Category Archives: Joe Biden

President Biden on Anniversary of Jan. 6 Insurrrection: Is Democracy Still America’s Sacred Cause?

In this, President Joe Biden’s first major speech of 2024, on January 5 marking the third anniversary of the January 6 insurrection which he delivered at Valley Forge, he highlights what is at stake in the upcoming 2024 election: nothing short of whether the United States will be ruled by democracy or a despot. “Is democracy still America’s sacred cause” he asked in what may well be considered Biden’s “Gettysburg Address.” 

In this, President Joe Biden’s first major speech of 2024, which he delivered at Valley Forge on January 5, marking the third anniversary of the January 6th Insurrection, he highlights what is at stake in the upcoming 2024 election: nothing short of whether the United States will be ruled by democracy or a despot. “Is democracy still America’s sacred cause” he asked in what may well be considered Biden’s “Gettysburg Address.” 

In contrast, Donald Trump’s first campaign speech committed himself to “retribution, revenge,” weaponizing the Department of Justice to persecute anyone who looks like they are doing well against him, literally tearing up the Constitution, enacting the Insurrection Act, pardoning the January 6 insurrectionists (he calls “hostages”) and being dictator (for the first day). And by suggesting that his own top military general be executed (for showing loyalty to the Constitution instead of him), he has laid down the gauntlet of weaponizing  and routinizing political intimidation to insure his power.

As President Biden has said so many times, “this is not hyperbole” but a real call out to the existential crisis Americans must confront.

“Whether democracy is still America’s sacred cause is the most urgent question of our time, and it’s what the 2024 election is all about.” “Democracy is on the ballot.  Your freedom is on the ballot.”  

“Without democracy, no progress is possible.  Think about it.  The alternative to democracy is dictatorship — the rule of one, not the rule of ‘We the People.’” 
  
“Democracy means having the freedom to speak your mind, to be who you are, to be who you want to be.  Democracy is about being able to bring about peaceful change.  Democracy — democracy is how we’ve opened the doors of opportunity wider and wider with each successive generation, notwithstanding our mistakes.”
 
“But if democracy falls, we’ll lose that freedom.  We’ll lose the power of “We the People” to shape our destiny.  If you doubt me, look around the world.  Travel with me as I meet with other heads of state throughout the world.”

Here is a slightly edited, highlighted transcript of President Biden’s remarks at Valley Forge, Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, on January 5 –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com   

In this, President Joe Biden’s first major speech of 2024, on January 5 marking the third anniversary of the January 6 insurrection which he delivered at Valley Forge, he highlights what is at stake in the upcoming 2024 election: nothing short of whether the United States will be ruled by democracy or a despot. “Is democracy still America’s sacred cause” he asked in what may well be considered Biden’s “Gettysburg Address.” 

3:23 P.M. EST
 
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)
 
AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Four more years! (Applause.)
 
THE PRESIDENT:  (Laughs.)  Well, thank you. 
 
AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Please.  Thank you.  Please.  Thank you very, very much.
 
Today — the topic of my speech today is deadly serious, and I think it needs to be made at the outset of this campaign.
 
In the winter of 1777, it was harsh and cold as the Continental Army marched to Valley Forge.  General George Washington knew he faced the most daunting of tasks: to fight and win a war against the most powerful empire that existed in the world at the time. 
 
His mission was clear.  Liberty, not conquest.  Freedom, not domination.  National independence, not individual glory. 
 
America made a vow.  Never again would we bow down to a king. 
 
The months ahead would be incredibly difficult.  But General Washington knew something in his bones, something about the spirit of the troops he was leading, something — something about the soul of the nation he [that] was struggling to be born.
 
In his general order, he predicted, and I quote, “with one heart and one mind,” “with fortitude and with patience,” they would overcome every difficulty — the troops he was leading. 
 
And they did.  They did.
 
This army that lacked blankets and food, clothes and shoes.  This army whose march left bloody, bare footprints in the snow.  This ragtag army made up of ordinary people.  Their mission, George Washington declared, was nothing less than “a sacred cause.”  That was the phrase used: “a sacred cause.” 
 
Freedom, liberty, democracy.  American democracy. 
 
I just visited the grounds of Valley Forge.  I’ve been there a number of times from the time I was a Boy Scout years ago.  You know, it’s the very site that I think every American should visit because it tells the story of the pain and the suffering and the true patriotism it took to make America.
 
Today, we gather in a new year, some 246 years later, just one day before January 6th, a day forever shared in our memory because it was on that day that we nearly lost America — lost it all. 
 
Today, we’re here to answer the most important of questions.  Is democracy still America’s sacred cause?  I mean it.  (Applause.)
 
This is not rhetorical, academic, or hypothetical.  Whether democracy is still America’s sacred cause is the most urgent question of our time, and it’s what the 2024 election is all about.  
 
The choice is clear.  Donald Trump’s campaign is about him, not America, not you.  Donald Trump’s campaign is obsessed with the past, not the future.  He’s willing to sacrifice our democracy, put himself in power. 
 
Our campaign is different.  For me and Kamala, our campaign is about America.  It’s about you.  It’s about every age and background that occupy this country.  It’s about the future we’re going to continue to build together.
 
And our campaign is about preserving and strengthening our American democracy.
  Three years ago tomorrow, we saw with our own eyes the violent mob storm the United States Capitol.  It was almost in disbelief as you first turned on the television. 
 
For the first time on our history, insurrectionists had come to stop the peaceful transfer — transfer of power in America — first time — smashing windows, shattering doors, attacking the police. 
 
Outside, gallows were erected as the MAGA crowd chanted, “Hang Mike Pence.” 
 
Inside, they hunted for Speaker Pelosi [of] the House, was chanting, as they marched through and smashed windows, “Where’s Nancy?”
 
Over 140 police officers were injured.  Jill and I attended the funeral of police officers who died as a result of the events of that day. 
 
And because Donald — because of Donald Trump’s lies, they died because these lies brought a mob to Washington. 
 
He promised it would be “wild,” and it was.  He told the crowd to “fight like hell,” and all hell was unleashed. 
 
He promised he would right them — right them.  Everything they did, he would be side by side with them.  Then, as usual, he left the dirty work to others.  He retreated to the White House.
 
As America was attacked from within, Donald Trump watched on TV in the private small dining room off my Oval — off the Oval Office. 
 
The entire nation watched in horror.  The whole world watched in disbelief.  And Trump did nothing. 
 
Members of his staff, members of his family, Republican leaders who were under attack for the — at that very moment pled with him: “Act.  Call off the mob.” 
 
Imagine had he gone out and said, “Stop.” 
 
And still, Trump did nothing.  It was among the worst derelictions of duty by a president in American history: an attempt to overturn a free and fair election by force and violence.
 
A record 81 million people voted for my candidacy and to end his presidency.  Trump lost the popular vote by 7 million. 
 
Trump’s claims about the 2020 election never could stand up in court.  Trump lost 60 court cases — 60.  Trump lost the Republican-controlled states.  Trump lost before a Trump-appointed judge — and then judges.  And Trump lost before the United States Supreme Court.  (Applause.)  All of it, he lost.
 
Trump lost recount after recount after recount in state after state.  But in desperation and weakness, Trump and his MAGA followers went after election officials who ensured your power as a citizen would be heard.  These public servants had their lives forever upended by attacks and death threats for simply doing their jobs.
 
In Atlanta, Georgia, a brave Black mother and her daughter, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, were doing their jobs as elected workers until Donald Trump and his MAGA followers targeted and threatened them, forcing them from their homes and unleashing racist vitriol on them.  Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was just hit with $148 million judgment for cruelty and defamation that he inflicted against them. 
 
Other state and local elected officials across the country faced similar personal attacks.  In addition, Fox News agreed to pay a record $787 million for the lies they told about voter fraud.
 
Let’s be clear about the 2020 election.  Trump exhausted every legal avenue available to him to overturn the election — every one.  But the legal path just took Trump back to the truth that I had won the election and he was a loser.  (Applause.)
 
Well, knowing how his mind works now, he had one — he had one act left — one desperate act available to him: the violence of January the 6th. 
 
And since that day, more than 1,200 people have been charged for their assault on the Capitol.  Nearly 900 of them have been convicted or pled guilty.  Collectively, to date, they have been sentenced to more than 840 years in prison.  (Applause.)
 
And what has Trump done?  Instead of calling them “criminals,” he’s called these insurrectionists “patriots.”  They’re “patriots.”  And he promised to pardon them if he returns to office. 
 
Trump said that there was “a lot of love” on January the 6th.  The rest of the nation, including law enforcement, saw a lot of hate and violence.    One Capitol police officer called it a “medieval battle.”  That same officer called vile — was called vile, racist names. He said he was more afraid in the Capitol of the United States of America, in the chambers, than when he was fighting as a soldier in the war in Iraq.  He said he was more afraid inside the halls of Congress than fighting in the war in Iraq.
 
In trying to rewrite the facts of January 6th, Trump is trying to steal history the same way he tried to steal the election.  But we knew the truth because we saw it with our own eyes.  It wasn’t like something — a story being told.  It was on television repeatedly.  We saw it with our own eyes. 
 
Trump’s mob wasn’t a peaceful protest.  It was a violent assault.  They were insurrectionists, not patriots.  They weren’t there to uphold the Constitution; they were there to destroy the Constitution.
 
Trump won’t do what an American president must do.  He refuses to denounce political violence. 
 
So, hear me clearly.  I’ll say what Donald Trump won’t.  Political violence is never, ever acceptable in the United States political system — never, never, never.  It has no place in a democracy.  None.  (Applause.)
 
You can’t be pro-insurrectionist and pro-American. 
 
You know, Trump and his MAGA supporters not only embrace political violence, but they laugh about it.  At his rally, he jokes about an intruder, whipped up by the Big Trump Lie, taking a hammer to Paul Pelosi’s skull and echoing the very same words used on January 6th: “Where’s Nancy?” 
 
And he thinks that’s funny.  He laughed about it.  What a sick — (laughter and applause).  My God.
 
I think it’s despicable, seriously — not just for a president, for any person to say that.  But to say it to the whole world listening. 

When I was overseas — anyway.  (Laughter.) 
 
Trump’s assault on democracy isn’t just part of his past.  It’s what he’s promising for the future.  He’s being straightforward.  He’s not hiding the ball. 
 
His first rally for the 2024 campaign opened with a choir of January 6th insurrectionists singing from prison on a cell phone while images of the January 6th riot played on a big screen behind him at his rally.

Can you believe that?  This is like something out of a fairy tale — a bad fairy tale.

Trump began his 2024 campaign by glorifying the failed violent insurrectionist — insurrection at our — on our Capitol.

The guy who claims law and order sows lawlessness and disorder.

Trump’s not concerned about your future, I promise you.  Trump is now promising a full-scale campaign of “revenge” and “retribution” — his words — for some years to come.  They were his words, not mine.  He went on to say he would be a dictator on day one.

I mean, if I were writing a book of fiction and I said an American president said that, and not in jest —

He called it, and I quote, the “termination of all the rules, regulation, and articles, even those found in the U.S. Constitution,” should be terminated, if it’s his will.

It’s really kind of hard to believe.  Even found in the Constitution, he could terminate?

He’s threatened the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with the death penalty.  Says he should be put to death because the Chairman put his oath to the Constitution ahead of his personal loyalty to Trump.

This coming from a president who called — when he visited a cemetery, called dead soldiers “suckers” and “losers.”  Remember that?

Sometimes, I’m really happy the Irish in me can’t be seen.  (Laughter.)

It was right around the time I was at Beau’s grave, Tommy.

How dare he?  Who in God’s name does he think he is?

With former aides, Trump plans to invoke the Insurrectionist Act — the Insurrection Act, which would allow him to deploy — which he’s not allowed to do in ordinary circumstances — allow him to deploy U.S. military forces on the streets of America.
  He said it.

He calls those who oppose him “vermin.”  He talks about the blood of Americans being poisoned, echoing the same exact language used in Nazi Germany.

He proudly posts on social media the words that best describe his 2024 campaign, quote, “revenge”; quote, “power”; and, quote, “dictatorship.”

There’s no confusion about who Trump is and what he intends to do.

I placed my hand on our family Bible, and I swore an oath on the very same steps of the Capitol just 14 days after the attack on January the 6th.

As I looked out over the capital city, whose streets were lined with National Guard to prevent another attack, I saw an American that had been pushed to the brink — an America that had been pushed to the brink.

But I felt enormous pride — not in winning.  I felt enormous pride in America because American democracy had been tested and American democracy had held together.  And when Trump had seen weakness in our democracy and continues to talk about it, I saw strength — your strength.  It’s not hyperbole.  Your strength.  Your integrity.  American strength and integrity.

Ordinary citizens, state election officials, the American judicial system had put the Constitution first and sometimes at their peril — at their peril.

Because of them, because of you, the will of the people prevailed, not the anger of the mob or the appetites of one man.

