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Biden at UN Slams Russia’s Ukraine Invastion, Calls for Action on Climate Change, Human Rights, Global Health, Nuclear NonProliferation

President Joe Biden at the United Nations General Assembly: So let’s stand together to again declare the unmistakable resolve that nations of the world are united still, that we stand for the values of the U.N. Charter, that we still believe by working together we can bend the arc of history toward a freer and more just world for all our children, although none of us have fully achieved it. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features via msnbc.

President Joe Biden presented America’s foreign policy manifesto in his speech to the United Nations 77th General Assembly in New York, asserting a world striving toward equity, shared progress, social, economic and environmental justice, just as he has endeavored to implement at home. He called out Russia, China and others for their human rights abuses, called for climate action, global health initiatives, food security, cooperation rather than competition on the technology advances to improve the lives of everyone. He called for diplomacy instead of conflict and a reaffirmation of the rule of law and the essential founding principles embodied in the United Nations Charter.

“So let’s stand together to again declare the unmistakable resolve that nations of the world are united still, that we stand for the values of the U.N. Charter, that we still believe by working together we can bend the arc of history toward a freer and more just world for all our children, although none of us have fully achieved it,” Biden declared. “We’re not passive witnesses to history; we are the authors of history. We can do this — we have to do it — for ourselves and for our future, for humankind.”

Here is an edited, highlighted transcript – Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

11:08 A.M. EDT
 
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you. 
 
Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, my fellow leaders, in the last year, our world has experienced great upheaval: a growing crisis in food insecurity; record heat, floods, and droughts; COVID-19; inflation; and a brutal, needless war — a war chosen by one man, to be very blunt. 
 
Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

Let us speak plainly.  A permanent member of the United Nations Security Council invaded its neighbor, attempted to erase a sovereign state from the map. 
 
Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenets of the United Nations Charter — no more important than the clear prohibition against countries taking the territory of their neighbor by force. 
 
Again, just today, President Putin has made overt nuclear threats against Europe and a reckless disregard for the responsibilities of the non-proliferation regime. 
 
Now Russia is calling — calling up more soldiers to join the fight.  And the Kremlin is organizing a sham referenda to try to annex parts of Ukraine, an extremely significant violation of the U.N. Charter. 
 
This world should see these outrageous acts for what they are.  Putin claims he had to act because Russia was threatened.  But no one threatened Russia, and no one other than Russia sought conflict. 
 
In fact, we warned it was coming.  And with many of you, we worked to try to avert it.
 
Putin’s own words make his true purpose unmistakable.  Just before he invaded, Putin asserted — and I quote — Ukraine was “created by Russia” and never had, quote, “real statehood.”
 
And now we see attacks on schools, railway stations, hospitals, wa- — on centers of Ukrainian history and culture. 

In the past, even more horrifying evidence of Russia’s atrocity and war crimes: mass graves uncovered in Izyum; bodies, according to those that excavated those bodies, showing signs of torture. 
 
This war is about extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state, plain and simple, and Ukraine’s right to exist as a people.  Whoever you are, wherever you live, whatever you believe, that should not — that should make your blood run cold.
 
That’s why 141 nations in the General Assembly came together to unequivocally condemn Russia’s war against Ukraine.  The United States has marshaled massive levels of security assistance and humanitarian aid and direct economic support for Ukraine — more than $25 billion to date. 
 
Our allies and partners around the world have stepped up as well.  And today, more than 40 countries represented in here have contributed billions of their own money and equipment to help Ukraine defend itself. 
 
The United States is also working closely with our allies and partners to impose costs on Russia, to deter attacks against NATO territory, to hold Russia accountable for the atrocities and war crimes.
 
Because if nations can pursue their imperial ambitions without consequences, then we put at risk everything this very institution stands for.  Everything.
 
Every victory won on the battlefield belongs to the courageous Ukrainian soldiers.  But this past year, the world was tested as well, and we did not hesitate. 
 
We chose liberty.  We chose sovereignty.  We chose principles to which every party to the United Nations Charter is beholding.  We stood with Ukraine.
 
Like you, the United States wants this war to end on just terms, on terms we all signed up for: that you cannot seize a nation’s territory by force.  The only country standing in the way of that is Russia. 
 
So, we — each of us in this body who is determined to uphold the principles and beliefs we pledge to defend as members of the United Nations — must be clear, firm, and unwavering in our resolve. 
 
Ukraine has the same rights that belong to every sovereign nation.  We will stand in solidarity with Ukraine.  We will stand in solidarity against Russia’s aggression.  Period.
 
The US Will Defend Democracy

Now, it’s no secret that in the contest between democracy and autocracy, the United States — and I, as President — champion a vision for our world that is grounded in the values of democracy. 
 
The United States is determined to defend and strengthen democracy at home and around the world.  Because I believe democracy remains humanity’s greatest instrument to address the challenges of our time. 
 
We’re working with the G7 and likeminded countries to prove democracies can deliver for their citizens but also deliver for the rest of the world as well. 
 
Reaffirm the United Nations’ Founding Principles

But as we meet today, the U.N. Charter — the U.N. Charter’s very basis of a stable and just rule-based order is under attack by those who wish to tear it down or distort it for their own political advantage. 
 
And the United Nations Charter was not only signed by democracies of the world, it was negotiated among citizens of dozens of nations with vastly different histories and ideologies, united in their commitment to work for peace. 
 
As President Truman said in 1945, the U.N. Charter — and I quote — is “proof that nations, like men, can state their differences, can face them, and then can find common ground on which to stand.”  End of quote.
 
That common ground was so straightforward, so basic that, today, 193 of you — 193 member states — have willingly embraced its principles.  And standing up for those principles for the U.N. Charter is the job of every responsible member state. 
 
I reject the use of violence and war to conquer nations or expand borders through bloodshed.
 
To stand against global politics of fear and coercion; to defend the sovereign rights of smaller nations as equal to those of larger ones; to embrace basic principles like freedom of navigation, respect for international law, and arms control — no matter what else we may disagree on, that is the common ground upon which we must stand. 
 
If you’re still committed to a strong foundation for the good of every nation around the world, then the United States wants to work with you. 
 
The UN Should Become More Inclusive

I also believe the time has come for this institution to become more inclusive so that it can better respond to the needs of today’s world.
 
Members of the U.N. Security Council, including the United States, should consistently uphold and defend the U.N. Charter and refrain — refrain from the use of the veto, except in rare, extraordinary situations, to ensure that the Council remains credible and effective.
 
That is also why the United States supports increasing the number of both permanent and non-permanent representatives of the Council.  This includes permanent seats for those nations we’ve long supported and permanent seats for countries in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
 
The United States is committed to this vital work.  In every region, we pursued new, constructive ways to work with partners to advance shared interests, from elevating the Quad in the Indo-Pacific; to signing the Los Angeles Declaration of Migration and Protection at the Summit of the Americas; to joining a historic meeting of nine Arab leaders to work toward a more peaceful, integrated Middle East; to hosting the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit in — this December.
 
Relentless Diplomacy to Tackle Challenges

As I said last year, the United States is opening an era of relentless diplomacy to address the challenges that matter most to people’s lives — all people’s lives: tackling the climate crisis, as the previous speaker spoke to; strengthening global health security; feeding the world — feeding the world.
 
We made that priority.  And one year later, we’re keeping that promise.
 
From the day I came to office, we’ve led with a bold climate agenda.  We rejoined the Paris Agreement, convened major climate summits, helped deliver critical agreements on COP26.  And we helped get two thirds of the world GDP on track to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 
 
And now I’ve signed a historic piece of legislation here in the United States that includes the biggest, most important climate commitment we have ever made in the history of our country: $369 billion toward climate change.  That includes tens of billions in new investments in offshore wind and solar, doubling down on zero emission vehicles, increasing energy efficiency, supporting clean manufacturing.
 
Our Department of Energy estimates that this new law will reduce U.S. emissions by one gigaton a year by 2030 while unleashing a new era of clean-energy-powered economic growth.
 
Our investments will also help reduce the cost of developing clean energy technologies worldwide, not just the United States.  This is a global gamechanger — and none too soon.  We don’t have much time.
 
Climate Crisis

We all know we’re already living in a climate crisis.  No one seems to doubt it after this past year.  As we meet, much of Pakistan is still underwater; it needs help.  Meanwhile, the Horn of Africa faces unprecedented drought. 
 
Families are facing impossible choices, choosing which child to feed and wondering whether they’ll survive.
 
This is the human cost of climate change.  And it’s growing, not lessening.
 
So, as I announced last year, to meet our global responsibility, my administration is working with our Congress to deliver more than $11 billion a year to international climate finance to help lower-income countries implement their climate goals and ensure a just energy transition.
 
The key part of that will be our [PREPARE] plan, which will help half a billion people, and especially vulnerable countries, adapt to the impacts of climate change and build resilience.
 
This need is enormous.  So let this be the moment we find within ourselves the will to turn back the tide of climate devastation and unlock a resilient, sustainable, clean energy economy to preserve our planet.
 
Global Health

On global health, we’ve delivered more than 620 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to 116 countries around the world, with more available to help meet countries’ needs — all free of charge, no strings attached.
 
And we’re working closely with the G20 and other countries.  And the United States helped lead the change to establish a groundbreaking new Fund for Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness, and Response at the World Bank.
 
At the same time, we’ve continued to advance the ball on enduring global health challenges.
 
Later today, I’ll host the Seventh Replenishment Conference for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.  With bipartisan support in our Congress, I have pledged to contribute up to $6 billion to that effort.
 
So I look forward to welcoming a historic round of pledges at the conference resulting in one of the largest global health fundraisers ever held in all of history.
 
Food Crisis

We’re also taking on the food crisis head on.  With as many as 193 million people around the world experiencing acute — acute food insecurity — a jump of 40 million in a year — today I’m announcing another $2.9 billion in U.S. support for lifesaving humanitarian and food security assistance for this year alone.
 
Russia, in the meantime, is pumping out lies, trying to pin the blame for the crisis — the food crisis — onto sanctions imposed by many in the world for the aggression against Ukraine. 
 
So let me be perfectly clear about something: Our sanctions explicitly allow — explicitly allow Russia the ability to export food and fertilizer.  No limitation.  It’s Russia’s war that is worsening food insecurity, and only Russia can end it.
 
I’m grateful for the work here at the U.N. — including your leadership, Mr. Secretary-General — establishing a mechanism to export grain from Black Sea ports in Ukraine that Russia had blocked for months, and we need to make sure it’s extended.
 
We believe strongly in the need to feed the world.  That’s why the United States is the world’s largest supporter of the World Food Programme, with more than 40 percent of its budget.
 
We’re leading support — we’re leading support of the UNICEF efforts to feed children around the world. 
 
And to take on the larger challenge of food insecurity, the United States introduced a Call to Action: a roadmap eliminating global food insecurity — to eliminating global food insecurity that more than 100 nation member states have already supported.
 
In June, the G7 announced more than $4.5 billion to strengthen food security around the world.
 
Through USAID’s Feed the Future initiative, the United States is scaling up innovative ways to get drought- and heat-resistant seeds into the hands of farmers who need them, while distributing fertilizer and improving fertilizer efficiency so that farmers can grow more while using less.
 
