includes $350 billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to support a wide range of pandemic response and recovery efforts, including school improvements to ventilation and building energy systems that reduce energy costs and support healthy environments. And, according to independent analysis, school districts are already planning to spend $15 billion of these funds to address facilities issues impacting student and staff health and safety, such as improving indoor air quality. The Department of Treasury will soon provide additional clarity to help recipients of State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds understand how they can partner with local education agencies to use more of these funds for building upgrades and construction, including pre-project development costs, such as building assessments, energy audits, and feasibility studies. The Department of Education continues to outline how states and districts can use its funds for repairs and renovations, including improving indoor air quality through HVAC upgrades and door and window replacement, and ensuring clean drinking water in schools.
 
New Resources and Recognition to Support Schools
To help schools access funding sources and technical assistance opportunities, the White House is releasing a toolkit mapping out available resources across the federal government for school infrastructure upgrades. By compiling resources and programs from across the federal government, this toolkit will help state and local officials find the support they need for building assessments, air quality improvements, energy efficiency upgrades, lead removal, resilience planning, and more. It builds on the Administration’s priority on improving indoor air quality through the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in buildings and to deliver better health outcomes and protection for all building occupants.
 
To support and uplift schools and districts undertaking this critical work, the Administration is announcing the first round of honorees as part of the Efficient and Healthy Schools Campaign, which provides technical assistance to school districts seeking to implement high-impact indoor air quality and efficiency improvements that will reduce energy bills and improve student and teacher health. This innovative campaign has a goal of reaching 5,000 schools by the end of 2022. To date, 26 school districts across 16 states have joined or are prepared to join the campaign—representing over 1,500,000 students in 2,600 individual schools—more than half way toward the campaign’s goal.
 
Today, the Campaign announced its first round of awards to eight school districts for their best-in-class efforts across four categories: Efficient HVAC Technologies, Inspection & maintenance, Ongoing Monitoring & Analytics, and Team Approach to Support Strategic Investments. The inaugural honorees include:

  • Adams 12 Five Star Schools, CO 
  • Boulder Valley School District, CO
  • Charleston County School District, SC
  • Columbia Public Schools, MO
  • Davis School District, UT
  • Greenville County Schools, SC
  • Mariposa County Unified School District, CA
  • Newark Board of Education, NJ

DOE is also accelerating a range of grants, technical assistance, and lending to support schools along each step of the school improvement process. These efforts include the Better Buildings Challenge and its K-12 Sector partnerships; DOE’s new tool—eProject eXpress—that can support state and local governments and K-12 schools in project management for energy saving performance contracts, and help leverage financing to maximize impact; and DOE’s Loan Programs Office Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Solicitation that can be accessed by schools to provide up to $3 billion in loan guarantees for retrofit projects.

And to ensure that schools are supported in creating healthy, safe, sustainable, 21st century learning environments, the Department of Education is proposing a new Office of Infrastructure and Sustainability, as part of the President’s FY2023 Budget. This office would oversee a proposed National Clearinghouse on School Infrastructure and Sustainability and administer the ongoing U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools recognition award. The proposed National Clearinghouse on School Infrastructure and Sustainability would provide technical assistance and training to state and local education agencies on issues related to educational facility planning, design, financing, construction, improvement, operation, and maintenance, including green building design and operation practices consistent with the Administration’s commitment to tackling the climate crisis. The Clearinghouse would also develop resources and assemble best practices on issues related to ensuring equitable access to healthy, educationally adequate and environmentally and fiscally sustainable public-school facilities and grounds. To set the stage for this new office, the Department of Education recently named a Special Advisor for Infrastructure and Sustainability to spearhead agency-wide consideration of how existing programs might support school sustainability and infrastructure.

These actions build on the Biden-Harris Administration’s Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, which calls on all building owners and operators, schools, colleges and universities, and organizations of all kinds to adopt key strategies to improve indoor air quality in their buildings and reduce the spread of COVID-19. It serves as a call to action to assess indoor air quality and make ventilation and air filtration improvements to help keep occupants safe. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a best practices guide for improving indoor air quality and reducing the risk of spreading dangerous airborne particles.

Clean and Safe School Transportation
School buses safely transport more than 25 million children every day across America. However, diesel exhaust from buses produces particulate matter and other pollutants that can cause lung damage and aggravate asthma and other health problems in children. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation, with support and technical assistance from the Department of Energy, are making historic investments in cleaner school buses and safer school transportation routes.

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency is building public awareness for the new $5 billion Clean School Bus Program created by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Throughout the next month, EPA will regularly post new online resources and webinars for the Clean School Bus Program to help school districts and other eligible recipients prepare for the first round of applications. These resources build upon EPA’s public education and outreach effort, to gather ideas and increase awareness within communities and school districts, particularly for lower-resourced schools—in support of the President’s Justice40 commitment.

The Department of Transportation is helping communities take advantage of funding to support safer routes to schools made available by the Bipartisan Infrastructure LawThe Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program at DOT helps communities plan, design, and construct infrastructure projects that increase healthy transportation choices and substantially improve the ability of students to walk and bicycle safely to school—particularly in communities underserved by safe transportation options. Since 2015, the SRTS program has supported over $1 billion in safe school route projects benefiting nearly 7 million students across more than 17,000 schools—a third of which were in disadvantaged communities and Title I schools.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law expanded the eligibility of the SRTS program to schools through 12th grade and added eligibility for safe school route projects through the nearly $17 billion-per-year Highway Safety Improvement Program—including for use in training and education.

Support for Rural, Tribal, and Puerto Rican Schools
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today a new commitment to support school facility and vehicle electrification, including school buses. In support of this commitment, USDA released a new guidance that informs how Rural Development programs can support rural electric cooperatives to advance electrification projects for schools and other public facilities and vehicles.

These funding and assistance programs can support rural utilities like those in a newly formed Electric Cooperative School Bus Initiative , a collaboration of more than 350 local distribution cooperatives across 32 states, providing educational and administrative support to help rural communities access funding for electric school buses and school bus infrastructure.

Additionally, DOE is partnering with the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) to improve the state of our federally-operated schools. Aligning with the President’s Justice 40 Initiative, the DOE Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) is assisting BIE to initiate a set of pilot assessments in Tribal schools for energy efficiency and indoor air quality projects.

The Administration’s Working Group on Puerto Rico has prioritized supporting school reconstruction efforts on the island. Agencies collaborated on a toolkit in both English and Spanish outlining federal resources available to help Puerto Rico recover and rebuild safe, healthy and modernized school facilities. Agencies have also provided technical assistance to Puerto Rican officials on how they can leverage multiple funding streams to rebuild, repair, and modernize their schools.

Support for Training and Workforce Development
School improvements provide critical training opportunities for building an effective workforce. Large school projects often last multiple years and draw upon a large mix of trades. This continuity of training and employment makes them ideal opportunities for pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs that lead directly to good-paying careers. And when done alongside the President’s Justice40 Initiative, these investments will prioritize under-resourced schools while also investing in communities that can benefit from long-term training and employment.

The Department of Labor’s Good Jobs Initiative is supporting federal agency partners as they embed job quality and equity policies into their infrastructure investments.  The Good Jobs Initiative is supporting federal agency partners as they work to leverage their infrastructure investments to provide meaningful opportunities for all communities to enter good paying union careers. 

The wide array of federal offerings can support initiatives such as the Carbon Free and Healthy Schools campaign–which is led by labor unions in collaboration with students, parents, and climate advocates across the country–to create safe, healthy, and cost-effective school environments through building retrofits and solarization, while supporting strong labor standards and robust worker training opportunities. The campaign is currently working with school districts representing more than five million students across Texas, California, IllinoisNew YorkConnecticutRhode Island, Michigan, Maine, and Wisconsin, with more state campaigns in formation.

DoE Seeks Input for $500 Million Grant Program for Energy Upgrades to 100,000 Public Schools

The U.S. Department of Energy released a Request for Information for a $500 million grant program from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for K-12 public school energy upgrades. The program will help deliver cleaner and healthier classrooms, libraries, cafeterias, playgrounds, and gyms where over three million teachers teach and 50 million students learn, eat, and build friendships every day. Energy upgrades to America’s public schools, including leveraging renewable power sources and electric school buses, will bring the nation closer to President Biden’s goal to build a net-zero economy by 2050. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

WASHINGTON, D.C.— As part the new Biden-Harris Action Plan for Building Better School Infrastructure, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released a Request for Information (RFI) for a $500 million grant program from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for K-12 public school energy upgrades. The program will help deliver cleaner and healthier classrooms, libraries, cafeterias, playgrounds, and gyms where over three million teachers teach and 50 million students learn, eat, and build friendships every day. Energy upgrades to America’s public schools, including leveraging renewable power sources and electric school buses, will bring the nation closer to President Biden’s goal to build a net-zero economy by 2050. 

“Children should be able to learn and grow in environments that are not plagued with poor insulation and ventilation, leaky roofs, or poor heating and cooling,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “President Biden fought for these funds to give schools and their communities the resources they need to improve student and teacher health and cut energy costs, allowing districts to focus more resources on student learning.” 

Many of America’s public schools are in desperate need of energy improvements. The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation’s 100,000 public K-12 schools a D+ in their 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure report. Dilapidated school facilities can negatively affect student learning and health as indoor air quality problems can aggravate respiratory illnesses, reduce student and teacher attendance and performance, and increase risk of transmission of respiratory infections like COVID-19. 

Energy consumption is the second-highest operational expense schools face with a significant portion of this energy lost through leaky school walls, windows, and other inefficient equipment and systems. Districts that serve rural, high poverty, or Hispanic/Latino, African American, and Native American communities experience the greatest burden of failing or antiquated school facilities. 

Public school facilities will be eligible for energy improvements that result in a direct reduction in school energy costs, including improvements to the air conditioning and heating, ventilation, hot water heating, and lighting systems. In addition, funding would support any improvement, repair, renovation to, or installation in a school that leads to an improvement in teacher and student health.  

President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s grant funding will also support additional improvements, repairs, or renovations such as the installation of renewable energy technologies, the installation of alternative fueled vehicle infrastructure on school grounds such as school buses or the purchase or lease of alternative fueled vehicles to be used by a school. 

DOE encourages Local Education Agencies, school staff, states, local governments, energy service companies, unions, service providers, and utilities to respond to the RFI. 

