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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s in the Biden FY2023 Budget

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And here’s what in the Biden budget:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
Restoring American Leadership and Confronting Global Threats
 

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

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

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

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

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

Expanding Economic Opportunity, Advancing Equity, and Strengthening our Democracy

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Addressing the Collective Challenges of our Time:

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

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

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

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

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

Read the Biden letter on the Global Fragility Act Implementation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today’s announcements include:

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

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

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

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

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

Biden Sends Shockwaves with 9 Words: ‘For God’s Sake, This Man Cannot Remain in Power’

In Warsaw Speech, Stands Up to Putin’s Brutality, Pledges Support to Ukraine

President Joe Biden gave a major speech in Warsaw clearly explaining to Americans and reassuring allies why and what the US is doing to support Ukraine, bolstering the resolve of Ukraine in their fight for freedom and sovereignty,  and, finally, speaking directly to the Russian people, encouraging Russian people to throw off the shackles of a brutal dictator who has brought such misery to their lives. He concluded, saying “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”  © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via msnbc.

President Joe Biden, after a powerful visit to Europe – meeting with NATO, G7, the European Union, the President of Poland, US military and Ukrainian refugees – gave a significant speech clearly explaining to Americans and reassuring allies why and what the US is doing to support Ukraine, bolstering the resolve of Ukraine in their fight for freedom and sovereignty,  and, finally, speaking directly to the Russian people, encouraging Russian people to throw off the shackles of a brutal dictator who has brought such misery to their lives.

It was in that context, at the end, he made a nine-word impromptu statement that sent shockwaves around the world – overshadowing everything he said and did before. Some called it a “gaffe”, but it wasn’t a gaffe at all, but a truthful remark:

For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” 

Biden, who always speaks clearly and truthfully, even if inartfully occasionally, spoke genuinely in this statement. For with nine words, he accurately laid the cause of the horror, the atrocities, the misery being rained down on Ukraine and the terror reverberating around the world, on Putin himself. The dictator, who fashions himself as a 21st century Stalin or a Czar bent on empire-building, is the only one who launched the war and the only one who can stop it.

Some attacked Biden for appearing to provoke Putin with a statement that sounded like he was calling for regime change. In a way he is – he summoned the people of Russia to reclaim their own freedom – but did not say this was the policy of the US or the demand before any peace agreement could be made.

But what is clear is that Putin only responds to strength, and up until now, he has been the only one who has threatened to use chemical and nuclear weapons to achieve his ambition. He is the only one who has called for regime change – literally installing Trump in the White House in 2016 (recall, Trump lost by 3 million votes), launching a chemical attack on a previous Ukraine president as candidate, and now is trying to forcibly remove Vladimir Zelenskyy, the democratically elected president of Ukraine, and replace him with a puppet regime, as he did in Belarus.

And after the White House clarified that the President was not calling for a policy of regime change, Biden asserted, “I’m not walking anything back,” Biden said Monday from the White House. “The fact of the matter is I was expressing the moral outrage I felt toward the way Putin is dealing and the actions of this man, which is just brutality.” He said that he was overcome after meeting with Ukrainian refugees in Warsaw, Poland.

“I want to make it clear, I wasn’t then nor am I now articulating a policy change,” he said. “I was expressing moral outrage that I feel. I make no apologies for it.”

Biden insisted that his remark would not foul up diplomatic efforts to end the war or spur Putin to escalate hostilities.

“What complicates the situation at the moment is the escalatory efforts of Putin to continue to engage in carnage,” Biden said, “the kind of behavior that makes the whole world say, ‘My God, what is this man doing?”’

in previous remarks, Biden had already declared that “Putin must pay the price” for his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the war crimes he unleashed.

And the fact is that after Biden’s remarks, Russia said it was de-escalating the assault on Kyiv. (Indeed, in the past, Biden’s unscripted remarks have had impact, as when, as Vice President, he said same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, and triggered a change in the Obama Administration’s policy that rippled through the nation.)

Biden’s speech was so much more than the nine words. Here is a highlighted transcript: — Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Remarks by President Biden on the United Efforts of the Free World to Support the People of Ukraine

The Royal Castle in Warsaw
Warsaw, Poland

6:16 P.M. CET
 
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Please, if you have a seat, be seated.  (Laughter.)  If you don’t, come up on stage.
 
Thank you very much.  It’s a great honor to be here.  Mr. President, they tell me you’re over there somewhere.  There you are.  Thank you, Mr. President. 
 
“Be not afraid.”  They were the first words at the first public address of the first Polish Pope after his election on October of 1978.  They were words that would come to define Pope John Paul II.  Words that would change the world.
 
John Paul brought the message here to Warsaw in his first trip back home as Pope in June of 1979.  It was a message about the power — the power of faith, the power of resilience, and the power of the people. 
 
In the face of a cruel and brutal system of government, it was a message that helped end the Soviet repression in the Central land and Eastern Europe 30 years ago.  It was a message that will overcome the cruelty and brutality of this unjust war. 
 
When Pope John Paul brought that message in 1979, the Soviet Union ruled with an iron fist behind an Iron Curtain.
 
Then a year later, the Solidarity movement took hold in Poland.  And while I know he couldn’t be here tonight, we’re all grateful in America and around the world for Lech Wałęsa.  (Applause.) 
 
It reminds me of that phrase of philosopher Kierkegaard: “[F]aith sees best in the dark.”  And there were dark moments.
 
Ten years later, the Soviet Union collapsed, and Poland and Central and Eastern Europe would soon be free.  Nothing about that battle for freedom was simple or easy.  It was a long, painful slog fought over not days and months, but years and decades.
 
But we emerged anew in the great battle for freedom: a battle between democracy and autocracy, between liberty and repression, between a rules-based order and one governed by brute force.
 
In this battle, we need to be clear-eyed.  This battle will not be won in days or months either.  We need to steel ourselves for the long fight ahead.
 
Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister, Mr. Mayor, members of the Parliament, distinguished guests, and the people of Poland, and I suspect some people of Ukraine that are here: We’re — (applause) — we are gathered here at the Royal Castle in this city that holds a sacred place in the history of not only of Europe, but humankind’s unending search for freedom.
 
For generations, Warsaw has stood where liberty has been challenged and liberty has prevailed.
 
In fact, it was here in Warsaw when a young refugee, who fled her home country from Czechoslovakia was under Soviet domination, came back to speak and stand in solidarity with dissidents.
 
Her name was Madeleine Korbel Albright.  She became — (applause) — one of the most ardent supporters of democracy in the world.  She was a friend with whom I served.  America’s first woman Secretary of State.  She passed away three days ago.
 
She fought her whole life for essential democratic principles.  And now, in the perennial struggle for democracy and freedom, Ukraine and its people are on the frontlines fighting to save their nation.
 
And their brave resistance is part of a larger fight for an essential democratic principles that unite all free people: the rule of law; free and fair elections; the freedom to speak, to write, and to assemble; the freedom to worship as one chooses; freedom of the press.
 
These principles are essential in a free society.  (Applause.)  But they have always — they have always been under siege.  They’ve always been embattled.  Every generation has had to defeat democracy’s mortal foes.  That’s the way of the world — for the world is imperfect, as we know.  Where the appetites and ambitions of a few forever seek to dominate the lives and liberties of many.
 
My message to the people of Ukraine is the message I delivered today to Ukraine’s Foreign Minister and Defense Minister, who I believe are here tonight: We stand with you.  Period.  (Applause.)
 
Today’s fighting in Kyiv and Mariupol and Kharkiv are the latest battle in a long struggle: Hungary, 1956; Poland, 1956 then again 1981; Czechoslovakia, 1968. 
 
Soviet tanks crushed democratic uprisings, but the resistance continued until finally, in 1989, the Berlin Wall and all of the walls of Soviet domination — they fell.  They fell.  And the people prevailed.  (Applause.)
 
But the battle for democracy could not conclude and did not conclude with the end of the Cold War.
 
Over the last 30 years, the forces of autocracy have revived all across the globe.  Its hallmarks are familiar ones: contempt for the rule of law, contempt for democratic freedom, contempt for the truth itself.
 
Today, Russia has strangled democracy — has sought to do so elsewhere, not only in its homeland.  Under false claims of ethnic solidarity, it has invalidated [invaded] neighboring nations.
 
Putin has the gall to say he’s “de-Nazifying” Ukraine.  It’s a lie.  It’s just cynical.  He knows that.  And it’s also obscene.
 
President Zelenskyy was democratically elected.  He’s Jewish.  His father’s family was wiped out in the Nazi Holocaust.  And Putin has the audacity, like all autocrats before him, to believe that might will make right.
 
In my own country, a former president named Abraham Lincoln voiced the opposing spirit to save our Union in the midst of a civil war.  He said, “Let us have faith that right makes might.”  “Right makes might.”  (Applause.) 
 