When the attack on January 6th happened, there was no doubt about the truth.  At the time, even Republican members of Congress and Fox News commentators publicly and privately condemned the attack.

As one Republican senator said, “Trump’s behavior was embarrassing and humiliating for the country.”  But now, that same senator and those same people have changed their tune.

As time has gone on, politics, fear, money, all have intervened.  And now these MAGA voices who know the truth about Trump on January 6th have abandoned the truth and abandoned democracy.

They made their choice.  Now the rest of us — Democrats, independents, mainstream Republicans — we have to make our choice.

I know mine.  And I believe I know America’s.

We will defend the truth, not give in to the Big Lie.  We’ll embrace the Constitution and the Declaration, not abandon it.  We’ll honor the sacred cause of democracy, not walk away from it.

Today, I make this sacred pledge to you.  The defense, protection, and preservation of American democracy will remain, as it has been, the central cause of my presidency.
  (Applause.)
 
America, as we begin this election year, we must be clear: Democracy is on the ballot.  Your freedom is on the ballot.  (Applause.)
 
Yes, we’ll be voting on many issues: on the freedom to vote and have your vote counted, on the freedom of choice, the freedom to have a fair shot, the freedom from fear.  And we’ll debate and disagree. 
 
Without democracy, no progress is possible.  Think about it.  The alternative to democracy is dictatorship — the rule of one, not the rule of “We the People.” 
 
That’s what the soldiers of Valley Forge understood.  And so was me — was what we have to understand it as well.  We’ve been blessed so long with a strong, stable democracy.  It’s easy to forget why so many before us risked their lives and strengthened democracy, what our lives would be without it.
 
Democracy means having the freedom to speak your mind, to be who you are, to be who you want to be.  Democracy is about being able to bring about peaceful change.  Democracy — democracy is how we’ve opened the doors of opportunity wider and wider with each successive generation, notwithstanding our mistakes.
 
But if democracy falls, we’ll lose that freedom.  We’ll lose the power of “We the People” to shape our destiny.  If you doubt me, look around the world.  Travel with me as I meet with other heads of state throughout the world. 
 
Look at the authoritarian leaders and dictators Trump says he admires — he, out loud, says he admires.  I won’t go through them all.  It would take too long.
 
Look, remember when he refers to what he calls the “love letter” exchanges between he and the dictator of North Korea?  Those women and men out there in the audience who ever fought for the American military, would you ever believe you’d hear a president say something like that?
 
His admiration for Putin — I can go on. 
 
And look at what these autocrats are doing to limit freedom in their countries.  They’re limiting freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom to assemble, women’s rights, LGB[T]Q rights, people are going to jail, so much more. 

It’s true: The push and pull of American history is not a fairy tale.  Every stride forward in America is met with a ferocious backlash, many times from those who fear progress and those who exploit that fear for their own personal gain; from those who traffic in lies told for power and profit; from those who are driven by grievance and grift, consumed by conspiracy and victimhood; from those who seek to bury history and ban books.
 
Did you ever think you’d be at a political event talking about book banning for in a presidential election? 
 
The choice and contest between those forces — those competing forces, between solidarity and division — is perennial.  But this time, it’s so different. 
 
You can’t have a contest — you can’t have a contest if you see politics as an all-out war instead of a peaceful way to resolve our differences.  All-out war is what Trump wants. 
 
That’s why he doesn’t understand the most fundamental truth about this country.  Unlike other nations on Earth, America is not built on ethnicity, religion, geography.  We’re the only nation in the history of the world built on an idea — not hyperbole — built on an idea: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal.”
 
It’s an idea declared in the Declaration, created in a way that we viewed everybody as equal and be — should be treated equally throughout their lives.
 
We’ve never fully lived up to that.  We have a long way to go.  But we’ve never walked away from the idea.  We’ve never walked away from it before.  But I promise you, I will not let Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans — (applause) — force us to walk away now.
 
We’re living in an era where a determined minority is doing everything in its power to try to destroy our democracy for their own agenda.  The American people know it, and they’re standing bravely in the breach. 
 
Remember, after 2020, January 6th insurrection to undo the election in which more Americans had voted than any other in American history?  America saw the threat posed to the country, and they voted him out.  In 2022, historic midterm election, in state after state, election after election, the election deniers were defeated. 
 
Now, in 2024, Trump in running as the “denier-in-chief” — the election denier-in-chief.  Once again, he’s saying he won’t honor the results of the election if he loses.
 
Trump says he doesn’t understand.  Well, he still doesn’t understand the basic truth, and that is you can’t love your country only when you win.  (Applause.)  You can’t love your country only when you win.
 
So, I’ll keep my commitment to be president for all of America, whether you voted for me or not.  I’ve done it for the last three years, and I’ll continue to do it. 
 
Together, we can keep proving that America is still a country that believes in decency, dignity, honesty, honor, truth.  We still believe that no one, not even the President, is above the law.  We still believe — (applause) — the vast majority of us still believe that everyone deserves a fair shot at making it.  We’re still a nation that gives hate no safe harbor. 

I tell you from my experience working with leaders around the world — and I mean this sincerely, not a joke — that America is still viewed as the beacon of democracy for the world. 

I can’t tell you how many — how many world leaders — and I know all of them, virtually all of them — grab my arm in private and say, “He can’t win.  Tell me.  No, my country will be at risk.” 

Think of how many countries, Tommy, you know that are on the on the edge.  Imagine. 

We still believe in “We the People,” and that includes all of us, not some of us.

Let me close with this.  On that cold winter of 1777, George Washington and his American troops at Valley Forge waged a battle on behalf of a revolutionary idea that everyday people — like where I come from and the vast majority of you — not a king or a dictator — that everyday people can govern themselves without a king or a dictator. 

In fact, in the rotunda of the Capitol, there’s a giant painting of General George Washington — not President Washington — and he is resigning his commission as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. 

A European king at this — at the time said, after he won the revolution, “Now is the time for him to declare his kingship.”

But instead, the mob that attacked the Capitol, waving Trump flags and Confederate flags, stormed right past that portrait.  That image of George Washington gave them no pause, but it should have.

The artist that painted that portrait memorialized that moment because he said it was, quote, “one of the highest moral lessons ever given to the world.”  End of quote.

George Washington was at the height of his power.  Having just defeated the most powerful empire on Earth, could have held onto the power as long as he wanted.  He could have made himself not a future president but a future monarch, in effect. 

And, by the way, when he got elected president, he could have stayed for two, three, four, five terms, until he died.  But that wasn’t the America he and the American troops at Valley Forge had fought for.

In America, genuine leaders — democratic leaders, with a small “d” — don’t hold on to power relentlessly.  Our leaders return power to the people.  And they do it willingly, because that’s the deal.  You do your duty.  You serve your country. 
 
And ours is a country worthy of service, as many Republican presidents and Democratic presidents have shown over the years. 

We’re not perfect.  But at our best, we face on — we face head on the good, the bad, the truth of who we are.  We look in the mirror and ultimately never pretend we’re something we’re not.  That’s what great nations do.  And we’re a great nation.  We’re the greatest nation on the face of the Earth.  We really are.  (Applause.)
 
That’s the America I see in our future.  We get up.  We carry on.  We never bow.  We never bend.  We speak of possibilities, not carnage.  We’re not weighed down by grievances.  We don’t foster fear.  We don’t walk around as victims. 
 
We take charge of our destiny.  We get our job done with the help of the people we find in America, who find their place in the changing world and dream and build a future that not only they but all people deserve a shot at. 
 
We don’t believe — none of you believe America is failing.  We know America is winning.  That’s American patriotism.
  (Applause.)
 
And it’s not winning because of Joe Biden.  It’s winning. 
 
This is the first national election since January 6th insurrection placed a dagger at the throat of American democracy — since that moment.  We all know who Donald Trump is.  The question we have to answer is: Who are we?  That’s what’s at stake.  (Applause.)  Who are we? 
 
In the year ahead, as you talk to your family and friends, cast your ballots, the power is in your hands.  After all we’ve been through in our history, from independence to Civil War to two world wars to a pandemic to insurrection, I refuse to believe that, in 2024, we Americans will choose to walk away from what’s made us the greatest nation in the history of the world: freedom, liberty.  (Applause.)
 
Democracy is still a sacred cause.  And there’s no country in the world better positioned to lead the world than America. 
 
That’s why — (applause) — I’ve said it many times.  That’s why I’ve never been more optimistic about our future.  And I’ve been doing this a hell of a long time.  (Laughter.)
 
Just have to remember who we are — with patience and fortitude, with one heart.  We are the United States of America, for God’s sake.  (Applause.)
 
I mean it.  There is nothing — I believe with every fiber that there is nothing beyond our capacity if we act together and decently with one another.  Nothing, nothing, nothing.  (Applause.)  I mean it.
 
We’re the only nation in the world that’s come out of every crisis stronger than we went into that crisis.  That was true yesterday and it’s true today, and I guarantee you will be true tomorrow. 
 
God bless you all.  And may God protect our troops.  (Applause.)
 
Thank you.  Thank you.
 
(The First Lady joins the President onstage.)  I understand power.  (Laughter.)
 
Thank you all so very much.  (Inaudible.)  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  (Applause.)
 
3:56 P.M. EST  

FACT SHEET: Biden Takes New Actions to Strengthen America’s Supply Chains, Lower Costs for Families, and Secure Key Sectors

During the inaugural convening of the new White House Council on Supply Chain Resilience, President Biden will unveil more than 30 new actions to strengthen America’s supply chains

As part of his Bidenomics agenda to lower costs for American families, President Biden announced nearly 30 new actions to strengthen supply chains critical to America’s economic and national security. These actions will help Americans get the products they need when they need them, enable reliable deliveries for businesses, strengthen our agriculture and food systems, and support good-paying, union jobs here at home. Among the actions: the USDA is investing $196 million to strengthen our domestic food supply chains and create more opportunity for farmers and entrepreneurs in 37 states and in Puerto Rico. These investments—which build on prior investments in diversified food processing, resilient agricultural markets, and fertilizer production—expand farmer income opportunities, create economic opportunities for people and businesses in rural areas, and lower food costs. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

You don’t hear anything about it because 1) it’s lots of facts and figures and 2) the nonstop criminality, latest court craziness of Trump and his scheme to become a dictator are dominating news. But the collapse of supply chains during the COVID pandemic was the biggest reason for triggering inflation, and the Biden administration focus to develop Made in America manufacturing and reduce dependency on foreign production is one of the biggest factors in reducing costs for Americans (despite greed-based price hikes). Here’s a Fact sheet from the White House:

As part of his Bidenomics agenda to lower costs for American families, President Biden is announcing nearly 30 new actions to strengthen supply chains critical to America’s economic and national security. These actions will help Americans get the products they need when they need them, enable reliable deliveries for businesses, strengthen our agriculture and food systems, and support good-paying, union jobs here at home.

President Biden announced these actions alongside members of his Cabinet and other senior Administration officials at the inaugural meeting of the new White House Council on Supply Chain Resilience. The Council, which President Biden established, will support the enduring resilience of America’s critical supply chains.

Robust supply chains are fundamental to a strong economy. When supply chains smooth, prices fall for goods, food, and equipment, putting more money in the pockets of American families, workers, farmers, and entrepreneurs. That is why President Biden made supply chain resilience a priority from Day One of his Administration—including by signing an Executive Order on America’s Supply Chains and establishing a Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force that worked with states, Tribes, local governments, businesses, family farms, labor, and allies and partners to address the acute supply chain crises caused by the pandemic. Since then, the Administration has made historic investments to strengthen supply chains and prevent future disruptions by expanding production capacity in key sectors and building infrastructure through the CHIPS and Science Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

These efforts helped unsnarl supply chains, re-normalize the flow of goods, and lower inflation. From October 2021 to October 2023, supply chain pressures as measured by the New York Fed declined from near-record highs to a record low, helping lower inflation, which has fallen by 65% from its peak.

Today, President Biden is building on this progress by announcing bold new actions to further strengthen supply chains, lower costs for families, and help Americans get the goods they need, including:

  • The creation of the Council on Supply Chain Resilience. Today, President Biden will convene the inaugural meeting of the White House Council on Supply Chain Resilience, which will advance his long-term, government-wide strategy to build enduring supply chain resilience. The Council will be co-chaired by the National Security Advisor and National Economic Advisor, and include the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Small Business Administration; the Directors of National Intelligence, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy; the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers; the U.S. Trade Representative; and other senior officials from the Executive Office of the President and other agencies.
     
  • Use of the Defense Production Act to make more essential medicines in America and mitigate drug shortages. President Biden will issue a Presidential Determination to broaden the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) authorities under Title III of the Defense Production Act (DPA) to enable investment in domestic manufacturing of essential medicines, medical countermeasures, and critical inputs that have been deemed by the President as essential to the national defense. HHS has identified $35 million for investments in domestic production of key starting materials for sterile injectable medicines. HHS will also designate a new Supply Chain Resilience and Shortage Coordinator for efforts to strengthen the resilience of medical product and critical food supply chains, and to address related shortages. HHS intends to institutionalize this coordination to advance the department’s supply chain resilience and shortage mitigation goals over the long term. The Department of Defense (DOD) will also soon release a new report on pharmaceutical supply chain resilience aimed at reducing reliance on high-risk foreign suppliers. These actions are a subset of the Administration’s broader work to increase access to essential medicines and medical products.
     
