Washington, D.C.– Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) released the following statementon the historic achievements made by Senate Democrats since President Biden took office:
“There are two words that I believe perfectly summarize the Senate under Democratic leadership: productive and bipartisan. To even do small things in the Senate is tough. To pass major pieces of bipartisan legislation in the longest evenly divided Senate in history is a testament to Democrats’ persistence and hard work to deliver for the American people,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
“On top of all the major accomplishments last year, in 2022 alone, we passed a significant postal reform bill over a decade in the making. We passed a bold and robust government funding package which included the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. We passed critical emergency aid for the people of Ukraine. We passed the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching bill, after a century of waiting. We confirmed the first Black woman to the Supreme Court. We passed the first gun safety legislation in 30 years. We passed an historic investment in America’s future with the CHIPS and Science Act. We passed legislation to help our veterans suffering from the effects of toxic burn pits. And we passed the Inflation Reduction Act which will lower costs for prescription drugs, fight climate change and cut down on inflation and the deficit.”
Lowering Costs, Creating Jobs, And Taking Historic Action to Fight Climate Change. The Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act, historic legislation that will lower drug and energy costs, create jobs, reduce the deficit, and take the most significant action ever to fight climate change.
Delivering Critically Needed Historic Legislation To Rebuild Our Crumbling Infrastructure. The Bipartisan Infrastructure law is “the biggest public-works bill since former President Eisenhower created the interstate highway system in 1956.” The infrastructure law includes the largest-ever investment in clean drinking water, the largest-ever investment in public transit, the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak, and the largest investment in clean energy transmission and EV infrastructure in U.S. history. Across the country, Senate Democrats have held event after event to spread the word about the direct impact these investments will have on their communities. And the Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act of 2022.
Providing Critical Support For American Families. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, more than 160 million Americans received economic impact payments. The American Rescue Plan provided tens of billions of dollars to support vaccination and testing in response to the COVID pandemic. The 2022 funding law includes historic investments in our communities.
Supercharging American Innovation and Laying the Groundwork for a New Century of American Leadership. President Biden signed the Chips and Science Act, critical legislation to boost American competitiveness, ease supply chains, invest in scientific research, incentivize semiconductor manufacturing, and create jobs. President Biden signed bipartisan ocean shipping legislation to ease supply chains and drive down costs of shipped goods.
Righting Wrongs For Our Veterans and Their Families. The Senate passed and President Biden signed historic legislation to help veterans exposed to burn pits access the care they need for injuries sustained serving their country.
Enacting The First Major Gun Safety Law in Decades. President Biden signed the most significant gun safety legislation in 30 years, including incentives for red flag laws, closing the “boyfriend loophole,” creating new federal straw purchasing and trafficking criminal offenses, and funding a historic expansion of mental health services. And the Senate confirmed the first permanent Director of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives since 2015.
Supporting and Modernizing the Postal Service. The Senate passed bipartisan legislation to invest in the Post Office and improve delivery.
Protecting Americans Against Hunger. President Biden signed the FORMULA Act and the Access to Baby Formula Act to expand the availability of baby formula. And President Biden signed the Keep Kids Fed Act to extend funding for healthy meals for children over the summer.
Making Historic Steps to Restore the Judiciary. Senate Democrats confirmed the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. Thanks to Senate Democrats, President Biden has had 75 District and Circuit Court judicial nominees confirmed. And, according to FiveThirtyEight, “Biden’s judges are breaking records on diversity.”
Ending Forced Arbitration for Survivors of Sexual Assault. President Biden signed a bipartisan bill that ends forced arbitration in workplace sexual assault and harassment cases, allowing survivors to file lawsuits in court against perpetrators.
Fighting Back Against Hate, Crime and Oppression. President Biden signed into law legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime. The COVID-19 Hate Crimes law will allow us to better confront anti-Asian hate crimes. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, passed unanimously by the Senate, will ban the sale of goods made by Uyghur slave labor and take a stand against the genocide of the Uyghur people. President Biden signed bipartisan legislation to provide support to the victims of crimes. And President Biden signed legislation to commemorate Juneteenth, celebrating the end of slavery in the United States. The Senate passed legislation to streamline research of marijuana. The 2022 Omnibus funding bill also included a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
Undoing the Trump Administration’s Worst Rules and Making Progress in the Fight Against Climate Change. President Joe Biden signed three separate laws to repeal Trump-era rules,“blocking payday lenders from avoiding caps on interest rates, restricting climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas drilling and ending rules on how the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission settles claims.”
Confirming History-Making Nominees. According to the Brookings Institution, the Biden administration made history with “the most diverse set of confirmed appointees.”This includes the first Native American Cabinet Secretary (Sec. Haaland), the first woman to be Secretary of the Treasury (Sec. Yellen), the first Black Secretary of Defense (Sec. Austin), and many more.
It is worth noting that Republicans have staked their takeover of Congress and state houses on inflation, especially in gas prices, but while offering no actual solutions, have actively obstructed efforts to mitigate the pain of higher costs to American families, for example, blocking efforts to address price gouging and the fact that energy companies have pocketed RECORD profits. Much of the pressure on prices is out of Biden’s control, since prices are set on a global market, and Saudi Arabia , in conjunction with OPEC, has decided to throw its support to Russia by reducing oil output in order to put further upward pressure on prices. Here is a White House Fact Sheet on new actions President Biden is taking to strengthen US energy security, encourage production and bring down costs:
President Biden is committed to doing everything in his power to respond to Putin’s Price Hike at the pump, and he is delivering. Gas prices fell at the fastest rate in over a decade this summer, with average prices down by about $1.15 per gallon since their peak in June – and just about 30 cents above levels on February 24, when the war in Ukraine began. In fact, gas prices have fallen 15 out of the last 18 weeks. According to an industry analyst, the most common price across the country today is $3.39.
President Biden is directing his Administration to take additional action to strengthen energy security, address the supply crunch, and lower costs.
First, the Department of Energy (DOE) is issuing a Notice of Sale tomorrow morning for 15 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to be delivered in December. This sale will complete the historic, 180-million-barrel drawdown the President announced in the spring, which has helped to stabilize crude oil markets and reduce prices at the pump. The President is also calling on DOE to be ready to move forward with additional significant SPR sales this winter if needed due to Russian or other actions disrupting global markets.
Second, the President is announcing that the Administration intends to repurchase crude oil for the SPR when prices are at or below about $67-$72 per barrel, adding to global demand when prices are around that range. As part of its commitment to ensure replenishment of the SPR, the DOE is finalizing a rule that will allow it to enter fixed price contracts through a competitive bid process for product delivered at a future date. This repurchase approach will protect taxpayers and help create certainty around future demand for crude oil. That will encourage firms to invest in production right now, helping to improve U.S. energy security and bring down energy prices that have been driven up by Putin’s war in Ukraine.
Third, the President is calling on companies to pass through lower energy costs to consumers right away. The profit that energy refining companies are now capturing on every gallon of gasoline is about double what it typically is at this time of year, and the retailer margin over the refinery price is more than 40 percent above the typical level. These outsized industry profit margins – adding more than $0.60 to the average price of a gallon of gas – have kept pump prices higher than they should be. Keeping prices high even as input costs fall is unacceptable, and the President will call on companies to pass their savings through to consumers – now.
Continuing to Use the SPR to Advance U.S. Energy Security
In March, following Putin’s further invasion of Ukraine, the President authorized the largest-ever release from the SPR and secured historic coordination with allies and partners to release crude oil from their reserves as well. Treasury Department economists estimate that these releases, along with coordinated releases from international partners, have reduced gas prices by as much as about $0.40 per gallon, compared to what they otherwise would have been. Average U.S. gas prices have declined by more than a dollar per gallon from their peak earlier this year.
Global crude oil supply flows remain a challenge, due in large part to the ongoing instability caused by Russia’s actions in Ukraine. To help stabilize markets and shore up supply in the face of these challenges, DOE will sell 15 million barrels from the SPR for delivery in December, issuing the Notice of Sale for these barrels in the morning. The sale, which completes the 180 million barrels the President authorized in the spring, will add about 500K barrels per day of supply onto the market in December, providing continued supply certainty and some price relief.
The U.S. SPR remains the largest strategic reserve in the world with about 400 million barrels remaining, which is greater than the amount of any SPR release in U.S. history. Even as DOE executes on the plan to refill the SPR to previous levels in coming years, the SPR remains more than ready to respond to energy security needs today.