Today, let us now have that faith again.  Let us resolve to put the strength of democracies into action to thwart the designs of autocracy.  Let us remember that the test of this moment is the test of all time.
 
The Kremlin wants to portray NATO enlargement as an imperial project aimed at destabilizing Russia.  Nothing is further from the truth.  NATO is a defensive alliance.  It has never sought the demise of Russia.
 
In the lead-up to the current crisis, the United States and NATO worked for months to engage Russia to avert a war.  I met with him in person and talked to him many times on the phone. 
 
Time and again, we offered real diplomacy and concrete proposals to strengthen European security, enhance transparency, and build confidence on all sides.
 
But Putin and Russia met each of the proposals with disinterest in any negotiation, with lies and ultimatums.  Russia was bent on violence from the start.
 
I know not all of you believed me and us when we kept saying, “They are going to cross the border.  They are going to attack.” 
 
Repeatedly, he asserted, “We have no interest in war.”  Guaranteed he would not move. 
 
Repeatedly saying he would not invade Ukraine.
 
Repeatedly saying Russian troops along the border were there for “training” — all 180,000 of them. 
 
There is simply no justification or provocation for Russia’s choice of war.  It’s an example of one of the oldest of human impulses: using brute force and disinformation to satisfy a craving for absolute power and control.
 
It’s nothing less than a direct challenge to the rule-based international order established since the end of World War Two.
 
And it threatens to return to decades of war that ravaged Europe before the international rule-based order was put in place.  We cannot go back to that.  We cannot.   
 
The gravity of the threat is why the response of the West has been so swift and so powerful and so unified, unprecedented, and overwhelming.
 
Swift and punishing costs are the only things that are going to get Russia to change its course. 
 
Within days of its invasion, the West had moved jointly with sanctions to damage Russia’s economy.
 
Russia’s Central Bank is now blocked from the global financial systems, denying Kremlin’s access to the war fund it stashed around the globe.
 
We’ve aimed at the heart of Russia’s economy by stopping the imports of Russian energy to the United States.
 
To date, the United States has sanctioned 140 Russian oligarchs and their family members, seizing their ill-begotten gains: their yachts, their luxury apartments, their mansions.
 
We’ve sanctioned more than 400 Russian government officials, including key architects of this war.
 
These officials and oligarchs have reaped enormous benefit from the corruption connected to the Kremlin, and now they have to share in the pain. 
 
The private sector is acting as well.  Over 400 private multinational companies have pulled out of doing business in Russia — left Russia completely — from oil companies to McDonald’s.  
 
As a result of these unprecedented sanctions, the ruble almost is immediately reduced to rubble.  The Russian economy — (applause) — that’s true, by the way.  It takes about 200 rubles to equal one dollar. 
 
The economy is on track to be cut in half in the coming years.  It was ranked — Russia’s economy was ranked the 11th biggest economy in the world before this invasion.  It will soon not even rank among the top 20 in the world.
  (Applause.) 
 
Taken together, these economic sanctions are a new kind of economic statecraft with the power to inflict damage that rivals military might.
 
These international sanctions are sapping Russian strength, its ability to replenish its military, and its ability — its ability to project power.  And it is Putin — it is Vladimir Putin who is to blame, period.   
 
At the same time, alongside these economic sanctions, the Western world has come together to provide for the people of Ukraine with incredible levels of military, economic, and humanitarian assistance.
 
In the years before the invasion, we, America, had sent over $650 million, before they crossed the border, in weapons to Ukraine, including anti-air and anti-armor equipment.
 
Since the invasion, America has committed another $1.35 billion in weapons and ammunition.
 
And thanks to the courage and bravery of the Ukrainian people — (applause) — the equipment we’ve sent and our colleagues have sent have been used to devastating effect to defend Ukrainian land and airspace.  Our Allies and partners have stepped up as well.
 
But as I’ve made clear: American forces are in Europe — not in Europe to engage in conflict with Russian forces.  American forces are here to defend NATO Allies.
 
Yesterday, I met with the troops that are serving alongside our Polish allies to bolster NATO’s frontline defenses.  The reason we wanted to make clear is their movement on Ukraine: Don’t even think about moving on one single inch of NATO territory.
 
We have a sacred obligation — (applause) — we have a sacred obligation under Article 5 to defend each and every inch of NATO territory with the full force of our collective power.
 
And earlier today, I visited your National Stadium, where thousands of Ukrainian refugees are now trying to answer the toughest questions a human can ask: “My God, what’s going to happen to me?  What’s going to happen to my family?”
 
I saw tears in many of the mothers’ eyes as I embraced them; their young children — their young children not sure whether to smile or cry.  One little girl said, “Mr. President” — she spoke a little English — “is my brother and my daddy — are they going to be okay?  Will I see them again?”  Without their husbands, their fathers, in many cases, their brothers or sisters who stayed back to fight for their country.
 
I didn’t have to speak the language or understand the language to feel the emotion in their eyes, the way they gripped my hand, and little kids hung on to my leg, praying with a desperate hope that all this is temporary; apprehension that they may be perhaps forever away from their homes, almost with debilitating sadness that this is happening all over again.
 
But I was also struck by the generosity of the people of Warsaw — for that matter, all the Polish people — for the depths of their compassion, their willingness to reach out — (applause) — opening their hearts.
 
I was saying to the Mayor they’re preparing to open their hearts and their homes simply to help.  I also want to thank my friend, the great American chef, José Andrés, and his team who helped feeling [sic] those — (applause) — feeding those who are yearning to be free. 
 
But helping these refugees is not something Poland or any other nation should carry alone.  All the world democracies have a responsibility to help.  All of them.  And the people of Ukraine can count on the United States to meet its responsibility.
 
I’ve announced, two days ago, we will welcome 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.  We already have 8,000 a week coming to the United States of other nationalities.
 
We’ll provide nearly $300 million of humanitarian assistance, providing tens of thousands of tons of food, water, medicine, and other basic supplies.
 
In Brussels, I announced the United States is prepared to provide more than $1 billion, in addition, in humanitarian aid.
 
The World Food Programme told us that despite significant obstacles, at least some relief is getting to major cities in Ukraine, but not Mariupol, because Russian forces are blocking relief supplies.
 
But we’ll not cease our efforts to get humanitarian relief wherever it is needed in Ukraine and for the people who’ve made it out of Ukraine.

 
Notwithstanding the brutality of Vladimir Putin, let there be no doubt that this war has already been a strategic failure for Russia already.  (Applause.)  Having lost children myself — I know that’s no solace to the people who’ve lost family.  
 
But he, Putin, thought Ukrainians would roll over and not fight.  Not much of a student of history.  Instead, Russian forces have met their match with brave and stiff Ukrainian resistance.
 
Rather than breaking Ukrainian resolve, Russia’s brutal tactics have strengthened the resolve.  (Applause.)
 
Rather than driving NATO apart, the West is now stronger and more united than it has ever been.  (Applause.)
 
Russia wanted less of a NATO presence on its border, but now [we have] a stronger presence, a larger presence, with over a hundred thousand American troops here, along with all the other members of NATO.
 
In fact — (applause) — Russia has managed to cause something I’m sure he never intended: The democracies of the world are revitalized with purpose and unity found in months that we’d once taken years to accomplish.
 
It’s not only Russia’s actions in Ukraine that are reminding us of democracy’s blessing.  It’s his own country, the Kremlin, is jailing protestors.  Two hundred thousand people have allegedly already left.  There’s a brain drain — leaving Russia.  Shutting down independent news.  State media is all propaganda, blocking the image of civilian targets, mass graves, starvation tactics of the Russian forces in Ukraine.  
 
Is it any wonder, as I said, that 200,000 Russians have all left their country in one month?  A remarkable brain drain in such a short period of time, which brings me to my message to the Russian people:
 
I’ve worked with Russian leaders for decades.  I sat across the negotiating table going all the way back to Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin to talk arms control at the height of the Cold War.
 
I’ve always spoken directly and honestly to you, the Russian people. 
 
Let me say this, if you’re able to listen: You, the Russian people, are not our enemy. 
 
I refuse to believe that you welcome the killing of innocent children and grandparents or that you accept hospitals, schools, maternity wards that, for God’s sake, are being pummeled with Russian missiles and bombs; or cities being surrounded so that civilians cannot flee; supplies cut off and attempting to starve Ukrainians into submission. 
 
Millions of families are being driven from their homes, including half of all Ukraine’s children.  These are not the actions of a great nation. 
 
Of all people, you, the Russian people, as well as all people across Europe, still have the memory of being in a similar situation in the late thirties and forties — the situation of World War Two — still fresh in the minds of many grandparents in the region.
 
What — whatever your generation experienced — whether it experienced the Siege of Leningrad or heard about it from your parents and grandparents — train stations overflowing with terrified families fleeing their homes; nights sheltering in basements and cellars; mornings sitting through the rubble in your homes — these are not memories of the past.  Not anymore.  Because it’s exactly what the Russian army is doing in Ukraine right now. 
 