  • New cross-governmental supply chain data-sharing capabilities. The Administration has developed several cross-government partnerships to improve supply chain monitoring and strategy, including:
    • The Department of Commerce’s new, first-of-its-kind Supply Chain Center is integrating industry expertise and data analytics to develop innovative supply chain risk assessment tools, and is coordinating deep-dive analyses on select critical supply chains to drive targeted actions to increase resilience. This Center is building broad partnerships across government, industry, and academia, including collaborating with the Department of Energy (DOE) to conduct deep-dive analyses on clean energy supply. Additionally, Commerce is partnering with HHS to assess industry and import data that can help address foreign dependency vulnerabilities and points of failure for critical drugs.
    • The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Freight Logistics Optimization Works (“FLOW”) program is a public-private partnership that brings together U.S. supply chain stakeholders to create a shared, common picture of supply chain networks and facilitate a more reliable flow of goods. DOT is announcing a new milestone for FLOW, in which participants are beginning to utilize FLOW data to inform their logistics decision making, helping to avoid bottlenecks, shorten lead times for customers, and enable a more resilient and globally competitive freight network through earlier warnings of supply chain disruption. As the effort continues to mature, DOT will work with the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to increase data transparency for containerized shipments of agricultural products in the United States, efforts that can help producers and sellers avoid disruptions that can increase food prices.
    • These new analytical capabilities will enable the Council to coordinate a more complete, whole-of-government critical supply chain monitoring function.

Additional actions to support stronger supply chains and access to affordable, reliable energy and critical technology:

Investing in critical supply chains:

  • DOE today announced $275 million in grant selections for its Advanced Energy Manufacturing and Recycling Grant Program, investments that will revitalize communities affected by coal mine or coal power plant closures through investment in clean energy supply chains, including production of critical materials, components for grid-scale batteries and electric vehicles, onshore wind turbines, and energy conservation technologies. DOE also announced up to $10 million of funding for a “critical material accelerator” and a $5.6-million prize to develop circular clean energy supply chains. These efforts build on action by President Biden to authorize DOE’s use of the DPA to increase domestic production of five key clean energy technologies—including electric heat pumps—as well as DOE’s recently announced $3.5-billion investment through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to boost domestic production of advanced batteries and battery materials needed for essential clean energy technologies such as stationary storage and electric vehicles.
  • USDA is making investments worth $196 million to strengthen our domestic food supply chains and create more opportunity for farmers and entrepreneurs in 37 states and in Puerto Rico. These investments—which build on prior investments in diversified food processing, resilient agricultural markets, and fertilizer production—expand farmer income opportunities, create economic opportunities for people and businesses in rural areas, and lower food costs.
  • DOD, building on the $714 million in DPA investments it has made in 2023 to support defense-critical supply chains, will publish the first ever National Defense Industrial Strategy (NDIS). The NDIS will guide engagement, policy development, and investment in the defense industrial base over the next three to five years. It will ensure a coordinated, whole-of-government approach to and focus on the multiple layers of suppliers and sub-suppliers that make up these critical supply chains.

Planning for long-term industrial resilience and future supply chain investments:

  • Launch of the quadrennial supply chain review. The Council will complete the first quadrennial supply chain review by December 31, 2024. As part of the review, the Council will update criteria on industries, sectors, and products defined as critical to national and economic security. In addition, 12 months after the Council promulgates the criteria, and annually thereafter, the Council will apply the criteria to review and update the list of critical sectors, as appropriate.
  • Smart manufacturing plan. DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO) is sponsoring a study by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine to develop a nationwide plan for smart manufacturing. The report will establish key priorities for investment to support new digital and artificial intelligence technologies. These investments will enhance the productivity and security of the manufacturing systems that are critical for maintaining domestic supply chains.

Deploying new capabilities to monitor existing and emerging risks:

  • New Resilience Center and tabletop exercises for supply chain disruptions. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is announcing the launch of a new Supply Chain Resilience Center (SCRC), which will be dedicated to ensuring the resilience of supply chains for critical infrastructure needed to deliver essential services to the American people. Near-term priorities will include addressing supply chain risks resulting from threats and vulnerabilities inside U.S. ports. Additionally, in 2024, in collaboration with other federal agencies and foreign governments, DHS will facilitate at least two tabletop exercises designed to test the resilience of critical cross-border supply chains. Further, DHS and the Department of Commerce will collaborate to continue to strengthen the semiconductor supply chain and further the implementation of the CHIPS and Science Act.
  • Launch of DOT Multimodal Freight Office. As part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (“BIL”) implementation, DOT is launching its Office of Multimodal Freight Infrastructure and Policy (“Multimodal Freight Office”). This office is responsible for maintaining and improving the condition and performance of the nation’s multimodal freight network including through the development of the National Multimodal Freight Network, review of State Freight Plans, and the continued advancement of the FLOW initiative in partnership with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
  • Monitoring of climate impacts. The White House National Security Council, Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Council of Economic Advisers will co-lead an interagency effort in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to monitor global developments related to El Niño, including this climate phenomenon’s impact on U.S. and global commodity prices, agriculture and fishery output, disruptions to global and trade supply chains, and resulting impacts on food security, human health, and social instabilities.
  • Energy and critical mineral supply chain readiness. To more consistently track risk and opportunity across energy supply chains, DOE is developing an assessment tool that accounts for raw materials, manufacturing, workforce, and logistics considerations. Additionally, to help assess the potential for trade disruptions of select critical minerals and materials, the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) will map and develop geospatial databases for select global critical product supply chains, with a current focus on semiconductor components; and will seek designation by the Chief Statistician of the United States of a federal statistical unit providing the nation’s official minerals statistics. Additionally, the National Science and Technology Council’s Critical Minerals Subcommittee plans to launch a new criticalminerals.gov website in January 2024 that will highlight cross-governmental supply chain efforts.
  • Defense supply chain mapping and risk management. DOD is increasing supply chain visibility through the creation of a Supply Chain Mapping Tool to analyze supplier data for 110 weapon systems. This capability will be used to develop defense industrial base wargaming scenarios to identify vulnerabilities and develop mitigation strategies.

Engaging public and private stakeholders to expand supply chain risk modeling:

  • Supply Chain Data and Analytics Summit. The Department of Commerce will convene a diverse array of public and private stakeholders at a Supply Chain Data and Analytics Summit in 2024. A key aim of the summit will be to invite expert input into supply chain risk assessment models and tools. The summit will also assess data availability, utility, and limitations and consider actions to improve data flows.
  • AI hackathons to strengthen critical mineral supply chains. USGS, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), building on their 2022 prize challenges announcement, will host a series of hackathons beginning in February 2024 to develop novel artificial intelligence approaches to assess domestic critical mineral resources.
  • Risk mapping for labor rights abuses. The Department of Labor (DOL) updated its Comply Chain guidance for identifying and addressing labor rights violations in global supply chains. In addition, DOL is providing $8 million for two four-year projects to identify supply chain traceability methods and technologies to address child labor or forced labor risks in diverse supply chains, such as the cobalt and cotton sectors. DOL will also undertake new supply chain research on mining and agriculture products across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

In addition to the announcements above, the Administration continues to deepen engagement with allies and partners to strengthen global supply chains, including:

Deepening international early warning systems to detect and respond to supply chain disruptions in critical sectors with allies and partners, including:

  • With the European Union. In May 2023, the United States and the EU established an early warning system for semiconductor supply chain disruptions under the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council.
  • With Japan and the Republic of Korea. In August, the United States, Japan, and the Republic of Korea committed at Camp David to launch early warning system pilots, starting by identifying priority products and materials such as critical minerals and rechargeable batteries and establishing mechanisms to rapidly share information on disruptions to critical supply chains.
  • With Mexico and Canada. Through the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the United States, Canada, and Mexico established a trilateral Sub-Committee on Emergency Response to coordinate North American efforts to maintain regional trade flows during emergency situations.
  • With Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the World Health Organization. The Global Regulatory Working Group on Drug Shortages, currently chaired by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, meets quarterly to discuss product shortages participating jurisdictions are encountering and ways such shortages are being addressed. The group’s exchange of information helped address product shortages experienced by each partner during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent “tripledemic” including COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus.
  • With global partners. Through the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE), the U.S. government funds activities to improve the weather, water, and climate observing capabilities and data sharing in regions and countries that are needed to produce actionable local, regional, and global climate information and minimize impacts upon infrastructure, water, health, and food security.

Strengthening global supply chains through other innovative multilateral partnerships:

  • Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) Supply Chain Agreement. The United States and 13 IPEF partners concluded a first-of-its-kind Supply Chain Agreement that gives partners new tools to build diversified, competitive supply chains for critical sectors, including an IPEF Supply Chain Council to coordinate action. The Department of Commerce is kickstarting this effort through pilot projects to enhance the resilience of key supply chains, including those related to semiconductors, critical minerals, and cold chain services. In addition, the Supply Chains Agreement establishes a Crisis Response Network that will allow IPEF partners to better prepare for and respond to supply chain disruptions through emergency communication channels and joint crisis simulations, as well as a Labor Rights Advisory Board to promote worker rights across supply chains.
  • Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity (Americas Partnership). The Americas Partnership is focused on, among other things, strengthening and diversifying supply chains. In its first year of work, the Americas Partnership will focus on the development of regional competitiveness plans in three critical sectors: semiconductors, clean energy, and medical supplies.
  • North American Leaders’ Summit (NALS). Through NALS, the United States, Canada, and Mexico are enhancing the resilience of North America’s supply chains for critical minerals, semiconductors, and other essential goods. This trilateral effort includes partnering with regional industry and academia to create quality jobs, promote investment, grow talent, and catalyze innovation.
  • Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGI). Through PGI, the United States is mobilizing public and private financing to incentivize investments and develop transformative economic corridors to diversify global supply chains and create new opportunities for American workers and businesses. From the development of the Lobito Corridor, connecting the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia with global markets through Angola, to the launch of the landmark India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor—through PGI, the United States is creating novel interconnections across regions to facilitate trade and secure clean energy, digital, food security, and other critical supply chains.
  • Global Labor Directive. On November 16, President Biden signed the Presidential Memorandum on Advancing Worker Empowerment, Rights, and High Labor Standards Globally. The President directed several departments to address labor rights abuses in global supply chains and identify innovative approaches to promote internationally recognized labor rights throughout the supply chain, including by collaborating with labor organizations, workers, and other labor stakeholders to consider efforts that support worker-led monitoring of labor rights compliance.
  • The Mineral Security Partnership (MSP). The Department of State, along with partners including Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the European Union (represented by the European Commission), established the MSP to accelerate the development of diverse and sustainable critical energy minerals supply chains. The MSP works with host governments and industry to facilitate targeted financial and diplomatic support for strategic projects along the value chain with an emphasis on those projects which adhere to and promote the highest labor, environmental and sustainability standards.
  • International Technology Security and Innovation (ITSI) Fund. Created by the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, the ITSI Fund promotes the diversification of the global semiconductor supply chain. State will partner with countries to develop the most attractive economic environments for private investment. With ITSI Fund support, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development has established the Semiconductor Exchange Network allowing policymakers in the semiconductor industry to examine risks and interdependencies on the current state of the semiconductor ecosystem. Additionally, the ITSI Fund is supporting ecosystem reviews in key partner countries that will inform future collaboration on developing this critical sector.

ICYMI: ‘The U.S. won’t back down from the challenge of Putin and Hamas’ – Joe Biden

President Joe Biden: “Will we relentlessly pursue our positive vision for the future, or will we allow those who do not share our values to drag the world to a more dangerous and divided place?”

This is from President Joe Biden’s opinion column published in the Washington Post, November 18, 2023Joe Biden: The U.S. won’t back down from the challenge of Putin and Hamas


Today, the world faces an inflection point, where the choices we make — including in the crises in Europe and the Middle East — will determine the direction of our future for generations to come.
 
What will our world look like on the other side of these conflicts?
 
Will we deny Hamas the ability to carry out pure, unadulterated evil? Will Israelis and Palestinians one day live side by side in peace, with two states for two peoples?
 
Will we hold Vladimir Putin accountable for his aggression, so the people of Ukraine can live free and Europe remains an anchor for global peace and security?
 
And the overarching question: Will we relentlessly pursue our positive vision for the future, or will we allow those who do not share our values to drag the world to a more dangerous and divided place?
 
Both Putin and Hamas are fighting to wipe a neighboring democracy off the map. And both Putin and Hamas hope to collapse broader regional stability and integration and take advantage of the ensuing disorder. America cannot, and will not, let that happen. For our own national security interests — and for the good of the entire world.
 