And we’re calling on all countries to refrain from banning food exports or hoarding grain while so many people are suffering.  Because in every country in the world, no matter what else divides us, if parents cannot feed their children, nothing — nothing else matters if parents cannot feed their children.
 
Rules of the Road for International Cooperation

As we look to the future, we’re working with our partners to update and create rules of the road for new challenges we face in the 21st century.
 
We launched the Trade and Technology Council with the European Union to ensure that key technologies — key technologies are developed and governed in the way that benefits everyone. 
 
With our partner countries and through the U.N., we’re supporting and strengthening the norms of responsibility — responsible state behavior in cyberspace and working to hold accountable those who use cyberattacks to threaten international peace and security. 
 
With partners in the Americas, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, and the Indo-Pacific, we’re working to build a new economic ecosystem while — where every nation — every nation gets a fair shot and economic growth is resilient, sustainable, and shared. 
 
That’s why the United States has championed a global minimum tax.  And we will work to see it implemented so major corporations pay their fair share everywhere — everywhere.
 
It’s also been the idea behind the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which the United States launched this year with 13 other Indo-Pacific economies.  We’re working with our partners in ASEAN and the Pacific Islands to support a vision for a critical Indo-Pacific region that is free and open, connected and prosperous, secure and resilient.
 
Together with partners around the world, we’re working to secure resilient supply chains that protect everyone from coercion or domination and ensure that no country can use energy as a weapon.
 
And as Russia’s war riles the global economy, we’re also calling on major global creditors, including the non-Paris Club countries, to transparently negotiate debt forgiveness for lower-income countries to forestall broader economic and political crises around the world. 
 
Instead of infrastructure projects that generate huge and large debt without delivering on the promised advantages, let’s meet the enormous infrastructure needs around the world with transparent investments — high-standard projects that protect the rights of workers and the environment — keyed to the needs of the communities they serve, not to the contributor.
 
That’s why the United States, together with fellow G7 partners, launched a Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment.  We intend to collectively mobilize $600 billion
in investment through this partnership by 2027. 
 
Dozens of projects are already underway: industrial-scale vaccine manufacturing in Senegal, transformative solar projects in Angola, first-of-its-kind small modular nuclear power plant in Romania.
 
These are investments that are going to deliver returns not just for those countries, but for everyone.  The United States will work with every nation, including our competitors, to solve global problems like climate change.  Climate diplomacy is not a favor to the United States or any other nation, and walking away hurts the entire world.
 
Relations with China, Nations

Let me be direct about the competition between the United States and China.  As we manage shifting geopolitical trends, the United States will conduct itself as a reasonable leader.  We do not seek conflict.  We do not seek a Cold War.  We do not ask any nation to choose between the United States or any other partner. 
 
But the United States will be unabashed in promoting our vision of a free, open, secure, and prosperous world and what we have to offer communities of nations: investments that are designed not to foster dependency, but to alleviate burdens and help nations become self-sufficient; partnerships not to create political obligation, but because we know our own success — each of our success is increased when other nations succeed as well.
 
When individuals have the chance to live in dignity and develop their talents, everyone benefits.  Critical to that is living up to the highest goals of this institution: increasing peace and security for everyone, everywhere. 
 
The United States will not waver in our unrelenting determination to counter and thwart the continuing terrorist threats to our world.  And we will lead with our diplomacy to strive for peaceful resolution of conflicts. 
 
We seek to uphold peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits. 
 
We remain committed to our One China policy, which has helped prevent conflict for four decades.  And we continue to oppose unilateral changes in the status quo by either side. 
 
We support an African Union-led peace process to end the fight in Ethiopia and restore security for all its people. 
 
In Venezuela, where years of the political oppression have driven more than 6 million people from that country, we urge a Venezuelan-led dialogue and a return to free and fair elections.
 
We continue to stand with our neighbor in Haiti as it faces political-fueled gang violence and an enormous human crisis.
 
And we call on the world to do the same.  We have more to do. 
 
We’ll continue to back the U.N.-mediated truce in Yemen, which has delivered precious months of peace to people that have suffered years of war.
 
And we will continue to advocate for lasting negotiating peace between the Jewish and democratic state of Israel and the Palestinian people.  The United States is committed to Israel’s security, full stop.  And a negotiated two-state solution remains, in our view, the best way to ensure Israel’s security and prosperity for the future and give the Palestinians the state which — to which they are entitled — both sides to fully respect the equal rights of their citizens; both people enjoying equal measure of freedom and dignity.
 
Nuclear Non-Proliferation

Let me also urge every nation to recommit to strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime through diplomacy.  No matter what else is happening in the world, the United States is ready to pursue critical arms control measures.  A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. 
 
The five permanent members of the Security Council just reaffirmed that commitment in January.  But today, we’re seeing disturbing trends.  Russia shunned the Non-Proliferation ideals embraced by every other nation at the 10th NPT Review Conference
 
And again, today, as I said, they’re making irresponsible nuclear threats to use nuclear weapons.  China is conducting an unprecedented, concerning nuclear buildup without any transparency. 
 
Despite our efforts to begin serious and sustained diplomacy, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continues to blatantly violate U.N. sanctions.
 
And while the United States is prepared for a mutual return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action if Iran steps up to its obligations, the United States is clear: We will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.
 
I continue to believe that diplomacy is the best way to achieve this outcome.  The nonproliferation regime is one of the greatest successes of this institution.  We cannot let the world now slide backwards, nor can we turn a blind eye to the erosion of human rights.
 
Human Rights

Perhaps singular among this body’s achievements stands the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is the standard by which our forebears challenged us to measure ourselves.
 
They made clear in 1948: Human rights are the basis for all that we seek to achieve.  And yet today, in 2022, fundamental freedoms are at risk in every part of our world,
from the violations in Xinjiang detailed in recent reports by the Office of U.N. High Commissioner, to the horrible abuses against pro-democracy activists and ethnic minorities by the military regime in Burma, to the increased repression of women and girls by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

And today, we stand with the brave citizens and the brave women of Iran who right now are demonstrating to secure their basic rights.
 
But here’s what I know: The future will be won by those countries that unleash the full potential of their populations, where women and girls can exercise equal rights, including basic reproductive rights, and contribute fully to building a stronger economies and more resilient societies; where religious and ethnic minorities can live their lives without harassment and contribute to the fabric of their communities; where the LGBTQ+ community individuals live and love freely without being targeted with violence; where citizens can question and criticize their leaders without fear of reprisal.
 
The United States will always promote human rights and the values enshrined in the U.N. Charter in our own country and around the world.
 
Let me end with this: This institution, guided by the U.N. Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is at its core an act of dauntless hope.

Let me say that again: It’s an act of dauntless hope.
 
Think about the vision of those first delegates who undertook a seemingly impossible task while the world was still smoldering.
 
Think about how divided the people of the world must have felt with the fresh grief of millions dead, the genocidal horrors of the Holocaust exposed.
 
They had every right to believe only the worst of humanity.  Instead, they reached for what was best in all of us, and they strove to build something better: enduring peace; comity among nations; equal rights for every member of the human family; cooperation for the advancement of all humankind.
 
My fellow leaders, the challenges we face today are great indeed, but our capacity is greater.  Our commitment must be greater still.

So let’s stand together to again declare the unmistakable resolve that nations of the world are united still, that we stand for the values of the U.N. Charter, that we still believe by working together we can bend the arc of history toward a freer and more just world for all our children, although none of us have fully achieved it.

We’re not passive witnesses to history; we are the authors of history.
 
We can do this — we have to do it — for ourselves and for our future, for humankind.

Thank you for your tolerance, for listening to me.  I appreciate it very much.  God bless you all.  (Applause.)

11:37 A.M. EDT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

(Applause.) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LEADER SCHUMER:  It’s now law.

(Applause.)

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

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

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

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

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

 
Lowering Health Care Costs

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

 
Defeating Special Interests

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

 
CLEAN ENERGY
 
Lowering Energy Costs

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

 
Building a Clean Energy Economy

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

 
Reducing Harmful Pollution

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

 
TAXES
 
Making the Tax Code Fairer

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

 
Reducing the Deficit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FACT SHEET: White House Announces over $40 Billion in American Rescue Plan Investments in Our Workforce – With More Coming 


The White House announced that over $40 Billion in American Rescue Plan funds have been committed to strengthening and expanding our workforce. White House officials highlighted top American Rescue Plan workforce best practices from Governors, Mayors, and County Leaders across the country, and called on more government officials and private sector leaders to expand investments in our workforce. Vice President Kamala Harris delivered remarks kicking off a half-day White House Summit.

Since passage of the law, states, localities, community colleges, and local organizations have leveraged American Rescue Plan resources to deliver training, expand career paths, encourage more Registered Apprenticeships, provide retention and hiring bonuses in critical industries, and power efforts to help underserved Americans and those who face barriers to employment secure good jobs. These investments in the workforce – along with the American Rescue Plan’s direct payroll support that has saved or restored jobs across a broad set of industries – have contributed to a record 9 Million jobs added since President Biden took office in the fastest and strongest jobs recovery in American history.
 
The half-day White House Summit on the American Rescue Plan and the Workforce featured remarks by Vice President Harris and Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, a session on state American Rescue Plan workforce investments with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, as well as panels with Mayors, County Leaders, and Labor and Community Leaders on their model American Rescue Plan workforce programs. The Summit focused on three major areas of American Rescue Plan investment:
 
1. Building a Diverse and Skilled Infrastructure Workforce: President Biden and Vice President Harris have launched the Administration’s Infrastructure Talent Pipeline Challenge to encourage immediate partnerships by the public and private sectors to ensure we have the diverse and strong workforce needed to help rebuild our infrastructure and supply chains here at home with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Today’s session will focus on innovative programs to meet this challenge like the DC Infrastructure Academy, with a special focus on Pre-Apprenticeship programs funded by the American Rescue Plan. Pre-Apprenticeship programs play a critical role in diversifying the talent pipeline by training, placing, and retaining workers through Registered Apprenticeships – which the North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) has cited as having a return on investment for employers of as much as $3 for every $1 invested. The session will feature:

  • Washington (DC) Mayor Muriel Bowser
  • Louisville (KY) Mayor Greg Fischer
  • Los Angeles County (CA) Supervisor Holly Mitchell
  • Franklin County (OH) Commissioner John O’Grady
  • NABTU Special Assistant to the President Melissa Wells

 
2. Strengthening Our Care and Public Health Workforce: The pandemic exposed the fragility and importance of our care economy. As part of an unprecedented commitment to a stronger care workforce, the American Rescue Plan contains significant investments in public health and the care economy that will help provide better pay and career opportunities for care workers and make it easier for workers with child and elder care responsibilities to join and stay in the workforce. U.S. prime-age labor force participation has fallen behind that of its competitors, in part due to lack of family friendly policies. Studies show that access to care can be an important determinant of whether workers are able to join or remain in the labor force. Millions of families rely on paid child and elder care to work, while millions more struggle to afford or find available care. The demand for child and elder care remains high and will only grow, with a projected need for over a million additional home health care workers over the next decade. Studies have shown that quality pathways for nursing aides leads to better outcomes for patients and workers. The American Rescue Plan is helping deliver supports for quality pathways for these essential jobs. The session will feature:  

  • Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration Carole Johnson
  • Erie (NY) County Executive Mark Poloncarz
  • Ramsey County (MN) Commissioner Mary Jo McGuire
  • Manchester (NH) Mayor Joyce Craig
  • Director of the Communities RISE Together Initiative at the Public Health Institute, Dr. Somava Saha
  • SEIU Secretary-Treasurer April Verrett

3. Expanding Access to the Workforce for Underserved Populations: American Rescue Plan funds are being used to recruit more Americans facing barriers to employment – homelessness, disability, prior criminal justice involvement – and giving them pathways into the workforce. More than 600,000 people leave prison every year and confront significant challenges in accessing and sustaining stable, meaningful employment – a 2018 study estimated that formerly incarcerated individuals experience an unemployment rate of over 27 percent, exponentially higher than the overall national unemployment rate. Investments in expanding access to the workforce strengthen our economy by increasing labor force participation and tapping into the potential of more Americans, and research shows that certain programs – such as comprehensive reentry programs and summer youth employment programs – can significantly reduce crime. The session will feature:

  • Harris County (TX) Commissioner Adrian Garcia
  • Memphis (TN) Mayor Jim Strickland
  • Employ Milwaukee CEO Chytania Brown
  • WRTP Big Step President Lindsay Blumer

 
To date, the Administration has worked with states, localities, and other American Rescue Plan recipients to identify over $40 Billion in American Rescue Plan funds being utilized to strengthen and expand our workforce:
Over $13 Billion in American Rescue Plan Workforce Investments Committed or Proposed by Over 1,000+ State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Governments.
 