March 26, 2022.  Just days before you were a 21st century nation with hopes and dreams that people all over the world have for themselves and their family. 
 
Now, Vladimir Putin’s aggression have cut you, the Russian people, off from the rest of the world, and it’s taking Russia back to the 19th century.
 
This is not who you are.  This is not the future reserve — you deserve for your families and your children.  I’m telling you the truth: This war is not worthy of you, the Russian people.
 
Putin can and must end this war.  The American people stand with you and the brave citizens of Ukraine who want peace.
 
And my message to the rest of Europe: This new battle for freedom has already made a few things crystal clear. 
 
First, Europe must end its dependence on Russian fossil fuels.  And we, the United States, will help.  (Applause.)  That’s why just yesterday, in Brussels, I announced a plan with the President of the European Commission to get Europe through the immediate energy crisis.
 
Over the long term, as a matter of economic security and national security and for the survivability of the planet, we all need to move as quickly as possible to clean, renewable energy.  And we’ll work together to help get that done so that the days of any nation being subject to the whims of a tyrant for its energy needs are over.  They must end.  They must end.  
 
And second, we have to fight the corruption coming from the Kremlin to give the Russian people a fair chance.
 
And finally, and most urgently, we maintain absolute unity — we must — among the world’s democracies.
 
It’s not enough to speak with rhetorical flourish, of ennobling words of democracy, of freedom, equality, and liberty.  All of us, including here in Poland, must do the hard work of democracy each and every day.  My country as well.  
 
That’s why — (applause) — that’s why I came to Europe again this week with a clear and determined message for NATO, for the G7, for the European Union, for all freedom-loving nations: We must commit now to be in this fight for the long haul.  We must remain unified today and tomorrow and the day after and for the years and decades to come.  (Applause.)
 
It will not be easy.  There will be costs.  But it’s a price we have to pay.  Because the darkness that drives autocracy is ultimately no match for the flame of liberty that lights the souls of free people everywhere.
 
Time and again, history shows that it’s from the darkest moments that the greatest progress follows.  And history shows this is the task of our time, the task of this generation.
 
Let’s remember: The hammer blow that brought down the Berlin Wall, the might that lifted the Iron Curtain were not the words of a single leader; it was the people of Europe who, for decades, fought to free themselves.
 
Their sheer bravery opened the border between Austria and Hungary for the Pan-European Picnic.  They joined hands for the Baltic Way.  They stood for Solidarity here in Poland.  And together, it was an unmistakable and undeniable force of the people that the Soviet Union could not withstand.
 
And we’re seeing it once again today with the brave Ukrainian people, showing that their power of many is greater than the will of any one dictator.  (Applause.)
 
So, in this hour, let the words of Pope John Paul burn as brightly today: “Never, ever give up hope, never doubt, never tire, never become discouraged.  Be not afraid.”  (Applause.) 
 
A dictator bent on rebuilding an empire will never erase a people’s love for liberty.  Brutality will never grind down their will to be free.  Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia — for free people refuse to live in a world of hopelessness and darkness.
 
We will have a different future — a brighter future rooted in democracy and principle, hope and light, of decency and dignity, of freedom and possibilities. 
 
For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power. 
 
God bless you all.  And may God defend our freedom.  (Applause.)  And may God protect our troops.   Thank you for your patience.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you.

6:43 P.M. CET

NYS Launches Website with Resources to Assist Ukrainians and Their Allies

Resources Include Support Services,
Immigration Assistance, Emotional Support, Humanitarian Aid and Information on
Ways to Show your Support

Visit the Website Here

Ukrainian Long Islanders rally outside the Russian Compound in Glen Cove, NY. New York State, with one of the largest populations of Ukrainian Americans, is expanding support services © Karen Rubin/nws-photos-features.com

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the launch of a new website containing resources offered by New York State and its partners to help Ukrainian people and their friends and allies here in New York. This follows the Governor’s announcement warning consumers about scams and cybersecurity threats amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In an additional show of support, the Governor also announced the Ukrainian flag will be flown on the Capitol building, the Executive Mansion, and the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services headquarters.

“Ukraine’s resilience against Vladimir Putin’s tyranny is an inspiration to the rest of the world, and many New Yorkers are already doing their part to support humanitarian efforts,” Governor Hochul said. “In moments like these, New Yorkers always stand together to support those in need. We are proud to provide trusted resources for those who want to lend a helping hand for our Ukrainian brothers and sisters here in New York.”

This directive comes amid Governor Hochul’s ongoing efforts to support Ukraine. Last week, the Governor announced an Executive Order to prohibit state agencies and authorities from contracting with entities that continue to do business in Russia. In early March, Governor Hochul announced actions to strengthen the Department of Financial Services’ (DFS) enforcement of sanctions against Russia, including the expedited procurement of additional blockchain analytics technology. In February, Governor Hochul ordered all state agencies and authorities to divest public funds from Russia and stop doing business with Russian companies.

Resources available on the website include:

Support Services

The Office for New Americans (ONA) provides a variety of free support services to all immigrants and refugees in New York State, regardless of status, such as:

  • Access to free legal support including asylum applications and deportation defense through its network of legal service providers
  • English language courses through its network of Opportunity Centers
  • Access to mental health support groups through its Golden Door Program
  • Workforce readiness tools including resume writing, digital literacy skills, and credentialing evaluation
  • Support to access developmental disability services through the ONA Ramirez June Initiative

Visit the Office of New Americans website here or contact their hotline at 1-800-566-7636. The NYS New Americans Hotline connects immigrants and refugees to free services across the state. The Hotline operates from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. All calls are confidential. Assistance is available in over 200 languages, including Ukrainian and Russian.

If you are a U.S. citizen in Ukraine, the U.S. State Department has resources for those wishing to depart. They also offer travel conditions and land border guidance for surrounding countries including Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Moldova.

U.S. citizens in Ukraine should complete this online form so that the State Department can communicate with you. U.S. citizens seeking to depart Ukraine can also call 1-833-741-2777 (in the United States) or 1-606-260-4379 (from overseas) for immediate assistance. You can also visit the Ukraine Crisis page on the State Department’s website here.

The Consulate General of Ukraine in New York is currently providing consular services. However, all consular services which require receiving documents from Ukraine, including issuance of new passports and visa services, have been suspended until further notice.

If you have visa or passport questions, you can contact the Consulate General by emailing gc_usn@mfa.gov.ua or calling either 212-371-6965 or 212-371-5690.

Ukrainians in New York and who are experiencing an emergency situation (e.g. detention), can call the Consulate’s hotline number at 917-325-1444 for assistance.

Immigration Assistance

Protections may be available for eligible Ukrainians already present in the U.S. As a result of the Russian military invasion, the Department of Homeland Security announced the designation of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Ukraine for 18 months. Individuals eligible for TPS under this designation must have continuously resided in the United States since March 1, 2022. Ukrainians eligible for TPS can contact the NYS New Americans Hotline for free legal assistance at 1-800-566-7636.

If you have recently been granted asylum, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, through contracted providers, offers free services to asylees across New York State.

Visit a provider in your area that can assist you with:

  • Finding employment
  • Free health screening and immunizations
  • Accessing other support services

Find a provider in your area here and learn more about refugee services and assistance for immigrants here.

Emotional Support

If you need 24-Hour Phone Support: You can contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline by calling 1-800-985-5990. Callers can connect with counselors for support in 100+ languages via 3rd party interpretation, including in Ukrainian and Russian.

If you need a 24-hour Crisis Text Line: Text GOT5 to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor.

For 24-Hour Support for Deaf or hard of hearing American Sign Language users: The national Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH) is now offering direct crisis counseling and support for Deaf or hard of hearing American Sign Language users via a dedicated videophone option. Disaster survivors and responders can connect with trained DDH crisis workers fluent in ASL by dialing 1-800-985-5990 from a videophone-enabled device or via an “ASL Now” link which can be accessed at DisasterDistress.samhsa.gov.

Humanitarian Aid

Avoid donation scams. Anytime disasters occur, scam artists prey on the heartstrings of individuals looking to help. The invasion of Ukraine provides an opportunity for fraudsters to set up fake charities or pose as compelling war victims. Others design websites to mimic a legitimate charity’s official site to steal unsuspecting donors’ money and/or personal information.