The President is prepared to authorize significant additional sales in coming months if conditions require. DOE will be prepared to act quickly to inject additional supply into the market if needed, and the Administration will not hesitate to use this tool, or the others at its disposal, to shore up the global supply of energy, support domestic inventory levels, and bring prices down for Americans.
Using SPR Repurchases to Encourage Increases in Near-Term Production
The Administration is committed to replenishing the SPR, which is an important national security asset, so it can continue to serve its purpose well into the future. And, it is committed to doing so in a way that protects taxpayer interests, avoids putting upward pressure on prices in the near term, and encourages more production right now by providing certainty about repurchases in the future.
U.S. oil production is almost 12 million barrels per day. By the end of this year, it will be up by about one million barrels per day compared to when President Biden took office, and it is on track to reach a new annual high in 2023. However, a number of industry participants have suggested that, even with today’s high prices, they are concerned about investing in production when prices could fall in the future.
The Administration is announcing its intent to use SPR repurchases to add to global crude oil demand at times when the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil is at or below about $67 to $72 per barrel. This will protect taxpayer interests because the SPR will be repurchasing at a lower price than recent sales, potentially allowing it to repurchase more oil than it released with sale proceeds. It will also help address producer concerns about uncertain demand in future years, encouraging immediate investment.
DOE has finalized a first-of-its-kind rule that enables it to enter into fixed-price contracts with suppliers, through a competitive bid process, to repurchase oil for future delivery windows. This new authority will shore up demand for oil when supply is less uncertain and prices are anticipated to be lower. For example, if the market were to price barrels for delivery in mid-2024 at $70, the new rule allows DOE to enter into a contract now for mid-2024 delivery of oil at, around or lower than that price. DOE plans to use this authority to enter into contracts to repurchase oil for the SPR, targeting a price of about $67 to $72 per barrel or lower, with initial repurchases being delivered in 2024 or 2025. In addition, DOE is prepared to undertake additional SPR repurchases at times when the price of oil for current delivery drops to about $67 to $72 per barrel or lower, supplementing its future fixed-price contracts as appropriate.
This approach is a win for taxpayers – refilling the SPR at a lower price compared to the barrels sold. And it is a win for energy security – giving producers who enter into the contracts more certainty of continued oil demand to inform investment decisions today, thereby spurring needed increases in production at a time when Putin’s war continues to disrupt global energy markets.
The White House released this fact sheet on how the Biden-Harris Administration is strengthening cybersecurity – particularly important with the rise of cyberwarfare mounted by Russia, China, North Korea and others.
The Biden-Harris Administration has brought a relentless focus to improving the United States’ cyber defenses, building a comprehensive approach to “lock our digital doors” and take aggressive action to strengthen and safeguard our nation’s cybersecurity, including:
Improving the cybersecurity of our critical infrastructure. Much of our Nation’s critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector. The Administration has worked closely with key sectors – including transportation, banking, water, and healthcare – to help stakeholders understand cyber threats to critical systems and adopt minimum cybersecurity standards. This includes the introduction of multiple performance-based directives by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to increase cybersecurity resilience for the pipeline and rail sectors, as well as a measure on cyber requirements for the aviation sector. Through the President’s National Security Memorandum 8 on Improving Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure Control Systems, we are issuing cybersecurity performance goals that will provide a baseline to drive investment toward the most important security outcomes. We will continue to work with critical infrastructure owners and operators, sector by sector, to accelerate rapid cybersecurity and resilience improvements and proactive measures.
Ensuring new infrastructure is smart and secure. President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is an investment to modernize and strengthen our Nation’s infrastructure. The Administration is ensuring that these projects, such as expanding the Nation’s network of electric-vehicle charging stations, are built to endure, meeting modern standards of safety and security, which includes cyber protections. Investments in digital security through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) will also bring high-speed internet to underserved parts of the country, bridging the digital divide as well. Also the BIL, the Administration launched a first-of-its-kind cybersecurity grant program specifically for state, local, and territorial (SLT) governments across the country. The State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program will provide $1 billion in funding to SLT partners over four years, with $185 million available for fiscal year 2022, to support SLT efforts to address cyber risk to their information systems and critical infrastructure.
Strengthening the Federal Government’s cybersecurity requirements, and raising the bar through the purchasing power of government. Through the President’s Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity, issued in May 2021, President Biden raised the bar for all Federal Government systems by requiring impactful cybersecurity steps, such as multifactor authentication. The Administration also issued a strategy for Federal zero trust architecture implementation, as well as budget guidance to ensure that Federal agencies align resources to our cybersecurity goals. We are also harnessing the purchasing power of the Federal Government to improve the cybersecurity of products for the first time, by requiring security features in all software purchased by the Federal Government, which improves security for all Americans.
Countering ransomware attacks to protect Americans online. In 2021, the Administration established the International Counter-Ransomware Initiative (CRI), bringing together partners from around the globe to address the scourge of ransomware. The White House will host international partners October 31-November 1 to accelerate and broaden this joint work. This group has raised collective resilience, engaged the private sector, and disrupted criminal actors and their infrastructure. The United States has made it harder for criminals to move illicit money, sanction a series of cryptocurrency mixers used regularly by ransomware actors to collect and “clean” their illicit earnings. A number of cyber criminals have also been successfully extradited to the United States to face justice for these crimes.
Working with allies and partners to deliver a more secure cyberspace. In addition to launching the International Counter Ransomware Initiative, the Administration has established cyber dialogues with a breadth of allies and partners to build collective cybersecurity, formulate coordinated response, and develop cyber deterrence. We are taking this work to our most vital alliances – for example, establishing a new virtual rapid response mechanism at NATO to ensure Allies can effectively and efficiently offer each other support in response to cyber incidents.
Imposing costs on and strengthening our security against malicious actors. The Biden-Harris Administration has not hesitated to respond forcefully to malicious cyber actors when their actions threaten American or our partner’s interests. In April of 2021, we sanctioned Russian cyber actors affiliated with the Russian intelligence services in response to the SolarWinds attack. We worked with allies and partners to attribute a destructive hack of the Viasat system at the beginning of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Implementing internationally accepted cyber norms. The Administration is committed to ensuring internationally negotiated norms are implemented to establish cyber “rules of the road.” More recently, we worked with international partners to call out Iran’s counter-normative attack on Albanian government systems and impose costs on Tehran for this act.
Developing a new label to help Americans know their devices are secure. This month, we will bring together companies, associations and government partners to discuss the development of a label for Internet of Things (IoT) devices so that Americans can easily recognize which devices meet the highest cybersecurity standards to protect against hacking and other cyber vulnerabilities. By developing and rolling out a common label for products that meet by U.S. Government standards and are tested by vetted and approved entities, we will help American consumers easily identify secure tech to bring into their homes. We are starting with some of the most common, and often most at-risk, technologies — routers and home cameras — to deliver the most impact, most quickly.
Building the Nation’s cyber workforce and strengthening cyber education. The White House hosted a National Cyber Workforce and Education Summit, bringing together leaders from government and from across the cyber community. At the Summit, the Administration announced a 120-Day Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint to help provide skills-based pathways into cyber jobs. With momentum from the Summit, the Administration continues to work with partners throughout society on building our Nation’s cyber workforce, improving skills-based pathways to good-paying cyber jobs, educating Americans so that they have the skills to thrive in our increasingly digital society, and improving diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) in the cyber field.
Protecting the future – from online commerce to national secrets —by developing quantum-resistant encryption. We all rely on encryption to help protect our data from compromise or theft by malicious actors. Advancements in quantum computing threaten that encryption, so this summer the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced four new encryption algorithms that will become part of NIST’s post-quantum cryptographic standard, expected to be finalized in about two years. These algorithms are the first group of encryption tools that are designed to withstand the assault of a future quantum computer, which could potentially crack the security used to protect privacy in the digital systems we rely on every day, such as online banking and email software.
Developing our technological edge through the National Quantum Initiative and issuance of National Security Memorandum-10 (NSM-10) on Promoting United States Leadership in Quantum Computing While Mitigating Risks to Vulnerable Cryptographic Systems. This initiative has more than doubled the United States Government’s research and development (R&D) investment in quantum technology, creating new research centers and workforce development programs across the country. NSM-10 prioritizes U.S. leadership in quantum technologies by advancing R&D efforts, forging critical partnerships, expanding the workforce, and investing in critical infrastructure; will move the Nation to quantum-resistant cryptography; and protects our investments, companies, and intellectual property as this technology develops so that the United States and our allies can benefit from this new field’s advances without being harmed by those who would use it against us.