  • Over $9 Billion in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds committed or proposed investments in workforce programs. This includes hundreds of new workforce development and retention programs, including innovative partnerships with labor groups and other organizations to train and support a diverse workforce for good-paying jobs as well as premium pay programs for essential workers.
  • Over $2 Billion in Child Care Stabilization state grants used to increase compensation for child care workers, strengthening workforce development and retention. States have directed or incentivized a commitment of at least $2 Billion from Child Care Stabilization program grants delivered to child care workers in the form of higher pay, hiring or retention bonuses, or other expanded benefits to date — reducing turnover, attracting new workers, and improving the quality, affordability, and availability of care options that enable parents to work.
  • $2 Billion in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grants to fund the public health workforce. Emergency funding for public health departments is expected to add thousands of new positions, including 2,400 new school health staff. 

 
Over $16 Billion in Medicaid and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Funds for the Care and Healthcare Workforce.
 

  • Over $9 Billion of Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) funds proposed for workforce. These include state plans to increase the pay and benefits of direct support professionals, train workers, and recruit, retain, and expand the workforce to meet the needs of Americans on HCBS waitlists and family caregivers.
  • Over $7 Billion in health workforce investments funded by HHS programs. These funds support staffing needs to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as longer-term investments to strengthen the health workforce and build capacity. These historic investments are recruiting, training, and retaining tens of thousands of additional public health workers over the next several years, including the first-ever Public Health AmeriCorps program which will train a new generation of public health leaders and includes 3,000 corps members in its first year.

Over $12 Billion in American Rescue Plan Education Funds to Strengthen the K-12 Educator Workforce and Expand Workforce Credentials.

  • Over $7 Billion in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funding to keep schools open safely, combat learning loss, and address mental health are planned to be spent on recruiting, retaining, and training school staff. Districts are expected to spend other funds on workforce efforts, including career and technical education that will help students succeed in the workforce. States across the country are also using a portion of funds to build the pipeline of education workers and provide career and technical education. Additional funds are supporting the hiring and the avoiding of lay-offs of school staff.
  • At least $5 Billion to help students stay on track to graduate college and enter the workforce with additional credentials. The American Rescue Plan’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund provided nearly $40 Billion to colleges and their students, including to support learning and career training. Community colleges received $10 Billion, with roughly $5 Billion of these funds provided directly to students, allowing them to stay on track to graduate and enter the workforce with additional qualifications.

 
In addition to investments outlined above, over $3 billion in additional, competitively awarded American Rescue Plan funding will be invested in the coming months, including:
 

  • In 2022, CDC will award $3 billion through a new, first of its kind American Rescue Plan-funded grant program to strengthen the future public health workforce, including offering community health workers and others hired for COVID-19 response support in continuing their careers as public health professionals beyond the pandemic.
  • The Economic Development Administration will announce 25-50 grants through the $500 million Good Jobs Challenge to build and strengthen workforce systems that bring together employers and other key entities to train workers with in-demand skills that lead to good-paying jobs.

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Summaries of American Rescue Plan Best Practices in Workforce Investments Highlighted by State and Local Leaders at White House Summit

1. North Carolina is committing American Rescue Plan funds to address the barriers holding back workers and expand opportunities for careers in high-growth fields offering good wages. Governor Roy Cooper will explain that North Carolina is leading the way with innovative investments to increase compensation for care economy workers and establish and expand work-based learning opportunities in critical sectors. To improve recruitment and retention in care fields, the state is leveraging American Rescue Plan Child Care Stabilization program grants to incentivize and fund increased compensation for tens of thousands of child care workers in the state – reducing turnover and increasing the strength of the workforce – and investing over $200 Million annually utilizing American Rescue Plan-enhanced Home and Community Based Services funding to increase wages for direct care workers. North Carolina is also using American Rescue Plan resources to establish a new Direct Care Jobs Innovation Fund that will support initiatives that improve recruitment and retention among the direct care workforce, including training opportunities and workforce supports. Further, the state is investing American Rescue Plan funds in key workforce efforts, including establishing work-based learning programs supporting small businesses, helping individuals who are justice-involved or in substance use recovery enter the workforce, as well as filling critical infrastructure and supply chain jobs by investing in expanding truck driver training, apprenticeships in high-demand fields, and a work-based learning program in the construction trades across the NC Community College System.

2. Pennsylvania is delivering historic support to its care and healthcare workforce with American Rescue Plan funds. Governor Tom Wolf will discuss how the state is investing in expanded training and credentialing opportunities for direct care workers across the state, improving retention and quality of care. Using American Rescue Plan-enhanced Home and Community Based Services funds, these initiatives include increasing behavioral health provider rates to support state staff training, education, and recruitment, as well as creating an online education and training portal to strengthen supports to nursing professionals. The state is also delivering $225 Million statewide for healthcare retention and recruitment efforts, including payments to direct care staff as well as expanding a high-demand nurse loan forgiveness program. In addition, the state is providing nearly $190 Million through the American Rescue Plan to support retention bonuses, personnel development, and recruitment efforts for its child care workforce.

Building a Diverse and Skilled Infrastructure Workforce
 
1. Washington, DC is expanding its DC Infrastructure Academy to fill growing DC infrastructure jobs. Mayor Muriel Bowser will describe the DC Infrastructure Academy, which is a key initiative of her administration, launched in 2018 to meet the need for skilled infrastructure professionals in the District. The school coordinates, trains, screens, and recruits residents to fulfill the needs of the DC infrastructure industry, matching graduates to infrastructure jobs with leading companies in this high-demand field. The city is investing over $4 Million to expand the program in preparation for the coming demand for infrastructure workers as a result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.


2. Los Angeles County, CA is investing $10 Million to bolster High Road Training Partnerships (HRTP) and its Worker Equity Fund. Supervisor Holly Mitchell will describe LA County’s American Rescue Plan investment to enhance training programs in high-demand sectors such as construction, transportation and warehousing, manufacturing, technology, and more with an American Rescue Plan investment in High Road Training Partnerships. Bringing together industry, education and training providers, labor, and community groups, HRTPs focus on building long-term career pathways utilizing pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships, provide family-sustaining wages, and require deep collaboration between employers, workers, education partners, and the workforce system. The pre-apprenticeship program deploys the Los Angeles-Orange County Building Trades Council’s Multi-Craft Core Curriculum and spans 8-10 weeks, and aims to enroll at least 480 individuals in all HRTPs with at least 350 individuals hired in permanent employment. This is part of Los Angeles County’s larger workforce development plan, which includes reducing workforce barriers for youth, enhancing job placement programming for justice-involved individuals and those experiencing homelessness, rapid re-employment, as well as a Worker Equity Fund that provides supportive services and flexible cash assistance for participants in the county’s workforce programs to mitigate barriers to successful participation.

3. Franklin County, OH is committing over $11 Million in State and Local funds to support a number of job training assistance programs, including over $2 Million toward the Building Futures Pre-Apprenticeship Program. Commissioner John O’Grady will explain the county’s investment in Building Futures, a 12-week program designed to help low-income Franklin County residents pursue careers in the skilled construction trades, including electrical work, iron work, carpentry, painting, plumbing, and more, with a focus on recruiting populations that have been historically underrepresented in the trades. More than half of program graduates were TANF-eligible when they first enrolled. Most graduates have gone on to become apprentices and are earning an average wage of over $22 per hour plus benefits – with some earning as much as $30 and $40 an hour. The program, which was developed in partnership with the Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Columbus NAACP, and the Columbus Urban League, provides both “hard skills” training, including safety certification and trade-specific instruction, as well as “soft skills” training, including interpersonal skills and financial literacy, as well as a weekly $250 stipend. Participants are also eligible to receive supportive services offered through Building Futures in average amounts of $1,500-$2,500, depending on a person’s individual needs, to help address barriers like transportation, housing, childcare, and more. At the end of each cohort, participants complete an entrance assessment to progress directly into a Building Trades apprenticeship program. The county also runs an American Rescue Plan-funded Driving Futures program, which fills critically needed positions as licensed drivers in Central Ohio’s construction industry.

4. Louisville, KY is proposing an expansion of its successful Kentuckiana Builds construction program. Mayor Greg Fischer will explain how he is answering the President’s call to action on the Talent Pipeline Challenge by proposing American Rescue Plan funds be deployed to expand the city’s pre-apprenticeship program, Kentuckiana Builds. The program is run by the Louisville Urban League in partnership with the Carpenters Union. The program helps diverse residents successfully complete a 6-week construction training program, which then provides them access to union apprenticeships in partnership with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Carpenters Union, as well as other basic construction roles. Since its inception, over 350 individuals have graduated from the program into good construction jobs. The proposed American Rescue Plan investment would enable the Kentuckiana Builds pre-apprenticeship program to serve additional participants. Beyond this proposed investment, Louisville has made a number of American Rescue Plan-funded investments in workforce, including a comprehensive reentry program for formerly incarcerated individuals.

5. North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) is working with state and local leaders to promote American Rescue Plan-funded Pre-Apprenticeship Programs as a critical pathway to Registered Apprenticeship Programs that will help fill the increased workforce needs of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. NABTU Special Assistant to the President Melissa Wells will describe how NABTU has closely partnered with state and local governments, construction industry employers, and non-profit organizations to invest American Rescue Plan funds in their Pre-Apprenticeship programs known as Apprenticeship Readiness Programs. This builds on NABTU’s work to create over 190 Apprenticeship Readiness Programs across the country in the last fifteen years, which are a pipeline to multi-year Registered Apprenticeship programs. These programs specifically focus on recruiting and training women, people of color, transitioning veterans, and the formerly incarcerated. NABTU operates over 1,600 Registered Apprenticeship training centers in the United States and graduates at least 50,000 apprentices each year — with over 80,000 graduated in 2019 alone.