The deadline to submit your response to this RFI is May 18, 2022, at 5 p.m. ET. Download the RFI to see the full list of questions and instructions on how to submit your response. 

Biden Economic Policies Produce $1.3 Trillion Decrease in Deficit, Largest 1-Year Decline in History

The White House is justifiably touting a $1.3 trillion decrease in the budget deficit – the largest one-year decline in U.S. history – to demonstrate the success of its fiscal policies, and particularly, its success in getting control of the coronavirus pandemic and justifying its FY2023 budget proposal. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Biden Administration is justifiably touting a $1.3 trillion decrease in the budget deficit – the largest one-year decline in U.S. history – to demonstrate the success of its fiscal policies, and particularly, its success in getting control of the coronavirus pandemic and justifying its FY2023 budget proposal. Here’s a statement from the White House:

When the President took office, the pandemic was raging in communities across the country and our economy was struggling to recover from the most severe downturn since the Great Depression. The economy shrunk, and the unemployment rate stood at 6.4 percent. And, the deficit had risen to $3.1 trillion in 2020—yet with trillions in resources, the Trump Administration didn’t secure vaccines for all Americans, most schools were closed, and testing and medical equipment shortages continued.

Even before the pandemic, the Trump tax cuts had added $2 trillion to deficits over a decade. The deficit increased every year of the previous administration.

Unlike his predecessor, President Biden prioritized fiscal responsibility. In the face of the extraordinary challenges he inherited, the President made clear that bold action was needed to jumpstart the economic recovery. He knew that robust investment to change the course of the pandemic and support workers, families, and small businesses was not only the right strategy to build a stronger economy, but also to decrease the deficit. A strong economic recovery would result in less emergency spending and drive future deficits down. In March 2021, he signed into law the historic American Rescue Plan.

The President’s Budget shows that this strategy paid off. The strongest economic growth in four decades, powered by the American Rescue Plan, has also contributed to a historic decline in the deficit—by fueling strong revenue growth and allowing the Administration to responsibly phase down emergency pandemic-related spending. The President’s Budget projects that the deficit in 2022 will be more than $1.3 trillion lower than last year’s—the largest ever one-year decline in our country’s history. It will be less than half of the 2020 deficit the President inherited.

The President is now working to build on that progress and further reduce the deficit by reforming the tax system so that corporations and the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share. As the Budget shows, with these reforms, we can cut costs for families, continue growing the economy from the bottom up and middle out, and put America on a sound fiscal course for the future—shrinking the deficit the President inherited by two-thirds as a share of the economy.

President Biden’s Strategy to Combat the Pandemic and Jumpstart the Economy is Driving Down Deficits

Thanks to the American Rescue Plan and the President’s strategy to control the pandemic, in 2021 our economy grew at 5.7 percent, the fastest rate in nearly 40 years. We created more than 6.5 million jobs, the most our country has ever recorded in a single year. The unemployment rate has dropped to 3.8 percent, lower than the Congressional Budget Office had projected in its pre-American Rescue Plan baseline at any point over the next decade. And between the start and the end of 2021, we went from about 41,000 to more than 200 million Americans vaccinated, and from most schools closed to 99 percent of schools are open for in-person learning.

The Administration’s economic success and success in controlling the pandemic is lowering the deficit in two ways.

First, because of the historic pace of our economic and labor market recovery, the economy no longer needs the kind of emergency support it received last year. With businesses open and people back at work, the Federal Government will spend about $1 trillion less on pandemic and economic support in 2022 than in 2021. That includes hundreds of billions of dollars less support to businesses, which are now making investments and creating jobs without the need for help. Likewise, after historic drops in both the overall unemployment rate and the long-term unemployment rate—the share of people out of work for more than six months—we no longer need emergency unemployment assistance, and ongoing Unemployment Insurance claims are at their lowest level since 1970.  

Second, a stronger economy means higher incomes for households and higher earnings for businesses. Because of this economic progress, the government is projected to collect more than $300 billion in additional revenues compared to last year, a nearly 10 percent increase.

The President’s Budget Continues to Lower Deficits

Even before the pandemic, the Trump Administration added $2 trillion to deficits over 10 years through tax cuts that largely helped wealthy people and large corporations. President Biden believes in a different approach: growing the economy from the middle out, not the top down, and paying for all new investments by ensuring that the wealthiest Americans and large corporations pay their fair share.

As he made clear in his State of the Union address, the President is committed to working with Congress to enact legislation that lowers costs for American families, expands the productive capacity of the American economy, and further reduces the deficit: by reducing prescription drug costs and fixing the tax code to ensure corporations and wealthy people pay the taxes they already owe and close loopholes they exploit.

The President’s FY 2023 Budget also proposes additional smart, targeted investments designed to spur durable economic growth, create jobs, reduce cost pressures, and foster shared prosperity—while more than fully offsetting their cost. The Budget reduces deficits by more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years.

Under the Budget policies, deficits as a share of the economy would fall to less than one-third of the 2020 level the President inherited. Overall, the Budget details an economically and fiscally responsible path forward—addressing the long-term fiscal challenges facing our country while making investments that will produce stronger economic growth and broadly shared prosperity for generations to come.

Biden: ‘Budgets are statements of values. This budget values fiscal responsibility, safety, security, investments in equitable growth and to build a better America’

What’s in the Biden FY2023 Budget

President Biden presents his FY2023 budget: “Budgets are statements of values, and the budget I am releasing today sends a clear message that we value fiscal responsibility, safety and security at home and around the world, and the investments needed to continue our equitable growth and build a better America.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via c-span

This is President Joe Biden’s statement about his FY2023 budget proposal:

Budgets are statements of values, and the budget I am releasing today sends a clear message that we value fiscal responsibility, safety and security at home and around the world, and the investments needed to continue our equitable growth and build a better America.

My Administration is on track to reduce the federal deficit by more than $1.3 trillion this year, cutting in half the deficit from the last year of the previous Administration and delivering the largest one-year reduction in the deficit in U.S. history. That’s the direct result of my Administration’s strategy to get the pandemic under control and grow the economy from the bottom up and the middle out. We spent less money than the last Administration and got better results: strong economic growth, which has increased revenues and allowed us to responsibly scale back emergency spending. My budget will continue that progress, further reducing the deficit by continuing to support the economic growth that has increased revenues and ensuring that billionaires and large corporations pay their fair share.

At the same time, my budget will make investments in securing our nation and building a better America. We will secure our communities by putting more police on the street to engage in accountable community policing, hiring the agents needed to help fight gun crime, and investing in crime prevention and community violence intervention.

I’m calling for one of the largest investments in our national security in history, with the funds needed to ensure that our military remains the best-prepared, best-trained, best-equipped military in the world.  In addition, I’m calling for continued investment to forcefully respond to Putin’s aggression against Ukraine with US support for Ukraine’s economic, humanitarian, and security needs. 

My budget also makes the investments needed to reduce costs for families and make progress on my Unity Agenda – including investments to cut the costs of child care and health care; help families pay for other essentials; end cancer as we know it; support our veterans; and get all Americans the mental health services they need.

All told, it is a budget that includes historic deficit reduction, historic investments in our security at home and abroad, and an unprecedented commitment to building an economy where everyone has a chance to succeed.

And here’s what in the Biden budget:

FACT SHEET:
The President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2023

Under the President’s leadership, America is on the move again. We created more than 6.5 million jobs in 2021, the most our country has ever recorded in a single year. Our economy grew at 5.7 percent, the strongest growth in nearly 40 years. And the unemployment rate has fallen to 3.8 percent, the fastest decline in recorded history. At the same time, the deficit fell last year—by around $300 billion. This progress was a direct result of the President’s strategy to grow the economy from the bottom up and the middle out and his effective management of the American Rescue Plan—a strategy that was built on smart, fiscally prudent investments that helped jumpstart our economy.
 
As our historic economic and labor market recovery continues, the President’s Budget projects that the deficit in 2022 will be more than $1.3 trillion lower than last year’s—the largest ever one-year decline in our country’s history. The strongest economic growth in four decades, powered by the American Rescue Plan, has also contributed to a historic decline in the deficit—by fueling strong revenue growth and allowing the Administration to responsibly phase down emergency pandemic-related spending.
 
Today, the President released a Budget that details his vision to expand on our economic and fiscal progress—investing in our economy and our people while cutting deficits, improving our country’s long-term fiscal outlook, and keeping the economic burden of debt low.
 
As he made clear in his State of the Union address, the President is committed to working with Congress to enact legislation that lowers costs for American families, expands the productive capacity of the American economy, and further reduces the deficit: by reducing prescription drug costs and fixing the tax code to ensure corporations and wealthy people pay the taxes they already owe and close loopholes they exploit.
 
The President’s FY 2023 Budget also proposes additional smart, targeted investments designed to spur durable economic growth, create jobs, reduce cost pressures, and foster shared prosperity. These investments are more than fully paid-for through tax reforms that ensure corporations and the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share, while also fulfilling the President’s ironclad promise that no one earning less than $400,000 per year will pay an additional penny in new taxes. Overall, the Budget reduces deficits by more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years and deficits under the Budget policies would fall to less than one-third of the 2020 level the President inherited.
 
The Budget improves our country’s long-term fiscal outlook while also delivering on the ambitious agenda the President laid out in his State of the Union address—to build a better America, reduce costs for families, advance equity, and grow our economy from the bottom up and the middle out. It proposes significant new investments in proven strategies to reduce gun crime and keep our communities safe. It makes additional investments in the American people that will help lay a stronger foundation for shared growth and prosperity. It advances a bipartisan unity agenda through proposals to take on the mental health crisis, combat the opioid epidemic, support our veterans, and accelerate progress against cancer. And during what will be a decisive decade, it strengthens our military and leverages America’s renewed strength at home to meet pressing global challenges, deepen partnerships and alliances, and manage crises as they arise.
 
PUTTING THE NATION ON A SOUND FISCAL AND ECONOMIC COURSE
 
The Budget proposes smart, targeted, fully-offset investments while also cutting deficits, improving our country’s long-term fiscal outlook, and keeping the economic burden of debt low. The Budget’s investments are more than paid for with tax reforms focused on making sure the rich and the largest corporations pay their fair share, reducing deficits by over $1 trillion over the next 10 years.
 