To prevent donation money from falling into the wrong hands, the New York State Division of Consumer Protection recommends taking the following precautions:

  • Verify the request. Scammers are more frequently posing as friends, family or romantic interests on social media and requesting donations. If you receive an unsolicited request for donation relief online, even if it appears to be someone you know, connect with the person directly through a different communication link to verify the request. Do not click on any links or complete forms before verifying the source. If the request is coming from someone you only recently met online, it is most likely a scam and you should be especially wary.
  • Research the charity. Don’t rely on a charity website alone. Search online before donating to any charity using the name of the group plus search terms like “review” and “scam”. The Federal Trade Commission recommends checking with give.orgcharitynavigator.orgcharitywatch.org, or candid.org to see reports and ratings for charities. You can also check with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for verification that a charity is registered. The Office of the Attorney General also recommends reviewing the Charities Registry for financial reports prior to donating to ensure the charity is fiscally sound.
  • Resist high-pressure tactics. While the situation is urgent, consumers should resist being pressured to donate immediately. Scammers often pressure you to donate immediately, causing you to overlook red flags in their story. Beware of direct e-mails from “victims” and solicitors who employ heart-wrenching stories, insisting that you donate immediately. Do not to give money over the phone to unsolicited telemarketers; instead, ask the caller to send written materials about the charity and where to donate, if you choose.
  • Keep personal information private. Never give your Social Security number, credit card or debit card number, or other personal identifying information in response to an unsolicited charitable request. If donating online, ensure that your internet connection is secure before following through on donation requests.
  • Ask how your money will be spent. Consumers want to know that their money is going directly to the victims. A genuine charity should be able to let you know how much of your donation will go directly to the program as opposed to administrative fees.
  • Donate by check or credit card. Never give money using cash, gift cards, crypto currency, or any tender that would be difficult to trace. Give your contribution by check or credit card to ensure that you have a record of the donation. Make checks out to the charity, not to an individual. If you choose to donate via a charity’s website, check that the website is secure and that your computer is equipped with the latest anti-virus protection.

If you suspect that you have encountered a fraudulent attempt to receive donations, you can file a complaint with the New York State Division of Consumer Protection here.

The Division’s Consumer Assistance Hotline is open Monday to Friday, excluding State holidays, 8:30am to 4:30pm at 1-800-697-1220. You can find more information and tips by following the Division of Consumer Protection on social media on Twitter (@NYSConsumer) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/nysconsumer).

Show Your Support

Show your support through the use of New York-branded social media graphics for FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Instagram Story. You can also spread the word about how to show support to the humanitarian response through the social media toolkit here.

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

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

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

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

Lowering Health Care Costs and Increasing Health Coverage

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

Investing in Mental Health:

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

 
Fighting COVID

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

 
Getting Kids Back in School

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

 
Supporting Working Families

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

 
Helping People Get Back to Work

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

Staying True to Our Veterans:

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

 
Rescuing and Transforming Our Communities:

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

Providing Permanent Tax Relief for Puerto Rico Families

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

Most support ever for Tribal Communities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summer Learning and Enrichment:  

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

Tutoring: 

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

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

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

Community Schools:

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

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

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

Biden Signs Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act

President Joe Biden was flanked by women who are the first to hold key roles of Vice President and Speaker of the House. This week, he signed the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, an act he originally authored and has championed ever since. His administration has taken significant actions to improve women’s rights and gender equity, against a backlash from Republican-led states that are passing laws to overturn women’s reproductive rights and civil rights © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

This week, President Biden signed into law the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2022, bipartisan legislation passed by Congress as part of the Omnibus appropriations package. In remarks at the signing, President Biden reflected on having authored the original VAWA, and during Women’s History Month, when Republican-led states are passing cruel and unconstitutional restrictions on women’s reproductive rights and their rights to self-determination, said:
 
It really wasn’t so long ago this country didn’t want to talk about violence against women, let alone as being a national epidemic, something the government had to address. 
 
     As a society, we literally looked away.  We looked away.  In many places, it wasn’t a crime.  And I don’t recall — I don’t recall how many times I was told in the prelude to writing the legislation that it’s a “family affair.”  “You don’t understand, Biden.  It’s a family affair.”
 
     When I began, along with others, to pursue this legislation to change this — this issue, we were told that we would literally be responsible for the “disintegration” of American families in the major press.  It wasn’t just the wackos; it was in the mainstream press.
 
     And we talked about creating shelters to give survivors a way out because so many don’t have a way out, and their children — by the way, the vast majority of children on the street with their mothers are there because she’s a victim of domestic violence….

This law broke the dam of congressional resistance and cultural resistance.  And it brought this hidden epidemic out of the shadows.  You know, its introduction — it introduced our nation to so many brave survivors who those stories changed the way America saw the issue.  I mean, in the literal sense, it’s hard to believe — even when I go back and think of when — how it started and where it was. 
 
As a practical matter, things began to shift — the legal and social burdens — away from survivors and onto perpetrators and where they belonged.  It made addressing general — excuse me — gender violence a shared priority with a determined, coordinated response.  It created a hotline, as I said, for millions of women who have used the hotline.  And again, I’ll never forget being told the first time — I said, “What did you do?”  She said, “I got behind the drapes and I held the phone.  And I prayed to God — prayed to God — don’t let him hear this.  Pray God.  Pray God.”
 
It supported shelters and rape crisis centers, housing and legal assistance, creating lifesaving options for women and children all across the country.  And it helped train police officers, advocates, prosecutors, judges, court personnel to make the entire justice system fair and more responsive to the needs of survivors. ..

Even in 1994, we knew that there was much more we had to do — you know, that it was only the beginning.  That’s why, because of all of you in this room, every time we’ve reauthorized this law, it’s been improved.  It’s not like we didn’t know we wanted to do these other things in the beginning.  It’s we did as much as we could and keep trying to add to it. 

Broadening from domestic violence to include stalking and sexual assault in 2000.  That was the change made. 
 
Expanding access to services for immigrants and communities of color in 2005.  That was a change. 
 
Restoring jurisdiction of Tribal courts — (applause) — over non-Native domestic violence offenders who abuse women in Indian Country.  We did that in 2013. 
 
Extending protections to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, in 2013. ..

The law kept growing stronger.  It’s not like we didn’t know in 2005 we should be dealing with the things we dealt with in 2013.  It was getting it done. 
 
Each link in the chain that we’re building made a difference — makes a difference. 
 
Yesterday, I signed the Bipartisan Government Funding Bill…And, consequentially, we forged the next link in the chain…

So we established a new civil rights — a new civil rights cause of action for those whose intimate images were shared on the public screen.  How many times have you heard — I’ll bet everybody knows somebody somewhere along the line that in an intimate relationship, what happened was the guy takes a revealing picture of his naked friend, or whatever, in a compromising position, and then literally, in a sense, blackmails or mortifies that person — sends it out, put it online.
 
We’re giving survivors real resources against abuse now.  Ex-partners and stalkers who seek to humiliate and hurt them.
 
We’ve created — you created new programs to help end the backlog of the rape kits.  And those rape kits, by the way, I don’t know — you ought to go to your major cities, those of you in the House and Senate — this group probably has — which I have done.  And this backlog is so significant.  You could solve literally a significant portion of —
 
Look, the only thing I learned that’s worse than — for a woman — worse than a woman who is abused or raped and says, “It’s Charlie who did it,” and no one believes her — him against her.  And when — you can take a look.  If you take a look at those rape kits and you went through them all, you could identify and arrest probably 40, 50 percent of the rapists in America.  They’re all there.  Their DNAs are there.  It’s all in line.  And run it against the whole panoply.  Very few rapists rape only once.
 
So, look, that — you know, there’s a lot that goes unprocessed.  And we have to make sure survivors get compensation, and if there have been delays in their cases — you know, we’ve made improvements in the National Criminal Background Check System to help states investigate and prosecute cases when abuses — when abusers who are barred from purchasing firearms attempt to do so.  That, we’ve done federally.  Quite frankly, this held — that’s one of the things that held up this bill for much too long.  Much too long…

Through the American Rescue Plan, the administration directed $1 billion in supplemental funding for domestic violence and sexual assault services — (applause) — because they’re badly needed.
 
And we’ve worked with local public housing authorities to make sure that survivors trapped in a bad situation can find safe new housing options in public housing.  (Applause.)  Because they don’t have (inaudible) to go.  You.
 
And we also made landmark reforms in military justice to help end the epidemic of sexual violence and harassment in our armed forces — (applause) — fundamentally changing how the military investigates, prosecutes sexual assault, domestic violence, and other related crimes…

Earlier this month, I signed a bar- — bipartisan bill that ends what we know as forced arbitration.  That’s wonderful, isn’t it?  (Applause.)  No, no, but I mean the small print to sign a contract, and the small print says you can’t do anything if your boss, male or female — if you end up getting abused and if you end up doing something — you know, you can’t — you have to do it internally.  No more.  (Applause.)  No more.  Really.
 
And 80 percent of the people who sign those don’t even know what’s in the — in the contract.
 
The mechanism has prevented too many survivors of abuse and harassment in the workplace from having the choice to get their day in court. 
 
Look, these are just a few of the steps you’ve all taken and how much you’ve improved this legislation.  But as everyone in this room knows, this work is not going to stop.  It never stops.
 