Strengthening Our Care and Public Health Workforce


1. Ramsey County, MN is supporting its care workforce through a $1 Million Public Health Career Pathways program and addressing a shortage of quality child care programs by offering new incentives and supports. Commissioner Mary Jo McGuire will describe Ramsey County’s Public Health Career Pathways program, which will increase the public health workforce and lift up low wage earners by offering careers as a registered nurse or community health worker. Selection priority is given to those who live in Ramsey County, are single parents, receiving public assistance, and/or are a member of an underrepresented group in the public health workforce. The program provides: college preparatory coaching and mentoring; reimbursement of tuition, expenses for transportation and/or child care, and other related academic costs; wages to allow participants to enroll full-time; and paid work time to complete coursework. To bolster the child care workforce, Ramsey County is providing bonuses of $1,000 per year and free professional development training to help providers remain open. Additionally, the county is recruiting additional child care educators in the neighborhoods most affected by the child care shortages, offering the training required to achieve a Child Development Associate credential at no cost. Participants will also receive mentoring support provided by experienced child care educators who currently operate high-quality programs and other necessary support for early childhood educators looking to open child care programs.

2. Erie County, NY used $1.6 Million in American Rescue Plan funds to launch a Healthcare Careers Program. County Executive Mark Poloncarz will explain that the county is providing educational grants for training in high-demand healthcare occupations, such of up to $10,000 per student. Students must be enrolled in an approved occupational program, meet certain income requirements, and must currently earn less than $25 per hour. Students enrolled in the program also receive a transportation allowance, child care assistance, and access to an emergency fund of up to $500 for emergencies. Since the program began in October 2021, more than 320 residents have already enrolled in programs offered by the County’s training partners (including Erie 1 BOCES, Trocaire College, D’Youville University, SUNY Erie and Villa Maria College). Given the program’s success so far, the county has dedicated additional funding to sustain and expand the program.

3. Manchester, NH is investing $6 Million in a Community Health Worker (CHW) Program. Mayor Joyce Craig will discuss the city’s investment in the CHW program. The new team is multicultural and collectively speaks 11 languages, in addition to English (Spanish, French, Nepali, Hindi, Swahili, Kinyarwanda, Kurundi, Mandinka, Fula, Wolof, and Yoruba). CHW staff are participating in a CHW Certificate program hosted by the Southern New Hampshire Area Health Education Center. The program will also be working closely with the Harvard School of Public Health to provide occupational health and safety training and technical assistance. CHW staff are proactively working with local community groups and organizations in their assigned neighborhood areas in the City to best serve neighborhood concerns and needs. As this Program is a joint effort between the Manchester Health Department and Manchester Police Department, the two Departments will be creating a structure to support linkages and coordination of efforts across public health and public safety.

4. The Communities RISE Together initiative, supported by WE in the World and the Public Health Institute, is using American Rescue Plan funding to recruit, hire, and train Community Health Workers to work with Black, Native American, Latinx, Asian American/Pacific Islander, immigrant/migrant, and low-income older adult populations in 200+ counties across the country. Director of the Communities RISE Together Initiative at the Public Health Institute Dr. Somava Saha will describe how RISE partners train and engage vaccine ambassadors and promotoras to serve as trusted messengers and connect community members with vaccines and well-being needs, while working to address underlying drivers of health inequities.  Together, they have reached over 44 Million people through trusted, often nontraditional, messengers and channels and connected 200,000+ Americans to vaccines and supports like food, rental assistance, and social connection.
 
5. Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is mobilizing workers across the country to ensure American Rescue Plan funding for HCBS continues to improve conditions for care workers – who are 90 percent women and disproportionately women of color – and to stabilize and grow the care workforce and expand access to high-quality affordable home and community-based care. SEIU Secretary-Treasurer April Verrett will describe how SEIU and its partners are working together to ensure states are using funds to transform care work into good, union jobs that provide benefits and pay enough to support a family. This will help to create a sustainable care workforce and lift entire families and communities who are supported by care work.  SEIU and its partners are also working with states to expand training opportunities to both help existing caregivers build additional skills and develop a pipeline of new workers.
 
Expanding the Workforce by Helping Americans Overcome Barriers
 
1. Memphis, TN is investing over $20 Million in workforce programs, with a focus on youth employment – particularly for disconnected youth and youth with disabilities. Mayor Jim Strickland will describe the Opportunity R3 (Rethinking, Rebuilding, Rebranding) initiative, established with American Rescue Plan funds, which provides workforce readiness training for disconnected youth ages 16-24. According to one report, the Memphis metropolitan area has among the highest number of disconnected youth in the country, with over one in five youth neither working or in school. The R3 program helps participants develop a career and education plan, and guides participants on issues including job applications and resume work, communication and other soft skills, and financial management. The program also provides broader support to participants, including assisting with opening banking accounts, and has currently seen over 80 percent of graduates stay on track on their career or educational path. Additionally, the city is using American Rescue Plan funds to pilot “I Am Included,” a program for youth with disabilities. The program helps youth between ages of 14-18 with specific disabilities – including those who are deaf and hard of hearing or visually impaired, or with specific learning disabilities and intellectual disorders – develop soft and hard skills to prepare for gainful employment and other post-high school options. Topics discussed in the program include financial literacy, personal/professional development, conflict resolution, self-advocacy, goal setting, and mental health awareness. These programs are part of Memphis’ broader investment in workforce development, which includes several other youth employment training programs.  
 
2. Harris County, TX is committing over $2 Million in American Rescue Plan funds toward Employ2Empower (E2E), a workforce program that employs unhoused individuals living in encampments. Commissioner Adrian Garcia will explain how American Rescue Plan funds have enabled the E2E program to expand from a one-precinct pilot into an expanded county-wide program, which is estimated to serve 160 individuals in four separate cohorts over 12 months. The initial precinct-level pilot compensated participants at $10 per hour, and the expanded E2E program employs these individuals for up to 32 hours a week, at a pay rate of $15 per hour, while providing access to resources to meet their basic needs. The work includes graffiti removal, illegal dumping abatement, and upkeep of public properties. Participants will also work alongside previously unhoused individuals who will serve as their Peer Mentors to provide motivation and support. E2E provides steady income and workforce development training, and connects participants to a pathway to a permanent housing solution, wrap-around services, and additional benefits, including ID services. The program implementation and management utilize inputs from Career and Recovery Resources (CRR), partner organizations, and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. By utilizing lessons learned from the pilot program, the goal is to provide a consistent stabilizing experience for program participants, who require time and intensive support to alleviate the effects of experiencing homelessness. The program is a pre-employment program intended to support individuals in graduating into higher-skilled programs and addresses racial disparities in homelessness and unemployment by reaching out to marginalized groups with 48% of participants being African American.
 
3. Employ Milwaukee and WRTP|Big Step are deploying American Rescue Plan-funded worker development programs by targeting underserved communities in Wisconsin. Employ Milwaukee CEO Chytania Brown will explain how the local workforce development board, with a $5 Million American Rescue Plan grant from Wisconsin, launched a new Skillful Transitions program aimed at connecting traditionally underserved groups to jobs. The program provides an individualized assessment of skills, experience, and job readiness, and provides job readiness training, skills training, and paid work experience across a variety of sectors, including construction, manufacturing, financial services, healthcare, and more. The program conducts targeted, specialized outreach to at-risk populations, including justice-involved individuals (pre- and post-release), veterans, individuals with disabilities, and human trafficking survivors. Employ Milwaukee also provides wraparound supports and targets high-unemployment and dislocated city residents for its other American Rescue Plan-funded programs, such as a $3 Million investment by Milwaukee into lead abatement certification training – where there is an overall goal of serving a majority of people of color with a special emphasis on opportunity youth.

President Lindsay Blumer of WRTP | BIG STEP, a non-profit workforce intermediary in Wisconsin, will describe how her organization has used American Rescue Plan funds to expand the workforce in construction, manufacturing, and adjacent emerging sectors. In three programs funded by Milwaukee and Wisconsin’s American Rescue Plan dollars – which include a manufacturing high school equivalency degree joint pre-apprenticeship, after-school youth construction career exploration and hands-on training, and a community resource navigator program – the organization focuses on recruiting those who are underserved or not traditionally represented in these occupations, such as those individuals who are justice-involved, veterans and/or identify as differently abled. Critically, once enrolled, the organization provides a variety of barrier remediation and supportive services, such as food share and child care vouchers, focused mentoring and tutoring, as well as legal support, such as driver’s license recovery. The organization directly connects participants with employers for access to family-sustaining waged careers. Close to 100 percent of its participants are considered underserved or traditionally unrepresented, with about 70 percent identifying as people of color and a majority as low-income.

 
APPENDIX: Additional Examples of States, Cities, Counties, and Community-Based Organizations Using American Rescue Plan Funding to Invest in Our Workforce
 
Building a Diverse and Skilled Infrastructure Workforce

  1. Syracuse, NY is expanding access to union job opportunities to prepare the local workforce for infrastructure and other jobs. The City is investing in the Syracuse Build Pathways to Apprenticeship Program to help residents gain access to pre-apprenticeship programs and credentials in high-demand sectors, including construction, electrical mechanics, HVAC, advanced/high-tech manufacturing, commercial driving, and software development. The program will help ensure the local workforce is ready for the I-81 viaduct project and other construction projects. The program is a collaboration of the Central and Northern New York Building Trades Council, CenterState CEO, and Syracuse Build, and teaches the nationally recognized North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) Multi-Craft Core Curriculum. The comprehensive apprenticeship readiness training program focuses on women, people of color and veterans, and helps them gain access to the Building Trades’ registered apprenticeship programs.
     
  2. Gallatin County, MT is committing $2 million to start or expand up to seven new workforce training and education programs in the high-demand trades of construction, welding and fabrication, manufacturing, and healthcare. The program, which is operated through Gallatin College Montana State University, has a goal of enrolling over 450 additional students by 2024. As an example, the construction trades program includes concrete, framing, electrical, earthwork, equipment maintenance, and HVAC-R, with the aim of meeting new project demands due to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The program will recruit locally affected residents and place students into local jobs once trained, partnering with local industry partners for development, partnerships, and placements. Further, the program will provide training that will allow students to continue working in apprenticeships or provide certificates and degrees in an accelerated approach. The program will also provide evening childcare to students while they attend classes.
     
  3. Vermont is building a broadband workforce. The state is leveraging a portion of their $150 million Vermont Connectivity Broadband Fund to create a training program in partnership with the Vermont Technical College and a broadband installer apprenticeship program. The program, which has already graduated three classes of early participants, is aimed at helping people with insufficient- or low-income jobs transition into higher-paying fiber-optic technician careers. The program pays students while they attend training and offers wraparound services like childcare. In addition, Vermont is making other critical investments in workforce, including through practical nurse training and providing scholarships and wraparound supports for residents economically affected by the pandemic.
     