On World Teachers’ Day, October 5, the White House issued this fact sheet showing the ways the Biden-Harris Administration is standing up in support of teachers, when in many locales, teachers have been under attack. In Florida, for example, any parent can sue a teacher if they take offense with what is being taught, and expects teachers to be human shields for mass murderers – no wonder Florida is short 9,000 in the classroom.
Our teachers prepare and inspire the next generation of leaders who are critical to our future. On World Teachers’ Day, October 5, First Lady Jill Biden appeared on The Kelly Clarkson Show for an hour-long special dedicated to teachers, and participated in Pinterest’s day-long livestream to celebrate teachers, featuring top educator creators from across the country. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to celebrating and elevating the teaching profession, and to addressing the challenges facing teachers by taking comprehensive actions to recruit, respect, and retain educators.
To Recruit,Respect, and Retain teachers and other school staff we must:
Pay educators competitively: President Biden has long called for increases in teacher pay. On average, teachers make about 33 percent less than other college-educated professionals. We cannot address staffing shortages impacting schools without addressing paying teachers a livable and competitive wage.
Improve working conditions: Whether it’s sufficient planning time and staffing levels, opportunities for leadership and collaboration with peers, or clean air to breathe and cool classrooms during heat waves, educators need working conditions that are conducive to teaching and to students’ learning.
The Biden-Harris Administration has taken concrete actions to advance these goals.
American Rescue Plan
President’s Biden’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) provided $122 billion to the nation’s K-12 schools. The President, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, and U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh have urged states and districts to use these funds to increase compensation for teachers, invest in teacher pipeline programs, and hire more professionals across the education workforce. These investments not only provide greater supports to students, but also reduce the burden on current teachers. With the help of the ARP, there are 261,000 more jobs in local education than when President Biden took office. As of July, ARP funding has helped school districts increase the number of school social workers by 54 percent, increase counselors by 22 percent, and increase nurses by 22 percent, compared to the pre-pandemic period. For example:
Iowa is using ARP funds to train 500 new paraeducators and 500 new teachers. Starting this year, the program will help current high school students and adults earn a paraeducator certificate and associate degree, and paraeducators to earn a bachelor’s degree and teaching license – all while learning and working in the classroom.
Gaston County Schoolsin North Carolina used ARP funds to double their nursing staff and secure a nurse for each of their 54 school locations, so that nurses no longer have to split their time between two buildings.
Additional Federal Investments in Teacher Recruitment and Preparation
Through Department of Education grants, the Biden-Harris Administration has prioritized supporting teachers in a wide array of Fiscal Year 2022 grants, particularly investing in high-quality teacher preparation programs that include robust experience in the classroom before becoming a teacher. These programs recruit more diverse teachers, better prepare them for the classroom, and increase the likelihood of teachers staying in the profession. The President has called for an additional $590 million investment in teachers in his FY23 budget.
New investments under the Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) program to help ensure long-term support for teacher pipeline and development programs across the country. The 22 new three-year grants totaling more than $60 million include:
The National Center for Teacher Residencies will increase the number of effective teacher residents from diverse backgrounds in underserved schools, districts, and subjects by boosting teacher residency programs across Connecticut, Delaware, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
The New Orleans SEED program will address persistent teacher shortages by boosting pathways into the profession through the expansion of Grow-Your-Own pathways. By 2025, the project hopes to recruit, prepare, and place 550 teachers in underserved schools and have more than 200 high school students in its teacher pipeline.
New Teacher Quality Partnership awards to help recruit, prepare, develop, and retain a strong and diverse teacher workforce. The 22 five-year grants totaling $24.7 million include:
In Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, North Carolina, funds will support a residency program that will recruit, prepare and retain 120 special education, elementary and secondary teachers in high-need schools.
Funds will support a Grow Your Own program in Gwinnett County, Georgia, that will support alumni of Gwinnett County Public Schools in returning to the community as teachers after they graduate from college.
For the first time, this year the Department of Education will also award grants under the Augustus F. Hawkins program to support teacher preparation programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Minority Serving Institutions.
The Department of Labor has also committed to prioritizing the education sector in future apprenticeship funding, including its next round of over $100 million in apprenticeship grants. This will provide critical support for states and other partners looking to start and expand teacher apprenticeship programs, which allow individuals to earn while they learn, receiving pay while they gain teaching skills and take coursework to earn their teaching license.
Ensuring Education Jobs Are Good Jobs
Schools cannot recruit or retain the teachers they need unless jobs in education are good jobs. Adjusted for inflation, the average weekly wages of public school teachers only increased by $29 between 1996 and 2021. Beyond calling for better pay and encouraging the use of ARP funds for this purpose, the Administration has taken concrete action to address teacher compensation.
Sustained Funding to Increase Teacher Pay: To increase teacher pay, schools need more funding. President Biden’s budgets have proposed an additional $20 billion for Title I—which supports schools serving students from low-income backgrounds—more than doubling funding for this program. These resources would help schools increase teacher pay and close gaps in access to educational opportunity. As roughly 92 percent of funding for public schools comes from the state and local level, state and local leaders must also take decisive action to provide schools with the resources they need to pay teachers competitively and to close funding gaps undermining schools serving low-income communities.
Reducing Student Debt for Teachers: Too many teachers are burdened with so much student debt that they feel like they cannot stay in the classroom. Debt also keeps many prospective teachers from entering the profession. The Administration has taken decisive action to provide more breathing room to America’s working families, including teachers, as they continue to recover from the strains associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF): Earlier this year, the Biden-Harris Administration made temporary changes to the PSLF program that make it easier than ever for public servants, like teachers and school staff, to receive loan forgiveness or get credit toward loan forgiveness. To date, the Department of Education has approved more than $13 billion in forgiveness for more than 211,000 public servants under this waiver. To benefit from the temporary changes, borrowers must apply and certify their employment for the period of time they wish to count toward PSLF by October 31, 2022 using this Help Tool. For more information, visit www.PSLF.gov. Teachers who previously received Teacher Loan Forgiveness can now also count those years used toward the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program toward PSLF but they must certify those years by October 31. The Administration has also proposed regulatory changes to ensure more effective implementation of PSLF moving forward.
TEACH Grant: The Department is implementing improvements to the TEACH Grant program, which provides up to $16,000 in grants to teachers who commit to teaching in a high need school and field for 4 years.
Cancelling and Reforming Student Debt: In addition to the one-time student debt relief of up to $20,000 announced by President Biden in August, the Biden-Harris Administration has proposed a plan to reduce the burden of student debt through reforms to income-driven repayment plans. Under the proposed plan, borrowers will have more income protected and monthly payments on undergraduate loans will be cut in half – from 10 percent to 5 percent of their discretionary income.
The White House released this fact sheet outlining the Biden-Harris Administration National Security Strategy:
President Biden’s National Security Strategy outlines how the United States will advance our vital interests and pursue a free, open, prosperous, and secure world. We will leverage all elements of our national power to out-compete our strategic competitors; tackle shared challenges; and shape the rules of the road.
The Strategy is rooted in our national interests: to protect the security of the American people, to expand economic opportunity, and to realize and defend the democratic values at the heart of the American way of life. In pursuit of these objectives, we will:
Invest in the underlying sources and tools of American power and influence;
Build the strongest possible coalition of nations to enhance our collective influence to shape the global strategic environment and to solve shared challenges; and
Modernize and strengthen our military so it is equipped for the era of strategic competition.
COOPERATION IN THE AGE OF COMPETITION In the early years of this decisive decade, the terms of geopolitical competition will be set while the window of opportunity to deal with shared challenges will narrow. We cannot compete successfully to shape the international order unless we have an affirmative plan to tackle shared challenges, and we cannot do that unless we recognize how heightened competition affects cooperation and act accordingly.
Strategic Competition.The most pressing strategic challenge we face as we pursue a free, open, prosperous, and secure world are from powers that layer authoritarian governance with a revisionist foreign policy.
We will effectively compete with the People’s Republic of China, which is the only competitor with both the intent and, increasingly, the capability to reshape the international order, while constraining a dangerous Russia.
Strategic competition is global, but we will avoid the temptation to view the world solely through a competitive lens, and engage countries on their own terms.
Shared Challenges. While this competition is underway, people all over the world are struggling to cope with the effects of shared challenges that cross borders—whether it is climate change, food insecurity, communicable diseases, or inflation. These shared challenges are not marginal issues that are secondary to geopolitics. They are at the very core of national and international security and must be treated as such.