The United States is the essential nation. We rally allies and partners to stand up to aggressors and make progress toward a brighter, more peaceful future. The world looks to us to solve the problems of our time. That is the duty of leadership, and America will lead. For if we walk away from the challenges of today, the risk of conflict could spread, and the costs to address them will only rise. We will not let that happen.
 
That conviction is at the root of my approach to supporting the people of Ukraine as they continue to defend their freedom against Putin’s brutal war.
 
We know from two world wars in the past century that when aggression in Europe goes unanswered, the crisis does not burn itself out. It draws America in directly. That’s why our commitment to Ukraine today is an investment in our own security. It prevents a broader conflict tomorrow.
 
We are keeping American troops out of this war by supporting the brave Ukrainians defending their freedom and homeland. We are providing them with weapons and economic assistance to stop Putin’s drive for conquest, before the conflict spreads farther.
 
The United States is not doing this alone. More than 50 nations have joined us to ensure that Ukraine has what it needs to defend itself. Our partners are shouldering much of the economic responsibility for supporting Ukraine. We have also built a stronger and more united NATO, which enhances our security through the strength of our allies, while making clear that we will defend every inch of NATO territory to deter further Russian aggression. Our allies in Asia are standing with us as well to support Ukraine and hold Putin accountable, because they understand that stability in Europe and in the Indo-Pacific are inherently connected.
 
We have also seen throughout history how conflicts in the Middle East can unleash consequences around the globe.
 
We stand firmly with the Israeli people as they defend themselves against the murderous nihilism of Hamas. On Oct. 7, Hamas slaughtered 1,200 people, including 35 American citizens, in the worst atrocity committed against the Jewish people in a single day since the Holocaust. Infants and toddlers, mothers and fathers, grandparents, people with disabilities, even Holocaust survivors were maimed and murdered. Entire families were massacred in their homes. Young people were gunned down at a music festival. Bodies riddled with bullets and burned beyond recognition. And for over a month, the families of more than 200 hostages taken by Hamas, including babies and Americans, have been living in hell, anxiously waiting to discover whether their loved ones are alive or dead. At the time of this writing, my team and I are working hour by hour, doing everything we can to get the hostages released.
 
And while Israelis are still in shock and suffering the trauma of this attack, Hamas has promised that it will relentlessly try to repeat Oct. 7. It has said very clearly that it will not stop.
 
The Palestinian people deserve a state of their own and a future free from Hamas. I, too, am heartbroken by the images out of Gaza and the deaths of many thousands of civilians, including children. Palestinian children are crying for lost parents. Parents are writing their child’s name on their hand or leg so they can be identified if the worst happens. Palestinian nurses and doctors are trying desperately to save every precious life they possibly can, with little to no resources. Every innocent Palestinian life lost is a tragedy that rips apart families and communities.
 
Our goal should not be simply to stop the war for today — it should be to end the war forever, break the cycle of unceasing violence, and build something stronger in Gaza and across the Middle East so that history does not keep repeating itself.
 
Just weeks before Oct. 7, I met in New York with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The main subject of that conversation was a set of substantial commitments that would help both Israel and the Palestinian territories better integrate into the broader Middle East. That is also the idea behind the innovative economic corridor that will connect India to Europe through the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel, which I announced together with partners at the Group of 20 summit in India in early September. Stronger integration between countries creates predictable markets and draws greater investment. Better regional connection — including physical and economic infrastructure — supports higher employment and more opportunities for young people. That’s what we have been working to realize in the Middle East. It is a future that has no place for Hamas’s violence and hate, and I believe that attempting to destroy the hope for that future is one reason that Hamas instigated this crisis.
 
This much is clear: A two-state solution is the only way to ensure the long-term security of both the Israeli and Palestinian people. Though right now it may seem like that future has never been further away, this crisis has made it more imperative than ever.
 
A two-state solution — two peoples living side by side with equal measures of freedom, opportunity and dignity — is where the road to peace must lead. Reaching it will take commitments from Israelis and Palestinians, as well as from the United States and our allies and partners. That work must start now.
 
To that end, the United States has proposed basic principles for how to move forward from this crisis, to give the world a foundation on which to build.

Biden Establishes First-Ever Office of Gun Violence Prevention

President Biden announces the formation of the first-ever Office of Gun Violence Prevention, to be overseen by Vice President Kamala Harris. Congressman Maxwell Frost (D-FL), a gun violence survivor and gun violence prevention activist was on hand for the announcement at the White House © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via MSNBC.

By Karen Rubin, news-photos-features.com

For those who insist the 2nd Amendment is absolute and government has no authority to regulate guns, look to the preamble of the Constitution, the authority is written there: “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

It’s a shonda that in face of 31,394 gun deaths and 506 mass shootings so far this year- that President Biden has felt the need to establish the first-ever Office of Gun Violence Prevention. Headed by Vice President Kamala Harris, it is aimed at providing aid and comfort to communities after yet another incident of gun violence, in the same way FEMA does after a disaster, recognizing the trauma and dislocation of communities after such events. The office will also see to fully implement the provisions of the Safer Communities Act – the first serious gun control legislation in nearly 30 years – enact the many gun-safety Executive Orders, and see where new measures need to be taken.

President Biden also vowed to see renewed legislation banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and gave a long list of actions that Congress must take to end the scourge, the epidemic of gun violence that is uniquely “American.”

The new Office of Gun Violence Prevention will be overseen by Vice President Harris, who has been a been a key leader in the Biden-Harris Administration’s effort to end our nation’s gun violence epidemic. Stefanie Feldman, a longtime policy advisor to President Biden on gun violence prevention, will serve as Director of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention, alongside leading gun violence prevention advocates Greg Jackson and Rob Wilcox, who will join the Administration as Deputy Directors of the Office of Gun Violence Prevention.
 
“Every time I’ve met with families impacted by gun violence as they mourn their loved ones, and I’ve met with so many throughout the country, they all have the same message for their elected officials: ‘do something.’ It’s why, last year, I signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to keep guns out of dangerous hands, and have taken more executive action than any President in history to keep communities safe. But as I’ve said before – while these are important steps, they are just the first steps toward what is needed,” President Biden said at a ceremony announcing the office.
 
“That’s why I’m announcing additional steps forward, with the first-ever White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, overseen by Vice President Harris, to build upon these measures and keep Americans safe. The Office will include Stefanie Feldman, who has capably led my Administration’s gun violence prevention efforts and been a trusted aide for more than a decade, alongside leading experts Greg Jackson and Rob Wilcox whose own lives and families have been touched by the tragedy of gun violence. They have turned their pain into purpose and dedicated their careers to being advocates for change – that important work will continue as they join my team in these new roles.
 
“I’ll continue to urge Congress to take commonsense actions that the majority of Americans support like enacting universal background checks and banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. But in the absence of that sorely-needed action, the Office of Gun Violence Prevention along with the rest of my Administration will continue to do everything it can to combat the epidemic of gun violence that is tearing our families, our communities, and our country apart,” Biden said.
  
The Office of Gun Violence Prevention builds on historic actions taken by President Biden to end gun violence in our country: including signing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the most significant legislative action in nearly 30 years aimed at doing so, and taking more meaningful executive action than any other president to make our schools, churches, grocery stores, and communities safer.
 
The Biden-Harris Administration has worked to implement the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the most significant gun violence prevention legislation in nearly 30 years. This legislation is already saving lives by keeping guns out of the hands of individuals under 21 who are prohibited from purchasing firearms, empowering the Justice Department with new authorities to prosecute firearms traffickers, improving access to mental health services in our schools to help young people deal with the trauma and grief resulting from gun violence, and investing in community violence interventions.
 
The Biden-Harris Administration has announced dozens of executive actions to: keep especially dangerous weapons and repeat shooters off our streets; hold rogue gun dealers and gun traffickers accountable; provide law enforcement with the tools and resources they need to reduce gun violence; and address the root causes of gun violence.  Most recently, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives – a critical leader in work to reduce gun violence – proposed a rule to reduce the number of guns sold without background checks and keep guns out of the hands of criminals.
 
President Biden continues to call on Congress to take additional action, including by:

  • Banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines;
  • Requiring safe storage of firearms;
  • Requiring background checks for all gun sales;
  • Eliminating gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability; and

Enacting his Safer America Plan, which would put more police officers on our streets for accountable, community policing and invest in gun violence prevention and intervention.

 “Every person and every child deserves the opportunity to fulfill their dreams and live up to their God-given potential. Every family, in every community, should have the freedom to live and to thrive,” Vice President Kamala Harris stated. “We know true freedom is not possible if people are not safe. This epidemic of gun violence requires urgent leadership to end the fear and trauma that Americans experience every day. The new Office of Gun Violence Prevention will play a critical role in implementing President Biden’s and my efforts to reduce violence to the fullest extent under the law, while also engaging and encouraging Congressional leaders, state and local leaders, and advocates to come together to build upon the meaningful progress that we have made to save lives. Our promise to the American people is this: we will not stop working to end the epidemic of gun violence in every community, because we do not have a moment, nor a life to spare.”

See also:

To Stop Scourge of Gun Violence, End Easy Access, Hold Manufacturers, Retailers, Owners Accountable

The 2nd Amendment Myth that ‘Gun Rights’ Cannot be ‘Infringed’

FACT SHEET: BIDEN-HARRIS ADMINISTRATION TAKES ANOTHER LIFE-SAVING STEP TO KEEP GUNS OUT OF DANGEROUS HANDS

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© 2023 News & Photo Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. For editorial feature and photo information, go to www.news-photos-features.com, email [email protected]. Blogging at www.dailykos.com/blogs/NewsPhotosFeatures. ‘Like’ us on facebook.com/KarenBRubin, Tweet @KarenBRubin

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Marks 29th Anniversary of Violence Against Women Act

Today, on the anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Biden-Harris Administration marks the progress we have made through VAWA to transform the United States’ response to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. President Biden’s commitment to preventing and addressing gender-based violence has remained a cornerstone of his career—from the initial passage of VAWA twenty-nine years ago to, in 2023 alone, implementing historic bipartisan military justice reform and issuing the first-ever U.S. National Plan to End Gender-Based Violence.
 
Since he first championed VAWA in 1994, President Biden has worked across the aisle to reauthorize and strengthen this critical legislation. With each reauthorization, VAWA has been expanded to improve safety and support for all survivors, increase prevention efforts, and inspire social change that will ensure all people are able to live free from violence.
 
Most recently, President Biden signed the VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2022 and secured the highest-ever funding level for VAWA implementation. Over the last year, the Biden-Harris Administration has worked to implement changes that were passed as part of the VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2022 by:

  • Distributing record funding to states, Tribes, and territories for local prosecutors, law enforcement, and victim advocates to support survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.  Funding for the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), established formula grants that have increased funding markedly—for critical programs such as the Services, Training, Officers, and Prosecutors Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program; the Sexual Assault Services Grant Program; and the Rural Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking Program.  These funds will contribute to efforts to support victims and advance justice in communities across our Nation. 
    • Expanding special Tribal criminal jurisdiction with support to Native communities.  The VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2022 expanded special Tribal criminal jurisdiction (STCJ) to cover non-Native perpetrators of sexual assault, child abuse, stalking, sex trafficking, and assaults on Tribal law enforcement officers on Tribal lands. It also authorized a pilot project to enhance access to safety for survivors in Alaska Native villages. The Department of Justice moved quickly to identify and deploy resources to support Tribal implementation of STCJ, including by issuing or announcing awards for new technical assistance and to establish an Alaska-specific Intertribal Technical Assistance Working Group. OVW also issued an interim final rule to reimburse Tribes for expenses incurred in exercising STCJ, which will permit OVW to administer the Tribal Reimbursement Program starting in 2024.
       
    • Increasing culturally-specific resources and support for survivors and communities. The VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2022 increased services and support for survivors from underserved and marginalized communities—including for LGBTQI+ survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. OVW is supporting organizations to maintain and replicate existing successful LGBTQI+-specific services, including through two additional LGBTQI+-specific projects through the Grants for Outreach and Services to Underserved Populations Program.
       
    • Addressing online harassment and abuse and combatting cybercrimes.  Complementing the Administration’s efforts to promote online safety through the Task Force to Address Online Harassment and Abuse, the bipartisan year-end omnibus allocated $8 million to implement initiatives addressing cybercrimes, including two programs newly authorized by the VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2022. 
       
      • To better support State, Tribal, and local law enforcement, prosecutors, and judicial personnel, OVW is working to establish the National Resource Center on Cybercrimes Against Individuals, to assist victims of cybercrimes.
         
      • A $1 million grant will be released by OVW  along with a solicitation, to launch a technical assistance project on the prosecution and investigation of online abuse and harassment. 
         
      • DOJ’s Office of Access to Justice, in consultation with OVW, will work to raise awareness through United States Attorneys’ Offices about the new federal civil cause of action for the non-consensual distribution of intimate images, passed into law in VAWA 2022.
         