  4. Maine is leveraging American Rescue Plan funds toward its goal of 30,000 clean energy jobs by 2030, including through an apprenticeship program. The state is investing $5.5 million in a Clean Energy Partnership to provide career training opportunities, including apprenticeships, in Maine’s growing clean energy sector. This is part of Maine’s goal of 30,000 clean energy jobs in the state by 2030. The funding will expand existing and develop new apprenticeship opportunities for in-demand clean energy fields, with a focus on increasing apprenticeships among under-represented communities, and convene state agencies, private-sector partners, Maine’s community colleges, and labor organizations to develop programs and tools to grow the clean energy workforce in the state. This investment is part of Maine’s overall comprehensive investment into workforce through American Rescue Plan-funded Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, which includes a general expansion of high-quality pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships in high-priority areas, including infrastructure (construction, broadband, logistics, trades) and manufacturing. This expansion is done in collaboration with Maine’s businesses and industry associations, unions, education and training providers, and community-based organizations.
     
  5. Wilmington, DE is expanding its high school construction training program. The city is leveraging American Rescue Plan funds to expand their Howard High School of Technology workforce development program, which includes funding high school and adult training in construction, plumbing, HVAC, and more. The city is connecting graduates from the Howard High School training program to jobs with local employers working on local revitalization projects, and soon Bipartisan Infrastructure Law-funded infrastructure projects – helping residents train for better jobs and helping employers access the talent they need to successfully complete these government projects. The city has also committed to using their local workforce for American Rescue Plan-funded neighborhood revitalization projects.
     
  6. Nassau County, NY is committing $10 million in workforce development initiatives, including through apprenticeship programs for various key skilled workers needed in the construction and building trades. The initiatives will also provide entrepreneurial skills training to support new women- and minority-owned businesses, and retraining and upskilling programs through Nassau’s local colleges and universities. These programs provide both job training and job placement, and will prioritize reaching residents in communities facing higher rates of unemployment. 
     
  7. The Mescalero Apache Tribe is investing in a workforce development program that will focus on vocational education by providing scholarships to both Tribal citizens and current employees to obtain certificates and further education in welding, carpentry, plumbing, and electrical – all jobs critical to carry out the Tribe’s COVID-19 recovery plan.

 
Strengthening Our Care and Public Health Workforce


A. HOME AND COMMUNITY BASED CARE

  1. Colorado is developing a standardized curriculum and training program for home care workers to establish quality standards and increase specialized qualifications tied to wage increases. The state also plans to establish a training fund that will target high demand jobs and support specialization and advancement opportunities, including in behavioral health. Separately, Colorado is spending funds for training and improving employment outcomes to support reskilling, upskilling, or next-skilling, including providing access to short-term training to obtain in-demand industry-recognized credentials. The funding will also support grants that promote innovation to improve employment outcomes for workers and outreach to underserved and disproportionately impacted populations.
     
  2. California will expand training opportunities for its HCBS workforce. One-time training opportunities will include learning pathways in the areas of general health and safety and caring for recipients with specific needs. Training and stipends will also be available in order to both improve care quality, address worker shortages, and prevent unnecessary institutionalization.
     
  3. West Virginia is increasing pay to home and community-based care workers, including through incentives such as retention bonuses, hiring bonuses, and increased benefit packages. West Virginia also plans to provide specific training for respite providers on how to assist family members with their children’s behavioral health needs and competency-based training opportunities for the state’s direct-care in-home workforce.
     
  4. Georgia will increase compensation for home and community-based care workers and expand training opportunities. The state plans to use American Rescue Plan funds to strengthen existing HCBS services by increasing rates, conducting a rate study for services provided in 1915(c) waivers, and engaging in workforce development and training.  Georgia will also expand HCBS training and workforce development programs, including collaborating with GA’s Technical College System to strengthen the Certified Nursing Assistant training program and expand provider capacity.

B. HEALTHCARE

  1. Chicago, IL is getting people back to work and building a healthcare career ladder. The city invested $56 million to hire local vaccine ambassadors/contact tracers/ supervisors and provide them with broader healthcare training. The ‘Earn and Learn’ program is building a community-based health workforce, building the skills of residents in communities most experiencing economic hardship in the healthcare jobs we need tomorrow, while supporting critical health needs in the community today.  More than 800 individuals have been hired through this program, with 90 percent of individuals residing in community areas of high or medium economic hardship.
     
  2. New York City, NY is building a corps of community health workers across the city, investing $50 million in expanding their Public Health Corps of Community Health Workers. These individuals will educate New Yorkers on health matters, connecting them to essential healthcare services and enabling them to meet their health goals. The Health Corps is supporting New Yorkers at the community level in clinics and organizations serving the neighborhoods most affected by COVID-19, helping fight against the health disparities exacerbated by COVID-19.
     
  3. San Diego County, CA has committed almost $30 million since the start of the pandemic, utilizing an estimated $8 million in American Rescue Plan funds to develop and deploy a new comprehensive Community Health Worker (CHW) model. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the County quickly mobilized CHWs to provide tailored outreach and education to residents who have been traditionally hard to reach due to factors such as linguistic and cultural differences, geographic isolation, or historic distrust of government. As trusted messengers, CHWs are connecting communities impacted by long-standing health disparities to needed services and systems of care. Over 250 CHWs have been deployed, who speak 26 languages, and serve all six regions of San Diego County. They focused on underserved and under-immunized communities, including Black and African American, Latino, refugee, and Asian and Pacific Islander communities.
     
  4. Rochester, NY is launching a Healthcare Workforce Resiliency Program. The city is launching a Healthcare Workforce Resiliency Program, which provides entry level healthcare workers with employment skills training and career pathway navigation to achieve licensure and/or certification. Academic assessment services and case management, including stipends and wraparound services, will be provided throughout the program.
     
  5. Kansas is retaining and recruiting healthcare workers. The state is investing $50mm in hospitals across the state to help retain dwindling workforce. Each of the 118 hospitals receiving the funding can individually decide to use the funding for either premium pay or for funding a custom program designed by the facility to improve the retention of nurses and other support personnel. 
     
  6. Connecticut is creating new public health career opportunities for both students and existing workers. These include: establishing new paid public health research assistant and internship opportunities for students pursuing a public health master’s degree; providing staff that can support workforce development and training needs within local health offices; and offering training opportunities and curriculum to expose high school and undergraduate students to public health practice careers.
     
  7. Family Scholar House in Kentucky plans to hire 200 part-time AmeriCorps members to provide healthcare support and services to seniors and disabled individuals in healthcare facilities across Kentucky. These AmeriCorps members will develop healthcare knowledge and complete credentialing coursework, enabling them to work in memory care, skilled nursing, assisted living, and other healthcare-related environments.
     
  8. DeKalb County plans to hire 16 full-time AmeriCorps members to manage and operate programs across the county. The AmeriCorps members will provide capacity, support, and increased awareness of COVID-19 testing and vaccinations to support equitable health outcomes and COVID-19 recovery in underserved communities.
     
  9. The Association of Asian/Pacific Community Health Organizations used American Rescue Plan funds to establish the Community Health Worker Workforce Collaborative. The Collaborative has since hired, trained, and deployed more than 250 Community Health Workers who speak over 36 Asian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander languages in 12 continental U.S. states and Hawai’i.
     
  10. Vermont Trauma, Resilience, and Equity Education (VT-TREE) Initiative at University of Vermont is developing and expanding Vermont’s behavioral health workforce. These efforts are focused on children, adolescents, and transitional age youth. VT-TREE is recruiting social workers and counselors from historically underrepresented communities to obtain a Certificate of Graduate Study in Trauma Informed and Resiliency Based Practices.
     
  11. Loma Linda University is using American Rescue Plan funding for trainees to develop integrated behavioral health and child clinical skills. The training program teaches pediatric residents and behavioral health students to collaboratively offer mental health access.

Hudson Headwaters Health Network in Queensbury, NY is a community health center that has used American Rescue Plan funds to strengthen its workforce. These efforts include recruitment and retention bonuses to maintain the existing healthcare workforce, and to recruit new providers in specialty areas like rheumatology and endocrinology. The health center has also used this funding for training in a variety of areas including customer service and de-escalation, wellness, and change management and leadership.
 
C. HISTORIC SUPPORT FOR CHILD CARE WORKERS

  1. Maine is providing $2,400 for child care workers through monthly bonuses over the course of twelve months. Maine is requiring child care programs benefiting from American Rescue Plan Child Care Stabilization grant funds to provide at least $200 per month bonuses to an estimated 6,000 staff who directly care for children. As a result of investments of American Rescue Plan funds and other resources, including in strengthening its child care workforce, Maine has seen an increase in its licensed child care capacity since the start of the pandemic. 
     
  2. Michigan is delivering bonuses to more than 38,000 full- and part-time child care staff. Michigan is using American Rescue Plan funds to pay two rounds of $1,000 bonuses to full time staff members and $500 bonuses to part time staff members as part of its Child Care Stabilization program.
     
  3. Delaware is supporting the construction of an Early Childhood Innovation Center and expanded supports for child care professionals. Utilizing American Rescue Plan funds, Delaware is investing in the construction and launch of an Early Childhood Innovation Center at Delaware State University—a historically black, public university—that will provide career advancement opportunities for the child care workforce and expand financial support to help professionals pursue careers in early childhood education.
     
  4. Deschutes County, Oregon is investing in efforts to increase the supply of licensed child care workers as part of an effort to make child care more readily available. Deschutes County is leveraging American Rescue Plan funds to support efforts to quickly build up the supply of child care by training 275 new workers in the field while investing in the development of new and expanded child care facilities—aiming to create an additional 500 child care spots regionally. The county is investing in a program to fast-track workers through training programs at the local community college and university, as well as efforts to make it easier for interns pursuing credentials to qualify as head teachers upon completion of their programs, and supporting the annual recruitment, advising, education and supervision of teacher candidates.
     
  5. The State of Alabama is awarding bonus payments to over 10,000 child care workers. With Child Care Stabilization Grant funds provided in the American Rescue Plan, Alabama is providing quarterly payments of $1,500 for full-time staff and $750 for part-time staff for up to two years.
     
  6. The State of Kansas is providing more than 22,000 child care workers with bonus payments of up to $2,500. Kansas is committing $53 million in American Rescue Plan funds to supporting one-time bonuses of between $750 and $2,500 to an estimated 22,650 early childhood care staff members across the state.

 
Expanding Access to the Workforce for Underserved Populations
 

  1. Wisconsin is funding a comprehensive worker development program, including for incarcerated individuals. The state is investing in a $125 million comprehensive workforce program to help address the state’s post-pandemic workforce needs through a competitive grant program. Awards include up to $5.7 million to deliver workforce-ready curriculum through the University of Wisconsin Prison Education Initiative (PEI) to teach employable skills to students while incarcerated and continue supporting them post-release through program completion and career placement. Further, the state is investing up to $5.6 million through Gateway Technical College to offer a 4-week pre-HSED (High School Equivalency Diploma) program, followed by a 16-week Work Ready (WR) HSED program. This program encourages a collaborative approach to addressing the biggest regional workforce challenges, training workers in high-demand fields such as healthcare and manufacturing, providing innovative credentialing options, expanding childcare, and building the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Additionally, Wisconsin is investing in the Worker Connection Program, which helps individuals overcome systemic barriers, navigate the workforce system, and match them with employers that ultimately leads to careers with growth potential, as well as the Worker Advancement Initiative, which uses the state’s workforce development boards to help unemployed individuals find subsidized opportunities through collaborations with local employers.
     