We are building the strongest and broadest coalition of nations to enhance our collective capacity to solve these challenges and deliver for the American people and those around the world.
To preserve and increase international cooperation in an age of competition, we will pursue a dual-track approach. On one track, we will work with any country, including our competitors, willing to constructively address shared challenges within the rules-based international order and while working to strengthen international institutions. On the other track, we will deepen cooperation with democracies at the core of our coalition, creating a latticework of strong, resilient, and mutually reinforcing relationships that prove democracies can deliver for their people and the world.
INVESTING AT HOME The Biden-Harris Administration has broken down the dividing line between domestic and foreign policy because our strength at home and abroad are inextricably linked. The challenges of our age, from strategic competition to climate change, require us to make investments that sharpen our competitive edge and bolster our resilience.
Our democracy is at the core of who we are and is a continuous work in progress. Our system of government enshrines the rule of law and strives to protect the equality and dignity of all individuals. As we strive to live up to our ideals, to reckon with and remedy our shortcomings, we will inspire others around the world to do the same.
We are complementing the innovative power of the private sector with a modern industrial strategy that makes strategic public investments in our workforce, strategic sectors, and supply chains, especially in critical and emerging technologies.
A powerful U.S. military helps advance and safeguard vital U.S. national interests by backstopping diplomacy, confronting aggression, deterring conflict, projecting strength, and protecting the American people and their economic interests. We are modernizing our military, pursuing advanced technologies, and investing in our defense workforce to best position America to defend our homeland, our allies, partners, and interests overseas, and our values across the globe.
OUR ENDURING LEADERSHIP The United States will continue to lead with strength and purpose, leveraging our national advantages and the power of our alliances and partnerships. We have a tradition of transforming both domestic and foreign challenges into opportunities to spur reform and rejuvenation at home. The idea that we should compete with major autocratic powers to shape the international order enjoys broad support that is bipartisan at home and deepening abroad.
Our alliances and partnerships around the world are our most important strategic asset that we will deepen and modernize for the benefit of our national security.
We place a premium on growing the connective tissue on technology, trade and security between our democratic allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific and Europe because we recognize that they are mutually reinforcing and the fates of the two regions are intertwined.
We are charting new economic arrangements to deepen economic engagements with our partners and shaping the rules of the road to level the playing field and enable American workers and businesses—and those of partners and allies around the world—to thrive.
As we deepen our partnerships around the world, we will look for more democracy, not less, to shape the future. We recognize that while autocracy is at its core brittle, democracy’s inherent capacity to transparently course-correct enables resilience and progress.
AFFIRMATIVE ENGAGEMENT The United States is a global power with global interests; we are stronger in each region because of our engagement in the others. We are pursuing an affirmative agenda to advance peace and security and to promote prosperity in every region.
As an Indo-Pacific power, the United States has a vital interest in realizing a region that is open, interconnected, prosperous, secure, and resilient. We are ambitious because we know that we and our allies and partners hold a common vision for the region’s future.
With a relationship rooted in shared democratic values, common interests, and historic ties, the transatlantic relationship is a vital platform on which many other elements of our foreign policy are built. To effectively pursue a common global agenda, we are broadening and deepening the transatlantic bond.
The Western Hemisphere directly impacts the United States more than any other region so we will continue to revive and deepen those partnerships to advance economic resilience, democratic stability, and citizen security.
A more integrated Middle East that empowers our allies and partners will advance regional peace and prosperity, while reducing the resource demands the region makes on the United States over the long term.
In Africa, the dynamism, innovation, and demographic growth of the region render it central to addressing complex global problems.
With Republicans running campaigns based on increased crime rates and falsely charging “socialist liberal communist Democrats” with trying to “defund police” and supporting criminal justice, police reform and cashless bail, it bears noting that crime rates are rising in places ruled by Republicans as well as Democrats. (Nassau County, Long Island was America’s safest county of its size under Democrat County Executive Laura Curran; crime rates have risen 34 percent so far in 2022 under Republican Bruce Blakeman.)
Moreover, increase in crime rates reflects record levels of gun violence (a record 45,000 gun deaths in 2021, a rate that has hit records every year since Trump took over; per capita murder rates are 40% higher in states won by Trump than in those won by Joe Biden) as well as hate crimes and political violence that have accelerated with the rise of Trump and Trumpism bringing White Christo Fascism out of the shadows and into the mainstream. Trump basically gave permission for hate and political violence.
So, in addition to making it easier to buy assault weapons and refusing to raise the minimum age to 21, Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s response to the Uvalde school massacre was to send DNA kits to schools that parents can use to identify their children’s bodies AFTER they’ve been murdered rather than pass gun safety laws to proactively protect their lives. And while the Gun Lobby loves to dismiss the easy access to guns including weapons of war as a factor in America’s gun violence epidemic, and instead blame mental illness, Republicans at the federal and at state level (Texas) have voted against funding mental health services in schools and communities.
The reality is that whereas Democrats have supported law enforcement, Republicans have been the ones to cut funding: Trump wanted to rescind aid to police in sanctuary cities and the Republican Sedition Caucus in Congress is calling for ending funding to the FBI. While Republicans make a pretense of being the party of “law and order, – and work to overrule , overturn police reform and cashless bail , and repeal gun safety legislation – two words make clear the hypocrisy: January Sixth. In point of fact, President Biden released his Safer America Plan this summer. The White House provided this fact sheet – Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
President Biden knows what works to make our communities safer: investing in community policing and crime prevention. We need to fund police who walk the beat, know the neighborhood, are accountable to those they are sworn to serve, and build community trust and safety. We need to invest in mental health and substance use treatment services, crisis responders, and social workers to reduce the burden on police officers, connect people with community resources, and prevent violent crime. We need to expand community violence interventions – led by trusted messengers breaking the cycle of violence and trauma. We need to enforce our commonsense gun laws, require background checks for all gun sales in order to keep firearms out of the hands of felons and domestic abusers, and ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines – weapons of war that have no place in our communities.
President Biden has taken action to make our communities safer during his first 18 months in office. He has funded the police and issued an Executive Order to improve police accountability. President Biden has taken more executive action to tackle gun violence than any other president at this point in their Administration, including by reining in the proliferation of ghost guns and cracking down on gun traffickers and rogue gun dealers. President Biden is the first president in nearly 30 years to bring together Members of Congress from both parties to take action on gun violence, signing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. The President also secured Senate confirmation of career prosecutor Steve Dettelbach to serve as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), empowering this law enforcement agency with its first confirmed leader since 2015. And, the President has made unprecedented investments in community-led crime prevention and intervention.
The President believes we can and must do more to reduce crime and save lives. On July 21, President Biden announced his Safer America Plan to build on the progress he has made to reduce gun violence.
Today, the President is providing greater details regarding the Safer America Plan. President Biden’s fiscal year 2023 budget requests a fully paid-for new investment of approximately $35 billion to support law enforcement and crime prevention – in addition to the President’s $2 billion discretionary request for these same programs. The Safer America Plan details how this $37 billion will be used to save lives and make communities safer.
Specifically, the Plan:
Funds the police and promotes effective prosecution of crimes affecting families today, including by funding 100,000 additional police officers who will be recruited, trained, hired, and supervised consistent with the standards in the President’s Executive Order to advance effective, accountable community policing in order to enhance trust and public safety;
Invests in crime prevention and a fairer criminal justice system, including by investing $20 billion in services that address the causes of crime and reduce the burdens on police so they can focus on violent crime, and by incentivizing the reform of laws that increase incarceration without redressing public safety;
Takes additional commonsense steps on guns to keep dangerous firearms out of dangerous hands, including by calling on Congress to require background checks for all gun sales and ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
1. Fund the Police and Promote Effective Prosecution of Crimes Affecting Families Today
Fund the Police with the Resources They Need For Effective, Accountable Community Policing
As President Biden said during his State of the Union Address, “We should all agree the answer is not to defund the police. It’s to fund the police. Fund them with the resources and training they need to protect our communities.” We cannot abandon our streets, and we should not have to choose between safety, public trust, and equal justice. Instead, we can protect our communities and restore trust by investing in accountable, equitable, evidence-based, constitutional policing and other law enforcement practices. In May 2022 President Biden signed an Executive Order on Advancing Effective, Accountable Policing and Criminal Justice Practices to Enhance Public Trust and Public Safety (Executive Order 14074), which advances effective, accountable community policing in order to enhance trust and public safety. Through the Executive Order, the President mandated policing reforms and best practices for federal law enforcement officials. President Biden’s Safer America Plan would not only increase funding for police across the country—it would also extend the Executive Order’s reforms and best practices to state and local law enforcement. The Plan will:
Put 100,000 additional officers for effective accountable, community policing on our streets. The Safer America Plan will provide the investment necessary to recruit, train, support, and manage 100,000 additional police officers for effective, accountable community policing over the next five years. Specifically, the Plan calls on Congress to appropriate $10.877 billion in mandatory funding over five years for the COPS Hiring Program, which, combined with the President’s discretionary funding proposal for this program, will fully fund this goal with $12.817 billion in total. These funds will be used to get officers out of their stations and squad cars and into the community, walking the beat on foot patrols that have been shown to enhance officer morale, improve community relations, and have a deterrent effect on crime.
