Tag Archives: Biden Administration

Biden Administration Makes Historic Investment to Strengthen Port, Waterway Supply Chains, Bolster Climate Resilience

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to Invest $14 Billion from President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Other Appropriations to Strengthen Port and Waterway Supply Chains and Bolster Climate Resilience
 

The Biden Administration issued a fact sheet detailing its historic $14 billion investment in the nation’s ports and waterways – funding in fiscal 2022 for over 500 projects across 52 states and territories that will strengthen the nation’s supply chain, provide significant new economic opportunities nationwide, and bolster our defenses against climate change © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Biden Administration issued a fact sheet detailing its historic $14 billion investment in the nation’s ports and waterways – funding in fiscal 2022 for over 500 projects across 52 states and territories that will strengthen the nation’s supply chain, provide significant new economic opportunities nationwide, and bolster our defenses against climate change, and address a source of inflation while creating jobs:

Modern and resilient infrastructure strengthens our supply chains, supports U.S. competitiveness and economic growth, and protects communities from the accelerating impacts of climate change. Yet, decades of under-investment and neglect have left our nation’s infrastructure – from ports and waterways to levees and dams to the aquatic ecosystems that supply our water and energy – vulnerable to climate change and struggling to keep up with our strong economic recovery from the pandemic.
 
Recognizing the vital role of modern, resilient infrastructure in reducing costs for American families and businesses, President Biden secured unprecedented investments through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to increase climate resilience and make long overdue improvements at ports and waterways, as well as additional funds through supplemental appropriations to help impacted states and Tribes recover and become more resilient to natural disasters. Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is announcing that it will invest more than $14 billion of this funding in fiscal year 2022 for over 500 projects across 52 states and territories. These key projects will strengthen the nation’s supply chain, provide significant new economic opportunities nationwide, and bolster our defenses against climate change, including through:

  • The largest single investment ever to restore and revitalize the Everglades in Florida.
  • Expanding capacity at some of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing ports, including the Port of Long Beach.
  • Commitments to help underserved coastal communities build back more resilient from extreme weather.

A full list of projects receiving funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and other appropriations can be found HERE.
 
The investments announced today further advance the President’s Justice40 commitment to ensure that 40 percent of the overall benefits of Federal climate and clean energy investments flow to historically marginalized, underserved, and overburdened communities to build their economies. The investments also underscore how President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is delivering results to communities across America, advancing racial equity, combatting climate change, and creating job opportunities for American workers.
 
In just over two months since the President signed the historic legislation into law, the Administration has already mobilized resources to connect Tribal Nations to reliable, high-speed internet, replace, repair, and rehabilitate bridges across the country, upgrade critical infrastructure at 3,075 airports, update America’s aging water infrastructure, sewerage systems, pipes and service lines, stop toxic waste from harming communities, and more. With these additional investments, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will initiate projects in fiscal year 2022 that:

STRENGTHEN DOMESTIC SUPPLY CHAINS

American ports and waterways are a cornerstone of the U.S. economy. According to the 2021 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure Report issued by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), in 2018, America’s ports supported more than 30 million jobs and approximately 26% of our nation’s GDP. However, decades of neglect and underinvestment have strained their capacity and jeopardized supply chains.
 
Building on the work this Administration has done this past year to get goods flowing from ships to shelves faster, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is committing $4 billion through the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to expand capacity at key ports, allow passage of larger vessels, and further enhance the country’s ability to move goods. These waterside investments will compliment landside investments at our ports and across the goods movement chain such as the Port Infrastructure Development Grants announced in December. Specific projects for fiscal year 2022 include work to:
 

  • Enhance the Country’s Ability to Move Goods. America’s waterways are vital to getting goods moving faster and more efficiently through the nation. Recognizing the role of inland waterways in creating and sustaining jobs, relieving landside congestion, and providing more cost-effective transportation capacities, the Administration will provide $858 million to support the replacement of locks that keep water levels high enough for large cargo ships to pass through the upper Ohio River, west of Pittsburgh. The Administration will also provide more than $470 million to complete construction of a new lock along St. Mary’s River in Sault Saint Marie, Michigan, which serves as a passageway for nearly all domestically-produced iron ore. These funds will build on the Department of Transportation’s recent investments to enhance the movement of goods along the nation’s navigable waterways.
     