Today, one year since a gunman killed eight people in Atlanta, six of whom were women of Asian descent, these horrific murders are a reminder that we still have work to do to put an end to misogyny and racism and all forms of hate we have.
 
We’re never going to get it all done, but we can’t ever stop trying.  As long as there are women in this country and around the world who live in fear of violence, there’s more we have to do to fulfill this sacred commitment.  No one — no one, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, should experience abuse.  Period.  And if they do, they should have the services and support they need to get through it.  And we’re not going to rest.
 
But in the meantime, all of you should be enormously proud of what you’ve accomplished.  This reauthorization is testament to the power of your voices and your tireless dedication to changing things for the better.
 
  

Fact Sheet:  Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

 
One of the driving forces of President Biden’s career has been fighting back against abuses of power.  That force led him to write and champion the groundbreaking Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) as a U.S. Senator, landmark legislation that first passed in 1994.  In the nearly three decades since, he has worked with Members of Congress from both parties to pass legislation to renew and strengthen VAWA three times: in 2000, 2005, and 2013.  Each time, he worked to expand access to safety and support for all survivors and increase prevention efforts.  Preventing and responding to gender-based violence wherever it occurs, and in all of its forms, has remained a cornerstone of the President’s career in public service—from VAWA reauthorization to a national campaign to combat campus sexual assault to reforms to address sexual assault and harassment in the military.  
 
While incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault have declined significantly since VAWA first took effect—and efforts to increase access to services, healing, and justice for survivors have improved with each iteration of VAWA—much work remains. 
 
The 2022 reauthorization of VAWA strengthens this landmark law, including by:
 

  • Reauthorizing all current VAWA grant programs until 2027 and, in many cases, increasing authorization levels. 
     
  • Expanding special criminal jurisdiction of Tribal courts to cover non-Native perpetrators of sexual assault, child abuse, stalking, sex trafficking, and assaults on tribal law enforcement officers on tribal lands; and supporting the development of a pilot project to enhance access to safety for survivors in Alaska Native villages.
     
  • Increasing services and support for survivors from underserved and marginalized communities—including for LGBTQ+ survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking; funding survivor-centered, community-based restorative practice services; and increasing support for culturally specific services and services in rural communities.
     
  • Establishing a federal civil cause of action for individuals whose intimate visual images are disclosed without their consent, allowing a victim to recover damages and legal fees; creating a new National Resource Center on Cybercrimes Against Individuals; and supporting State, Tribal, and local government efforts to prevent and prosecute cybercrimes, including cyberstalking and the nonconsensual distribution of intimate images.
     
  • Improving prevention and response to sexual violence, including through increased support for the Rape Prevention and Education Program and Sexual Assault Services Program; expansion of prevention education for students in institutions of higher education; 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.
     
  • Strengthening the application of evidence-based practices by law enforcement in responding to gender-based violence, including by promoting the use of trauma-informed, victim-centered training and improving homicide reduction initiatives.
     
  • Improving the healthcare system’s response to domestic violence and sexual assault, including through enhanced training for sexual assault forensic examiners.
     
  • Updating the SMART Prevention Program and the CHOOSE Youth Program to reduce dating violence, help children who have been exposed to domestic violence, and engage men in preventing violence.
     
  • Enacting the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Denial Notification Act to help state law enforcement investigate and prosecute cases against individuals legally prohibited from purchasing firearms who try to do so.

 
Over the past year, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken significant steps to prevent and respond to gender-based violence at home and abroad:
 

  • Increased funding for domestic violence and sexual assault services.  Directed $1 billion in supplemental funding for domestic violence and sexual assault services through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) in response to the pandemic, including $49.5 million for culturally-specific community-based organizations that help survivors from historically marginalized communities access the services and support they need. The ARP also provided approximately 70,000 housing choice vouchers to local Public Housing Authorities in order to assist individuals and families, including those who are fleeing, or attempting to flee, from domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking. 
     
  • Reformed the military justice system to address sexual assault, harassment, and related crimes. Signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act, which included sweeping reforms to the military justice system—the most significant since the Uniform Code of Military Justice was established more than seventy years ago—and implemented the President’s campaign promise to address the scourge of sexual assault in our armed forces. In conjunction with the President’s Executive Order on military justice reform, this bipartisan, historic law adopts core recommendations of the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault, as called for by President Biden, and fundamentally shifts how the military prosecutes and investigates sexual assault, domestic violence, sexual harassment, and other serious crimes, and increases prevention initiatives and support for survivors. 
     
  • Ended forced arbitration for sexual assault and harassment.  Signed into law the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021—bipartisan legislation that empowers survivors of sexual assault and harassment by giving them a choice to go to court instead of being forced into arbitration.
     
  • Directed action to protect students from campus sexual assault.  Directed the Department of Education to review Title IX regulations and other agency actions to ensure that all students have an educational environment that is free from discrimination on the basis of sex.  The Department is developing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking currently under review that will address the need for protection for students who experience campus sexual assault while treating all students fairly.
     
  • Increased resources for survivors of crime, including gender-based violence.  Signed into law the Amendments to the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), which passed Congress with strong bipartisan support and expands the allocation of resources for the Crime Victims Fund. This has already resulted in an increase of hundreds of millions of dollars of non-taxpayer funding for essential and lifesaving services to crime victims around the country, including survivors of gender-based violence.
     
  • Led multinational effort to address online harassment and abuse.  Launched the Global Partnership for Action on Gender-Based Online Harassment and Abuse during the 2022 meeting of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, together with the governments of Denmark, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Sweden. This multinational initiative will align countries, international organizations, and civil society to better prioritize, understand, and address the growing scourge of technology-facilitated gender-based violence.
     
  • Prioritized the crisis of Missing or Murdered Indigenous People, including gender-based violence.  Issued an executive order directing the Departments of Justice, Interior, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services to create a strategy to improve public safety and justice for Native Americans and to address the epidemic of missing or murdered Indigenous peoples, which disproportionately affect Native women, girls, and LGBTQI+ individuals; the Department of the Interior established the Missing and Murdered Unit to pursue justice for missing or murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives.
     
  • Strengthened regional leadership on violence against Indigenous women and girls.  Re-launched the United States’ leadership and participation in the Trilateral Working Group on Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls with the Governments of Mexico and Canada. The White House will host the Fourth Convening of the Trilateral Working Group this summer to improve and reaffirm our respective national and regional commitments to prevent and respond to violence against Indigenous women and girls through increased access to justice and prevention services.

 
On International Women’s Day in 2021, President Biden signed an Executive Order creating the White House Gender Policy Council and calling for the development of the first-ever government-wide National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, as well as an update to the 2016 United States Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally. These strategies will provide a roadmap to guide the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government effort to end gender-based violence—and in so doing, create a society where survivors are supported and all people can live free from abuse.

On Equal Pay Day, Biden-Harris Administration Commit to Support Women’s Economic Security

On Equal Pay Day, the White House is announcing critical steps the Biden-Harris Administration is taking to advance pay equity and promote women’s economic security. President Biden and Vice President Harris have long championed equal pay as a cornerstone of their commitment to ensuring all people have a fair and equal opportunity to get ahead. New actions promote women’s employment and support working families across the country © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
 

This Equal Pay Day, the White House is announcing critical steps that the Biden-Harris Administration is taking to advance pay equity and promote women’s economic security.
 
President Biden and Vice President Harris have long championed equal pay as a cornerstone of their commitment to ensuring all people have a fair and equal opportunity to get ahead. Closing gender and racial wage gaps is essential to building an equitable economy and addressing the barriers that have long hampered women from fully participating in the labor force. But we still have work to do. In 2020, the average woman working full-time, year-round earned 83 cents for every dollar paid to their average male counterpart.  Compared with the average man working full-time, year-round, disparities are even greater for Black women, Native American women, and Latinas, as well as certain subpopulations of Asian women.
 
This Equal Pay Day, the Vice President is hosting a virtual summit, bringing together partners across the country who are taking critical steps to tackle pay discrimination, create good-paying jobs, and support families’ access to care.

Yesterday, the President published a proclamation on Equal Pay Day. The President stated “Equal pay is a matter of justice, fairness, and dignity — it is about living up to our values and who we are as a Nation.’  (Read and share the full proclamation here: A Proclamation on National Equal Pay Day, 2022 | The White House)

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing new actions to promote women’s employment and support working families across the country. These actions will:
 
• Advance pay equity for the Federal workforce.  The Office of Personnel Management announced that they anticipate issuing a proposed regulation that will address the use of prior salary history in the hiring and pay-setting process for Federal employees, consistent with the President’s Executive Order on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce.  Banning the use of prior salary history can help break the cycle of past arbitrary and potentially discriminatory pay that can follow women and workers of color from job to job, entrenching gender and racial pay gaps over time. 
 