    • Promoting prevention and strengthening services for survivors of sexual assault. The VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2022 improves prevention and response to sexual violence, including through increased support for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Rape Prevention and Education Program and Sexual Assault Services Program and enactment of the Fairness for Rape Kit Backlog Survivors Act, which requires state victim compensation programs to allow sexual assault survivors to file for compensation without being unfairly penalized due to rape kit backlogs. DOJ awarded $51.8 million—a nearly 45% increase in funding from the previous year—to provide victims of sexual assault with services in every state and the District of Columbia, as well as American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
       
    • Addressing the nexus between firearms and domestic violence.  The VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2022 strengthened protections for domestic violence survivors at risk of experiencing gun violence, and established a historic restorative justice grant program, offering survivors alternative approaches to healing and justice. President Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which narrowed the “boyfriend loophole” by helping to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. DOJ is training federal law enforcement and educating state and local law enforcement and prosecutors on this historic change. And the FBI is reporting denied transactions of firearm purchases, fully implementing the NICS Denial Notification Act, which helped state law enforcement investigate and prosecute cases against individuals legally prohibited from purchasing firearms who try to do so.
       

Expanding options for survivors to hold offenders accountable. VAWA established a historic restorative justice grant program, offering survivors alternative approaches to healing and justice. Recognizing that survivors and communities need more tools to hold offenders accountable and allow survivors to rebuild their lives, OVW released a solicitation to offer training and technical support to implement restorative practices, as defined in the VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2022.

FACT SHEET: G20 Leaders Agree to Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment

At the 2023 G20 Summit in New Delhi, India, President Biden and Prime Minister Modi co-hosted a group of G20 leaders to accelerate investments to scale high-quality infrastructure projects and the development of economic corridors through the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGI).
 
The meeting of the leaders from the United States, European Union (EU), France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mauritius, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and the World Bank demonstrated the collective urgency to make meaningful progress in narrowing the infrastructure gap in low- and middle-income countries to enable inclusive and sustainable growth and promote economic activity and prosperity.

To further scale this work, the United States will continue to leverage public capital to mobilize private sector investments and collaborate with partners to develop agile and flexible relationships that directly respond to our partners’ needs, laying the groundwork to create more security, prosperity, and opportunities for generations to come.
 
Across the world, from Asia to Africa to the Western Hemisphere, PGI will continue to build and strengthen coalitions of partners — governments, the private sector, and multilateral development banks — to develop key economic corridors and drive high-quality investments.  
 
President Biden announced a range of new projects to generate economic growth, incentivize new investments, and create quality jobs. They include a landmark India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor, as well as a partnership with the European Union to join the United States in supporting the expansion of the Lobito Corridor, and new PGI projects in a range of sectors and across regions.
 
Developing Key Economic Corridors
Launch of the Landmark India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor: Earlier this year, President Biden outlined his vision to develop economic corridors by strategically layering transformative investments across multiple sectors in countries to leverage broader effects of boosting economic development, securing supply chains, and bolstering regional connectivity. Today, the leaders of the United States, India, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Italy and the European Union announced a new India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor . The transformative partnership has the potential to usher in a new era of connectivity from Europe to Asia with a railway, linked through ports, connected by the Middle East. This will create novel interconnections to facilitate global trade, expand reliable access to electricity, facilitate clean energy distribution, and strengthen telecommunications links.  The founding partners intend to work with international partners and the private sector to:

  • Connect India to Europe—linked by a railway line and existing ports through the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel—that will generate economic growth while incentivizing new investments and the creation of quality jobs;
     
  • Connect two continents to commercial hubs and facilitate the development and export of clean energy;
     
  • Support existing trade and manufacturing synergies and strengthen food security and supply chains; and
     
  • Link energy grids and telecommunication lines through undersea cables to expand reliable access to electricity, enabling innovation of advanced clean energy technology and connect communities to secure and stable Internet.

Further development of the Lobito Corridor:  Since President Biden announced investments to develop the Lobito Corridor in May 2023, the United States and its partners are advancing efforts to support a transparent and developed critical minerals sector that can both diversify the global electric vehicle supply chain and benefit local economies. The Corridor serves as an important economic link connecting both the continent and the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia through the Lobito port in Angola. Once transport infrastructure connecting all three countries is fully operational, the Corridor aims to enhance export possibilities, boost the regional circulation of goods, and promote the mobility of citizens. Specific new announcements include:

  • Today, the European Union officially teamed up with the United States to support the development of the Corridor, including supporting the African Governments in launching feasibility studies for the construction of a new greenfield rail line expansion from eastern Angola through northern Zambia.  
     
  • Together, the United States and the European Union intend to explore cooperation in the areas of transport infrastructure investments; measures to facilitate trade, economic development and transit; and support to related sectors to fuel inclusive and sustainable economic growth and capital investment in Angola, Zambia and Democratic Republic of the Congo in the longer term. Specifically, this includes developing clean energy projects to increase the power supply to surrounding communities, supporting diversified investment in critical minerals and clean energy supply chains, extending digital access, growing agriculture value chains to enhance local food production for the region’s expanding population and to address global food insecurity, as well as augmenting local workforce training, support for small and medium enterprises and economic diversification.

Driving High Quality Transformative Investments Around the World
This G20 event builds on recent PGI investment announcements by President Biden and Vice President Harris, including at the ASEAN Summit and visit to Indonesia, the bilateral meeting with G20 host, India, and travel to Vietnam. In addition to economic corridors, PGI is driving high quality transformative investments around the world across PGI target sectors, including:
 
Greater Economic Cooperation with India:

  • Renewable Energy Generation: U.S. Development Finance Corporation (DFC)’s Board of Directors approved the provision of up to $425 million in financing to TP Solar Limited, a subsidiary of The Tata Power Company Limited, to build and operate a solar photovoltaic cell and module manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu, India. Pending congressional notification, this investment will support India’s ambitious program to increase renewable energy generation while developing domestic industry to take advantage of the global clean energy transition. DFC’s support of TP Solar will build on previous support for India’s leadership in clean energy and contributes to a more diverse global supply chain for clean energy technology. 
     
  • Renewable Infrastructure Fund: India and the United States are also advancing the creation of investment platforms to lower the cost of capital and accelerate the deployment of greenfield renewable energy, battery storage and emerging green technology projects in India. Towards this end, India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund and the DFC exchanged letters of intent to each provide up to $500 million to anchor a renewable infrastructure investment fund.
     
  • Diversified Supply Chain for E-Mobility: The United States and India committed to contribute public finance and mobilize philanthropic finance to execute a payment security mechanism that will expand electric mobility in India by accelerating the procurement and deployment of 10,000 electric buses in India, providing extensive climate benefits and diversifying the global e-mobility supply chain.  
     
  • Health Manufacturing in India and Making Insulin Accessible Globally: DFC approved an up to $50 million loan to GeneSys Biologics Private Limited (“GeneSys”) to support its construction of a manufacturing facility in Telengana, India, to scale its production of insulin biosimilars by 10X, with the expectation that the biosimilars will be reviewed for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as well as equivalent regulators in India and other countries. GeneSys will do drug substance manufacturing in Telangana and has partnered with Civica Rx to do fill-and-finish drug product manufacturing in Virginia. This effort will help to making insulin accessible and affordable in India, the United States, and around the world. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority has provided technical support throughout the development of the project.   
     
  • 5G Open RAN: The United States and India share a vision of creating secure and trusted telecommunications, resilient supply chains, and enabling global digital inclusion.  Further collaboration includes establishing two joint Task Forces on advanced telecommunications, focused on Open RAN and research and development in 5G/6G technologies. Public-private cooperation between vendors and operators will be led by India’s Bharat 6G Alliance and the U.S. Next G Alliance. Both countries are partnering on Open RAN field trials and rollouts, including scaled deployments, with operators and vendors of both markets.

Modern Ports in El Salvador: The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) intends to provide a technical assistance grant of $900,000 to El Salvador’s national ports commission to modernize the container terminal at the Port of Acajutla. USTDA’s technical assistance aims to promote operational efficiency, reliability, and safety at El Salvador’s busiest seaport and to provide recommendations for deploying green port and digital technologies to reduce the port’s energy consumption, and decrease air pollution from maritime vessels.
 
Supply Chains in Mozambique: DFC’s Board of Directors approved the provision of up to $150 million in financing to Twigg Exploration and Mining to fund investments in the company’s graphite mining and processing operation in Balama, Mozambique. Pending congressional notification, this investment will increase production and diversify the global supply chain for graphite which is a critical mineral for a range of clean energy and advanced technology products. DFC’s support will also lead to job creation and investment in local infrastructure while ensuring high environmental and social standards that are essential for responsible mining. 

Transportation Systems in the Philippines: USTDA intends to provide grant funding towards a feasibility study to support the Philippines’ Department of Transportation in assessing the viability of developing an expanded vessel traffic management system in the Philippines. As a nation comprised of over 7,000 islands, over 800 commercial ports, and growing vessel traffic activity, the Philippines aims to expand its vessel traffic management system capabilities to cover major ports and navigational paths. The feasibility study will assess the viability of potential implementation at 8 to 10 locations in the Philippines and develop the technical architecture and infrastructure requirements for each location.
 
Bridge the Gender Digital Divide: During her March 2023 trip to Africa, Vice President Kamala Harris announced the launch of the Women in the Digital Economy Fund (Wi-DEF) by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with a combined $60 million commitment.  Since then, that commitment has leveraged further investment and led to the launch of the Women in the Digital Economy Initiative.  This effort will advance digital access and affordability; develop relevant products and tools; provide digital literacy and skills training; promote online safety and security; and invest in sex-disaggregated data and research.

  • Since the launch of WiDEF, partners have pledged an additional $11.6 million – $10 million from Microsoft and $1.6 million from the Government of the Republic of Korea.
     
  • Building off of the success of this Fund, USAID is launching the Women in the Digital Economy Initiative which convenes new partners who have pledged over $515 million collectively to help close the gender digital divide.  Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan, Sweden, and the United Kingdom have all pledged their support. In addition, private sector and philanthropic organizations have made contributions, including Amazon Web Services, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CARE, Citi, G20 EMPOWER India Chapter, the Global Digital Inclusion Partnership, GSMA, the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, Microsoft Corporation, myAgro, Reliance Foundation, Viasat, Visa Foundation, and Visa Inc.

FACT SHEET: Biden Delivers on an Ambitious Agenda for the G20

When President Biden took office, he committed to restore the United States’ leadership role in the world, rebuild our relationships abroad, and champion an economic agenda at home and abroad to deliver sustainable and inclusive growth for American families—and families everywhere. This week, at the G20 Summit in New Delhi, President Biden continued to deliver on those commitments.
 
Leading by example and working with partners around the world, the United States and the G20 delivered for developing countries, for our shared planet, and for an inclusive and responsible digital transformation. At a moment when the global economy is suffering from the overlapping shocks of the climate crisis, fragility, and conflict—including the immense suffering unleashed by Russia’s war in Ukraine—this year’s Summit proved that the G20 can still drive solutions to our most pressing issues.
 
The United States is committed to the G20 and to building on the progress made in India’s G20 Presidency, starting with Brazil’s Presidency in 2024 and South Africa’s Presidency in 2025. In a sign of the President’s steadfast commitment to the G20 as the premier forum for international economic cooperation, the United States will host the G20 in 2026. As President Biden called for last year at the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit, the United States is also pleased to have supported and now welcome the African Union as a permanent member of the G20, a reflection of both the G20’s vitality and the important role of Africa in the global economy.
 
Delivering for Developing Countries
 
At the midpoint of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, compounding crises have resulted in a stalling or reversal of development gains. In New Delhi, President Biden and other G20 leaders committed to implement the G20 2023 Action Plan to Accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The United States remains committed to the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda, both at home and around the world.
 
At home, President Biden is rebuilding the American economy from the bottom up and middle out and making historic investments in our infrastructure, our people, and our climate. These policies have enabled the United States to have the strongest recovery of any major economy. As the world’s largest bilateral donor of official development assistance, the United States is working to help develop countries support their development priorities in areas like inclusive growth, infrastructure, education, health and health security, and resilient and sustainable food systems.
 
Recognizing that public funding alone is not enough, President Biden is championing an ambitious agenda to mobilize significant additional financing for development from all sources—public and private, domestic and international. At the G20, he delivered key elements of that agenda.

  • Delivering a better, bigger, more effective World Bank. The United States is championing a major effort to fundamentally reshape the multilateral development banks to meet 21st century challenges. Over the last year, the World Bank, with the backing of the G20, has made meaningful progress in unlocking new financing capacity and advancing operational reforms. Under Ajay Banga’s leadership, the World Bank is set to play a transformative role in addressing global challenges. Last month, President Biden asked Congress for funds to unlock more than $25 billion in World Bank Group concessional financing. In New Delhi, he rallied G20 partners to agree to collectively mobilize more headroom and concessional finance to boost the World Bank’s capacity to support low- and middle-income countries. This initiative will make the Bank a better and bigger institution able to provide resources at the scale and speed needed to tackle global challenges and address the urgent needs of the poorest countries.
     