  • Proposes a New Minimum Tax on Billionaires. The tax code currently offers special treatment for the types of income that wealthy people enjoy. This special treatment, combined with sophisticated tax planning and giant loopholes, allows many of the very wealthiest people in the world to end up paying a lower tax rate on their full income than many middle-class households. To finally address this glaring problem, the Budget includes a minimum tax on multi-millionaires and billionaires who so often pay indefensibly low tax rates. This minimum tax would apply only to the wealthiest 0.01 percent of households—those with more than $100 million—and over half the revenue would come from billionaires alone. It would ensure that, in any given year, they pay at least 20 percent of their total income in Federal income taxes.
  • Ensures Corporations Pay Their Fair Share. The Budget also includes an increase to the rate that corporations pay in taxes on their profits. Corporations received an enormous tax break in 2017. While their profits have soared, their investment in our economy did not: the tax breaks did not trickle down to workers or consumers. Instead of allowing some of the most profitable corporations in the world to avoid paying their fair share, the Budget raises the corporate tax rate to 28 percent, still the lowest tax rate faced by corporations since World War II except in the years after the 2017 tax cut. This increase is complemented by other changes to the corporate tax code that incentivize job creation and investment in the United States and ensure that large corporations pay their fair share.
  • Prevents Multinational Corporations from Using Tax Havens to Game the System. For decades, American workers and taxpayers have paid the price for a tax system that has rewarded multinational corporations for shipping jobs and profits overseas. Last year, the Administration rallied more than 130 countries to agree to a global minimum tax that will ensure that profitable corporations pay their fair share and will incentivize U.S. multinationals to create jobs and invest in the United States. The Budget contains additional measures to ensure that multinationals operating in the United States cannot use tax havens to undercut the global minimum tax.

 
Advancing Legislation to Lower Costs, Reduce the Deficit, and Expand Productive Capacity
 
The President is committed to working with Congress to sign legislation that lowers costs for American families, reduces the deficit, and expands the productive capacity of the American economy. That means cutting costs for prescription drugs, healthcare premiums, child care, long-term care, housing, and college; reducing energy costs by combatting climate change and accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy; supporting families by providing access to free, high-quality preschool, up to two years of free community college, nutritious food at school and resources to purchase food over the summer months, and paid family and medical leave and by continuing the enhanced Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit; and providing health coverage to millions of uninsured Americans. The President believes these proposals must be paired with reforms that ensure corporations and the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share, including ensuring that they pay the taxes they already owe.
 
Because discussions with Congress continue, the President’s Budget includes a deficit neutral reserve fund to account for a future agreement, preserving the revenue from tax and prescription drug reforms the President proposed last year for this legislation for the investments needed to bring down costs for American families and expand our productive capacity.
 
BUILDING A BETTER AMERICA
 
The Budget includes smart, targeted investments in the American people that will help build a better America. It will keep our communities safe and combat violent crime; promote job creation and expand the productive capacity of our economy; improve our public health infrastructure; ensure America leads the world in combating the climate crisis; and advance equity and opportunity for all. It strengthens our military and leverages America’s renewed strength at home to meet pressing global challenges, deepen partnerships and alliances, and manage crises as they arise.
 
Combating Crime to Keep Our Communities Safe
 

  • Puts More Police Officers on the Beat. The Budget provides $3.2 billion in discretionary resources for State and local grants, and $30 billion in mandatory re­sources to support law enforcement, crime preven­tion, and community violence intervention, including putting more officers for community policing on the beat across the Nation.
  • Provides More Tools to Tackle Gun Violence. The Budget provides $1.7 billion for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to expand multijurisdictional gun trafficking strike forces with additional personnel, increase regulation of the firearms industry, enhance ATF’s National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, and modernize the National Tracing Center.
  • Increases Federal Law Enforcement Capacity to Combat Violent Crime. Under the President’s Budget, key Federal law enforcement agencies like the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service will have the resources they need fight violent crime, including through fugitive apprehension and enforcement operations. The Budget also ensures U.S. Attorneys have the necessary support to prosecute violent crimes.
  • Strengthens Civil Rights Enforcement. The Budget makes important investments to support law enforcement while addressing longstanding inequities and strengthening civil rights protections. The Budget invests $367 million, an increase of $101 million over the 2021 enacted level, at the Department of Justice to support police reform, the prosecution of hate crimes, enforcement of voting rights, and efforts to provide equitable access to justice.
  • Supports Criminal Justice System Reform. The Budget includes $100 million for a historic multi-agency collaboration to provide comprehensive workforce development services to people in the Federal prison system and proposes $106 million to support the deployment of body-worn cameras to DOJ’s law enforcement officers.

 
Promoting Job Creation, Reducing Cost Pressures, and Boosting Productive Capacity
 

  • Increases Affordable Housing Supply. In communities throughout the country, rents are skyrocketing and homeownership is becoming increasingly out of reach. This strains family budgets and holds back our economy – making it harder for workers to afford to live near good jobs and good transportation options. To address the critical shortage of affordable housing in communities throughout the Nation, the Budget proposes $50 billion for housing construction and supply – addressing existing market gaps and helping to stabilize housing prices over the long-term. This includes funding, via the Department of Housing and Urban Development, for state and local housing finance agencies and their partners to provide grants, revolving loan funds, and other streamlined financing tools to boost housing supply, with a particular focus on housing types that have traditionally been difficult to finance using existing Federal financing but have the potential to boost supply and density in supply-constrained communities. The Budget also includes grants to advance and reward state and local jurisdictions’ efforts to remove barriers to affordable housing development. It also includes modifying Low-Income Housing Tax Credits to better incentivize new unit production, and funding for the Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund to support financing of new construction and substantial rehabilitation that creates net new units of affordable rental and for sale housing.
     
  • Accelerates Efforts to Move More Goods Faster through American Ports and Waterways. The Budget continues support for the historic levels of Federal investment to modernize America’s port and waterway infrastructure provided under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. It includes $230 million for the Port Infrastructure Development Program to strengthen maritime freight capacity, as well as $1.7 billion in spending for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to facilitate safe, reliable, and environmentally sustainable navigation at coastal ports. 
  • Strengthens the Nation’s Supply Chains through Domestic Manufacturing. To help ignite a resurgence of American manufacturing and strengthen domestic supply chains, the Budget provides $372 million, an increase of $206 million over the 2021 enacted level, for the National Institutes of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) manufacturing programs to launch two additional Manufacturing Innovation Institutes in 2023 and continue support for the two institutes funded in 2022. The Budget includes a $125 million increase for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership to make America’s small and medium manufacturers more competitive. The Budget also invests $200 million for a new Solar Manufacturing to build domestic capacity in solar energy supply chains while moving away from imported products.
  • Expands Access to Registered Apprenticeships and Equips Workers with Skills They Need to Obtain High-Quality Jobs. The Budget invests $303 million, a $118 million increase above the 2021 enacted level, to expand Registered Apprenticeship opportunities in high growth fields, such as information technology, advanced manufacturing, health care, and transportation, while increasing access for historically underrepresented groups, including people of color and women. In addition, the Budget invests $100 million to help community colleges work with the public workforce development system and employers to design and deliver high-quality workforce training programs. The Budget also provides $100 million for a new Sectoral Employment through Career Training for Occupational Readiness program, which will support training programs focused on growing industries, enabling disadvantaged workers to enter on-ramps to middle class jobs, and creating the skilled workforce the economy needs to thrive.
  • Fosters Competitive and Productive Markets and Targets Corporate Concentration. The Budget reflects the Administration’s commitment to vigorous marketplace competition through robust enforcement of antitrust law by including historic increases of $88 million for the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (ATR) and $139 million for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). 

 
Restoring American Leadership and Confronting Global Threats
 

  • Supports United States’ European Allies and Partners. The Budget includes $6.9 billion for the European Deterrence Initiative, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and countering Russian aggression to support Ukraine, the United States’ strong partnerships with NATO allies, and other European partner states by bolstering funding to enhance the capabilities and readiness of U.S. Forces, NATO allies, and regional partners in the face of Russian aggression.
  • Defends Freedom Globally. To support American leadership in defending democracy, freedom, and security worldwide, the Budget includes nearly $1.8 billion for the State Department and USAID to support a free and open, connected, secure, and resilient Indo-Pacific Region and the Indo-Pacific Strategy, and $400 million for the Countering the People’s Republic of China Malign Influence Fund. In addition, the Budget provides nearly $1 billion in assistance to Ukraine for State Department, USAID, and Department of Defense to counter Russian malign influence and to meet emerging needs related to security, energy, cyber security issues, disinformation, macroeconomic stabilization, and civil society resilience.
     
  • Promotes Integrated Deterrence in the Indo-Pacific and Globally. The Budget proposes $773 billion for the Department of Defense. To sustain and strengthen deterrence, the Budget prioritizes China as the Department’s pacing challenge. DOD’s 2023 Pacific Deterrence Initiative highlights some of the key investments the Department is making that are focused on strengthening deterrence in the Indo-Pacific region. DOD is building the concepts, capabilities, and posture necessary to meet these challenges, working in concert with the interagency and our allies and partners to ensure our deterrence is integrated across domains, theaters, and the spectrum of conflict.
  • Renews America’s Leadership in International Institutions. The Budget continues the Administration’s efforts to lead through international organizations by meeting the Nation’s commitments to fully fund U.S. contributions and to pay United Nations peacekeeping dues on time and in full. The Budget also provides $1.4 billion for the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA). This investment restores the United States’ historical role as the largest World Bank donor to support the development of low- and middle-income countries, which benefits the American people by increasing global stability, mitigating climate and health risks, and developing new markets for U.S exports.
  • Advances Equity and Equality Globally. The Budget provides $2.6 billion to advance gender equity and equality across a broad range of sectors. This includes $200 million for the Gender Equity and Equality Action Fund to advance the economic security of women and girls. This total also includes funding to strengthen the participation of women in conflict prevention, resolution, and recovery through the implementation of the Women, Peace, and Security Act.
  • Advances American Leadership in Global Health, Including Global Health Security and Pandemic Preparedness. The Budget includes $10.6 billion to bolster U.S. leadership in addressing global health and health security challenges. Within this total, the Budget supports a $2 billion contribution to the Global Fund’s seventh replenishment, for an intended pledge of $6 billion over three years, to save lives and continue the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, and to support the Global Fund’s expanding response to COVID-19 and global health strengthening. This total also includes $1 billion to prevent, prepare for, and respond to future infections disease outbreaks, including the continued expansion of Global Health Security Agenda capacity-building programs and a multilateral financial intermediary fund for health security and pandemic preparedness

 
Strengthening America’s Public Health & Advancing Cures for Cancer and Other Diseases
 

  • Prepares for Future Pandemics and Other Biological Threats. In addition to combatting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the United States must catalyze advances in science, technology, and core capabilities to prepare for future biological threats. The Budget makes transformative investments in pandemic preparedness across the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)—$81.7 billion available over five years—to enable an agile, coordinated, and comprehensive public health response to protect American lives, families, and the economy.
     