These new funds will incentivize state and local police departments to undertake commonsense reforms the President required of federal law enforcement agencies in May in Executive Order 14074. These reforms include banning chokeholds and carotid holds except where deadly force is authorized; training officers in de-escalation tactics to prevent the unnecessary use of force; restricting the use of no-knock warrants; requiring that body cameras be activated when conducting arrests and searches and when on patrol; submitting data to the new National Law Enforcement Accountability Database that the Justice Department will create; and undertaking other consensus reforms. We will also prioritize funding for officers that are representative of the communities they are sworn to serve (including recruits who live in or are from the community), and we will require that officers hired with federal funds be properly screened, including to ensure that they do not have a history of termination or resignation under investigation for serious misconduct from another police department.
Support state, local, Tribal, and territorial officers with the high-quality training the President has already mandated at the federal level by the Executive Order. Training varies widely across states and across law enforcement agencies. The Plan will fund training that enhances accountability, transparency, and the well-being of state and local officers and the communities they are sworn to serve. That includes an infusion of resources to enhance evidence-based training of law enforcement on topics including crime control and deterrence tactics, community engagement, use of force, interacting with people with disabilities, responding to persons in mental health crisis and to domestic violence calls, responding to First Amendment protected public protest activity, and more. The Plan will also fund the purchase and operation of body-worn cameras. The Plan calls on Congress to appropriate $1 billion over five years for these purposes. These funds will also be used to incentivize state and local law enforcement agencies to implement reforms such as those discussed above that the President required of federal law enforcement agencies in Executive Order 14074.
Recruit and retain police officers who demonstrate a commitment to honorably serving and protecting. We ask police to put their lives on the line to keep us and our loved ones safe. Front-line officers and chiefs around the country have made clear that we need to do more to recruit and retain officers who honorably serve as guardians of their communities. We also need to support agencies in developing flexible employment opportunities so that the profession meets the needs of a 21st century workforce and can continue to attract the best candidates at the state and local level who will meet and exceed the effective, accountable community policing standards mandated for federal law enforcement in the Executive Order. To attract and retain this high-quality workforce, President Biden’s Safer America Plan will fund bonuses for retention; provide student loan repayment, tuition reimbursement, and higher education grant programs to incentivize service-minded candidates, including women and individuals from underrepresented communities, to become officers; support pilot programs to explore more flexibility in scheduling and work arrangements; and expand mental health and wellness care for our police officers. The Plan calls on Congress to appropriate $750 million over five years for these purposes, and require that grant recipients report to the Attorney General and make public any use of funds to pay bonuses.
Ensure that new resources for law enforcement reach not only our biggest cities but also our small cities and towns. Smaller agencies often lack the personnel and resources to stay abreast of the latest evidence-based practices in policing, and lack internal capacity to identify and access grant and high-quality training opportunities. The Safer America Plan will set aside a minimum of $300 million per year of the funding described above to exclusively support small law enforcement agencies.
Clear Court Backlogs and Solve Murders So We Can Take Shooters and Other Violent Criminals Off the Streets
A small number of individuals are responsible for a disproportionate share of homicides and gun violence in our cities. The federal government will help state and local law enforcement in cities across the country take these criminals off our streets – and keep them off our streets. That’s why the President’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget proposal includes funding to ensure that federal law enforcement can show up and support state and local law enforcement. For example, the President’s budget request includes $2.8 billion for the U.S. Attorney’s Offices, an increase of 15% over FY22 enacted. This funding will increase the number of attorneys in these offices by 10%, increasing the federal government’s capacity to ramp up prosecutions of people who commit shootings and other violent crimes. The President’s budget also includes funding to hire 195 Deputy U.S. Marshals to help state and local law enforcement take violent fugitives off our streets, and nearly 100 additional administrative staff to relieve administrative burdens currently placed on Deputy U.S. Marshals so they can be re-deployed to the field full time.
In February, the Attorney General directed U.S. Attorneys to increase resources dedicated to district-specific violent crime strategies, such as New York City’s Gun Violence Strategic Partnership. The Safer America Plan will provide the federal government and cities with additional resources to support these strategies.
The Plan calls on Congress to appropriate $2.67 billion over five years for the following purposes:
Provide communities with funding they need to set up task forces to bring down the homicide and gun violence rate. These task forces will regularly convene federal, state, and local law enforcement to share intelligence, especially on repeat shooters, and coordinate efforts to successfully arrest, detain, and prosecute individuals committing homicides and gun violence. This funding will help police departments in communities to: hire critical personnel, including a task force coordinator, additional forensic analysts, and staff to write and process warrants for individuals suspected of committing violent crimes; pay for overtime and hire additional law enforcement officers, as needed, to execute on the work of the task force; provide life-saving equipment for officers in the field, like bullet-proof vests; and purchase forensic equipment and materials to analyze DNA, fingerprints, and data from bodycams, CCTV, and social media, while respecting privacy interests and civil rights. The Plan will also authorize the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshals Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, and U.S. Attorney’s Offices) to hire additional personnel to staff these task forces.
Equip communities with additional technology and personnel they need to quickly identify and investigate shooting incidents and image every bullet or casing recovered in the city and enhance the capacity of ATF to make ballistic matches. Additional resources for these cities include National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN) ballistics imaging machines and personnel needed to operate these machines, acoustic gunshot detection technology, gunshot residue forensics technology and analyst staff, and firearm forensics evidence collection technicians. The Plan will also call on Congress to authorize significant enhancement of ATF’s National NIBIN Correlation and Training Center to expand the number of jurisdictions it services.
Clear court backlogs and improve pretrial supervision in order to improve public safety. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented backlog in courts’ processing of criminal cases, with courts forced to delay or dismiss cases due to lack of capacity. We need to ensure courts have the resources to fully and fairly assess people accused of crimes and detain those who are too dangerous to be released to the community, consistent with due process requirements; to process cases and ensure accountability for criminal conduct; and to effectively supervise people upon release. The Safer America Plan invests in the technology and data systems modernization necessary to ensure that the justice system runs efficiently and with the most current data, such as case management systems that effectively integrate pre-trial services, judicial, and law enforcement records; virtual access and notification systems to facilitate remote check-ins and hearings as appropriate and beneficial for all involved; or scheduling software to manage the increased volume of cases. The Plan also provides emergency funding to support pretrial and post-conviction supervision staffing and systems, ensuring that persons on release are appropriately monitored and given assistance with the employment, health, and housing services that are shown to prevent recidivism.
Crack Down on Other Serious Crimes Affecting Families Today
The Safer America Plan includes several legislative fixes needed to address emerging crime trends, target resources at violent crime, and support commonsense criminal justice reform. To crack down on serious crime, the Plan will:
Impose tough penalties on all forms of fentanyl. Over 100,000 people have died from drug overdoses in the past 12 months, many of them from the synthetic opioid fentanyl. The federal government regulates fentanyl as a Schedule I drug, meaning it is subject to strict regulations and criminal penalties. But drug suppliers have found a loophole: they can easily alter the chemical structure of fentanyl—creating “fentanyl related substances”—to enhance the drug’s psychoactive properties and try to evade regulation of fentanyl. The Drug Enforcement Administration and Congress temporarily closed this loophole, but it will reopen in January 2023 unless Congress acts. The Safer America Plan includes the Administration’s 2021 proposal to permanently schedule all fentanyl related substances into Schedule I so traffickers of these deadly substances face the penalties they deserve.