• Promote efforts to achieve pay equity for job applicants and employees of Federal contractors. President Biden will sign an Executive Order directing the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council to consider enhancing pay equity and transparency, including by limiting or prohibiting federal contractors from seeking and considering information about job applicants’ and employees’ existing or past compensation when making employment decisions, and appropriate accountability measures.  The Department of Labor will consult with the FAR Council on the efficiency, economy, and effectiveness in Federal contracting that would be promoted by potential regulatory changes, and the most effective implementation strategy for any subsequent rulemaking.
 
• Strengthen pay equity audits by Federal contractors. The Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs issued a new directive clarifying federal contractors’ annual obligation to analyze their compensation practices.  Conducting these pay equity audits helps address and prevent pay disparities based on gender, race, or ethnicity.
 
• Ensure equitable access to good-paying jobs. The Department of Labor issued a report analyzing the impact that women’s concentration in low-wage sectors – and their relative underrepresentation in many good-paying occupations – has on their overall economic security and gender and racial wage gaps. The report finds that, in 2019, Black women lost $39.3 billion and Hispanic women lost $46.7 billion in wages compared to white men due to differences in industry and occupation. This segregation intensified the COVID-19 pandemic’s disproportionate impact on women, in part due to the overrepresentation of women in hard-hit industries such as hospitality.  
 
• Address discrimination against caregivers.  Yesterday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission published technical assistance on caregiver discrimination, addressing the circumstances under which discrimination against applicants and employees based on pandemic-related caregiving responsibilities may violate federal employment discrimination laws.
 
The actions announced today build on steps the Administration has taken to advance pay equity, including:
 
• Provided immediate relief through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to millions of women who have borne the brunt of the pandemic.  This work includes: standing up a historic vaccination program that has fully vaccinated more than 215 million Americans; reopening schools; providing direct payments to individuals; expanding nutrition programs for families; providing paid leave tax credits for small and midsize employers; distributing the majority of emergency rental assistance to female-headed households; and expanding the Child Tax Credit, which last year helped reduce child poverty to its estimated lowest level in recorded American history.
 
• Helped keep child care providers open and boosted pay for child care workers. States have already delivered American Rescue Plan stabilization grants to more than 150,000 child care providers serving more than 5 million children and their families. One survey finds that 92% of providers receiving funds relied on them to help stay open and nearly half used them to repay debt incurred during the pandemic. Many states also used funds to help boost compensation of the child care workforce. For example, Minnesota is requiring providers to increase compensation, while North Carolina and Connecticut offered bonus payments to providers who increased compensation of the workforce. Increasing compensation for child care workers helps narrow gender and racial pay gaps, as more than nine in ten are women and more than four in ten are women of color. While ARP funds allowed child care programs to provide temporary bonuses, they need long-term funding as the President has proposed to sustainably increase wages.
 
• Provided tax relief to help families with child care costs during the pandemic by delivering a historic increase in the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) to support millions of working families this tax season. The ARP increased the maximum CDCTC for a median income family with two children under age 13 by more than sixtimes—providing up to $8,000 towards child care expenses in 2021. It will reimburse most families for up to half of their child care expenses. And the ARP CDCTC is fully-refundable, helping lower-income parents fully benefit regardless of their tax liability. Even before the pandemic, families struggled to afford child care, forcing parents and especially mothers to forego higher paying jobs, work fewer hours, or take time out of the workforce, leading to lower pay over their career. The President has urged Congress to pass his plan for child care, which could lower child care costs for nine in ten families with young children.
 
• Increased the minimum wage to $15 per hour for Federal workers and contractors, benefiting many women and people of color. The President issued Executive Orders directing the Administration to work toward ensuring that employees working on federal contracts and federal employees earned a $15 per hour minimum wage. Those directives went into effect in January, raising the wages of about 370,000 federal employees and employees of federal contractors. In addition to helping the government do its work more efficiently, these directives take a step towards narrowing racial and gender disparities in income, as many low-wage workers are women and people of color. The order also eliminates the subminimum wage for workers with disabilities. The President has called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, so that American workers can have a job that delivers dignity, and to make greater strides towards pay equity.
 
• Signed into law the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  Administration investments through this law will increase access to good-paying jobs, including for women, people of color, and members of other communities who are currently underrepresented in the sectors where these jobs will be created, such as transportation, clean energy, and broadband.  The Department of Transportation and the Department of Labor signed a memorandum of understanding to promote the creation of good infrastructure and transportation jobs with a focus on equitable workforce development using funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
 
• Issued an Executive Order to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility across the federal government – the nation’s largest employer – including by prioritizing efforts to close gender and racial wage gaps, address workplace safety and harassment, including in our national security workforce, and advance equity for LGBTQI+ public servants.
 
• Issued an Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy. This established the Administration’s policy of addressing anticompetitive behavior in labor markets, which can fall heavily on women and workers of color. The Order includes specific initiatives to promote competition in labor markets, including encouraging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to ban or limit non-compete agreements, and encouraging the FTC and the Department of Justice to strengthen antitrust guidance to prevent employers from collaborating to suppress wages or reduce benefits by sharing wage and benefit information with one another.

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Biden in SOTU Describes Comprehensive Strategy to Fight Crime, Reduce Gun Violence, Make Communities Safer

In his 2022 State of the Union Address, President Biden will discuss his comprehensive strategy to fight crime by investing in crime prevention and helping cities and towns hire additional community police officers to walk the streets, get to know their neighbors, and restore trust and safety. He’ll make clear that the answer is not to defund the police, it’s to put more police – with better training and more accountability – out to take back our streets and make our neighborhoods safer. He will describe the steps his Administration has taken – and will continue to take – to advance that accountability and rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via msnbc.

There is simply not enough time or space for President Biden, in his State of the Union address, to provide all the details to the policies he has achieved or will implement. A major issue for the President has been addressing America’s epidemic of gun violence. Here are more details from the White House about President Biden’s historic actions to make our communities safer by reducing gun crime:

In his 2022 State of the Union Address, President Biden will discuss his comprehensive strategy to fight crime by investing in crime prevention and helping cities and towns hire additional community police officers to walk the streets, get to know their neighbors, and restore trust and safety.

He’ll make clear that the answer is not to defund the police, it’s to put more police – with better training and more accountability – out to take back our streets and make our neighborhoods safer. He will describe the steps his Administration has taken – and will continue to take – to advance that accountability and rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

Investing in community-based crime prevention and putting more cops on the beat in community policing are the two foundational policies that then-Senator Biden advanced when the United States faced record crime rates in the 1990s. At that time, he wrote a law to change how our country fights crime. We then experienced the sharpest drop in crime on record.


President Biden has spent his first year in office executing on his 
five-part comprehensive strategy make our communities safer and reduce the increase in gun crime we’ve seen since the beginning of the pandemic. It builds off the President’s long-held principles by getting tough on gun crime, and making community investments to prevent crime from happening in the first place:

  • Stems the flow of firearms used to commit violence, including through tougher federal law enforcement efforts against gun traffickers like our regional DOJ strike forces
  • Supports local law enforcement with federal tools and resources to address violent crime and put more cops on the beat, including through record funding in the Rescue Plan
  • Invests in evidence-based community violence interventions that are proven to stop disputes from spilling over into gun violence
  • Expands summer programming, employment opportunities, and other services and supports for teenagers and young adults
  • Helps formerly incarcerated individuals successfully reenter their communities and break the cycle of re-offending

At the same time, President Biden will use the State of the Union Address to reiterate his call for Congress to pass commonsense gun violence legislation that will save lives, and the President continues to urge Congress to act on his budget request of $200 million for community violence interventions and $300 million budget request to more than double the size of the Department of Justice’s COPS community policing hiring grant program.

In his 2022 State of the Union Address, President Biden will highlight how his Administration is executing on his comprehensive strategy to make our communities safer and reduce gun crime. The President’s comprehensive strategy advances two foundational policies – investing in crime prevention and helping cities and towns hire additional community police officers to walk the streets, get to know their neighbors, and restore trust and safety. These are the two foundational policies that then-Senator Biden advanced when the United States faced record crime rates in the 1990s. At that time, he wrote a law to change how our country fights crime. We then experienced the sharpest drop in crime on record.

President Biden recognizes the important role that law enforcement plays in stopping the interstate flow of guns used in crimes and taking off our streets the small number of individuals responsible for a disproportionate amount of gun crimes. To support state and local law enforcement, the U.S. Department of Justice has launched five gun trafficking strike forces and is cracking down on the “Iron Pipeline” – the illegal flow of guns sold in the south, transported up the East Coast, and found at crime scenes in cities from Baltimore to New York City. In addition, the Justice Department has directed every U.S. Attorney’s Office nationwide to increase resources dedicated to district specific violent crime strategies. The Justice Department is working with state and local law enforcement to address the most significant drivers of violence in each district, including to get repeat gun violence offenders off of our streets. New York City’s Gun Violence Strategic Partnership – which the President and Attorney General visited in February 2022 – is one model of the strategies Justice will help expand nationwide.   
 