  • Builds Advanced Public Health Systems and Capacity. The Budget includes $9.9 billion to build capacity at CDC and state and local levels to improve the core immunization program, expand public health infrastructure in States and Territories, strengthen the public health workforce, support efforts to modernize public health data collection, increase capacity for forecasting and analyzing future outbreaks, including at the Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics, and conduct studies on Long COVID to inform diagnosis and treatment options.
     
  • Transforms Mental Health Care. The United States faces a mental health crisis that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Budget proposes reforms to health coverage and invests in the behavioral health workforce. It provides sustained and increased funding for community-based centers and clinics, and mental health staff in schools, makes historic investments in youth mental health and suicide prevention programs, and strengthens access to crisis services by building out the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and crisis services infrastructure. These resources will help build system capacity, connect more Americans to care, and create a system of support to improve mental health for all.
  • Advances Maternal Health and Health Equity. The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate among developed nations, with an unacceptably high mortality rate for Black and American Indian and Alaska Native women. The Budget includes $470 million to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity rates, expand maternal health initiatives in rural communities, implement implicit bias training for healthcare providers, create pregnancy medical home projects, and address the highest rates of perinatal disparities. The Budget also expands maternal and other health initiatives in rural communities to improve access to high-quality care.
  • Accelerates Innovation through the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H)The Budget proposes a major investment of $5 billion for ARPA-H, significantly increasing direct Federal research and development (R&D) spending in health to improve the health of all Americans. With an initial focus on cancer and other diseases such as diabetes and dementia, this major investment will drive transformational innovation in health technologies and speed the application and implementation of health breakthroughs.

 
Taking Historic Steps to Combat the Climate Crisis and Advance Environmental Justice
 

  • Invests in Clean Energy Infrastructure and Innovation. The Budget invests $3.3 billion to support clean energy projects that will create good paying jobs, continue to cut to cost of clean energy, and drive progress toward President Biden’s climate goals. Investments include $502 million to weatherize and retrofit low-income homes, including $100 million for a new LIHEAP Advantage pilot to electrify and decarbonize low-income homes, and $260 million to support energy efficiency improvements to USDA-assisted multifamily homes. In addition, the Budget provides $150 million to electrify Tribal homes and transition Tribal colleges and universities to renewable energy, and $80 million for a new Grid Deployment Office to build the grid of the future.
  • Strengthens Climate Resilience. The Budget provides more than $18 billion for climate resilience and adaptation programs across the Federal Government. These critical investments will reduce the risk of damages from floods and storms, restore the Nation’s aquatic ecosystems, and make HUD-assisted multifamily homes more climate resilient. In line with President Biden’s commitment to ensure the American’s fighting wildfires earn $15 an hour, the Budget includes $1.8 billion in the Forest Service and Department of the Interior to strengthen the Federal firefighting workforce, increase capacity, and improve firefighter compensation.
  • Advances Equity and Environmental Justice. The Budget provides historic support for underserved communities, and advances the President’s Justice40 commitment to ensure 40 percent of the benefits of Federal investments in climate and clean energy reach disadvantaged communities. The Budget includes $1.45 billion to bolster the EPA’s environment justice efforts that will help create good-paying jobs, clean up pollution, implement Justice40, advance racial equity, and secure environmental justice for communities that too often have been left behind
     
  • Achieves the President’s Historic Climate Pledge. The Budget includes over $11 billion in international climate finance, meeting the President’s pledge to quadruple international climate finance a year early. This funding will accelerate the global energy transition to net zero emissions by 2050; help developing countries build resilience to the growing impacts of climate change, including through the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience and other programs; and support the implementation of the President’s Plan to Conserve Global Forests. Among these critical investments are $1.6 billion for the Green Climate Fund, a critical multilateral tool for financing climate adaptation and mitigation projects in developing countries and support for a $3.2 billion loan to the Clean Technology Fund to finance clean energy projects in developing countries.
     

Expanding Economic Opportunity, Advancing Equity, and Strengthening our Democracy

  • Makes Historic Investments in K-12 Schools and Education Beyond High School. The Budget more than doubles funding for Title I compared to the 2021 enacted level through a combination of discretionary and mandatory funding. This substantial funding, which serves 25 million students in nearly 90 percent of school districts across America, is a major step toward fulfilling the President’s commitment to addressing long-standing funding disparities between under-resourced schools—which disproportionately serve students of color—and their wealthier counterparts. The Budget increases support for children with disabilities by providing a $3.3 billion increase for IDEA Grants to States – the largest two-year increase ever for the program. The budget also doubles funding for IDEA Grants for Infants and Families and proposes to reforms to increase equitable access to early intervention services with a proven record for improving academic and developmental outcomes. The Budget also provides $1 billion in sustainable funding to help schools increase the number of school counselors, psychologists, social workers and other health professionals. The Budget provides an additional $438 million for Full Service Community Schools, ramping up the mental health and wraparound supports in schools for students and their families. The Budget proposes to double the maximum Pell Grant by 2029, beginning with a historic $2,175 increase over the 2021-2022 school year, thereby expanding access and helping nearly 6.7 million students afford college.
     
  • Advances Child and Family Well-Being in the Child Welfare System. The Budget proposes to expand and incentivize the use of evidence-based foster care prevention services to keep families safely together and to reduce the number of children entering foster care, while also targeting resources to reduce the overrepresentation of children and families of color in the child welfare system. For children who do need to be placed into foster care, the Budget provides States with support to place more children with relatives or other adults who have an existing emotional bond with the child and fewer children in group homes and institutions while also providing additional funding to improve the educational outcomes of foster youth and support youth who age out of care without a permanent caregiver.
  • Guarantees Adequate and Stable Funding for the Indian Health Service (IHS). The Budget significantly increases IHS’s funding over time, and shifts it from discretionary to mandatory funding. For the first year of the proposal, the Budget includes $9.1 billion in mandatory funding, an increase of $2.9 billion above 2021. After that, IHS funding would automatically grow to keep pace with healthcare costs and population growth and gradually close longstanding service and facility shortfalls. Providing IHS stable and predictable funding will improve access to high quality healthcare, rectify historical underfunding of the Indian Health system, eliminate existing facilities backlogs, address health inequities, and modernize IHS’ electronic health record system.

Protects Our Elections and the Right to Vote. As our democracy faces threats across the country—and to provide state and local election officials with a predictable funding stream for critical capital investments and increased staffing and services—the Budget proposes $10 billion in new elections assistance funding to be allocated over ten years. The Budget also proposes to fund an expansion of U.S. Postal Service delivery capacity in underserved areas and support for vote-by-mail, including making ballots postage-free and reducing the cost of other election-related mail for jurisdictions and voters.

Biden Takes Action to Reduce Pain of ‘Putin’s Price Hike’ at the Pump

Americans are recoiling at rising prices at the pump, failing to appreciate that Europeans are seeing prices rise 45%, and despite the fact our supplies are not impacted by the embargo on Russian oil. Rather, Big Oil continues to record record profits, use windfall profits to buy back stock, reward shareholders and pay bonuses to CEOs. President Biden is appealing to the companies’ “patriotism” by pumping more supply and not pocketing quite as much, and also warning against price-gouging. He is also pushing the oil companies to utilize unused leases. The White House provided a fact sheet detailing how President Biden is responding to what he has dubbed “Putin’s Price Hike” at the pump © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Americans are recoiling at rising prices at the pump, failing to appreciate that Europeans are seeing prices rise 45%, and despite the fact our supplies are not impacted by the embargo on Russian oil. Rather, Big Oil continues to record record profits, use windfall profits to buy back stock, reward shareholders and pay bonuses to CEOs. President Biden is appealing to the companies’ “patriotism” by pumping more supply and not pocketing quite as much, and also warning against price-gouging. He is also pushing the oil companies to utilize unused leases. Here is a fact sheet from the White House of how President Biden is responding to what he has dubbed “Putin’s Price Hike” at the pump: –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Americans face rising prices at the pump because of Putin’s Price Hike.  Since Putin accelerated his military build-up around Ukraine, gas prices have increased by nearly a dollar per gallon.  Because of Putin’s war of choice, less oil is getting to market, and the reduction in supply is raising prices at the pump for Americans.  President Biden is committed to doing everything in his power to help American families who are paying more out of pocket as a result.  That is why President Biden announced a two-part plan to ease the pain that families are feeling by increasing the supply of oil starting immediately and achieving lasting American energy independence that reduces demand for oil and bolsters our clean energy economy. 
 
Immediately Increasing Supply
 
At the start of this year, gas was about $3.30 a gallon.  Today, it’s over $4.20, an increase of nearly $1.  And now, a significant amount of Russian oil is not making it to market.  The President banned the import of Russian oil – which Republicans and Democrats in Congress called for and supported.  It was the right thing to do.  But, as the President said, Russian oil coming off the global market would come with a cost, and Americans are seeing that at the pump.
 
The first part of the President’s plan is to immediately increase supply by doing everything we can to encourage domestic production now and through a historic release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to serve as a bridge to greater supply in the months ahead.
 
Increasing Domestic Production
 
The fact is that there is nothing standing in the way of domestic oil production. The United States is already approaching record levels of oil and natural gas production. There are oil companies that are doing the right thing and committing to ramp up production now.  Right now, domestic production is expected to increase by 1 million barrels per day this year and nearly 700,000 barrels per day next year.
 
Still, too many companies aren’t doing their part and are choosing to make extraordinary profits and without making additional investment to help with supply.  One CEO even acknowledged that, even if the price goes to $200 a barrel, they’re not going to step up production. 
 
Right now, the oil and gas industry is sitting on more than 12 million acres of non-producing Federal land with 9,000 unused but already-approved permits for production. Today, President Biden is calling on Congress to make companies pay fees on wells from their leases that they haven’t used in years and on acres of public lands that they are hoarding without producing. Companies that are producing from their leased acres and existing wells will not face higher fees. But companies that continue to sit on non-producing acres will have to choose whether to start producing or pay a fee for each idled well and unused acre.
 