  2. Detroit, Michigan is establishing a Skills For Life program: The city is committing up to $75 million toward Skills for Life, which is a training, career readiness and education program potentially targeting thousands of unemployed or underemployed Detroit residents, specifically those experiencing housing insecurity, those lacking high school diplomas and/or post-secondary credentials, returning citizens, and other populations that face barriers to employment. Skills for Life combines education and training with wrap-around support services (e.g., childcare subsidies, transportation, construction tools) to help Detroiters rebound from the COVID-19 economic shutdown. The education side of the program assists participants with measurable skills gains, high school completion/GED attainment, an industry-recognized credential, an increase in functional reading or math competency levels, and other skill- and career-building activities. The work side of the program provides direct employment, job training, and other skill- and career-building activities, assists in removing barriers to employment and advancement, and provides disconnected workers with labor market on-ramps so they may earn income while building critical skills to improve prospects for long-term employment and job retention.
     
  3. King County, WA is connecting individuals experiencing homelessness with jobs and housing support. The County is investing over $30 million in American Rescue Plan funds to establish a program to promote economic recovery by connecting shelter residents with County or County-supported jobs for 6-12 months, as well as providing training for private sector jobs through County partnerships. The County also connects these participants with rapid rehousing providers and career services in an effort to navigate participants toward housing and employment stability. The program is intended to support several hundreds of individuals experiencing homelessness with these services, and will undergo a quantitative program evaluation.
     
  4. Bridgeport, CT is investing in job training and other wraparound support for returning citizens. The city is providing over $4 million for a Second Chance Re-Entry Employment Program, working with returning citizens and formerly incarcerated individuals to provide a continuum of care. This includes providing participants with workforce development, job training and placement, housing support, medical health services, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, education services, and more. As an example, the city has partnered with Women Against Mass Incarceration, which focuses re-entry services on women who are formerly incarcerated, an often underserved community in re-entry. The city is also working with the University of Bridgeport to provide free tuition for formerly incarcerated individuals as part of an advanced manufacturing certificate program.
     
  5. Seattle, WA is connecting youth with opportunities in the Port of Seattle. The city is providing youth and young adults (ages 16-24), particularly those who are Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) with employment or paid internship opportunities at the Port. To reach this population, the Port subcontracts with community-based organizations embedded in and serving Seattle’s BIPOC community. In total, Seattle is investing over $6 million in workforce development initiatives to support child care workers, connect residents in economically distressed communities with construction work, and provide career navigation services and wraparound support.
     
  6. Baltimore, MD is expanding many workforce efforts, including critical transitional jobs program and a re-entry program. The city is investing $30 million in workforce programs, including $5.2 million to expand Hire Up, a transitional jobs program that will create at least 220 six-month positions for low-income residents paying $15 per hour. The city is also investing $8.4 million in Youth Works, allowing the program to offer jobs to young people ages 14 to 21 year-round, $8.9 million in Train Up, offering job training in the fields of biotechnology, IT, health care and business services, and $2.9 million to provide various supports (such as legal services, adult education, and financial counseling) to residents participating in Hire Up or Train Up as well as supplement wages at small, minority- and women-owned businesses that hire residents. The city is committing over $17 million through the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement toward job training assistance for violence prevention, including over $12 million for re-entry services. This impact will be tracked by the number of individuals participating in the program and the number of individuals transitioned into employment upon release.
     
  7. Portland, OR is connecting vulnerable populations to work. The city is committing $7 million of American Rescue Plan funds toward providing paid work opportunities and rapid re-careering services for Portlanders who are houseless, at risk of eviction, affected by increased violence or crime, or otherwise negatively impacted by the pandemic. Services will address the disproportionate economic impacts COVID-19 has had on people of color and other vulnerable populations currently disconnected from the workforce. The rapid re-careering training program, which is 12 weeks or less in duration, focuses on providing industry-specific trainings with employer partners who hire program graduates, in areas such as construction, waste and recycling hauling, entry-level clerical positions within hospitals and clinics, entry level IT careers, and banking customer service. For example, a new program to train residents as drivers for recycling and waste hauling companies serving the city has had success training and placing a high proportion of people with prior justice system involvement. The majority of these trainees are placed in jobs earning annual incomes of $60,000 or more. The city also operates a paid work and stipend program with local partners. Overall, the city has partnered with 11 service providing partners and 31 employer partners for these programs.
     
  8. Buffalo, NY is expanding the city’s youth employment effort, including broadening the Mayor’s youth employment program to accept more students, be available year round and compensate students for summer school in addition to summer employment opportunities. The city will also invest $3.5 million to establish a skills-based job readiness program that matches low- to moderate- income residents with specific employers and provides residents with the training to secure a career path. In combination with the subsidized employment programs and the scholarship program for the Northland Workforce Training Center, the City aspires to transform the talent development pipeline for employers while also giving residents real opportunities to secure long-term employment which pays a livable wage.
     
  9. Salt Lake County, UT is investing $10 million in American Rescue Plan funds toward a new job training program called Workforce Inclusion & Successful Employment (WISE) to help thousands of low-income and diverse residents access training that launches them into high-paying jobs. The program focuses on outreach and connecting students with wraparound services such as mental health support, mentorship, childcare, and other needs that are often key to success. The county expects to show that the increased upfront expenses pay for themselves through long-term increases in income and reduced need for benefits.
     
  10. Cook County, IL is accelerating workforce development for youth, individuals who were formerly incarcerated, and people with disabilities. The County is investing $15 million to launch and expand programs to address the urgent hiring needs of employers, scale programs to connect young adults to sector-focused training and internships, provide employment programming to people who have been incarcerated and increase outreach and service navigation for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment. This includes the Opportunity Works program, which provides an 8-week, year-round paid internship program in high-demand, high-growth industries for out-of-work or out-of-school Cook County young adults, as well as Opportunity Summer, which is a 7-week paid summer internship program that provides a foundation for future full-time employment. The Opportunity Summer program was able to double its capacity due to American Rescue Plan funds. Further, the American Rescue Plan will allow for the Road Home program, which currently serves residents while they are incarcerated, to expand and serve those who have returned to the community but continue to face barriers to employment. In addition, the American Rescue Plan funds will also fund work to assist residents with a disability who face workforce development barriers. In concert with the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development, the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership will administer this suite of programs and estimates that they will impact 500 businesses and 13,960 residents of Cook County.
     
  11. Gloucester, NJ is developing a transition to work program for students with disabilities. Project SEARCH is a transition to work program that takes place entirely within a host business, enabling participants to experience total workplace immersion and learn relevant, transferrable, and marketable skills geared towards their individualized employment goals. The project provides role models and mentors for students with disabilities while also creating more awareness in the county for workforce opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
     
  12. Maine is developing a peer workforce navigator pilot program to increase access to employment opportunities for communities most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic suddenly and dramatically impacted the ability of many Mainers to support themselves and their families, particularly people in low- and moderate-income jobs, workers of color, workers with dependent care responsibilities, and workers with lower levels of educational attainment. Through a collaborative partnership with five organizations, including ethnic-based community organizations, worker groups, labor unions, and other community partners, the Peer Workforce Navigator program will assist individuals in communities hit hardest by the pandemic with addressing basic needs and finding employment. In this two-year pilot, peers employed by local community organizations will help a projected 3,000 individuals connect with employment, job training programs, and basic needs supports necessary to persist in work or education, such as child care, transportation, unemployment insurance, and other concrete resources.
     
  13. Los Angeles County, CA has committed $5 million to increase capacity for the Youth@Work program, which offers youth in priority populations, including but not limited to foster, probation, and LGBTQI+ youth, paid enrichment training and work experience in public, non-profit, and private organizations in high-growth industry sectors. The county is also dedicating over $2 million for job placement programming for individuals returning from serving sentences in jail or prison, with a focus on women and the LGBTQI+ community.
     
  14. Boston, MA is providing wraparound supports, including employment opportunities, to high-risk individuals in communities with highest rates of gun and gang violence in the city. The Office of Public Safety is directing funding to bolster services and programs for high risk, system-involved individuals that are underserved in communities with highest rates of gun and gang violence in the city. Specifically, the city is awarding grants to Boston nonprofits to increase or scale up programs that improve economic, education and health outcomes for participants by providing training, case management, mental health services, and employment opportunities, among other support services. Further, the city is also supporting SOAR Boston, the city’s gang intervention program, through workforce development and training.
     
  15. Iowa is committing $10 million for the Homes for Iowa program, where inmates at the Newton Correction Facility receive building trades skills training while constructing modular homes. The program is a public-private partnership that aims to reduce recidivism while helping solve Iowa’s housing shortage. The inmates participate in skills training, including an apprenticeship curriculum. They receive portable training certificates and are connected to Iowa employers upon release. The Homes for Iowa organization works closely with the state to develop wraparound services for participants of the program.

Justice Department Sues Idaho to Protect Reproductive Rights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Biden Reacts to June Inflation Report: Inflation Still Unacceptably High But Data Out of Date, Does Not Reflect Drop in Gas Prices

High energy prices account for half of the increase in June’s CPI report, but prices have been falling for almost a month © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

President Joe Biden reacted to the June inflation report saying that while inflation is still unacceptably high, the report is out-of-date, failing to take into account that gas prices – which accounts for a significant amount of the inflation rate – have gone down for nearly 30 days, reducing the price at the pump by 40 cents since mid-June. Still, he said, “inflation is our most pressing economic challenge,” just as it is around the world. Here is his statement the June CPI Inflation report as provided by the White House:

While today’s headline inflation reading is unacceptably high, it is also out-of-date. Energy alone comprised nearly half of the monthly increase in inflation. Today’s data does not reflect the full impact of nearly 30 days of decreases in gas prices, that have reduced the price at the pump by about 40 cents since mid-June. Those savings are providing important breathing room for American families. And, other commodities like wheat have fallen sharply since this report.
 
Importantly, today’s report shows that what economists call annual “core inflation” came down for the third month in a row, and is the first month since last year where the annual “core” inflation rate is below six percent.  
 Inflation is our most pressing economic challenge. It is hitting almost every country in the world. It is little comfort to Americans to know that inflation is also high in Europe, and higher in many countries there than in America.  But it is a reminder that all major economies are battling this COVID-related challenge, made worse by Putin’s unconscionable aggression.
 
Tackling inflation is my top priority – we need to make more progress, more quickly, in getting price increases under control. Here is what I will do:
 
First, I will continue to do everything I can to bring down the price of gas. I will continue my historic release of oil from our strategic petroleum reserve. I will continue working with our European allies to put a price cap on Russian oil – sapping Putin of oil revenue. And, I will continue to work with the U.S. oil and gas industry to increase production responsibly — already, the U.S. is producing 12.1 million barrels of oil per day and is on track to break records.
 
But I will also continue to insist – as I have with urgency recently – that reductions in the price of oil must produce lower gas prices for consumers at the pump.  The price of oil is down about 20% since mid-June, but the price of gas has so far only fallen half as much. Oil and gas companies must not use this moment as an excuse for profiting by not passing along savings at the pump.  
 