The President is committed to serving as a strong partner for state and local law enforcement on the frontlines of the fight against crime. That’s why his American Rescue Plan gives cities and states historic levels of funding that they can use to put more cops on the beat for community policing. That’s also why the President continues to urge Congress to act on his $300 million budget request to more than double the size of the Department of Justice’s COPS community policing grant program.
 
Stronger law enforcement is made more effective when we make real investments in making our communities stronger and in addressing the causes of crime before it spills over into violence. That’s why President Biden’s comprehensive approach makes sure cities and states have the funding, training, and know-how they need to invest in proven tactics including street outreach by credible messengers, hospital-based intervention, and youth programming. And it’s bolstered by additional funding to create economic opportunity with job training, expand after-school activities, and provide stable housing and other stabilizing supports necessary to reduce recidivism and help formerly incarcerated individuals reenter their communities. The President has proposed a $5 billion investment in community violence interventions, including a $200 million investment in Fiscal Year 2022.

Taken together, President Biden’s gun crime reduction strategy steps up and focuses law enforcement efforts on violent offenders, stems the trafficking of illegal guns, and makes real investments in communities to intervene in and prevent gun violence. The President knows a complex and devastating challenge like the surge of gun crime we’ve seen over the last two years requires an ambitious, evidence-based response that uses every tool at our disposal, and that’s exactly what his plan does.
 
At the same time, President Biden will use the State of the Union Address to reiterate his call for Congress to pass commonsense gun violence prevention legislation that will save lives. This legislation, which fully aligns with the Second Amendment, includes requiring background checks for all gun sales, ensuring that no terrorist can buy a weapon in the United States, banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines, repealing gun manufacturers’ protection from liability, and banning ghost guns.
 
EXECUTING ON THE PRESIDENT’S COMPREHENSIVE GUN CRIME REDUCTION STRATEGY
 
President Biden spent his first year in office executing on his five-part comprehensive strategy make our communities safer and reduce gun crime, which:

  • Stems the flow of firearms used to commit violence,
  • Supports local law enforcement with federal tools and resources to address violent crime,
  • Invests in evidence-based community violence interventions,
  • Expands summer programming, employment opportunities, and other services and supports for teenagers and young adults, and
  • Helps formerly incarcerated individuals successfully reenter their communities.

 
In fact, during President Biden’s first year in office, the Biden-Harris Administration made more progress on executive actions to reduce gun violence than any other Administration has in its first year. Since taking office, President Biden has announced four packages of executive actions – an initial set of actions during a Rose Garden address in April, a comprehensive gun crime reduction strategysteps to promote safe storage of firearms, and additional Justice Department actions to enforce our gun laws and keep guns out of dangerous hands. These executive actions represent a whole-of-government approach, mobilizing the Departments of Justice, Veterans Affairs, Defense, Transportation, Health and Human Services, Labor, Homeland Security, Education, and Housing and Urban Development toward the shared goal of reducing gun violence. Highlights of these actions include three significant Justice Department rulemakings, agency guidance encouraging the use of hundreds of billions of American Rescue Plan dollars for gun violence reduction, and historic progress to advance community violence interventions.
 
Keeping Especially Dangerous Weapons and Repeat Shooters Off Our Streets
 
Helping state and local law enforcement take repeat shooters off our streets. The Attorney General has directed every U.S. Attorney’s Office nationwide to increase resources dedicated to district specific violent crime strategies. The Justice Department will work with state and local law enforcement to address the most significant drivers of violence in each district, including to get repeat gun violence offenders off of our streets.  New York City’s Gun Violence Strategic Partnership – which the President and Attorney General visited with Mayor Eric Adams in February 2022 – is one model of the strategies Justice will help expand nationwide.
 
Reining in the proliferation of ghost guns. In May 2021, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) issued a proposed rule to help stop the proliferation of “ghost guns,” which are unserialized, privately made firearms that are increasingly being recovered at crime scenes and have been identified by law enforcement officials as a serious threat to public safety. Today, criminals are buying kits containing nearly all of the components and directions for finishing a firearm within as little as 30 minutes and using these firearms to commit crimes. When these firearms turn up at crime scenes, they often cannot be traced by law enforcement due to the lack of a serial number – making it harder to catch the criminals behind shootings. ATF is reviewing public comments in response to the proposed rule, the next step in the regulatory process. In the meantime, the Justice Department launched a National Ghost Gun Enforcement Initiative, which will train a national cadre of prosecutors and disseminate investigation and prosecution tools to help bring cases against those who use ghost guns to commit crimes.   
 
Better regulating devices marketed as stabilizing braces. In June 2021, ATF issued a proposed rule to better regulate when devices marketed as firearm stabilizing braces effectively turn pistols into short-barreled rifles subject to the National Firearms Act. These braces can make a firearm more stable and accurate while still being concealable. ATF is reviewing public comments in response to the proposed rule, the next step in the regulatory process.
 
Keeping Guns out of the Wrong Hands
 
Helping states enact model extreme risk protection order (“red flag”) legislation. In June 2021, the Justice Department published model extreme risk protection order legislation to make it easier for states that want to adopt these red flag laws to do so. These laws allow family members or law enforcement to petition for a court order temporarily barring people in crisis from accessing firearms if they present a danger to themselves or others. 
 
Making progress on a report to give policymakers the information they need to help address firearms trafficking. In April 2021, the Justice Department announced that it will issue a new, comprehensive report on firearms commerce and trafficking and annual updates necessary to give policymakers the information they need to help address firearms trafficking today. To ensure the report is rigorous and helpful for policymakers, ATF has assembled a group of accomplished researchers and law enforcement subject matter experts. The academic team is currently undertaking such work as an independent analysis of ATF firearms commerce data to ensure accurate research that informs key policy findings and recommendations, and an analysis of technological developments over the past twenty years, including the use of polymers for the modular manufacture of firearms, the evolution of 3D printing of firearm components, and the pervasive availability of kits on the commercial market, facilitating the assembly of privately made firearms.
 
Established zero tolerance for rogue gun dealers that willfully violate the law. In June 2021, the Justice Department announced a new policy to underscore zero tolerance for willful violations of the law by federally licensed firearms dealers that put public safety at risk. Absent extraordinary circumstances that would need to be justified to the Director, ATF will seek to revoke the licenses of dealers the first time that they violate federal law by willfully 1) transferring a firearm to a prohibited person, 2) failing to run a required background check, 3) falsifying records, such as a firearms transaction form, 4) failing to respond to an ATF tracing request, or 5) refusing to permit ATF to conduct an inspection in violation of the law.
 
Launched multijurisdictional firearms trafficking strike forces. In July 2021, the Justice Department launched five new law enforcement strike forces focused on addressing significant firearms trafficking corridors that have diverted guns to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and Washington, D.C. Those strike forces have already opened more than 540 investigations and taken custody of almost 3,100 crime guns. In February 2022, the Justice Department built on this commitment by announcing that it is cracking down on the “Iron Pipeline” – the illegal flow of guns sold in the south, transported up the East Coast, and found at crime scenes in cities from Baltimore to New York City – and other firearms trafficking by adding personnel and other resources to strengthen these strike forces.
 
Launched a public education campaign to encourage firearm safe storage. In September, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) launched a new paid media campaign featuring a series of public service announcements to reinforce the key message that a simple gun lock can save lives. These PSAs appeared across multiple platforms, including TV, social media, and streaming services. The campaign also targeted specific venues and events and involved a diverse array of channels, yielding more than 1.8 billion impressions across all platforms in less than 3 months. Viewers were directed to KeepItSecure.net for additional resources. This campaign will continue through 2022.
 
Launched an unprecedented focus on improving lethal means safety in the Military and Veteran Suicide Prevention Strategy. In November, the Departments of Defense (DOD), Health and Human Services (HHS), Homeland Security (DHS), Justice (DOJ), and Veterans Affairs (VA), as well as the Office of Emergency Medical Services within the Department of Transportation (DOT), announced that they will jointly create a plan for addressing lethal means safety awareness, education, training, and program evaluation. This coordinated campaign will build upon the VA launch in September and encourage safer storage practices, safety planning, and time and space behavioral measures for crisis response.
 
Making it easier for customers to obtain secure gun storage or safety devices. In January 2022, ATF issued a final rule clarifying firearms dealers’ statutory obligations to make available for purchase compatible secure gun storage or safety devices. Additionally, ATF has now issued a best practices guide to all federal firearms dealers to reiterate the important steps they are legally required to take, and additional steps they are encouraged to take, to keep their customers and communities safe. The guide includes materials for Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) to distribute to customers to help them better understand their legal obligations as firearms owners, as well as practical steps they can take to facilitate the safe storage of firearms and keep firearms out of the hands of people prohibited from possessing firearms.
 