Historic Release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a Bridge Through the Crisis

After consultation with allies and partners, the President will announce the largest release of oil reserves in history, putting one million additional barrels on the market per day on average – every day – for the next six months. The scale of this release is unprecedented: the world has never had a release of oil reserves at this 1 million per day rate for this length of time. This record release will provide a historic amount of supply to serve as bridge until the end of the year when domestic production ramps up.
 
The Department of Energy will use the revenue from the release to restock the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in future years. This will provide a signal of future demand and help encourage domestic production today, and will ensure the continued readiness of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to respond to future emergencies.  
 
President Biden is coordinating this action with allies and partners around the world, and other countries are expected to join in this action, bringing the total release to well over an average 1 million barrels per day.
 
Achieving Real American Energy Independence
 
The United States is the largest oil producer in the world and is a net energy exporter.  Despite that, the actions of a dictator half a world away can still impact American families’ pocketbooks. The President will announce his commitment to achieving real energy independence – which centers on reducing our dependence on oil altogether.
 
The President will call on Congress to pass his plan to speed the transition to clean energy that is made in America.  His plan will help ensure that America creates millions of good-paying union jobs in clean, cutting-edge industries for generations to come. And it will save American families money in the immediate future – including more than $950 a year in gas savings from taking advantage of electric vehicles, and an additional $500 a year from using clean electricity like solar and heat pumps to power their homes.   
 
And, the President will issue a directive, authorizing the use of the Defense Production Act to secure American production of critical materials to bolster our clean energy economy by reducing our reliance on China and other countries for the minerals and materials that will power our clean energy future.  Specifically, the DPA will be authorized to support the production and processing of minerals and materials used for large capacity batteries–such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, and manganese—and the Department of Defense will implement this authority using strong environmental, labor, community, and tribal consultation standards. The sectors supported by these large capacity batteries—transportation and the power sector—account for more than half of our nation’s carbon emissions.  The President is also reviewing potential further uses of DPA – in addition to minerals and materials – to secure safer, cleaner, and more resilient energy for America.
 
This week alone, President Biden announced historic efforts to increase energy efficiency and lower costs for consumers.  The Department of Energy opened applications for more than $3 billion in new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding—ten times the historical funding levels of the Weatherization Assistance Program—for energy efficiency and electrification upgrades in thousands of homes that will save families hundreds of dollars on utility bills.  The Administration also advanced smart standards that will lower consumer costs, including a roadmap of 100 actions this year that will save families $100 annually through more efficient home appliances and equipment, as well as new fuel economy standards for cars and trucks to save drivers money at the pump.  And the Administration is seeking additional opportunities to ramp up the deployment of heat pumps to displace fuel burned in buildings, as well as programs to drive efficiency, electrification, and use of clean fuels in the industrial sector.

Diplomacy, Economic Development , US Global Leadership Are Key to Biden’s New Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability

Letter from the President on the Implementation of the Global Fragility Act

 

President Joe Biden, speaking in Warsaw, points to Russia’s unprovoked, criminal invasion of Ukraine in advancing his U.S. Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability, in which the United States plays a leadership role – maximizing diplomacy and economic development – in helping countries address the root causes of conflict. ‘The world stands today at the dawn of a decisive decade — a moment of consequence and peril, of profound pain and extraordinary possibility.  Perhaps now more than ever, we have seen how the most urgent challenges of our time do not confine themselves within national borders. .. It is against this backdrop — at this inflection point in history — that America must lead.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via msnbc

The world stands today at the dawn of a decisive decade — a moment of consequence and peril, of profound pain and extraordinary possibility.  Perhaps now more than ever, we have seen how the most urgent challenges of our time do not confine themselves within national borders.  A global pandemic that has claimed more than six million lives.  A climate crisis that threatens the future of every continent.  An emboldening of autocrats who believe that democracy and multilateralism cannot deliver in the 21st century.  These tests, and more, are among the sternest that the world has ever faced.
 
It is against this backdrop — at this inflection point in history — that America must lead.  We know all too well that today’s most pressing challenges — their root causes as well as their impacts — are global in nature.  We know that America’s security and success hinge in no small measure on the peace and stability of the world beyond our borders.  We know that beneath the global crises we face lie breathtaking opportunities for our Nation and the world — if we can summon the will to seize them.
 
This document — a prologue to the U.S. Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability — represents an assertion of American leadership to take on the defining global challenges of our time.  Driven in large part by the tireless commitment of humanitarian advocates and civil society organizations working on the front lines of conflict, this Strategy is the product of a bipartisan vision, manifested by the passage of the Global Fragility Act in December 2019 with overwhelming bipartisan majorities.  It provides a roadmap:  a 10-year effort to strengthen the security and prosperity of people everywhere by helping to fortify the footing of parts of the world that continue to grapple with challenges that can lead to destabilizing conflict and violence.  It is, in short, an investment in global peace and security — one which will deliver critical returns not only in the nations with whom we’ll be working, but, most of all, here in the United States.
 
The heartbreaking images we are seeing in Ukraine — the result of a vicious and unprovoked attack by Vladimir Putin — are only the latest reminder of the tragic consequences of global conflict and the need to avert violence before it erupts.  We know that working broadly, strategically, and cooperatively to prevent conflict and instability is the greatest investment we can make in America’s future, and in the future of the entire world.  In Ukraine, as in Ethiopia, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere around the world, the incalculable toll of lives lost, families separated, economies destroyed, and social fabrics torn threatens to spiral whole regions into cycles of violence and loss that can linger for generations.  Doing all that we can to assist communities around the world in their conflict prevention efforts is more than just the right thing to do.  It saves lives, safeguards Americans’ own security and prosperity, and establishes the United States as a trusted partner — a force for peace and stability in the world, and a nation that can be counted on to work and learn productively alongside the nations of every region to tackle common challenges and strengthen our shared future.
 
This Strategy lays out a whole-of-government approach to advancing America’s national interests on the world stage.  This means tapping into the expansive expertise and resources that reside across our Government, sharpening and updating those tools where needed, humbly applying the costly and painful lessons from the past, and transforming the way we work with each other.  Our diplomats, officers, and experts in the State Department, the United States Agency for International Development, the Department of Defense, the Department of the Treasury, and others across Government, as well as members of the Foreign Service and Armed Forces, will work in close cooperation with multilateral organizations and a wide variety of local partners in each nation where these efforts will be pursued — including civil society organizations, community leaders, businesses, and government officials. 

Those who are closest and most vulnerable to these challenges know best where the opportunities for peace and stability lie — they represent the strongest source of promise and immunity from destabilizing forces, and we must support their strength and resilience.  From strengthening social institutions and state-society relations, to mitigating the spread of extremist ideologies, to confronting the corrosive impact of gender inequality, to cultivating greater trust between security forces and citizens, to guarding against the destabilizing threat of climate change — we will help foster locally led, locally owned solutions grounded in mutual trust and long-term accountability.
 
Prevention is hard work — measured not in days and weeks, but in years and generations.  Its successes are never as evident as its failures, and it requires us to remain focused on lasting peace and stability over the allure of easier, more temporary gains that may not strengthen our position in the long term.  But, with this Strategy, we are committing ourselves to the effort.  As we implement this Strategy, my Administration looks forward to working closely with the Congress on a bipartisan basis, and in close consultation with civil society institutions and stakeholders on every level.  United in our vision, America can and must lead this essential new effort to interrupt potential pathways to conflict, alleviate threats before they escalate and arrive on our shores, and help safeguard the economy, health, and security of our Nation for generations to come. –Joseph R. Biden, Jr. 
 

Addressing the Collective Challenges of our Time:

Implementing the U.S. Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability

Every country, including our own, experiences risks and challenges related to stability and conflict.  The international community grapples with issues that cut across borders, societies, ways of life, and economies.  As the world has witnessed too often, the effects of conflict and instability are not constrained by borders or technologies.  Cooperation and long-term investments in conflict prevention and stabilization are needed now more than ever to build peace across divided communities and boundaries.  We must collectively bolster societal resilience to prevent and reduce the heavy human and financial costs of conflicts that undermine global peace, security and sustainable development. 
 
On March 24, 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration launched the implementation of the U.S. Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability with partner countries across the globe.  The Strategy outlines a ten-year, evidence-based, whole-of-government effort to foster peace and long-term stability through integrated U.S. diplomacy, development, and security-sector engagement with dual goals of strengthening national and regional peace, resilience and stability and enhancing the way our government operates in a variety of contexts.
 
Through collective action and partnership, the United States seeks to advance the vision and goals of the landmark Global Fragility Act through this Strategy in four diverse countries and one sub-region facing a wide variety of challenges to peace and stability.  This Strategy advances U.S. national security and interests.  The work now underway represents an important milestone, and next step, in the implementation of the Global Fragility Act, which continues to enjoy strong support within the U.S. Congress and among civil society.  Through a spirit of partnership, we can and will build on strengths of communities, governments, and nations to rebound from shocks, confront negative global trends and create new paradigms for broader cooperation.  The Strategy and Prologue chart a new path toward positive results that strengthen democracy, rule of law, security, good governance, gender equity and equality, health, education, and respect for human rights all aligned to fuel reservoirs of peace, strength and recovery and extinguish potential discord before it is sparked.
 
The United States will partner with Haiti, Libya, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, and Coastal West Africa (Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, and Togo) guided by these principles:

  • Work collaboratively with government and civic partners on an integrated approach to prevent conflict, promote resilience and stability, and advance economic development;
     
  • Look beyond urgent crises and near-term needs to focus on mutually determined strategic goals and interests through whole-of-government ten-year plans;
     
  • Utilize development, diplomacy, and security-sector means in a coordinated way to support the pursuit of goals, foster an enabling environment, and solidify progress;
     
  • Provide new tools and insights to strengthen democratic institutions, for example in the areas of rule of law, anti-corruption, law enforcement, and fiscal transparency, and to promote human rights and gender equity and equality;
     
  • Adapt to and learning from changing conditions, anchor efforts in local communities, and make strategic adjustments based on joint analyses, research, and monitoring and evaluation; and
     
  • Take a multifaceted approach to address other current and emerging challenges, such as the climate crisis, global pandemics and declining democratic practices. 