  • Supporting countries that fall into economic crisis. President Biden called on the G20 as leaders in the global economy to provide meaningful debt relief so that low- and middle-income countries can regain their footing as they seek to recover from compounding economic shocks in the last few years, and invest in critical development needs. Leaders in New Delhi committed to redouble efforts to resolve ongoing debt distress cases—like Ghana and Sri Lanka. President Biden made it clear that the United States expects meaningful progress by the World Bank and IMF Annual Meetings in October. 
     
  • Make financing more sustainable. President Biden pressed leaders to think beyond our current frameworks to provide new solutions to help translate unsustainable debt into transformative investments. The U.S. Development Finance Corporation has provided such financing to facilitate more than $1 billion in debt for nature swaps in the Western Hemisphere and Africa—unlocking funds for countries to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises and to invest in other critical development needs. At the G20, President Biden also pressed all creditors—including the private sector and multilateral development banks—to offer climate resilient debt clauses in their lending. The U.S. Export Import Bank is preparing to do so in select bilateral lending, in line with its governance framework.
     
  • Developing transformative economic corridors and scaling high-quality investments through the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGI). At an event co-hosted by President Biden and Prime Minister Modi, President Biden and partners announced a landmark India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor that will usher a new era of connectivity from Europe to Asia, facilitating global trade, as well as cooperation on energy and digital connectivity. President Biden also announced a new partnership with the European Union to expand investments in the Lobito Corridor. The President called on partners to deploy public capital to strategically leverage the expertise and financing of the private sector to help secure and diversify 21st century energy supply chains, expand digital connectivity, increase electricity access, bolster food security, and strengthen health systems.

 
Working for a Just Peace in Ukraine
 
President Biden is engaging with countries around the world in pressing for a just peace in Ukraine based on sovereignty and territorial integrity. One and a half years after Russia’s illegal and unjustified aggression against Ukraine, G20 leaders joined President Biden in welcoming efforts to secure “a just peace that upholds all the Purposes and Principles of the UN Charter.” G20 leaders emphasized that countries must refrain from the threat or use of force to seek territorial acquisition against any state’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. G20 leaders also united in highlighting the human suffering and severe economic impacts of the war against Ukraine. The statement highlighted that major economies from around the world – including Brazil, India, South Africa – are united in the need for Russia to uphold international law including territorial integrity and sovereignty. 
 
 
Delivering on Food Security
 
Since the beginning of his Administration, President Biden has made global food security a priority and galvanized collective action to respond to the global food crisis. The United States has committed more than $15.2 billion in critical humanitarian assistance and medium- to long-term food security investments around the world. These investments have helped countries address acute needs and avert famine, as well as diversify their supply chains. At the G20, President Biden championed an agenda focused on mitigating the acute food crises the world is facing today, as well as working together with G20 countries to mitigate against future shocks. 

  • Addressing the food security crisis exacerbated by Russia’s unlawful war in Ukraine. Russia has intensified its attack on global food security with its July decision to withdraw from the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI)—which was responsible for nearly 33 million tons of food exports, about two-thirds of which went directly to middle- and lower-income countries—and its attacks on Ukraine’s port infrastructure to prevent Ukrainian grain shipments from getting to those who need it most. The United States continues to lead the charge to mitigate the impact of Russia’s invasion on world food security and to provide food assistance to the most vulnerable populations in the world. In addition to the more than $15.2 billion that the United States has provided since 2021 to address famine and food insecurity, the Biden-Harris Administration and G7 leaders have rallied the world to contribute an additional over $4.5 billion for acute and medium to long term food security assistance, half of which came from the United States. At the G20, President Biden was unequivocal in calling on Russia to stop weaponizing food, which is causing immense human suffering around the world. G20 leaders united to call for the full, timely and effective implementation of the BSGI.   
     
  • Building more resilient food systems to mitigate against future food shocks. Collective G20 action is necessary to help address global food, climate, and supply chain shocks, prevent hunger and build more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient agriculture and food systems. In New Delhi, President Biden joined G20 leaders in committing to keep food supply chains and trade open, including for agricultural inputs like fertilizer and seeds; adopt and expand climate-smart agricultural practices; invest in critical agricultural infrastructure; promote innovative agricultural research and innovation; and use digital technology to help lower production and transportation costs and diversify access to new global food markets.

 
Delivering on Global Health Challenges
 
The United States is the world’s largest bilateral donor for global health and is committed to working alongside the G20 to build a safer, more equitable future. This includes working together to invest in health equity through vaccine distribution, expanding and improving access to health systems, and facilitating the availability of quality services to historically marginalized groups. It also includes strengthening health systems and institutions; combatting infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria; advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights, and accelerating efforts towards universal health coverage.

  • Improving pandemic preparedness and response. Last year, President Biden galvanized the world to help launch a new Pandemic Fund to fill critical gaps in pandemic preparedness and global health security, committing $450 million and unlocking an additional $1 billion in initial contributions from nearly two dozen countries and philanthropies. This year, the Pandemic Fund is a reality, and recently concluded its first call for proposals, approving $338 million in grants to 37 countries across 6 regions to strengthen disease surveillance and early warning systems and laboratories. In New Delhi, President Biden made it clear that the G20 cannot lose its focus on improving pandemic preparedness, prevention, and response. To this end, he has committed an additional $250 million in planned funds to the Pandemic Fund.
     
  • Building stronger health systems. As we emerge from the acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries’ health systems are struggling to restore access to basic services, like routine childhood immunization and maternal health care. To help the world get back on track, President Biden launched the Global Health Worker Initiative in 2022, recognizing that a health workforce that is supported, equipped, and protected is necessary to reclaim lost ground from the pandemic and prepare for future health threats. President Biden urged G20 leaders to commit to reverse the first global decline in life expectancy in more than seven decades. G20 leaders committed to work together to strengthen primary health care and restore essential health services to better than pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2025.  
     
  • Tackling the overdose crisis: G20 leaders came together for the first time to elevate counternarcotics challenges, and synthetic drugs in particular, as a G20 priority. Leaders recognized the shared public health threats posed by synthetic drugs and committed to enhanced information sharing and capacity building to address these challenges, advancing the critical actions the Biden-Harris Administration is taking to address the overdose crisis at home.

 
Delivering for Our Planet
 
Building a clean energy economy here at home is one of President Biden’s top priorities. But climate change is an issue that requires global action, and the G20 is collectively responsible for about 80 percent of global emissions. In New Delhi, President Biden secured commitments to ensure the G20 continues to set its collective ambition high to address the climate crisis.

  • Tripling global renewable energy capacity by 2030. At home, President Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to increase investments in clean energy technologies. Outside estimates report that the IRA has already created more than 170,000 jobs and will create 1.5 million over the next decade. And the IRA will expand clean energy supply, speed global adoption, and drive down technology costs by as much as 25 percent globally. I In New Delhi, President Biden and G20 leaders committed to pursue efforts to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030, encouraging more countries to follow the IRA playbook of investing in clean energy manufacturing and deployment, creating jobs, and fighting climate change.
     
  • Recognizing the need to peak global emissions by 2025. President Biden successfully urged the G20 to join together in acknowledging, for the first time, the need to peak global emissions by no later than 2025, and in recognizing the to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent by 2030, and 60 percent by 2035, relative to 2019 levels. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that these actions are critical to achieving global net zero greenhouse gas emissions/carbon neutrality by or around mid-century and limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
     
  • Encouraging countries to incorporate economy-wide targets covering all greenhouse gases into their nationally determined contributions. G20 nations have the ability to reduce their emissions in a way that meaningfully supports the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and its temperature goals. With President Biden’s leadership, G20 countries for the first time urged all countries to include economy-wide targets covering all greenhouse gases in upcoming cycles for Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
     
  • Launching the Global Biofuels Alliance. Sustainable biofuels are critical to facilitating net zero by 2050. Advanced biofuels can be sustainably produced from abundant organic material—and supplied by reliable trading partners like the United States. In New Delhi, the G20 Presidency launched the Global Biofuels Alliance with the United States as a founding member along with India, Brazil, Italy, Canada, Argentina, and South Africa. This new Alliance will bring countries together to expand and create new markets for sustainable biofuels.

 
Delivering an Inclusive and Responsible Digital Transformation
 
The digital transformations underway offer the potential to improve the lives of our citizens if they are harnessed responsibly and in a way that drives broadly shared growth. In order to realize the benefits of these technologies, President Biden believes it is necessary to address the barriers to inclusive access and to shape regulatory and governance approaches to maximize their benefits while mitigating their risks. This is the agenda that he championed in New Delhi.

  • Harnessing AI responsibly, for good and for all. President Biden championed an approach to AI that includes a commitment to responsible AI development, deployment, and use, to leverage AI to solve pressing challenges while protecting people’s rights and safety.
     
  • Cutting the digital gender divide in half by 2030. Globally, approximately 260 million more men than women were using the internet in 2022—a divide that undermines women’s full participation in the 21st century economy. President Biden successfully secured a commitment from G20 leaders to halve the digital gender gap by 2030. To help meet this commitment, the United States announced a Women in the Digital Economy Initiative, convening partners from government, the private sector, and civil society to accelerate efforts to close the gender digital divide.
     

Improving access to digital services to boost sustainable and inclusive growth. President Biden joined other G20 leaders in taking steps towards unlocking the benefits of digital public infrastructure (DPI), stressing the importance of prioritizing secure, inclusive, and accountable approaches to DPI, built and leveraged by both the public and private sectors, that respect human rights and protect personal data, privacy, and intellectual property rights.

Biden Takes New Actions to Lower Health Care Costs and Protect Consumers from Scam Insurance Plans, Junk Fees as Part of ‘Bidenomics’ Push

Actions are the latest in a series of steps the Biden Administration has taken to eliminate hidden junk fees and lower prescription drug costs

President Biden announced a series of new actions under a core pillar of his “Bidenomics” agenda to lower health care costs and crack down on surprise junk fees for American families and consumers © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Today, President Biden announced a series of new actions under a core pillar of his “Bidenomics” agenda to lower health care costs and crack down on surprise junk fees for American families and consumers. Since the beginning of his Administration, President Biden has passed historic legislation to lower health care costs for tens of millions of Americans, took on Big Pharma to finally allow Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices, and took action to eliminate hidden fees in every sector of the economy. Today, the Administration is taking additional steps to continue to deliver on those promises.

The President announced:

  • The Biden-Harris Administration is cracking down on junk insurance.  New proposed rules would close loopholes that the previous administration took advantage of that allow companies to offer misleading insurance products that can discriminate based on pre-existing conditions and trick consumers into buying products that provide little or no coverage when they need it most.  These plans leave families surprised by thousands of dollars in medical expenses when they actually  use health care services like a surgery.  If finalized, the rule would limit so-called “short-term” plans to truly short time periods, close loopholes made worse by the previous administration, and establish a clear disclosure for consumers of the limits of these plans.
     
  • The Administration is releasing important guidance on rules against surprise medical billing. Biden-Harris Administration rules are already preventing as many as 1 million surprise medical bills every month.  New guidance will help stop providers from gaming the system by evading the surprise billing rules with creative contractual loopholes that still leave consumers with unexpected costs.
     
  • The Administration is announcing new steps to protect consumers from unfair medical debt. For the first time in history, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, HHS, and Treasury are collaborating to explore whether health care provider and third-party efforts to encourage consumers to sign up for these products are operating outside of existing consumer protections and breaking the law. Medical credit cards and loans often lead to higher costs without consumers fully understanding the risks.
     
  • The Department of Health and Human Services is releasing a new report showing that nearly 19 million seniors and other Part D beneficiaries are projected to save $400 per year on prescription drugs when President Biden’s $2,000 out-of-pocket cap goes into effect. It’s also releasing state by state data that demonstrates how seniors across the country are helped by just one element of the President’s robust agenda to lower prescription drug prices.

These actions are the latest in a series of steps the Administration has taken to address hidden junk fees across industries, including: cracking down on bounced check and overdraft fees in the banking industry, which is saving consumers more than $5 billion every year; proposing rules to require airlines to disclose all of their fees up front and successfully pushing a number of airlines to end family seating fees; and mobilizing private sector action to eliminate hidden junk fees for concert and sports tickets.

Cracking down on junk insurance
The Affordable Care Act has helped tens of millions of Americans access high-quality, affordable health insurance and protects Americans from being discriminated against because of pre-existing conditions.  But actions from the previous administration allowed insurance companies to take advantage of loopholes in the law and sell “junk insurance” plans that evade these protections. These “junk insurance” plans leave families surprised by thousands of dollars in bills, often because the insurance plan claims they have a pre-existing condition that isn’t covered.  For example, a man in Montana faced $43,000 in health care costs because his insurance plan claimed his cancer was a pre-existing condition, and a Pennsylvania woman was surprised by nearly $20,000 in bills for an amputation her junk plan refused to cover.  Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is proposing rules to crack down on this junk insurance, as part of the latest efforts by the Administration to eliminate hidden and junk fees in every industry across the economy.  These actions will reduce scam insurance plans that offer really no insurance at all.