  • Reinforce America’s Largest Port Complex. The Administration will invest $8 million to improve commercial navigation and allow larger and more ships to pass at the Port of Long Beach, California – part of the nation’s largest port complex. The investment will support design work to widen the port’s main channel, deepen the entrance channel, and build an approach channel and turning basin. It also builds on the $52 million grant the Administration previously announced to support the Port of Long Beach’s on-dock rail facility, as well as a multi-billion dollar loan agreement with California to modernize the state’s ports, freight, and other goods movement infrastructure.
     
  • Move More Goods Faster at One of the Nation’s Fastest Growing Ports. The Administration will invest $69 million to improve navigation and expand capacity at Norfolk Harbor, Virginia, which handled 67 percent more containers in 2021 than it did 10 years ago. Work will include deepening and widening the harbor’s shipping channels to improve navigation and enable safer access for larger commercial and naval vessels, and to provide significant new economic opportunities to the region.
     

BOLSTER THE NATION’S DEFENSES AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE AND ADVANCE ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
 
Damage from extreme weather events and natural disasters, including those from Hurricane Ida, were estimated to cost the United States at least $141 billion in 2021, and is expected to increase significantly in the coming years. President Biden knows that down payments now to bolster the resilience of our infrastructure to climate change will save Americans money in the long run. The Biden-Harris Administration will commit $5.5 billion through the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to better protect communities from climate change, and protect vital ecosystems and the people and businesses throughout the country that rely on them.

For instance, the funding from the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law announced today will:

  • Restore and Protect Critical Ecosystems and Water Supplies, Including the Everglades. The Administration is making the largest single investment in the Everglades in U.S. history. The iconic American landscape provides drinking water supply for over 8 million Floridians, supports the state’s $90 billion tourism economy, and is home to dozens of endangered or threatened species. However, rising sea levels and other climate change impacts are endangering this vital ecosystem and the people, businesses, and habitats it supports. Through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Army Corps will invest $1.1 billion to restore, protect, and preserve the South Florida ecosystem and increase its resilience to the impacts of climate change. These funds will support improvements to the Everglades by capturing and storing excess surface water runoff, reducing excess water releases to water conservation areas, and minimizing seepage losses during dry periods.
     
  • Advance Environmental Justice. The investments announced today will further deliver on the President’s Justice40 commitment to ensure that 40 percent of the overall benefits from Federal investments in climate and clean energy flow to disadvantaged communities in building their local economies. The Administration will provide $163 million to restore the Cano Martin Pena urban tidal channel and surrounding areas of the San Juan Bay National Estuary. The urban waterway project will significantly improve the health and welfare of the surrounding communities in San Juan by reducing exposure to contaminated waters and sediments, improving water quality, and restoring fish and mangrove habitat. The Administration is also committing $40 million to the Espanola Valley, Rio Grande and Tributaries, New Mexico to restore and protect 958 acres of aquatic and riparian habitats. These habitats are critical to the functioning of the third longest river in the country, and are an integral part of constructing social identity and transmission and retention of traditional knowledge for both the Pueblo of Santa Clara and Ohkay Owingeh. In addition, the Army Corps is committing nearly $28 million to prevent coastal erosion of Kenai River Bluff in Alaska. In the coming year, the Army Corps will also engage with environmental justice communities in the development of a strategy to allocate $130 million for two pilot programs that target the needs of economically-disadvantaged communities.
     
  • Reduce Flood Risk. The Army Corps will leverage funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to increase community resilience to flooding, including $645 million to reduce coastal flood risk through 15 projects and $1.7 billion to reduce inland flood risk through an additional 15 projects across the country.  Projects include $378 million to protect people, property, and the fragile marshland in coastal Louisiana, $250 million for storm surge barriers, levees, and pump stations to reduce storm risk to the City of Norfolk, Virginia, $66 million to refurbish the levee system along the Little Colorado River outside of Winslow, Arizona in Navajo County, and $35 million in the San Joaquin River Basin to help reduce flood risk to the City of Stockton, California. As a result of Hurricane Ida, 90 percent of Terrebonne Parish in Louisiana sustained significant damages, including to five floodgates of the Morganza to the Gulf Hurricane Protection System.