The U.S. Congress authorized up to $200 million a year for these efforts and appropriated $125 million in Fiscal Year 2022 for the Prevention and Stabilization Fund, which supplements existing bilateral U.S. assistance to these partner countries.  This funding will support the development of ten-year implementation plans and related regional and multilateral activities.

The Biden-Harris Administration will closely monitor progress, milestones, and accomplishments under the Strategy.  These efforts will endure across future U.S. Administrations and advance much needed innovative approaches to peace and stability.

Read the Biden letter on the Global Fragility Act Implementation

Biden Administration Launches COVID.gov, a New One-Stop Shop Website for Vaccines, Tests, Treatments, Masks and Latest COVID-19 Information

Website will Feature a New Test-to-Treat Locator Tool to Help People Access the Over 2,000 Locations that Offer COVID-19 Tests and Antiviral Pills at One Convenient Location
 
Administration Continues to Urge Congress to Provide Funding Immediately to Help Keep These Life-Saving Protections Readily Available to All

President Joe Biden sits for his second booster shot, just approved by the CDC for people 50+ or immune-compromised, moments after announcing the new COVID.gov site, where anyone can find Test-to-Treat sites, get lifesaving tools including vaccines, tests, treatments, and updates on COVID-19 in their area © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via msnbc

Today, the Biden Administration is launching COVID.gov, a new one-stop shop website to help all people in the United States gain even better access to lifesaving tools like vaccines, tests, treatments, and masks, as well as get the latest updates on COVID-19 in their area. The Administration has worked over the past 14 months to set up over 90,000 vaccination sites, make more than 400 million high-quality masks available for free, send free tests to peoples’ homes, and stand up new test-to-treat sites where people can get tested and receive life-saving antivirals all in one place. Now, with a click of a button, people will be able to find where to access all of these tools, as well as receive the latest CDC data on the level of COVID-19 in their community.

As part of COVID.gov, a new Test-to-Treat locator will help people access pharmacies and community health centers across the nation where people can get tested for COVID-19 and receive appropriate treatments if they need them. President Biden announced the Test-to-Treat initiative in his State of the Union address earlier this month. Since that time, the Administration has already launched over 2,000 of these sites, plus more than 240 sites across Veteran’s Health Administration and Department of Defense facilities to serve veterans, military personnel, and their families. As has been the case throughout the pandemic, the Administration is ensuring locations are established in our most hard-hit and high-risk communities.

Because of the lifesaving tools we now have, America is in a new moment in the pandemic. The country is moving forward safely and people are getting back to their more normal routines. To ensure we’re sustaining and building on this progress and protecting and preparing for new variants, earlier this month, the President released his National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. The President was clear that in order to execute on this plan and to stay ahead of the virus, the Administration needs additional funding from Congress—including $22.5 billion in immediate emergency funds. To date, Congress has failed to provide those funds and the country is already suffering the consequences. In the last two weeks, the Administration has had to stop reimbursing health care providers for treating the uninsured, cancel monoclonal antibody orders and cut states’ supply, reduce orders of treatments for the immunocompromised, and pull the U.S. out of line for future vaccine and next-generation treatment purchases. These issues disproportionately impact our hardest-hit and highest-risk populations, including communities of color and individuals with disabilities. The Administration continues to urge Congress to act quickly, as the consequences will continue to get worse in the coming weeks.

Protecting the American people from COVID-19 now and into the future relies on affordable and accessible tools like vaccines, treatments, tests and high-quality masks. Through efforts like COVID.gov and Test-to-Treat, the Administration continues to take steps to make these tools even more readily available. Now, we need Congress to do its part and continue to fund the COVID-19 response.

Today’s announcements include:

Launch of COVID.gov, A New One-Stop-Shop Website Where Individuals Can Find Where to Access Vaccines, Tests, Treatments, and High-Quality Masks. Today, the Administration launched COVID.gov, a new website to help people access vaccines, tests, treatments, and high-quality masks. COVID.gov also provides people an easy way to find the level of COVID-19 in their community. Early last year, the Administration launched Vaccines.gov and an associated call line to help people locate and make appointments at vaccine sites near them. In January of this year, the Administration launched COVIDTests.gov where people could order tests and have them shipped to their homes for free. COVID.gov will allow individuals to access both of these services at one convenient, easy-to-use website. It will also offer information about where to find free high-quality masks and, for the first time, where to access COVID-19 treatments.

COVID.gov will be available in English, Spanish, and Simplified Chinese and is accessible for those using assistive technologies. The Administration is also making all of these COVID-19 tools available over the phone through the National Hotline at 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489), which supports over 150 languages. For individuals with disabilities who may need additional support, the Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL) is also available to help at 1-888-677-1199 or via email at DIAL@usaginganddisability.org

New Locator Tool to Help Individuals Access the Over 2,000 Test-to-Treat Sites Across the Country. Today, as part of COVID.gov, the Administration launched a new Test-to-Treat locator tool to help the public access lifesaving drugs if they are sick with COVID-19. President Biden announced in his State of the Union address the creation of the Test-to-Treat initiative. This program creates one-stop-shop locations where people can get a COVID-19 test and receive an oral antiviral treatment, if appropriate for them because they test positive and face high risks from COVID. Since the launch earlier this month, there are now over 2,000 Test-to-Treat locations nationwide, including in pharmacy-based clinics, federally-qualified community health centers (FQHCs), and long-term care facilities. As has been the case since December, people can still be tested and treated by their own health care providers who can appropriately prescribe these oral antivirals at locations where they are being distributed, now more easily identified than ever by the Test to Treat locator.  

Test-to-Treat Available for All Patients in Veteran’s Health Administration and Military Personnel and Their Families. Test-to-Treat is now available for all Veterans Affairs (VA) patients in VA clinics across the country. Linking patients who test positive with treatments that are appropriate for them is the standard of care in VA clinics. Each test done in the VA is linked to a care team, and accompanied by review, patient counseling, and consideration for treatment indication and eligibility. The VA also allows individuals with a positive home test result to have a virtual visit to connect with counseling and to receive oral medication if appropriate. VA sites have access to oral antiviral treatments for COVID-19, and treatment generally is provided on site or delivered via expedited mail. In addition, the Department of Defense (DoD) has made one-stop Test-to-Treat available at more than 60 DoD Medical Treatment Facilities (MTFs) across the country, with hundreds more primed to start operating soon. MTF patients across the country—including active duty service members and TRICARE beneficiaries—can access Test-to-Treat at facilities in their communities. 

Hundreds of Test-to-Treat Locations in FQHCs and Indian Health Service Facilities Across the Country to Protect Hard-Hit and High-Risk Communities from COVID-19. Test-to-Treat locations also are available in more than 240 FQHCs and Indian Health Service (IHS) Facilities across the country, ensuring access to lifesaving treatments in some of our hardest-hit and highest-risk communities. The number of these locations will continue to grow in the coming weeks, as more and more FQHCs, Rural Health Clinics, and IHS locations come online with Test-to-Treat programs. These community providers will continue to serve as trusted messengers in raising awareness about the availability of lifesaving treatments, and also partner with community-based organizations to reach specific high-risk populations, including individuals with disabilities.

On 1-Year Anniversary of American Rescue Plan, Highlighting the Difference in People’s Lives

ARP powered historic jobs recovery – with the largest calendar increase in jobs on record, unemployment down to 3.8%, and record drops in Hispanic Unemployment and Youth Unemployment – and ensured less scarring than any recovery in memory.

Among the ways the American Rescue Plan, signed a year ago, had a positive impact on people’s lives is funding the distribution of 200 million vaccines and millions of therapeutics, saving lives and spurring the biggest, fastest rebound in the economy in the world © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

With the focus on Ukraine’s desperate fight against Russia’s criminal war and President Joe Biden’s role in marshaling the free world in its defense, little attention is being paid to the Biden Administration’s domestic actions that are having real achievements. On the one-year anniversary of the American Rescue Plan, the White House highlighted the difference the ARP is making in ordinary people’s lives; – Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Lowering Health Care Costs and Increasing Health Coverage

  • 14.5 million Americans – the most ever – signed up for ACA marketplace plans due to, on average, 50% lower costs in premiums for returning consumers.
    • Nationwide, existing consumers with a new or updated plan selection after ARP saved an average of $67 (or 50%) per consumer per month on premiums, totaling $537 million per month in savings. In twenty states and the District of Columbia, existing consumers saved over $75 per month, on average, due to the ARP.
       
  • 5.8 million more Americans have health insurance today than a year ago. Between 2016 and 2019, 3.6 million Americans lost coverage.
     
  • A family of four is saving an average of $2,400 on their annual premiums. Four out of five consumers could find quality coverage for under $10 a month.
     

Investing in Mental Health:

  • $3 billion invested in expanding access to mental health and substance use services at the state level – largest one-time investment in history for mental health and substance use programs.
     
  • Billions more in American Rescue Plan funding are being used to address mental health challenges affecting our children, including through hiring school social workers and counselors. With the help of American Rescue Plan K-12 funding, schools have already seen a 65% increase in social workers, and a 17% increase in counselors. 

 
Fighting COVID

  • Distributed 200 million vaccines, and millions of therapeutics using ARP dollars.
     
  • 375 million at-home tests per month now available; before ARP, no at-home tests.
     
  • $14.5 billion to address COVID for America’s veterans, including support for 37,000 homeless veterans.

 
Getting Kids Back in School

  • Today, 99% of schools are openBefore ARPonly 46% of schools were open in-person.
     
  • Major Investments in Keeping Schools Open, Combatting Learning Loss & Addressing Mental Health Challenges: Independent experts estimate based on school district plans that 59% of school districts are using ARP funds to hire/retain teachers and counselors, 35% are using ARP funds to hire/retain psychologists and mental health staff, and 52% are using ARP funds for HVAC and ventilation.
     
  • A survey from the School Superintendents Association indicated 82% of superintendents plan to use funds to expand social, emotional, mental and physical health and development.

 
Supporting Working Families

  • Expanded Child Tax Credit for Working Families – Helping Deliver Record Lows in Child Poverty.
    • The 2021 CTC will reach a record nearly 40 million families with 65 million children.
    • Expanded $3,000 credit for kids age 6-17 and $3,600 for kids under 6
    • Experts estimate that the Child Tax Credit was the main driver in the American Rescue Plan bringing child poverty to record lows in 2021– including record low Black and Hispanic child poverty.
       