Crack down on organized retail theft. Late 2021 saw an increase in high-profile incidents of organized retail theft around the country. In these incidents, crime rings recruit people to storm a brick-and-mortar store together and quickly steal high-value products for resale online. To recruit people to perpetrate the thefts and the resale, these organized theft rings typically target minors, individuals under financial duress, and individuals with substance use disorders. To tackle organized retail theft, the plan calls on Congress to pass legislation to require online marketplaces, such as Amazon, to verify third-party sellers’ information, and to impose liability on online marketplaces for the sale of stolen goods on their platforms.
2. Invest in Crime Prevention and A Fairer Criminal Justice System
Fund Other Services to Address the Causes of Crime and Reduce the Burdens on Police Officers
Today, police are too often asked to respond to situations that require a mental health care provider or a social worker, not law enforcement.
When it comes to mental health, we know that people experiencing mental health challenges are more likely to be the victims than the perpetrators of a violent crime. Policing is not the answer to these challenges – fully funded mental health and substance use disorder services and supports are the answer. That’s why the Biden Administration has put forward a plan to transform how the nation understands and treats mental health needs. As just one piece of this plan, this July the Biden Administration launched the 988 crisis response line so people experiencing suicidal ideation or another behavioral health crisis can reach out for emergency help from a health professional instead of calling 911. The President’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget also requests an additional $700 million to expand crisis centers and crisis response so people experiencing a behavioral health crisis have a place to call and a place to go.
The Safer America Plan further expands the prevention and intervention strategies we know will reduce violent crime and ease the burden on police officers so they can focus on policing. This includes:
Helping states, cities, Tribes, and territories advance prevention strategies and invest in mental health, substance use disorder, homelessness and other services to prevent crime and reduce the burden on police. The Plan establishes a new $15 billion over 10 years Accelerating Justice System Reform grant program that jurisdictions can use to advance strategies that will 1) prevent violent crime and/or 2) ease the burden on police officers so they do not have to respond to non-violent situations that may not merit police intervention. Doing so not only enhances public safety, but also delivers evidence-based criminal justice reform that advances racial equity. For example, jurisdictions may choose to use these funds to:
Expand drug courts that divert individuals charged with drug possession alone into mandatory treatment and harm reduction services instead of incarceration, as well as other alternative courts such as mental health courts and veterans courts;
Expand co-responder or alternate responder programs so calls that should be answered by mental health or substance use disorder providers or social workers – alone or in partnership with police – are not solely the responsibility of law enforcement;
Increase mental health and substance use disorder services, including by training existing professionals to become certified in cognitive behavioral therapy (which helps people improve their response to stress and reduce impulsivity), trauma-informed therapy, and other evidence-based treatments effective at addressing mental health problems, disruptive behaviors, and exposure to or risk of violence;
Support teenagers and young adults with paid jobs during the summer and school year, out-of-school enrichment programs, and mentoring;
Support built environmental improvement and design strategies proven to reduce violent crime in high-risk neighborhoods (for example, improved lighting in priority areas, crafting safe passage routes for students to walk to school, and vacant and/or abandoned lot and building remediation);
Provide housing and other supportive social services to individuals who are homeless, including those displaced due to victimization; and
Increasing job training, employment, housing, and other stabilizing services and opportunities for people returning home from jail and prison.
In addition, in order to receive these critical grants, jurisdictions must repeal mandatory minimums for non-violent crimes and change other laws that contribute to increased incarceration rates without making our communities safer. The Plan calls on Congress to appropriate $14.7 billion in mandatory funding for this new program, which will add on to the $300 million request in the President’s FY23 discretionary budget to fully fund this effort.
Expand community violence interventions with $5 billion over 10 years. The Plan appropriates $5 billion to expand and build the capacity of focused deterrence, violence interruption, and hospital-based programs. Community violence intervention (CVI) programs are effective because they leverage trusted messengers who work directly with individuals most likely to engage in or be victimized by gun violence, intervene in conflicts, and connect people to social, health and wellness, and economic services to reduce the likelihood of violence as an answer to conflict.
Reform Our Justice System
To support commonsense criminal justice reform, the Safer America Plan will:
End the crack-powder disparity and make the fix retroactive. The Safer America Plan calls on Congress to end once and for all the racially discriminatory sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and powder cocaine offenses—as President Biden first advocated in 2007—and make that change fully retroactive. This step would provide immediate sentencing relief to the 10,000 individuals, more than 90 percent of whom are Black, currently serving time in federal prison pursuant to the crack/powder disparity.
Help formerly incarcerated individuals successfully reenter society. The Safer America Plan lifts almost all restrictions on eligibility and access to vital federal benefits and programs that people need to get back on their feet after serving their time and leaving incarceration. For example:
Federal law currently includes a lifetime ban on eligibility for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits for people with prior drug felonies. States can modify or waive the ban, but restrictions remain across the country. The Safer America Plan calls on Congress to repeal the federal ban, nullifying state laws and regulations restricting eligibility based on conviction history, and to allow people to begin applying for benefits during the last 30 days of their incarceration. This would help Americans returning home make ends meet for their families and increase public safety. According to a 2017 Harvard study, access to SNAP and TANF benefits reduces the risk of reincarceration within one year by 10%.
Currently, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments are suspended during incarceration and terminate when incarceration exceeds 12 months. Although SSI allows people to apply 30 days pre-release, many are not aware of their ability to apply or cannot access the resources to do so, and SSDI allows applications only one month after release. The Safer America Plan would suspend rather than terminate SSI and SSDI during incarceration, automatically restart payments upon release, and allow new applicants to apply for SSI and SSDI benefits 90 days before release.
The Plan calls on Congress to eliminate the ban on paying for health services during the last 30 days of a person’s incarceration. This would help Medicaid beneficiaries returning home from jail or prison begin the transition to community care before release.
In addition, as part of the $15 billion Accelerating Justice System Reform grant program described above, states, cities, Tribes, and territories may use funding to provide the following services for individuals who are formerly or currently incarcerated: mental health and substance use disorder treatment, GED programs, and training and employment opportunities.
Promote commonsense reforms in the states. As noted above, the new $15 billion Accelerating Justice System Reform grant program will not only support crime prevention strategies; it will also incentivize state criminal justice reforms such as repealing mandatory minimums for non-violent crimes.
3. Take Additional Commonsense Steps to Keep Dangerous Guns out of Dangerous Hands
After decades of congressional inaction, President Biden made historic progress with bipartisan support from Congress. In June, the President signed into law the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which will help keep dangerous guns out of dangerous hands. For example, the new law provides states with $750 million to invest in crisis interventions, including extreme risk protection order laws, and it requires enhanced background checks for gun purchasers under the age of 21. Earlier this month, Congress confirmed Steve Dettelbach to serve as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), empowering this law enforcement agency with the confirmed leader it has lacked since 2015. Earlier this year, President Biden signed into law the NICS Denial Notification Act, which was included in the Violence Against Women (VAWA) reauthorization and requires federal officials to notify state and local law enforcement when individuals who are legally prohibited from purchasing firearms fail a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
But, when it comes to commonsense action to reduce gun crime, Congress has more work to do. Congress needs to give ATF the resources it needs to crack down on gun traffickers and gun dealers willfully violating the law. Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice launched five gun-trafficking strike forces to support state and local law enforcement in efforts to stop the trafficking of firearms across state lines. The President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 budget proposes $1.7 billion in discretionary funding – a 13% increase over the FY22 enacted level – for ATF to enforce our commonsense gun laws. This funding will be used to:
Hire more than 140 new agents, intel analysts, and other personnel, including personnel to staff the multijurisdictional gun trafficking strike forces the Justice Department launched last year. These strike forces crack down on significant firearms trafficking corridors like the Iron Pipeline – the illegal flow of guns sold in the south, transported up the East Coast, and found at crime scenes in cities from Baltimore to New York City.
Hire 160 new investigators to help ensure that Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) and manufacturers comply with the law. These investigators will help carry out the Department of Justice’s new policy, announced last year, of zero tolerance, absent extraordinary circumstances, for certain willful violations of the law by federally licensed firearms dealers that put public safety at risk.
Add 16 new positions to provide NIBIN correlation reviews and training for state and local law enforcement agencies nationwide. The NIBIN database holds millions of digital images of ballistics from crime scenes. A NIBIN search can link seemingly unrelated scenes, thereby making connections and filling in gaps to help law enforcement identify and hold shooters accountable.
Increase by more than 40% the funding for the National Tracing Center, which more than 8,400 law enforcement agencies across the United States use to trace firearms found at crime scenes. Funding will be used to upgrade technology and hire additional personnel.