  • “Short-term” plans must be truly short-term.  Under the new rules, if finalized, plans that claim to be “short-term” health insurance would be limited to just 3 months, or a maximum of 4 months, if extended – instead of the 3 years that junk plans can offer today as a result of changes made by the previous administration.
     
  • Income replacement “fixed indemnity” plans cannot mimic comprehensive health insurance. Under the proposed rules, plans that want to be exempt from the rules for health insurance — because they are designed to replace lost income when people get sick, rather than provide full medical coverage – have to live up to their original purpose and cannot be designed like comprehensive health insurance. This means that plans would need to make clear that people signing up for these plans would get a defined benefit, like $100 per day of illness, instead of thinking that they have comprehensive insurance. This proposed rule aims to prevent Americans from being on the hook for high medical costs, like a woman who needed an amputation and was left with $20,000 in medical debt because her plan did not include comprehensive coverage.
     
  • Plans have to clearly disclose limits. Under the proposed rules, plans are required to provide consumers with a clear disclaimer that explains the limits of their benefits, including to existing consumers currently enrolled in these plans. 

Preventing surprise medical billing
Before President Biden took office, millions of people received surprise bills for health care they thought was in-network care covered by their health plan.  This could include when people need emergency care and are taken to the nearest hospital, or when a pregnant woman delivers her baby at an in-network hospitals only to find out that the anesthesiologist who cared for her is actually out-of-network.  These surprise bills can cost people hundreds or thousands of dollars, averaging between $750 to $2,600. The Administration is protecting millions of consumers from surprise medical bills through the implementation of the No Surprises Act, which has already protected 1 million Americans every month since January 1, 2022 from unfair, undeserved out-of-network charges and balance bills.
 
The Biden-Harris Administration is taking an important next step to protect consumers from surprise medical bills by issuing guidance to clarify that payers cannot use loopholes to avoid surprising billing protections:

  • Ending abuse of “in-network” designation. Today, some health plans contract with hospitals, but try to claim that they are not technically “in-network” – which can expose consumers to higher payments when they have to make a hospital visit.  The Administration today is making clear this is not allowed under federal law: health care services provided by these providers are either out-of-network and subject to the surprise billing protections, or they are in-network and subject to the ACA’s annual limitation on cost-sharing, further protecting consumers from excessive out-of-pocket costs.
     
  • Facility fees treated like other health care costs. The Administration is also concerned about an increase in patients being charged “facility fees” for health care provided outside of hospitals, like at a doctor’s office. These fees are often a surprise for consumers. The Administration today is making clear that health plans and providers must make information about these facility fees publicly available to consumers, as well as other price information for services and items they cover or provide. In addition, nonparticipating providers and nonparticipating emergency facilities cannot evade the protections of the No Surprises Act, including the prohibition on balance billing, by renaming charges otherwise prohibited under the No Surprises Act as “facility fees.”

Protecting consumers from unfair medical debt
Increasingly, health care providers are signing up patients for third-party medical credit cards and loans to help pay for care. These credit cards often include teaser rates and deferred interest features that lead to higher costs for consumers, and may be offered even when low- or no-cost alternatives, such as zero-interest payment plans, financial assistance, or health coverage may be available. Health care providers may be promoting these products because they could allow providers to get paid faster, outsource servicing and collections costs to third parties, receive a higher payment from consumers who otherwise would pay a discounted price for care, and in some circumstances, receive a share of the interest revenue gained by the third-party financial company.
 
Use of these products may complicate insurance coverage and the availability of financial assistance, and consumers may not fully understand the risks associated with these products, leading to higher costs and negative impacts on consumers’ financial, physical, and emotional well-being.
 
For the first time ever, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), HHS, and Treasury are collaborating on the needs of health care consumers by releasing a Request for Information (RFI) to learn more about this emerging practice and solicit comment on potential policy actions. Part of this RFI will explore whether providers are operating outside of existing consumer protections, because once medical bills are placed on medical credit cards, there may be gaps in how various consumer protections apply. 

New data shows nearly 19 million seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries will save an estimated $400 per year in prescription drug costs because of President Biden’s out-of-pocket spending cap
Thanks to President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs at the pharmacy will be capped at $2,000 per year for Medicare Part D enrollees starting in 2025.  Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released data showing that 18.7 million (or 1 in 3) seniors and people with disabilities who are enrolled in Part D plans will save, on average, $400 per year when the $2,000 cap and other Inflation Reduction Act provisions go into effect in 2025. And some enrollees will save even more: 1.9 million enrollees with the highest drug costs will save an average of $2,500 per year starting in 2025. Overall, the law’s Part D benefits provisions will reduce enrollee out-of-pocket spending by about $7.4 billion annually.
 
To view data broken down by state and demographic, visit LINK.
 
Today’s actions follow significant milestones achieved last week in implementing President Biden’s historic law to lower health care and prescription drug costs. On June 30, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released revised guidance that describes how they will negotiate lower prescription drug prices for seniors later this year. The first ten drugs selected for negotiation will be announced by September 1, 2023. Also last week, the $35 monthly cap on insulin for Medicare Part B beneficiaries went into effect. Already 1.5 million Medicare Part D beneficiaries were saving up to hundreds of dollars per month on insulin costs because of the Inflation Reduction Act, and many more will benefit from these cost savings starting this month.
  

Biden Forges Unity among G7 Leaders on Ukraine, China, Clean Energy, Economic Resilience

President Biden made a historic trip to Ukraine. At the G7, he is forging unity among the G& leaders on Ukraine, China, clean energy and sustainable economic development. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via MSNBC.

With all the hullabaloo and unceasing scandals perpetrated, promulgated, manufactured by Trump, MAGA radical right wing extremists, and Republicans (debt crisis, border crisis), people are completely unaware of the important achievements President Biden and the Biden Administration are making globally. We again have someone in the White House worthy of the moniker, “Leader of the Free World” who is doing his damnedest to make the world a safer place. Here is a Fact Sheet summarizing the results of the 2023 G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan, provided by the White House: –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Since President Biden took office, revitalizing our alliances and partnerships and reestablishing America’s leadership around the world has been one of his top priorities. The G7 Summit in Hiroshima showed that the G7 are more united than ever: united on Ukraine, united on China, united on economic security, united on building the clean energy economies of the future, united on nuclear disarmament, and united on fighting poverty and responding to global challenges like the climate crisis around the world.

United on Ukraine
 
G7 Leaders set forth a powerful statement of unity strength and commitment in our response to Russia’s war of aggression.  Leaders announced a set of concrete actions to intensify the G7’s diplomatic, financial, humanitarian and security support for Ukraine, to increase the costs to Russia and those supporting its war efforts, and to continue to counter the negative impacts of Russia’s war on the rest of the world, particularly on the most vulnerable people.

  • New sanctions and export controls. G7 Leaders announced new steps to economically isolate Russia and weaken its ability to wage its war. They announced new efforts to further disrupt Russia’s ability to source inputs for its war; close evasion loopholes; further reduce reliance on Russian energy and limit its future extractive capacity; and squeeze Russia’s access to the international financial system. G7 leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to keep Russia’s sovereign assets immobilized until Russia pays for the damage it has caused.  To implement these commitments, the Departments of Treasury, State, and Commerce rolled out new sanctions packages including by expanding our broad restrictions, cutting off over 70 companies from Russia and other countries from receiving U.S. exports, and sanctioning upwards of 300 individuals, entities, vessels, and aircraft, including actors across the globe.
     
  • Discussing peace with a broad range of partners.  The G7 leaders met with the leaders of Ukraine, Australia, Brazil, the Cook Islands, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, and Vietnam to discuss international peace and security.  The leaders issued an Action Plan on Food Security that notes, “Especially in light of its impact on food security and the humanitarian situation around the world, we support a just and durable peace based on respect for international law, principles of the UN charter and territorial integrity and sovereignty.”

United on China
 
G7 Leaders affirmed that G7 countries are not decoupling from China or turning inwards. At the same time, G7 Leaders recognized the need to respond to concerns and to stand up for our core values.  

  • Economic security issues. The G7 will push for a level playing field for their workers and companies and seek to address the challenges posed by China’s non-market policies and practices and foster resilience to economic coercion. They recognized the necessity of protecting certain advanced technologies that could be used to threaten our national security.
     
  • Indo-pacific. Leaders reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and called for a peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues. They highlighted that there is no change in the basic positions of the G7 members on Taiwan. They registered their serious concerned about the situation in the East and South China Seas and reaffirmed their strong opposition to any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion.
     
  • Core values. G7 Leaders voiced concerns about the human rights situation in China, and called on China not to conduct interference activities or undermine the integrity of our democratic institutions.
     

United on Economic Resilience and Economic Security
 
G7 Leaders took steps to enhance strategic coordination on economic resilience and economic security by strengthening supply chains, reducing vulnerabilities and countering malign practices that exploit and reinforce them. 

  • Protecting critical and emerging technologies. President Biden has taken action in the United States to protect certain dual use technologies from falling into the hands of strategic rivals. In Hiroshima, G7 Leaders affirmed that this is a common interest across G7 countries. To this end, the Leaders further recognized that addressing risks from outbound investment could be important to complement existing tools of targeted controls on exports and inbound investments.
     
  • Launching the G7 Coordination Platform on Economic Coercion. G7 Leaders launched the Coordination Platform on Economic Coercion to increase collective assessment, preparedness, deterrence and response to economic coercion.

 
United on Building the Clean Energy Economies of the Future
 
At home, President Biden has delivered on an ambitious clean energy agenda that is centered around bold public investment and working with partners to build secure and resilient supply chains. In Hiroshima, G7 Leaders outlined the way that G7 partners are working to meet the moment in achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement, to build secure and resilient supply chains, and to ensure strong industrial bases across G7 countries.

  • Maximizing the impact of incentives. Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, this was the first G7 Summit where the President of the United States could unambiguously say that the United States is on a path to meet our Paris Climate commitments. G7 Leaders recognized that achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement urgently requires significant new incentives, industrial policies, and public as well as private investments. Leaders committed to work together to ensure regulations and investments will make clean energy technologies more affordable for all nations and help drive a global, just energy transition for workers and communities that will leave no one behind.


United on an Affirmative and Ambitious Development Agenda

President Biden has championed an affirmative and ambitious agenda to support developing countries, including through reaffirming our support for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and working to create fiscal space for increased domestic investments in key development priorities. In Hiroshima, G7 Leaders emphasized the need to unlock investments and policy reforms to accelerate progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), including by investing in more resilient food and health systems, and by addressing the effects of climate change.

  • Tackling rising levels of debt. G7 Leaders highlighted their concern that serious challenges to debt sustainability are undermining the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. They reiterated the urgency of addressing debt vulnerabilities in low- and middle-income countries and their full support of the G20’s effort to improve the implementation of the Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) in a predictable, timely, orderly and coordinated manner, providing clarity to participants.
     
  • Promoting the evolution of the multilateral development banks (MDBs). G7 Leaders noted their strong support for the efforts underway by multilateral development banks to review and transform their business models to better address global challenges such as climate change, pandemics, fragility and conflict, which are integral to achieving poverty reduction and shared prosperity.  They encouraged MDBs to expedite this ongoing work. They looked to further progress on the World Bank’s evolution agenda toward the 2023 WBG and IMF Annual Meetings and beyond.
     
  • Reversing the first global decline in life expectancy in nearly a century. G7 leaders committed to work with global partners to restore access to essential health services to better than pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2025, and to strengthen primary health care delivery, including by investing in health workers, in order to accelerate progress toward universal health coverage. The United States is providing approximately $10 billion in global health program funding with Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 funds, much of which supports essential health services, including addressing HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria, expanding access to water and sanitation, and supporting maternal and child health. One year ago, the President also launched the Global Health Worker Initiative, which aims to address the global shortage of health workers.  
     
  • Investing in health security with U.S. contribution of $250 Million to the Pandemic Fund. The President announced that the United States plans to provide a $250 million contribution in Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations, subject to Congressional notification, to the Pandemic Fund to demonstrate the United States’ ongoing commitment to strengthening global health security around the world. This planned investment in the Pandemic Fund will continue to serve as a catalyst for additional contributions from other donors. The United States is committed to providing greater investments in health security to help break the cycle of panic and neglect in the wake of health emergencies.
     
  • Launching the Hiroshima Action Statement for Resilient Global Food Security with partner countries to address needs today and into the future.  G7 Leaders reaffirmed their continued commitment to address global food insecurity and the need to build more resilient, sustainable, and inclusive food systems. G7 leaders have exceeded the $14 billion commitment announced at the 2022 G7 Elmau Summit, mobilizing $14.9 billion for food security.  The United States remains the global leader on food security. Since the beginning of 2022, the United States has provided over $13.5 billion in acute and medium to long term assistance for food security.