  • Economic Impact Payments for Vast Majority of Americans
    • Over 170 million Economic Impact Payments to 85% of all Americans – including an additional 19+ million payments to Social Security beneficiaries, 3 million payments to SSI beneficiaries, and 320,000 payments to Veterans who would not have received these benefits under normal tax filing requirements.
       
  • Ensured Kids didn’t go hungry in the summer
    • Estimated 30 million kids fed with first nationwide Summer supplemental nutrition program – more than 10x higher than 2019 summer meals for kids.
       
  • Unprecedented Emergency Rental Relief and Eviction Prevention
    • Over 4 million Emergency Rental Assistance payments to tenants in a single year – by orders of magnitude the largest eviction prevention effort in history.
    • Eviction filings at just 60% of historic averages in 5 months after CDC moratorium – even though some had projected an eviction tsunami.
       
  • More than doubled the amount of LIHEAP – the most ever going to help with Heating and Cooling Costs of well over 5 million households

 
Helping People Get Back to Work

  • Most One-Time Support for Childcare Providers Ever to Keep Them Open and Operating
    • 150,000+ providers supported by childcare stabilization payments so far, the most support for childcare providers ever.
    • More than 5 million children served by these providers.
       
  • Expanded Earned Income Tax Credit for Workers
    • Tripled EITC for 17 million workers without dependent children from $540 to $1500 – first increase since 1993 – and extended the credit to younger & older workers.
    • Helping millions of front-line workers: This expansion will help nearly 1.8 million cashiers and retail salespeople; almost 1 million cooks and food prep workers; and more than 850,000 nurses and health aides, 500,000 janitors, 400,000 truck and delivery drivers, and 300,000 childcare workers.
       
  • Getting Americans Back to Work with State and Local Investments
    • Over half of states and scores of cities across the country have invested in workforce development, apprenticeships, training, and premium pay for essential workers – with premium pay to nearly 750,000 essential workers.
    • State and local governments added 467,000 jobs in 2021 – best year since 2001.

Staying True to Our Veterans:

  • ARP provided resources for veterans currently receiving housing support, including an estimated 37,000 homeless veterans.
     
  • ARP cancelled health care copayment charges for 2.5 million veterans during the pandemic – worth $1 billion.
     
  • ARP Child Tax Credit expansion meant that roughly 5 million children in veteran and Active Duty families are receiving the credit for 2021, per CBPP estimates.
     
  • ARP invested in 16,000 veterans’ health care with ARP funds for 158 State Veterans Homes operations and for State Veterans Home renovations and capital projects.
  • ARP funding is enabling the Veterans Benefits Administration to reduce the claims backlog from 212,000 in March 2021 to 100,000 by September 2022.  

 
Rescuing and Transforming Our Communities:

  • Dozens of cities and 21 states have already committed ARP Fiscal Recovery Funds to public safety, including critical investments in gun crime prevention – hiring and retaining police officers for community policing and investing in critical technology to take on increases in gun and other violent crimes, and supporting evidence-based community violence interventions and summer youth employment.
     
  • State and local, Education and HUD investments in affordable housing and fighting homelessness:
    • ARP Department of Education program to provide services and enable full attendance for students experiencing homelessness will reach 1.5 million children. 
    • ARP added about 70,000 emergency vouchers to the rental market through HUD.
    • ARP funded new housing counseling program which is expected to provide 80,000 housing counseling sessions.
    • Roughly half of cities and states are investing some portion of their State and Local Funds in housing assistance and investments  from New Jersey’s $750 million eviction prevention and utilities program to Austin and Travis County’s $200 million ARP investment in a comprehensive plan to take on its homelessness crisis.
       
  • Broadband Investments underway across the country: 20 states have already invested Fiscal Recovery Funds to expand broadband access – in addition to $10 billion Capital Projects Fund which they can use to help ensure that all communities have access to high quality modern infrastructure needed to access critical services, including broadband.
    • Even with more on the way, states and territories have already announced about $9 billion in ARP investments to expand high speed internet access.
       
  • Long-needed investments in clean water: with 21 states already committing Fiscal Recovery Funds to improve water and sewer infrastructure, including removing lead pipes.
    • Even with more on the way, states and territories have already announced investing $7.5 billion in ARP funds for water and sewer improvements.

Providing Permanent Tax Relief for Puerto Rico Families

  • Made hundreds of thousands of families in Puerto Rico eligible for CTC for first time – previously ~90% of families excluded from CTC.
     
  • First-ever Federal Support for Puerto Rico’s EITC, more than tripling workers’ benefits.

Most support ever for Tribal Communities

  • $32 billion to Tribal communities and Native people, the largest in assistance to tribal governments in history.

FACT SHEET:
How The American Rescue Plan Is Keeping America’s Schools Open Safely, Combating Learning Loss, And Addressing Student Mental Health
 

On March 11, 2021 – one year ago – President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act into law, an unprecedented $1.9 trillion package of emergency assistance measures. The ARP provides a historic investment in America’s preschool through twelfth grade (P-12) schools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to keep schools safely open, tackle learning loss and mental health. These funds include $122 billion for P-12 schools in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds. ARP also dedicated an additional $8 billion to states and school districts to meet the needs of certain student populations, including over $3 billion for students with disabilities and $800 million for children and youth experiencing homelessness.
 
ARP has already had a significant impact on schools across the country: over the last year, states, school districts, and schools have used these funds to safely reopen and sustain in-person instruction, combat learning loss, and address students’ mental health needs.
 
In his State of the Union address last week, President Biden called on schools to hire more teachers, urged the American people to sign up to be tutors and mentors, and – as part of his unity agenda – encouraged the country to come together to address child mental health. ARP ESSER funds are supporting this agenda in several ways:

  • Schools have gone from 46% open before ARP to 99% safe and open today: Before ARP was signed into law, just 46 percent of America’s P-12 schools were open for full-time, in-person learning. Today, over 99 percent of P-12 schools are open for full-time, in-person instruction.
     
  • ARP led to record growth in local education jobs that are critical to meeting students’ academic and mental health needs: Although there is more work to do to address longstanding educator shortages and return to pre-pandemic levels, ARP has led to record jobs growth in the education sector. With the help of ARP ESSER funding, local governments added more than 279,000 education jobs in 2021 – the best calendar year of jobs growth since records began in 1956 – and added an additional nearly 46,000 jobs in the first two months of 2022. Schools have already seen a 65% increase in social workers and a 17% increase in counselors relative to before the pandemic.
     
  • Analysis of school district plans shows overwhelming majority of funds are being used for priorities like teachers, counselors, academic recovery, mental health, and health and safety measures like ventilation improvements:  FutureEd – an education think tank at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy – analyzed data on a representative sample of over 3,000 school districts’ plans covering 55% of ARP ESSER funds. This analysis showed:
    • Nearly 60% of funds are being used to:
      • invest in staffing – both retaining current staff and expanding professional development opportunities, as well as recruiting, hiring and training of new teachers, school staff and mental health professionals to increase school capacity and meet the academic and mental health needs of students;
      • combat learning loss through student support programs such as evidence-based tutoring, expanded after-school and summer learning and enrichment programs, and the purchase of millions of new textbooks and learning materials; and 
      • supporting the physical and mental health of students and educators.
    • Another 24% is being invested in keeping schools operating safely, including providing PPE and updating school facilities to support health and safety. This includes investments in lead abatement and an estimated nearly $10 billion for improvements to HVAC and ventilation.
       
  • ARP has fueled investments in education spending and accelerated the rate of spending of education relief funds by five to six times: Before the passage of ARP, states and school districts were spending a total of a little more than $500 million per month of federal emergency relief funds for education. Since the passage of the ARP and the assurance to states and school districts that critical funds were on their way, the monthly rate of spending of ESSER funds from ARP and earlier relief legislation has accelerated to more than $3 billion per month – an increase of five to six times.
     
  • All 50 states submitted clear spending plans that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Education: On March 24, less than two weeks after ARP was signed, two-thirds of funds – $81 billion – were released. To ensure funds would be used effectively, states had to submit and receive approval on their spending plan to receive their final third of funds. As of December 2021, every state, plus DC and Puerto Rico, submitted a plan, the U.S. Department of Education has approved all plans, and all $122 billion in ARP ESSER funds have been made available to states.
     
  • Survey of 600 school superintendents shows school leaders are meeting the challenge of the President’s unity agenda by using funds for students’ mental health and other developmental needs: The COVID-19 pandemic has subjected many young Americans to social isolation, loss of routines, and traumatic grief – increasing the need for mental health supports. A recent survey by AASA, The School Superintendents Association, found that 82% of districts plan to use funds to address this need by expanding supports for social, emotional, mental, and physical health and development.
     
  • States and school districts have deployed funds strategically while engaging meaningfully with their communities – including parents: In developing their spending plans, states and school districts were required to engage members of the community, including parents, educators, students, representatives of students with disabilities and others. The U.S. Department of Education continues to encourage states and school districts to consult with these critical partners on how to ensure these funds have the most impact in classrooms.

ARP ESSER-Funded State and District Activities
From the U.S. Department of Education
 
Safely Reopening Schools and Sustaining Safe Operations
Safely reopening schools and keeping them open safely are essential for student learning and well-being. 

  • Houston Independent School District (HISD) in Texas has allocated ARP ESSER funds to campuses for COVID-19 mitigation efforts. HISD has provided COVID-19 testing at 90 percent of its campuses and has hosted nearly 100 vaccine clinics.
     
  • The DeKalb County School District in Georgia upgraded air filters from MERV 8 to MERV 13 in every school facility that could accommodate that size filter and took steps to improve ventilation in all other schools using ARP ESSER funding.
     
  • White Plains City School District in New York will use a combination of local and federal funds to replace the HVAC units across their district to provide a safer learning environment for students and staff. Upon completion, the total project will cost $26.3 million, with nearly one-third of the funding coming from relief funds, including ARP ESSER.

Combating Learning Loss
States and school districts have the resources they need, and are required to address the impacts of the pandemic on students’ learning. States and districts nationwide are using funds to hire teachers and other instructional staff, launch tutoring, summer and afterschool programs (which states are required to fund), and make long-overdue investments in instructional materials. States are specifically required to address the needs of students disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, including students with disabilities, English learners, and students experiencing homelessness.
 