Making Additional Progress to Reduce Community Violence
 
Many actions listed above will directly reduce community violence disproportionately affecting Black and brown communities. The Administration has also taken a number of steps focused solely on advancing community violence interventions, proven strategies for reducing gun violence in urban communities. As part of his Build Back Better agenda, President Biden proposed $5 billion in funding for the Department of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to invest in community violence interventions, evidence-based programs that are shown to help reduce violent crime. The President has proposed a $5 billion investment in community violence interventions, including a $200 million investment in Fiscal Year 2022.
 
But this Administration isn’t waiting on Congress to act; we have already invested in and expanded community violence interventions. These actions include:
 
Investing historic levels of existing federal funding in community violence interventions, including American Rescue Plan funding. The Biden Administration made certain American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding – $350 billion in state and local funding, and $122 billion in K-12 funding – available as unprecedented resources for CVI. Senior White House advisors also issued a memo to state and local officials outlining how these elected leaders not only can – but should – use ARP funds for CVI. Cities across the country, such as Seattle, Washington; Buffalo, New York; and Atlanta, Georgia – have responded to this call by committing and deploying ARP funds for CVI. In addition, five federal agencies made changes to 26 different programs to direct vital support to community violence intervention programs as quickly as possible. For example, the National Institutes of Health announced funding through its Firearm Injury and Mortality Prevention Research grants for four community violence programs – including a place-based strategy involving repurposing vacant lots in Detroit, an evaluation of READI Chicago, a burnout prevention program for violence interrupters in Chicago, and a hospital-based violence intervention program focused on youth in Virginia. The Justice Department announced $187 million for states and $85 million for localities through the Byrne JAG Program to support coordinated violence prevention and intervention; the Department explicitly encouraged the use of these funds for CVI. In September, the Department of Housing and Urban Development published a guide explaining to localities how Community Development Block Grants–a $3.4 billion annual funding stream–can be used to fund CVI strategies. The Department of Education released a letter to state school associations on how 21st Century Learning Centers funds and Student Support and Academic enrichment programs – both billion-dollar formula grant funding streams – can be used to fund CVI strategies in schools.
 
Making progress on state legislation to allow Medicaid to support community violence interventions. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services hosted a webinar and published information to educate states on how they can use Medicaid to reimburse certain community violence intervention programs, like Hospital-Based Violence Interventions. Last year, Connecticut and Illinois enacted legislation that allows Medicaid to reimburse providers for hospital-based violence prevention services – the first two states in the country to pursue this approach. According to reporting by USA Today, “[t]he idea has been in the works for years, advocates say, but not until the Biden administration signaled that states could – and should – use Medicaid dollars to support these violence prevention programs have state lawmakers stepped up.”
 
Using the White House’s convening power to support community violence interventions. In July 2021, senior White House staff established The White House Community Violence Intervention Collaborative, a 16-jurisdiction cohort of mayors, law enforcement, CVI experts, and philanthropic leaders committed to using American Rescue Plan funding or other public funding to increase investment in their community violence intervention infrastructure. The Collaborative is spending 18 months strengthening and scaling the jurisdictions’ community violence intervention infrastructure to reduce gun crime and promote public safety. National experts and federal agencies are providing training and technical assistance to help communities assess their existing public safety ecosystem, identify gaps, and build the capacity to expand programming that saves lives. White House staff continue to regularly work with the Collaborative.
 
Providing Law Enforcement with the Tools and Resources They need to Reduce Gun Violence
 
Deploying federal law enforcement to support local communities in addressing gun violence. As part of the Justice Department’s Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Violent Crime, the Justice Department has supported law enforcement in local communities in addressing gun violence. In particular, the Justice Department has provided enforcement support from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), ATF, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and United States Marshals Service (USMS). In Fiscal Year 2021 alone, the USMS partnered with over 1,700 state and local agencies through district and regional task forces, apprehended more than 84,000 fugitives including more than 6,000 murder suspects, and seized more than 7,000 firearms during numerous violence reduction and counter gang operations. In 2021, ATF embedded with homicide and shooting investigation units in police and sheriff’s departments in more than 60 communities across the country, and expanded the reach of its National NIBIN Correlation and Training Center to an additional 35 sites. ATF now provides ballistic matching services and generates leads for more than 1,400 local police departments nationwide. In 2021, FBI partnered with nearly 2,000 state and local officers as part of its Violent Crime Task Forces and Safe Streets Task Forces, which together have confiscated more than 5,000 illegal firearms. Finally, DEA has strong partnerships with state and local law enforcement – 4,600 of whom served as DEA task force officers in 2021, disrupting the activity of some of the most violent drug trafficking organizations in the country. In 2021 alone, DEA was involved in the seizure of over 8,700 crime guns and opened 912 investigations with a nexus to violent crime.
 
Investing American Rescue Plan funding in community-oriented policing to reduce gun violence. The Biden Administration made historic levels of funding from the American Rescue Plan – $350 billion in state and local funding – available for law enforcement purposes such as hiring law enforcement or paying overtime where the funds are directly focused on advancing community policing strategies in those communities experiencing an increase in gun violence associated with the pandemic. Funds were also made available for additional enforcement efforts to reduce gun violence exacerbated by the pandemic, including prosecuting gun traffickers, rogue dealers, and other parties contributing to the supply of crime guns, as well as collaborative federal/state/local efforts to identify and address gun trafficking channels. Cities across the country, such as Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Syracuse, New York; and Mobile, Alabama, have responded to this call by committing and deploying ARP funds for advancing community-oriented policing. In addition, the Department of Justice continues to further the Administration’s support of community-oriented policing, including through the announcement of $139 million in grants to local law enforcement that will put over 1,000 police officers on the beat through the COPS Office Hiring Program. President Biden was instrumental in that program’s creation and has called for it to be doubled in size in his FY22 budget request.
 
Keeping Guns Out of the Hands of Domestic Abusers. In 2021, the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) expanded the Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Firearms Technical Assistance Project (FTAP) to provide funding directly to those communities that participated in FTAP in the past, as well as choosing new communities to receive funding and technical assistance. FTAP helps communities identify challenges limiting a more robust implementation of domestic violence firearms laws in their jurisdictions and assists them in establishing a localized response that is best suited to their communities’ unique needs and characteristics.  OVW will award an estimated $6 million for up to 12 sites and $4 million for training and technical assistance on firearms and domestic violence.
 
Addressing the Root Causes of Gun Violence
 
Investing American Rescue Plan funding in public safety strategies such as summer jobs for young adults and substance abuse and mental health services. The Biden Administration has made historic levels of funding from the American Rescue Plan  – $350 billion in state and local funding and $122 billion in school funding  – available for purposes such as hiring nurses, counselors, and social workers; providing court personnel and operations costs to return to pre-pandemic operation levels; providing and expanding employment services, including summer jobs for young people and programs that provide training and work experience for formerly incarcerated persons and other individuals who live in communities most impacted by high levels of violence; providing and expanding summer education and enrichment programs, including summer camp; and scaling up wraparound services, such as housing, medical and mental health care, trauma-informed care, substance use disorder treatment, food assistance, and job placement services, for victims of crime, young people, formerly incarcerated persons, and individuals and households facing economic insecurity due to the pandemic. Cities and counties across the country, including St. Louis, Missouri; Tucson, Arizona; and Los Angeles County, California, have responded to this call by committing and deploying ARP funds for these purposes.
 
Providing meaningful work, education, or enrichment to keep young people safe and give them a path to success. For example, in June 2021, the Department of Labor awarded $89 million through its YouthBuild program to provide pre-apprenticeship opportunities for young people ages 16-24. The Department of Labor also awarded $20 million through its Workforce Pathways for Youth program to expand workforce development activities that serve youth ages 14-21 during “out of school” time (non-school hours).
 
Helping formerly incarcerated individuals successfully reenter their communities. Individuals who secure employment after release have much lower recidivism rates than those who do not. Good, stable jobs for the formerly incarcerated promote public safety and reduce violence. That is why the Administration is taking concrete steps to facilitate employment and associated services, such as housing assistance, for people who are formerly incarcerated. For example, in June 2021 the Department of Labor awarded $85.5 million to help formerly incarcerated adults and young people in 28 communities transition out of the criminal justice system and connect with quality jobs. The Department also awarded $25.5 million in Young Adult Reentry Partnership grants to organizations that will help provide education and training services to young adults between 18-24 who were previously involved with the justice system or who left high school before graduation. In addition, the President’s House-passed Build Back Better Act includes $1.5 billion for grants to help formerly incarcerated individuals successfully reenter their communities.
 
Supporting Survivors of Domestic Violence. Research shows that a male abusers’ access to a firearm increases the risk of intimate partner femicide by 1,000%. The COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis have increased the rates and risk for domestic violence nationwide.  For many women and children who experience abuse, home is not a safe place and there were increased barriers to accessing services and support. Last year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program, awarded nearly $1 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) supplemental funding to support services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and their children.