Second, I will urge Congress to act, this month, on legislation to reduce the cost of everyday expenses that are hitting American families, from prescription drugs to utility bills to health insurance premiums and to make more in America.
 
Third, I will continue to oppose any efforts by Republicans – as they have proposed during this campaign year — to make things worse by raising taxes on working people, or putting Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block every five years.
 
Finally, I will continue to give the Federal Reserve the room it needs to help it combat inflation.

Biden at Event Commemorating Passage of Safer Communities Act: ‘More Has To Be Done’

President Joe Biden at a White House ceremony marking the passage of the Safer Communities Act, the first significant gun safety legislation in almost 30 years: “This legislation is real progress, but more has to be done.  The provision of this new legislation is going to save lives.  And it’s proof that in today’s politics we can come together on a bipartisan basis to get important things done, even on an issue as tough as guns. And one more thing: It’s a call to action to all of us to do more.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via msnbc.

President Joe Biden signed the landmark Safer Communities Act – the first significant gun safety legislation in nearly 30 years – almost immediately after Congress  passed the legislation, in the few minutes before departing for the G7 summit in Europe. On July 11, in an event at the White House, he commemorated the passage, acknowledging the long struggle by activists and key figures in Congress, but said “more has to be done.”

This legislation is real progress, but more has to be done.  The provision of this new legislation is going to save lives.  And it’s proof that in today’s politics we can come together on a bipartisan basis to get important things done, even on an issue as tough as guns. And one more thing: It’s a call to action to all of us to do more.”

Here is a transcript of his remarks:

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everyone.  Doc, thank you.  Your heroism in treating the wounded children in Uvalde, many of whom you’ve known their whole lives — their whole lives — and treated them with normal child problems as a pediatrician, it’s something we’ll never forget.

And, Garnell, it’s good to see you again.  I know how tough it is.  A lot of people in here have been victims of gun violence — lost sons, daughters, husbands, wives.  They understand your pain.  And every time you stand up to talk about it, even for a good cause, it brings it all back like it happened yesterday.  But thank you for the courage to do it.

Jill and I will never forget the time we spent with you and your families. 

And I want to thank — thank the Vice President Harris and the Second Gentleman; and members of the Cabinet, eight of whom are here today; as well as mayors and elected officials from across the country.

I want to particularly thank the Governor of Illinois and the Mayor of Highland Park for being here.  We’ve had — (applause) — no, I mean it sincerely.  We had a number of conversations immediately after the attack in Highland Park.  And I’ve been impressed with the way they’ve handled things.  It’s been extraordinary.  And as the three of us have discussed, we have more to do.

I also want to thank the bipartisan group of senators who worked so hard to get this done, especially Senators Murphy — (applause); Sinema — (applause); Cornyn and Tillis.  (Applause.)  I hope it doesn’t get you in trouble mentioning your name.  Thank you for the courage. 

As well as all of the members of Congress who have worked on these issues for a long time, 80 of whom are with us today.  (Applause.) 

And I’m sorry Senators Schumer and Blumenthal can’t be here today, but they’re working from home, overcoming mild cases of COVID.

I know how hard it is to get things done because I know how hard it was to write the first gun legislation — at least the first from my career — that was passed nearly 30 years ago.  That’s how long ago it was.

And as I look out in this crowd, I see so many advocates and families, many of whom have become friends, whose lives have been shattered by gun violence and who have made it their purpose to save other lives.

I’ve spent so much time with so many of you over the years that we’ve actually become personal friends.  And I can’t thank you enough for your willingness to continue to fight for other families.

Nothing can bring back your loved ones, but you did it to make sure that other families don’t have to experience the same loss and pain that you’ve experienced.

And you have felt and you feel the price of inaction, that this has taken too long, with too much of a trail of bloodshed and carnage.  And I know public policy can seem remote, technical, and distant from our everyday lives.  But because of your work, your advocacy, your courage, lives will be saved today and tomorrow because of this.  (Applause.)

What we are doing here today is real, it’s vivid, it’s relevant.  The action we take today is a step designed to make our nation the kind of nation we should be.  It’s about the most fundamental of things — the lives of our children, of our loved ones. 

We face, literally, a moral choice in this country — a moral choice with profound, real-world implications.

Will we take wise steps to fulfill the responsibility to protect the innocent and while keeping faith with constitutional rights?

Will we match thoughts and prayers with action? 

I say yes.  (Applause.)  And that’s what we’re doing here today.  (Applause.)

Today is many things.  It’s proof that despite the naysayers, we can make meaningful progress on dealing with gun violence.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We have to do more than that!

THE PRESIDENT:  Because make no mistake — sit down.  You’ll hear what I have to say if you think —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We have to do more than that! 

THE PRESIDENT:  You —

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We have to open an office in the White House.  (Inaudible.)  I’ve been trying to tell you this for years.  (Inaudible.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  President Biden!  Yeah!  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  We have one.  Let me finish my comments.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Let him talk.  Let him talk.  No one — okay?

Because make no mistake about it: This legislation is real progress, but more has to be done.  The provision of this new legislation is going to save lives.  And it’s proof that in today’s politics we can come together on a bipartisan basis to get important things done, even on an issue as tough as guns.

And one more thing: It’s a call to action to all of us to do more — (applause) — to take away from the legislation, it is not — that’s not what we can do.  It’s to take the — the take-away from this is that now — now we’re opening to get much more done. 

Senator Murphy has said: When you look at the biggest social issues America has faced throughout our history, quote, “Success begets success.”  And that’s when you, quote, “finally move that mountain.”  You can — you can ignite a movement when you do that for more progress to follow. 

We have finally moved that mountain — a mountain of opposition, obstruction, and indifference that has stood in the way and stopped every effort at gun safety for 30 years in this nation.  (Applause.)

And now is the time to galvanize this movement, because that’s our duty to the people of this nation. 

That’s what we owe those families in Buffalo, where a grocery store became a killing field.

It’s what we owe those families in Uvalde, where an elementary school became a killing field. 

That’s what we owe those families in Highland Park, where, on July 4th, a parade became a killing field.

And that’s what we owe all those families represented here today and all over this country the past many years, across our schools, places of worship, workplaces, stores, music festivals, nightclubs, and so many other everyday places that have turned into killing fields. 

     And that’s what we owe the families all across this nation where, every day, tragic killings that don’t make the headlines are more than passing mention — a little more than passing mention in the local news.  (Applause.) 

Neighborhoods and streets have been turned into killing fields as well.

Today’s legislation is an important start.  And here are the key things that it does: It provides $750 million in crisis intervention and red-flag laws so the parent, a teacher, a counselor can flag for the court that a child, a student, a patient is exhibiting violent tendencies, threatening classmates, or experiencing suicidal thoughts that makes them a danger to themselves and to others.

Fort Hood, Texas, 2009: 13 dead, 30 more injured.

Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, 1918 [2018]: 17 dead, 17 injured.

In both places, countless others suffering with invisible wounds.

In both places, red-flag laws could have stopped both those shooters.  (Applause.)

You know, this new law requiring — requires young people under 21 to [under]go enhanced background checks before purchasing a gun. 

How many more mass shootings do we have to see where a shooter is 17, 18 years old and able to get his hands on a weapon and go on a killing spree?

You know, it closes the so-called “boyfriend loophole.”  If you’re convicted of assault against your girlfriend or boy- — you can’t buy a gun.  You can’t do it.  (Applause.)

According to a recent study, in over 50 percent of mass shootings, the shooter shot a family member or a partner.

So if we keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, we can save the lives of their partners, and we can also stop more mass shootings.

One, this law includes the first-ever federal law that makes gun trafficking and straw purchases explicit federal crimes.  (Applause.)

It clarifies who needs to register as a federally licensed gun dealer and run background checks before selling a single weapon.  (Applause.)

It invests in anti-violence programs that work directly
with the communities most at risk for gun crimes.  (Applause.) 

And this law also provides funding vital for funding to address the youth mental health crisis in this country — (applause) — including the trauma experienced by the survivors of gun violence.

It will not save every life from the epidemic of gun violence, but if this law had been in place years ago, even this last year, lives would have been saved.

It matters.  It matters.  But it’s not enough, and we all know that.

In preparation for today’s signing, I asked to send me their story — people to send me their stories about their experience with gun violence.  I received over 2,500 responses in 24 hours.  I didn’t get to read them all, but I read some.

A 17-year-old wrote me saying, quote, “A school shooting sophomore year shattered every sense of normalcy I’ve ever felt.  Almost three years later, I still have nightmares.”

A 24-year-old wrote about growing up in what was a, quote, “seemingly endless era of gun violence.”

A 40-year-old wrote me about two friends shot and killed by abusive partners and former partners.

Someone else wrote me about a 6-year-old child who was sitting near his father’s coffin, was asking, quote, “Why is Daddy in that scary box?  Wake up, Daddy.  Wake up Daddy.”  His father had been gunned down. 

I read these stories and so many others.  So many others.  And, you know, I see the statistics.  Over 40,000 people died from gunshot wounds last year in the United States, 25,000 by suicide.

I think: Can this really be the United States of America?  Why has it come to this?  We all know a lot of the reasons: gun lobby, gun manufacturers, special interest money, the rise of hyper-partisan tribal politics in the country where we don’t debate the issues on the merits and we just rather turn on each other from our corners and attack the other side.

Regardless, we’re living in a country awash in weapons of war — weapons that weren’t designed to hunt are not being used — the weapons designed that they’re purchasing are designed as weapons of war to take out an enemy.

What is the rationale for these weapons outside war zones?  Some people claim it’s for sport or to hunt.  But let’s look at the facts: The most common rounds fired from an AR-15 move almost twice as fast as that from a handgun.  Coupled with smaller, lighter bullets, these weapons maximize the damage done coupled with those bullets, and human flesh and bone is just torn apart.

And as difficult as it is to say, that’s why so many people and some in this audience — and I apologize for having to say it — need to provide DNA samples to identify the remains of their children.  Think of that. 

It’s why trauma surgeons who train for years for these moments know it’s unlikely that someone shot with a high-powered assault weapon will make it long enough for the ambulance to get them to the hospital.

It’s why these scenes of destruction are resembling nothing like a weekend hunting trip for deer or elk.

And yet, we continue to let these weapons be sold to people with no training or expertise.

Case in point: America has the finest fighting force in the world.  We provide our service members with the most lethal weapons on Earth to protect America.

We also require them to receive significant training before they’re allowed to use these weapons.

We require extensive background checks on them and mental health assessments on them.  (Applause.)

We require that they learn how to lock up and store these weapons responsibly.  (Applause.)

We require our military to do all that.  These are commonsense requirements.  But we don’t require the same commonsense measures for a stranger walking into a gun store to purchase an AR-15 or some weapon like that.

     It makes no sense.  Assault weapons need to be banned.  They were banned.  (Applause.)  I led the fight in 1994.  And then, under pressure from the NRA and the gun manufacturers and others, that ban was lifted in 2004.

In that 10 years it was law, mass shootings went down.  When the law expired in 2004 and those weapons were allowed to be sold again, mass shootings tripled. 

They’re the facts.  I’m determined to ban these weapons again and high-capacity magazines — (applause) — that hold 30 rounds and that let mass shooters fire hundreds of bullets in a matter of minutes.  I’m not going to stop until we do it.