Recruiting, Retaining, and Expanding Professional Development of Staff:

  • Maine School Administrative District 11 is addressing gaps in learning opportunities by using ARP ESSER funds to hire nine new teachers and implement a new math, language arts, and social studies program. The additional teachers permitted the district to reduce class sizes from 22-24 students to an average of 14-16 students. The district has provided external and internal coaching, ongoing professional learning, and additional support to educators and staff.
     
  • Gaston County Schools in North Carolina is adding an additional teacher and a temporary employee per school to decrease class sizes, help manage workloads and provide classroom coverage in each of its 54 schools using ARP ESSER funding. This supports and helps retain current teachers, who are less likely to have to give up planning time to cover another classroom, or combine classrooms, and also benefits students whose learning is less likely to be disrupted by the absence of another teacher.
     
  • The Asheville City Schools Board of Education in North Carolina is using ARP ESSER funds for a bonus of $3,000 to $3,500 over the course of the year for full-time teachers and faculty in order to increase staff retention.
     
  • Providence Public School District in Rhode Island is launching new incentives to recruit and retain highly-qualified educators, including early signing bonuses for newly-hired educators and support staff in hard-to-fill positions using  ARP ESSER funding.

Summer Learning and Enrichment:  

  • In New Mexico, the College and Career Readiness Bureau of the New Mexico Public Education Department launched the Summer Enrichment Internship Program in 2021 using ARP ESSER funding. The program covers the cost of summer internships for New Mexico high school students and provides high school students, particularly those most impacted by the pandemic, with the opportunity to participate in high-quality internships in government agencies, including county, tribal, and municipal placements. Over 300 community partners and 1,200 student interns participated across 26 counties. Summer jobs programs like these that engage students are also important community violence intervention strategies. This program will continue in the summer of 2022 as well.
     
  • Cleveland Metropolitan School District in Ohio used ARP ESSER funds to increase summer learning participation seven-fold. In 2021, 8,400 students participated in summer school, compared to 1,000-1,200 students in previous years. Focused on “Finish, Enrich, and Engage,” the expanded summer school offered 12 weeks of programming that allowed for credit accumulation and unfinished learning. Students engaged in problem-based learning units in the morning with engagement activities like clubs and sports in the afternoon. This inclusive programming, which included students with disabilities and multilingual learners, will continue in summer 2022.
     
  • The Oklahoma State Department of Education is using ARP ESSER funds to implement evidence-based summer learning and enrichment programs and to expand afterschool programming through partnerships with community organizations. They provide for social, emotional, and academic support and access to technology. This initial investment of $6 million provided services through 28 organizations, at 140 sites, serving an average 11,000 students a month through the summer of 2021.

Tutoring: 

  • The Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education has established the Arkansas Tutoring Corps using ARP ESSER funding. The Arkansas Tutoring Corps program includes recruitment, preparation, and support for candidates to become qualified tutors to provide instruction or intervention to meet the academic needs of students most impacted by lost instructional time. A system connects prepared candidates with organizations seeking to support students’ academic needs. The program is already enhancing learning experiences of students due to loss of instructional time and addressing gaps in foundational skills in mathematics and literacy.

 
Meeting Students’ Social, Emotional, and Mental Health Needs
Districts and states must use a portion of ARP ESSER funds for evidence-based interventions that respond to students’ social, and emotional needs – such as the ability to collaborate with others or persist through difficult challenges – and to support students’ mental health. Districts must specifically address the impact of the pandemic on groups of students that were disproportionately impacted. 
 
Hiring Counselors and Increasing Supports:

  • The Kansas Department of Education has developed a Grow Your Own Counselor model with ARP ESSER funding that encourages districts to identify candidates and employ them as student services coordinators while they develop their skills in an approved school counseling graduate program.
     
  • The Nevada Department of Education has allocated $7.5 million to support districts in hiring 100 additional school based mental health professionals. Using ARP ESSER funding, the state is spending $1.7 million to hire a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support coach for every district.
     
  • Plymouth-Canton Community Schools in Michigan hired three full-time high school counseling staff to decrease counselor caseloads with ARP ESSER funding. Counselors are now able to dedicate more time to individual student meetings, attend meetings with assistant principals and deans to review academic progress and other needs of students, and develop a wellness center at each campus.

Community Schools:

  • The New York City Department of Education announced an investment of $10 million to expand the district’s research-based community schools initiative from 266 to 406 sites citywide using ARP ESSER funding. These schools provide integrated student support services to students and the surrounding community, such as mental health care, adult education courses, community violence intervention programs, and nutrition support.

Strengthening the Educator Workforce
The pandemic has taken a toll on the nation’s educators as well as its students. States and districts should support and stabilize the educator workforce and make staffing decisions that will help address students’ social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs. 

  • The Tennessee Department of Education has created a “Grow Your Own” grant with federal funding, including ARP ESSER, that is designed to foster partnerships between educator preparation programs (EPPs) and districts to provide promising and innovative, no-cost pathways to the teaching profession by increasing EPP enrollment and growing the supply of qualified teachers. The program is currently comprised of 65 partnerships between 14 EPPs and 63 districts across the state – enabling over 650 future educators to become a Tennessee teacher for free. $6.5 million has been allocated to this program thus far. Tennessee also pioneered a pathway with the U.S. Department of Labor by establishing the nation’s first registered apprenticeship program for teachers, which will help sustain the state’s Grow Your Own programs and partnerships leveraging federal apprenticeship funding.  

Biden Signs Executive Order Ensuring Responsible Innovation in Digital Assets, Crytpocurrencies

Outlines First Whole-of-Government Strategy to Protect Consumers, Financial Stability, National Security, and Address Climate Risks

President Biden signed an Executive Order outlining the first ever, whole-of-government approach to addressing the risks and harnessing the potential benefits of digital assets and their underlying technology. The Order lays out a national policy for digital assets across six key priorities: consumer and investor protection; financial stability; illicit finance; U.S. leadership in the global financial system and economic competitiveness; financial inclusion; and responsible innovation (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via msnbc.

Digital assets, including cryptocurrencies, have seen explosive growth in recent years, surpassing a $3 trillion market cap last November and up from $14 billion just five years prior. Surveys suggest that around 16 percent of adult Americans – approximately 40 million people – have invested in, traded, or used cryptocurrencies. Over 100 countries are exploring or piloting Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), a digital form of a country’s sovereign currency.

[My personal belief is that Russian oligarchs, looking for places to stash their billions, had something to do with the run-up in value. The administration stated that the use of cryptocurrency we do not think is a viable workaround to the set of financial sanctions we’ve imposed across the entire Russian economy and, in particular, to its central bank,” but that does not take into account purchases that might have been made before sanctions were imposed, or these new protections. A request for comment was unanswered.]

The White House provided this fact sheet detailing Biden’s whole-of-government strategy to protect consumers, financial stability, national security and address climate risks posted by digital assets: –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
 
The rise in digital assets creates an opportunity to reinforce American leadership in the global financial system and at the technological frontier, but also has substantial implications for consumer protection, financial stability, national security, and climate risk. The United States must maintain technological leadership in this rapidly growing space, supporting innovation while mitigating the risks for consumers, businesses, the broader financial system, and the climate. And, it must play a leading role in international engagement and global governance of digital assets consistent with democratic values and U.S. global competitiveness.
 
That is why President Biden signed an Executive Order outlining the first ever, whole-of-government approach to addressing the risks and harnessing the potential benefits of digital assets and their underlying technology. The Order lays out a national policy for digital assets across six key priorities: consumer and investor protection; financial stability; illicit finance; U.S. leadership in the global financial system and economic competitiveness; financial inclusion; and responsible innovation.

Specifically, the Executive Order calls for measures to:

  • Protect U.S. Consumers, Investors, and Businesses by directing the Department of the Treasury and other agency partners to assess and develop policy recommendations to address the implications of the growing digital asset sector and changes in financial markets for consumers, investors, businesses, and equitable economic growth. The Order also encourages regulators to ensure sufficient oversight and safeguard against any systemic financial risks posed by digital assets.
     
  • Protect U.S. and Global Financial Stability and Mitigate Systemic Risk by encouraging the Financial Stability Oversight Council to identify and mitigate economy-wide (i.e., systemic) financial risks posed by digital assets and to develop appropriate policy recommendations to address any regulatory gaps.
     
  • Mitigate the Illicit Finance and National Security Risks Posed by the Illicit Use of Digital Assets by directing an unprecedented focus of coordinated action across all relevant U.S. Government agencies to mitigate these risks. It also directs agencies to work with our allies and partners to ensure international frameworks, capabilities, and partnerships are aligned and responsive to risks.
     
  • Promote U.S. Leadership in Technology and Economic Competitiveness to Reinforce U.S. Leadership in the Global Financial System by directing the Department of Commerce to work across the U.S. Government in establishing a framework to drive U.S. competitiveness and leadership in, and leveraging of digital asset technologies. This framework will serve as a foundation for agencies and integrate this as a priority into their policy, research and development, and operational approaches to digital assets.
     
  • Promote Equitable Access to Safe and Affordable Financial Services by affirming the critical need for safe, affordable, and accessible financial services as a U.S. national interest that must inform our approach to digital asset innovation, including disparate impact risk. Such safe access is especially important for communities that have long had insufficient access to financial services.  The Secretary of the Treasury, working with all relevant agencies, will produce a report on the future of money and payment systems, to include implications for economic growth, financial growth and inclusion, national security, and the extent to which technological innovation may influence that future.
     
  • Support Technological Advances and Ensure Responsible Development and Use of Digital Assets by directing the U.S. Government to take concrete steps to study and support technological advances in the responsible development, design, and implementation of digital asset systems while prioritizing privacy, security, combating illicit exploitation, and reducing negative climate impacts.
     
  • Explore a U.S. Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) by placing urgency on research and development of a potential United States CBDC, should issuance be deemed in the national interest. The Order directs the U.S. Government to assess the technological infrastructure and capacity needs for a potential U.S. CBDC in a manner that protects Americans’ interests. The Order also encourages the Federal Reserve to continue its research, development, and assessment efforts for a U.S. CBDC, including development of a plan for broader U.S. Government action in support of their work. This effort prioritizes U.S. participation in multi-country experimentation, and ensures U.S. leadership internationally to promote CBDC development that is consistent with U.S. priorities and democratic values.

The Administration will continue work across agencies and with Congress to establish policies that guard against risks and guide responsible innovation, with our allies and partners to develop aligned international capabilities that respond to national security risks, and with the private sector to study and support technological advances in digital assets.