In addition, the Safer America Plan includes the following measures, which would fully align with the Second Amendment:
Keep guns out of dangerous hands. The federal gun background check system is the best tool we have to keep guns out of the hands of people currently prohibited under federal law from purchasing these weapons – including felons and domestic abusers. The Plan will strengthen the background check system by requiring background checks for all gun sales, with limited exceptions. In addition, the Plan will close the terrorist, dating violence restraining order, stalking, and Charleston loopholes in our existing gun background check system, which make it easier for violent criminals to purchase firearms. And, the Plan will establish a national extreme risk protection order program and require safe storage of firearms.
Keeping especially dangerous firearms out of our communities. The Plan will ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. In addition, it will ban the manufacture, sale, or possession of unserialized firearms, often referred to as “ghost guns.”
President Biden Signs Executive Order Directing HHS to Explore Additional Actions to Lower Prescription Drug Costs
This fact sheet about actions that President Biden is taking to lower health care and prescription drug costs was provided by the White House:
To mark the start of Medicare Open Enrollment season, President Biden is highlighting how seniors can take advantage of the Inflation Reduction Act’s cost-saving provisions as they shop for new health insurance plans. The President also signed an Executive Order directing the Department of Health and Human Services to explore additional actions it can take to lower prescription drug costs to build on his Administration’s work lowering costs for working and middle-class families.
Americans are squeezed by the cost of living – that’s been true for years and is a key reason the President ran. Health care costs in particular are driving inflation. Too many Americans face challenges paying for prescription drugs. On average, Americans pay two to three times as much as people in other countries for prescription drugs, and one in four Americans who take prescription drugs struggle to afford their medications. Nearly three in ten American adults who take prescription drugs say that they have skipped doses, cut pills in half, or not filled prescriptions due to cost.
The Inflation Reduction Act – which President Biden and Congressional Democrats delivered – tackles that problem and locks in on average $800 per year lower health care premiums for 13 million families, lowers seniors’ prescription drug prices, and caps their out of pocket expenses for prescription drugs at $2,000 per year. The Inflation Reduction Act protects Medicare beneficiaries from catastrophic drug costs by phasing in a cap for out-of-pocket costs at the pharmacy, establishing a $35 monthly cap per prescription of insulin, requiring companies who raise prices faster than inflation to pay Medicare a rebate, and allowing Medicare to negotiate prices for high-cost prescription drugs for the first time ever. Republicans in Congress, meanwhile, have said their top priority is to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, ending these cost-saving provisions and raising prices for tens of millions of Americans.
To further lower health care costs, earlier this week, the Treasury Department took action to fix the so-called “family glitch” rule that was making it harder for families to afford health care coverage for their spouse or child. About 1 million Americans will either gain coverage or see their insurance become more affordable as a result of the new rule.
Lowering Medicare Costs This Open Enrollment Season
Starting this January, seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries will begin to see the benefits of these cost-saving measures. Because of the Inflation Reduction Act:
A month’s supply of insulin will be capped at $35 starting on January 1, 2023.
Medicare beneficiaries will pay $0 out of pocket for recommended adult vaccines covered by their Part D plan, including the shingles vaccine – which costs seniors up to $200.
Prescription drug companies that try to raise their prices faster than inflation will be required to pay Medicare a rebate.
Earlier this year, HHS released a report showing that the price of 1,200 prescription drugs rose faster than inflation in just the last year. For example, one manufacturer of a drug used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure, used by millions of Medicare beneficiaries, increased the drug’s price by nearly 540 percent in 2022. Another drug used to treat autoimmune conditions increased by $1000 just this year.
During Medicare Open Enrollment – running from October 15 to December 7 – seniors and other beneficiaries will be able to choose drug coverage that reflects these new cost-savings, putting money back into their pockets.
Medicare beneficiaries should visit Medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE to review their options for the coming year, and make sure their health and prescription drug coverage is right for them.
Using HHS’ Innovation Center to Further Bring Down Costs
As the Biden-Harris Administration works to implement the Inflation Reduction Act, President Biden signed an Executive Order directing the Department of Health and Human Services to consider additional actions to further drive down prescription drug costs. That includes leveraging the “Innovation Center” at HHS, created by the Affordable Care Act, which has authority to test new ways of paying for Medicare services thatimprove the quality of care while lowering costs.
Under Executive Order XX, HHS will have 90 days to submit a formal report outlining any plans to use the Innovation Center’s authorities to lower drug costs and promote access to innovative drug therapies for Medicare beneficiaries. This action would build on the Inflation Reduction Act’s landmark drug pricing reforms and help provide additional breathing room for American families.
Today, the White House released state fact sheets highlighting how the Inflation Reduction Act tackles the climate crisis in states across the country and how families and communities can benefit from a clean energy future. The fact sheet outlines how families can save on their utility bills, get tax credits for electric vehicles and energy-saving appliances, and access the economic opportunities of the clean energy future.
President Biden and Congressional Democrats beat back special interests to pass this historic legislation, delivering the most significant action in U.S. history to tackle the climate crisis and strengthen U.S. energy security. By signing the Inflation Reduction Act, President Biden is delivering on his promise to lower energy costs, create good-paying jobs, and deliver a clean, secure, and healthy future for families across America.
Here is an edited, highlighted transcript of President Joe Biden’s remarks as he signed the Inflation Reduction Act, with historic investments in climate action, long-fought improvements in health care and prescription drug affordability, tax reform and deficit reduction, and in the immortal words of Biden as Obama’s VP, a “BFD.”–Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
I’m about to sign the Inflation Reduction Act into law, one of the most significant laws in our history. Let me say from the start: With this law, the American people won and the special interests lost. The American people won and the special interests lost.
For a while, people doubted whether any of that was going to happen. But we are in a season of substance. This administration began amid a dark time in America — as Jim said, “a once-in-a-century pandemic” — devastating joblessness, clear and present threats to democracy and the rule of law, doubts about America’s future itself.
And yet, we’ve not wavered. We’ve not flinched. And we’ve not given in. Instead, we’re delivering results for the American people. We didn’t tear down; we built up. We didn’t look back; we looked forward.
And today — today offers further proof that the soul of America is vibrant, the future of America is bright, and the promise of America is real and just beginning. (Applause.)
Look, the bill I’m about to sign is not just about today, it’s about tomorrow. It’s about delivering progress and prosperity to American families.
It’s about showing the American and the American people that democracy still works in America — notwithstanding all the — all the talk of its demise — not just for the privileged few, but for all of us.
You know, I swore an oath of office to you and to God to faithfully execute the duties of this sacred office.
To me, the critical duty — the critical duty of the presidency is to defend what is best about America. And that’s not hyperbole. Defend what’s best about America. To pursue justice, to ensure fairness, and to deliver results that create possibilities — possibilities that all of us — all of us can live a life of consequence and prosperity in a nation that’s safe and secure. That’s the job.
Fulfilling that pledge to you guides me every single hour of every single day in this job.
You know, presidents should be judged not only by our words, but by our deeds; not by our rhetoric, but by our actions; not by our promise, but by reality.
And today is part of an extraordinary story that’s being written by this administration and our brave allies in the Congress.
This law — this law that I’m about to sign finally delivers on a promise that Washington has made for decades to the American people.
I got here as a 29-year-old kid. We were promising to make sure that Medicare would have the power to negotiate lower drug prices back then — back then — prescription drug prices.
But guess what? We’re giving Medicare the power to negotiate those prices now, on some drugs.
This means seniors are going to pay less for their prescription drugs while we’re changing circumstances for people on Medicare by putting a cap — a cap of a maximum of $2,000 a year on their prescription drug costs, no matter what the reason for those prescriptions are.
That means if you’re on Medicare, you’ll never have to pay more than $2,000 a year no matter how many prescriptions you have, whether it’s for cancer or any other disease. No more than $2,000 a year.
And you all know it because a lot of you come from families that need this. This is a Godsend. This is a Godsend to many families and so, so long overdue.
The Inflation Reduction Act locks in place lower healthcare premiums for millions of families who get their coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Last year, a family of four saved on average $2,400 through the American Rescue Plan that I signed into law that Congress voted in place.
In the years ahead, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, 13 million people are going to continue — continue to save an average of $800 a year on health insurance.
The Inflation Reduction Act invests $369 billion to take the most aggressive action ever — ever, ever, ever — in confronting the climate crisis and strengthening our economic — our energy security.