     Here’s another thing we should do: We should have safe storage laws, requiring personal liability for not locking up your gun.  (Applause.)

The shooter in Sandy Hook came from a home full of guns and assault weapons that were too easy to access — weapons he used to kill his mother and then murder 26 people, including 20 innocent first graders.

If you own a weapon, you have a responsibility to secure it and keep it under lock and key.  (Applause.)

Responsible gun owners agree: No one else should have access to it, so lock it up, have trigger locks.  And if you don’t and something bad happens, you should be held responsible.  (Applause.)

I have four shotguns; two are mine and two are my deceased son’s.  They’re locked up, lock and key.  Every responsible gun owner that I know does that.

We should expand background checks to better keep guns out of the hands of felons, fugitives, and those under domestic violence restraining orders.  (Applause.) 

Expanded background checks are something that the vast majority of Americans, including the majority of gun owners, agree on.

My fellow Americans, none of what I’m talking about infringes on anyone’s Second Amendment rights.

I’ve said it many times: I support the Second Amendment.

But when guns are the number one killer of children in the United States of America — let me say that again — guns are the number one killer of children in the United States.  More than car accidents.  More than cancer.  And over the last two decades, more high-school [school-age] children have died from gun shots than on-duty police officers and active-duty military combined.  Think of that.  Then we can’t just stand by.  We can’t let it happen any longer.

With rights come responsibilities.

Yes, there’s a right to bear arms, but we also have the right to live freely — (applause) — without fear for our lives in a grocery store, in a classroom, on a playground, at a house of worship, in a store, at a workplace, a nightclub, a festival, in our neighborhoods and our streets.  (Applause.)

The right to bear arms is not an absolute right that dominates all others.

The perennial price for living in a community with others is being neighbors, of being fellow citizens, is that we obey the laws and customs that ensure what that Fra- — what the Framers called “domestic tranquility.”

That’s what civilization is.  That’s what we have been at our best.  That’s what America must always be: a place where we preserve the rights but fulfill our responsibilities.

I know this: There can be no greater responsibility than to do all we can to ensure the safety of our families, our children, and our fellow Americans.

When I spoke to the nation after Uvalde, I shared how a grandmother who had lost her granddaughter gave me and Jill a handwritten letter.  We spent four hours, almost five hours with her.

And I read it.  It reads, quote, “Erase the invisible line that is dividing our nation to come up with a solution and fix what is broken and to make the changes that are necessary to prevent this from happening again.”  End of quote.

That’s why we’re here.  That’s why we’re here.

Today, I want to thank those in Congress, both Democrat and Republicans, who erased that invisible line dividing our nation and moved us forward on gun safety.

It’s an important step.  (Applause.)  And now we must look forward.  We have so much more work to do.

And I might add, there is $75 million in there for mental health reasons — a whole range of other things I’m not going to take time to go into today, but it’s important.  (Applause.)

May God bless all of us with the strength to finish the work left undone and — on behalf of the lives we’ve lost and the lives we can save. 

May God bless you all.  And may God protect our troops.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

FACT SHEET:
President Biden Signs Executive Order Protecting Access to Reproductive Health Care Services

New Yorkers protest to protect womens reproductive rights. President Biden has made clear that the only way to secure a woman’s right to choose is for Congress to restore the protections of Roe as federal law. Until then, he has committed to doing everything in his power to defend reproductive rights and protect access to safe and legal abortion. Today, President Biden signed an Executive Order Protecting Access to Reproductive Health Care Services, but stressed the importance and power of voters to secure their rights through the legislators they elect. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Immediately following the extremist majority Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade, President Joe Biden declared he would use whatever levers were available to him as President, but much was up to Congress and, because of the decision, state legislatures. “My administration will use all of its appropriate lawful powers,” President Biden said. “But Congress must act.  And with your vote, you can act.  You can have the final word.  This is not over.” Today, President Biden is signing an Executive Order protecting access to reproductive health care services. Here is a fact sheet from the White House:

Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court issued a decision that overturned Roe v. Wade and eliminated a woman’s Constitutional right to choose.  This decision expressly took away a right from the American people that it had recognized for nearly 50 years – a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health care decisions, free from government interference.  Fundamental rights – to privacy, autonomy, freedom, and equality – have been denied to millions of women across the country, with grave implications for their health, lives, and wellbeing. This ruling will disproportionately affect women of color, low-income women, and rural women.
 
President Biden has made clear that the only way to secure a woman’s right to choose is for Congress to restore the protections of Roe as federal law. Until then, he has committed to doing everything in his power to defend reproductive rights and protect access to safe and legal abortion.
 
Today, President Biden signed an Executive Order Protecting Access to Reproductive Health Care Services. This Executive Order builds on the actions his Administration has already taken to defend reproductive rights by:

  • Safeguarding access to reproductive health care services, including abortion and contraception;
     
  • Protecting the privacy of patients and their access to accurate information;
     
  • Promoting the safety and security of patients, providers, and clinics; and
     
  • Coordinating the implementation of Federal efforts to protect reproductive rights and access to health care.

 
SAFEGUARDING ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE SERVICES
 
The President has directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to take the following actions and submit a report to him within 30 days on efforts to:

  • Protect Access to Medication Abortion.  HHS will take additional action to protect and expand access to abortion care, including access to medication that the FDA approved as safe and effective over twenty years ago. These actions will build on the steps the Secretary of HHS has already taken at the President’s direction following the decision to ensure that medication abortion is as widely accessible as possible.
     
  • Ensure Emergency Medical Care.  HHS will take steps to ensure all patients – including pregnant women and those experiencing pregnancy loss – have access to the full rights and protections for emergency medical care afforded under the law, including by considering updates to current guidance that clarify physician responsibilities and protections under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). 
     
  • Protect Access to Contraception.  HHS will take additional actions to expand access to the full range of reproductive health services, including family planning services and providers, such as access to emergency contraception and long-acting reversible contraception like intrauterine devices (IUDs).  In all fifty states and the District of Columbia, the Affordable Care Act guarantees coverage of women’s preventive services, including free birth control and contraceptive counseling, for individuals and covered dependents. The Secretary of HHS has already directed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to take every legally available step to ensure patient access to family planning care and to protect family planning providers.
     
  • Launch Outreach and Public Education Efforts.  HHS will increase outreach and public education efforts regarding access to reproductive health care services—including abortion—to ensure that Americans have access to reliable and accurate information about their rights and access to care.
     
  • Convene Volunteer Lawyers.  The Attorney General and the White House Counsel will convene private pro bono attorneys, bar associations, and public interest organizations to encourage robust legal representation of patients, providers, and third parties lawfully seeking or offering reproductive health care services throughout the country.  Such representation could include protecting the right to travel out of state to seek medical care. Immediately following the Supreme Court decision, the President announced his Administration’s position that Americans must remain free to travel safely to another state to seek the care they need, as the Attorney General made clear in his statement, and his commitment to fighting any attack by a state or local official who attempts to interfere with women exercising this right.

PROTECTING PATIENT PRIVACY AND ACCESS TO ACCURATE INFORMATION
 
The President’s Executive Order takes additional steps to protect patient privacy, including by addressing the transfer and sales of sensitive health-related data, combatting digital surveillance related to reproductive health care services, and protecting people seeking reproductive health care from inaccurate information, fraudulent schemes, or deceptive practices.  The Executive Order will:

  • Protect Consumers from Privacy Violations and Fraudulent and Deceptive Practices.  The President has asked the Chair of the Federal Trade Commission to consider taking steps to protect consumers’ privacy when seeking information about and provision of reproductive health care services.  The President also has directed the Secretary of HHS, in consultation with the Attorney General and Chair of the FTC, to consider options to address deceptive or fraudulent practices, including online, and protect access to accurate information.
  • Protect Sensitive Health Information.  HHS will consider additional actions, including under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), to better protect sensitive information related to reproductive health care. The Secretary of HHS has already directed the HHS Office for Civil Rights to take initial steps to ensure patient privacy and nondiscrimination of patients, as well as providers who provide reproductive health care, including by:
     
    • Issuing new guidance to address how the HIPAA Privacy Rule protects the privacy of individuals’ protected health information, including information related to reproductive health care. The guidance helps ensure doctors and other medical providers and health plans know that, with limited exceptions, they are not required – and in many cases, are not permitted – to disclose patients’ private information, including to law enforcement. 
       
    • Issuing a how-to guide for consumers on steps they can take to make sure they’re protecting their personal data on mobile apps.

PROMOTING SAFETY AND SECURITY
 
The Executive Order addresses the heightened risk related to seeking and providing reproductive health care and will:

  • Protect Patients, Providers, and Clinics.  The Administration will ensure the safety of patients, providers, and third parties, and to protect the security of other entities that are providing, dispensing, or delivering reproductive health care services.  This charge includes efforts to protect mobile clinics, which have been deployed to borders to offer care for out-of-state patients. 

COORDINATING IMPLEMENTATION EFFORTS
 
To ensure the Federal government takes a swift and coordinated approach to addressing reproductive rights and protecting access to reproductive health care, the President’s Executive Order will:

  • Establish an Interagency Task Force.  The President has directed HHS and the White House Gender Policy Council to establish and lead an interagency Task Force on Reproductive Health Care Access, responsible for coordinating Federal interagency policymaking and program development.  This Task Force will also include the Attorney General.  In addition, the Attorney General will provide technical assistance to states affording legal protection to out-of-state patients as well as providers who offer legal reproductive health care. 

EXECUTIVE ORDER BUILDS ON ADMINISTRATION’S ACTIONS TO PROTECT ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE
 
In addition to the actions announced today, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken the following steps to protect access to reproductive health care and defend reproductive rights in the wake of the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs.  On the day of the decision, the President strongly denounced the decision as an affront to women’s fundamental rights and the right to choose In addition to action mentioned above, the Biden-Harris Administration is:

  • Supporting Providers and Clinics.  The Secretary of HHS directed all HHS agencies to ensure that all HHS-funded providers and clinics have appropriate training and resources to handle family planning needs, and announced nearly $3 million in new funding to bolster training and technical assistance for the nationwide network of Title X family planning providers.
     
  • Promoting Access to Accurate Information.  On the day of the Supreme Court’s decision, HHS launched ReproductiveRights.gov, which provides timely and accurate information about reproductive rights and access to reproductive health care.  This includes know-your-rights information for patients and providers and promoting awareness of and access to family planning services, as well as guidance for how to file a patient privacy or nondiscrimination complaint with its Office for Civil Rights. 
     
  • Providing Leave for Federal Workers Traveling for Medical Care.  The Office of Personnel Management issued guidance affirming that paid sick leave can be taken to cover absences for travel to obtain reproductive health care.
     
  • Protecting Access to Reproductive Health Care Services for Service members, DoD Civilians, and Military Families.  The Department of Defense (DoD) issued a memo to the Force, DoD civilians and military families on ensuring access to essential women’s health care services. The memo reiterates that the Department will continue to provide seamless access to reproductive healthcare for military and civilian patients, as permitted by federal law.  Military providers will continue to fulfill their duty to care for Service members, military dependents and civilian personnel who require pregnancy termination in the cases of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the mother.

For up-to-date information on your right to access reproductive health care, visit www.reproductiverights.gov