Showing Tangible Progress at the PGII One-Year Mark
 
One year after G7 Leaders announced PGII as the G7’s collective infrastructure initiative, G7 Leaders demonstrated that PGII is making concrete progress.

  • Collaborating with partners. During the Summit, G7 Leaders were joined by leaders of [Australia, Brazil, Comoros, Cook Islands, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Republic of Korea, and the World Bank]. They were also joined by private sector executives of Citi, Global Infrastructure Partners, Japan Foreign Trade Council, and Nokia to reaffirm their commitment to opening a serious, sustainable channel for unlocking public and private capital for these projects in the developing world.
     
  • Launching new projects. To date, the United States has mobilized $30 billion through grants, federal financing, and leveraging private sector investments towards PGII. President Biden announced new projects and highlighted the impact of several projects announced since PGII’s launch at the 2022 G7 Summit.
     
  • Announcing a PGII Investor Forum. The President announced that the United States will seek to launch an annual Investor Forum to enable the United States Government to more comprehensively de-risk capital, play a matchmaking role between investors and opportunities that advance PGII, and hear feedback on how it can continue to refine the PGII model to maximize its effectiveness.

FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Takes New Actions to Conserve and Restore America’s Lands and Waters

President Establishes New National Monuments in Nevada and Texas; Directs Secretary of Commerce to Consider Expanding Protections for Pacific Remote Islands Which Would Reach Goal of Conserving 30% of U.S. Ocean by 2030

House on Fire, Bears Ears National Monument. During his first year in office, President Biden protected more lands and waters than any president since John F. Kennedy, including by restoring protections for Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monuments.  Last year, President Biden designated his first new national monument, Camp Hale-Continental Divide in Colorado and most recently, he established two new national monuments: Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada and Castner Range National Monument in Texas. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

At the White House Conservation in Action Summit on March 21, President Biden announced major new actions to conserve and restore lands and waters across the nation, including by establishing Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada and Castner Range National Monument in Texas. The President also directed the Secretary of Commerce to consider exercising her authority to protect all U.S. waters around the Pacific Remote Islands. These new commitments build on President Biden’s historic climate and environmental record, including delivering on the most ambitious land and water conservation agenda in American history.  

The announcements include:

  • Establishing two new national monuments: Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada and Castner Range National Monument in Texas. The designation of these two national monuments demonstrates the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to protect historically and culturally significant areas and conserve our nation’s treasured outdoor spaces. Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada will honor Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples while conserving our public lands and growing America’s outdoor recreation economy. In Texas, Castner Range National Monument will expand access to the outdoors for the El Paso community while honoring our nation’s veterans and servicemembers. Together, these new national monuments protect nearly 514,000 acres of public lands.
     
  • Protecting all U.S. waters around the Pacific Remote Islands. The President directed the Secretary of Commerce to consider initiating a new National Marine Sanctuary designation within the next 30 days to protect all U.S. waters around the Pacific Remote Islands. If completed, the new sanctuary would ensure the U.S. will reach the President’s goal of conserving at least 30% of ocean waters under American jurisdiction by 2030.
     
  • New actions to conserve, restore, and expand access to lands and waters. The Biden-Harris Administration is announcing a series of new steps to conserve, restore, and expand access to lands and waters across the country. These include a proposal to modernize the management of America’s public lands, a plan to harness the power of the ocean to fight the climate crisis, a strategy to better conserve wildlife corridors, and new funding to improve access to outdoor recreation, promote Tribal conservation, reduce wildfire risk, and more.

These actions build on more than two years of the Biden-Harris Administration’s progress and historic investments to advance conservation, restoration, and stewardship nationwide:

  • During his first year in office, President Biden protected more lands and waters than any president since John F. Kennedy, including by restoring protections for Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante, and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monuments. Last year, President Biden designated his first new national monument, Camp Hale – Continental Divide in Colorado.
     
  • Thanks to the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, President Biden has, over his first two years in office, invested over $10 billion in conservation initiatives – more than any other modern president.
     
  • Under the President’s leadership, the Administration is making unprecedented investments in land, water, and wildlife conservation, including by launching the $1 billion America the Beautiful Challenge. These investments will help meet the President’s goal – set during his first week in office – of conserving at least 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.
     
  • The Biden-Harris Administration has protected nationally-significant lands and waters across the country, including recent actions to restore protections for roadless areas of the Tongass National Forest, prevent future oil and gas leasing in the entire U.S. Arctic Ocean, safeguard Bristol Bay in Alaska and the world-class salmon fishery it supports, and protect America’s most-visited wilderness area, the Boundary Waters in Minnesota. The Administration is also working to protect Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, the Thompson Divide in Colorado, and accelerating restoration efforts in the Great Lakes, the Chesapeake Bay, the Everglades, and the Columbia River Basin.

Establishing Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada

President Biden signed a proclamation establishing the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument. This designation will honor Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples by protecting this sacred Nevada landscape and its historically and scientifically important features, while conserving our public lands and growing America’s outdoor recreation economy.

Avi Kwa Ame is considered to be among the most sacred places on Earth by the Mojave, Chemehuevi, and some Southern Paiute people. It is also important to other Tribal Nations and Indigenous Peoples including the Cocopah, Halchidhoma, Havasupai, Hopi, Hualapai, Kumeyaay, Maricopa, Pai Pai, Quechan, Yavapai, and Zuni Tribes. Its scenic peaks include Avi Kwa Ame (Spirit Mountain), which is designated as a Traditional Cultural Property on the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of its religious and cultural importance. The area is also home to the one of the world’s largest Joshua tree forests, and provides continuous habitat or migration corridors for species such as the desert bighorn sheep, desert tortoise, and Gila monster.

Establishing Castner Range National Monument in Texas

President Biden also signed a proclamation establishing the Castner Range National Monument, in El Paso, Texas. This action will protect the cultural, scientific, and historic objects found within the monument’s boundaries, honor our veterans, servicemembers, and Tribal Nations, and expand access to outdoor recreation on our public lands. 

Located on Fort Bliss, Castner Range served as a training and testing site for the U.S. Army during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The Army ceased training at the site and closed Castner Range in 1966. Once the area is sufficiently remediated to be safe for public access, Castner Range will offer unique opportunities for the El Paso community to experience, explore, and learn from nature. President Biden is committed to expanding access to nature for underserved communities that have historically had less access to our public lands, like those bordering Castner Range. Protecting Castner Range connects the area with the Franklin Mountains State Park, creating continuous habitat for wildlife and improved public access for outdoor recreation. Castner Range also hosts significant cultural sites documenting the history of Tribal Nations, including the Apache and Pueblo peoples and the Comanche Nation, Hopi Tribe, and Kiowa Indian Tribe of Oklahoma.

Directing Consideration of a Sanctuary to Complete Protections for Waters Around the Pacific Remote Islands

Consistent with the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to conserving 30% of lands and waters by 2030, the President signed a Presidential Memorandum directing the Secretary of Commerce to, using the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, consider initiating a sanctuary designation within the next 30 days to expand protections around the Pacific Remote Islands southwest of Hawaii. Such protections would encompass areas unaddressed by previous administrations so all areas of U.S. jurisdiction around the islands, atolls, and reef of the Pacific Remote Islands will be protected.

The potential new National Marine Sanctuary identified in the Memorandum would conserve 777,000 square miles, including the existing Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument and currently unprotected submerged lands and waters. The region has a rich ancestral tie to many Native Hawaiian and Pacific Island communities. The process for a potential sanctuary designation would allow the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to further explore the area’s scientific, cultural, and ancestral linkages, and tailor its management accordingly.

The President is also directing the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Commerce to conduct a public process to work with regional Indigenous cultural leaders to appropriately rename the existing Pacific Remote Islands National Monument, and potentially the Islands themselves, to honor the area’s heritage, ancestral pathways, and stopping points for Pacific Island voyagers, and to provide posthumous recognition for young Native Hawaiian men sent to secure U.S. territorial claim to the islands in the run up to World War II.

New Federal and Other Actions to Conserve, Restore, and Expand Access to Lands and Waters

Ocean Climate Action Plan: The Ocean Policy Committee, co-chaired by the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, is releasing the first-ever United States Ocean Climate Action Plan, a groundbreaking roadmap to harnesses the power of the ocean to advance immediate, transformational steps to protect ocean health and address the climate crisis. Acknowledging that there is no path to a healthy and livable climate without the ocean, the plan outlines new actions on the Administration’s ocean-climate priorities, including efforts to advance climate solutions, promote environmental justice, support healthy communities, and ensure a robust and sustainable ocean economy.

Wildlife Corridors Guidance: The White House Council on Environmental Quality is issuing new guidance to Federal agencies on how to better incorporate ecological connectivity and wildlife corridors into federal planning and decision-making. The guidance highlights the importance of connectivity across terrestrial, marine, and freshwater habitats, encouraging collaboration across management and ownership boundaries with states, Tribes, local governments, and private land owners. This helps deliver on one of the America the Beautiful Initiative’s six early focus areas – supporting collaborative conservation of fish and wildlife habitat and corridors.

Strengthening the Stewardship of America’s Public Lands: The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management in the coming weeks is seeking public input on a proposed rule that will help update and modernize the agency’s tools and strategies for managing America’s public lands. With climate change imposing mounting impacts on the nation’s public lands, and the growing importance of public lands for recreation and conservation, the proposed rule would help ensure that the nation’s lands continue to provide abundant and well-connected wildlife habitat, supply clean drinking water, and power local economies.

New Partnership to Protect Military Readiness and Preserve Green Space: The Department of the Interior and the Department of Defense are partnering to allocate $80 million through a combination of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and matching funds from DoD’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Program (REPI) to preserve green space around military installations and improve access to outdoor recreation for millions of Americans. The Departments will make the funding available to states through a competitive process that could support projects on Tribal, private, state, or local lands.

$100 Million Tribal Conservation Funding Pledge: Today, Native Americans in Philanthropy, in collaboration with Biodiversity Funders Group and 15 philanthropies, is launching the Tribal Nations Conservation Pledge with an initial commitment of more than $100 million. This is a new platform for philanthropic organizations to support the conservation work of Tribal Nations and public-private partnerships between the Biden-Harris Administration, Tribes, and philanthropy. The pledge calls on funders to commit to a self-determined amount of funding, or a self-determined percentage of annual programmatic funding, to support the biodiversity and conservation efforts of Tribes, inter-Tribal organizations, and Tribal consortia.

America the Beautiful 2022 Annual Report: The Biden-Harris Administration is releasing the 2022 America the Beautiful Annual Report, an update on progress made to support locally-led conservation and restoration efforts and meet the President’s goal to conserve at least 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.

New Partnership to Accelerate the Conservation of At-Risk Species: The Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Alliance of Forest Owners and the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement Inc., will announce a memorandum of understanding which formalizes the Wildlife Conservation Initiative, a collaborative partnership focused on advancing the conservation of at-risk and listed species within private working forests nationwide. The announcement comes as the Department of the Interior celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act and highlights the landmark law’s importance in preventing imperiled species’ extinction, promoting the recovery of wildlife, and conserving the habitats upon which they depend. 

Wildlife Crossing Pilot Program: Soon the Federal Highway Administration and the Department of Transportation will open applications for the first-of-its-kind $350 million Wildlife Crossings Pilot Program. The program will build infrastructure that is proven to improve roadway safety – particularly in rural communities – and bring down the roughly 200 deaths stemming from more than one million collisions every year between vehicles and wildlife.

Nearly $200 Million to Reduce Wildfire Risk to Communities: The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service announced nearly $200 million in Community Wildfire Defense Grant (CWDG) program grants to communities across the country. Funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CWDG program is designed to assist communities, including Tribal communities, non-profit organizations, state forestry agencies and Alaska Native corporations with planning for and mitigating wildfire risks to communities and critical infrastructure as the nation faces an ongoing wildfire crisis.

State Wildlife Grants: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is distributing over $56 million for state fish and wildlife agencies through the State Wildlife Grant Program to support conservation and stewardship efforts for imperiled wildlife and their habitats.  

Boating Infrastructure Grants: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is distributing over $20 million in grant funding to assist states and territories in the construction, renovation and maintenance of marinas and other boating facilities for outdoor recreation. Grants will support projects in 20 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to increase outdoor recreation access and waterway stewardship.  

Pactola Reservoir Protection: The U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management announced actions to consider protections for cultural and natural resources in the Pactola Reservoir – Rapid Creek Watershed in South Dakota, including drinking water for Rapid City and Ellsworth Air Force Base, from the adverse impacts of mineral exploration and development. The Pactola Reservoir is the largest and deepest reservoir in the Black Hills National Forest, with 14 miles of shoreline and 150-foot depths on 800 acres and provides high quality recreation for communities and visitors