It’s going to offer working families thousands of dollars in savings by providing them rebates to buy new and efficient appliances, weatherize their homes, get tax credit for purchasing heat pumps and rooftop solar, electric stoves, ovens, dryers.
It gives consumers a tax credit to buy electric vehicles or fuel cell vehicles, new or used. And it gives them a credit — a tax credit of up to $7,500 if those vehicles were made in America.
American auto companies, along with American labor, are committing their treasure and their talent — billions of dollars in investment — to make electric vehicles and battery and electric charging stations all across America, made in America. All of it made in America.
This new law also provides tax credits that’s going to create tens of thousands of good-paying jobs and clean energy manufacturing jobs, solar factories in the Midwest and the South, wind farms across the plains and off our shores, clean hydrogen projects and more — all across America, every part of America.
This bill is the biggest step forward on climate ever — ever — and it’s going to allow us to boldly take additional steps toward meeting all of my climate goals — the ones we set out when we ran.
It includes ensuring that we create clean energy opportunities in frontline and fence-line communities that have been smothered — smothered by the legacy of pollution, and fight environmental injustice that’s been going on for so long.
And here’s another win for the American people: In addition to cutting the deficit by $350 billion last year, in my first year in office, and cutting it $1.7 trillion this year, this fiscal year, we’re going to cut the deficit — I point out — by another $300 billion with the Inflation Reduction Act over the next decade.
We’re cutting deficit to fight inflation by having the wealthy and big corporations finally begin to pay part of their fair share.
Big corporations will now pay a minimum 15 percent tax instead of 55 of them got away with paying zero dollars in federal income tax on $40 billion in profit.
And I’m keeping my campaign commitment: No one — let me emphasize — no one earning less than $400,000 a year will pay a penny more in federal taxes. (Applause.)
Folks, the Inflation Reduction Act does so many things that, for so many years, so many of us have fought to make happen.
And let’s be clear: In this historic moment, Democrats sided with the American people, and every single Republican in the Congress sided with the special interests in this vote — every single one.
In fact, the big drug companies spent nearly $100 million to defeat this bill. A hundred million dollars.
And remember: Every single Republican in Congress voted against this bill.
Every single Republican in Congress voted against lowering prescription drug prices, against lowering healthcare costs, against a fairer tax system.
Every single Republican — every single one — voted against tackling the climate crisis, against lowering our energy costs, against creating good-paying jobs.
My fellow Americans, that’s the choice we face: We can protect the already-powerful or show the courage to build a future where everybody has an even shot.
That’s the America I believe in. (Applause.) That’s what I believe in.
And today — and today, we’ve come a step closer to making that America real.
Today, too often we confuse noise with substance. Too often we confuse setbacks with defeat. Too often we hand the biggest microphone to the critics and the cynics who delight in declaring failure while those committed to making real progress do the hard work of governing.
Making progress in this country as big and complicated as ours clearly is not easy. It’s never been easy.
But with unwavering conviction, commitment, and patience, progress does come…
And when it does, like today, people’s lives are made better and the future becomes brighter, and a nation can be transformed.
That’s what’s happening now. From the American Rescue Plan that helped create nearly 10 million new jobs, to a once-in-a-generation infrastructure law that will rebuild America’s roads, bridges, ports; deliver clean water, high-speed Internet to every American; to the first meaningful gun safety law in 30 years — and if I have anything to do with it, we’re still going to have an assault weapons ban, but that’s another story. And to get significant veterans’ healthcare law in decades, for the first time; to a groundbreaking CHIPS and Science Law that’s going to ensure that technologies and jobs of the future are made here in America — in America.
And all this progress is part of our vision and plan and determined effort to get the job done for the American people, so they can look their child in the eye and say, “Honey, it’s going to be okay. Everything is going to be okay.”
Everything is going to make sure that democracy delivers for your generation. Because I think that’s at stake.
And, now, I know there are those here today who hold a dark and despairing view of this country. I’m not one of them.
I believe in the promise of America. I believe in the future of this country. I believe in the very soul of this nation. And most of all, I believe in you, the American people.
I believe to my core there isn’t a single thing this country cannot do when we put our mind to it. We just have to remember who we are. We are the United States of America.
There is nothing nothing beyond our capacity. That’s why so many foreign companies decided to invest their — make chips in America. Billions of dollars. We’re the best. We have to believe in ourselves again.
And now I’m going to take action that I’ve been looking forward to doing for 18 months. (Laughter and applause.) I’m going to sign the Inflation Reduction Law. (Applause.)
President Joe Biden will sign the Inflation Reduction Act today, a distillation of what Americans have been clamoring for, for the past 30 years. It includes the most significant investment in climate action, plus health care and tax reform while also amazingly reducing the deficit. Here’s what the Inflation Reduction Act will mean to you, by the numbers. This is from the White House:
The Inflation Reduction Act will lower costs for families, combat the climate crisis, reduce the deficit, and finally ask the largest corporations to pay their fair share. President Biden and Congressional Democrats have worked together to deliver a historic legislative achievement that defeats special interests, delivers for American families, and grows the economy from the bottom up and middle out.
Here’s how the Inflation Reduction Act impacts Americans by the numbers:
Cutting Prescription Drug Costs
Today, Americans pay two to three times what citizens of other countries pay for prescription drugs
5-7 million Medicare beneficiaries could see their prescription drug costs go down because of the provision allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug costs.
50 million Americans with Medicare Part D will have the peace of mind knowing their costs at the pharmacy are capped at $2,000 per year, directly benefiting about 1.4 million beneficiaries each year.
3.3 million Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes will benefit from a guarantee that their insulin costs are capped at $35 for a month’s supply.
Lowering Health Care Costs
13 million Americans will continue to save an average of $800 per year on health insurance premiums
3 million more Americans will have health insurance than without the law.
The uninsured rate is at an all-time low of 8%, which the historic law will build on.
Defeating Special Interests
$187 million: The amount the Pharmaceutical industry has spent on lobbying in 2022.
1,600: number of lobbyists the pharmaceutical companies had in 2021 – three times the number of Members of Congress
33 years: the amount of time Congressional Democrats have been trying to lower prescription drug costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
19 years: number of years Medicare has been blocked from negotiating prescription drug costs
Lowering Energy Costs
Families that take advantage of clean energy and electric vehicle tax credits will save more than $1,000 per year.
$14,000 in direct consumer rebates for families to buy heat pumps or other energy efficient home appliances, saving families at least $350per year.
7.5 million more families will be able install solar on their roofs with a 30% tax credit, saving families $9,000 over the life of the system or at least $300 per year.
Up to $7,500 in tax credits for new electric vehicles and $4,000 for used electric vehicles, helping families save $950per year.
Putting America on track to meet President Biden’s climate goals, which will save every family an average of $500 per year on their energy costs.
Building a Clean Energy Economy
Power homes, businesses, and communities with much more clean energy by 2030, including:
950 million solar panels
120,000 wind turbines
2,300 grid-scale battery plants
Advance cost-saving clean energy projects at rural electric cooperatives serving 42 million people.
Strengthen climate resilience and protect nearly 2 million acres of national forests.
Creating millions of good-paying jobs making clean energy in America.
Reducing Harmful Pollution
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 1 gigaton in 2030, or a billion metric tons – 10 times more climate impact than any other single piece of legislation ever enacted.
Deploy clean energy and reduce particle pollution from fossil fuels to avoid up to3,900 premature deaths and up to 100,000 asthma attacks annually by 2030.
Making the Tax Code Fairer
$0: how much some of largest, profitable corporations pay in federal income tax.
55: the number of America’s largest, wealthiest corporations that got away without paying a cent in federal income taxes in 2020.
$160 billon: how much the top 1 percent of earners is estimated to evade each year in taxes.
15%: the minimum tax on corporate profits the Inflation Reduction Act imposes on the largest, most profitable corporations.
$124 billion: savings over 10 years the Inflation Reduction Act will generate from collecting taxes already owed by wealthy people and large corporations, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
And no family making less than $400,000 will see their taxes go up a penny.
Reducing the Deficit
The Inflation Act will achieve hundreds of billions in deficit reduction.
The deficit is projected to fall by more than $1.5trillion this year after falling by more than $350 billion last year.
126 leading economists – including 7 Nobel Laureates, 2 former Treasury Secretaries, 2 former Fed Vice Chairs and 2 former CEA Chairs – have said reducing the deficit will help fight inflation and support strong, stable economic growth.