In addition to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds announced today, the Administration will invest more than $5.7 billion in fiscal year 2022 through the Disaster Relief and Supplemental Appropriations Act to reinforce disaster mitigation and recovery efforts in communities recovering from extreme weather events, and to better enable homes and businesses to reduce their risks of climate change. This includes $3.3 billion in funding for Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, where major disasters were declared due to Hurricane Ida. In Louisiana, for instance, the Biden-Harris Administration will invest over $1.7 billion to help the state build back more resilient from extreme weather events, including through the replacement or modification of levees infrastructure on the east and west banks of Plaquemines Parish, completion of construction of the Atachafalaya Basin floodway system, and initiation construction for the Algiers sub-basin in southeast Louisiana.  
 

Biden Administration to Begin Distributing At-Home, Rapid COVID-19 Tests to Americans for Free

The Biden Administration is buying one billion tests to give to Americans for free; online ordering of 500 million tests begins on January 19th. This builds on significant actions by the Administration to expand testing capacity and increase access to free testing © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Biden Administration is Buying One Billion Tests to Give to Americans for Free; Online Ordering of a Half-Billion Tests Begins on January 19th; Builds on Significant Actions to Expand Testing Capacity and Increase Access to Free Testing

Testing is an important tool to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Public health experts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that Americans use at-home tests if they begin to have symptoms, at least five days after coming in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, or are gathering indoors with a group of people who are at risk of severe disease or unvaccinated.
 
To help ensure Americans have tests on hand if a need arises, the Biden Administration is purchasing one billion at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests to give to Americans for free. A half-billion tests will be available for order on January 19th and will be mailed directly to American households.
 
There will be free tests available for every household, and to promote broad access, the initial program will allow four free tests to be requested per residential address. Starting January 19th, Americans will be able to order their tests online at COVIDTests.gov, and tests will typically ship within 7-12 days of ordering.
 
To ensure equity and access for all Americans, the Administration will also launch a call line to help those unable to access the website to place orders, and work with national and local community-based organizations to support the nation’s hardest-hit and highest-risk communities in requesting tests.
 
In addition to this new program, there are many other options for Americans to get tested. There are now over 20,000 free testing sites across the nation, including four times as many pharmacies participating in the federal pharmacy free testing program as there were in January 2021, as well as federal surge free testing sites, with more free testing sites opening each week. Millions of free, at-home COVID-19 tests have been delivered to thousands of community health centers and rural health clinics to distribute to their patients, with more delivered each week. In addition, the Administration provided schools $10 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding to get tests to K-12 school districts. And, the Administration invested nearly $6 billion in ARP funding to cover free testing for uninsured individuals, and support testing in correctional facilities, shelters for people experiencing homelessness, and mental health facilities.
 
Just this week, the Administration also announced that starting January 15th, private health insurance companies will be required to cover at-home COVID-19 tests for free—and made an additional 10 million COVID-19 tests available to schools nationwide, each month.
 
Since January 2021, the Administration has taken significant action to dramatically increase the nation’s overall COVID-19 testing supply, the number of tests authorized for use in the U.S., and the number of places where Americans can get a test, while lowering costs for consumers and increasing access to free tests.
 
This comprehensive approach has produced important results: Today, there are nine at-home, rapid tests on the market in the U.S.—up from zero when the President took office. In December, there were more than 300 million at-home, rapid tests available in the U.S. market, up from 24 million in August—a more than 10-fold rise. This month, the number of at-home, rapid tests available to the U.S. market will rise to 375 million—in addition to the free tests available through COVIDTests.gov.
 
Distributing At-Home, Rapid COVID-19 Tests to American Homes for Free: This program will ensure that Americans have at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests available in the weeks and months ahead—in addition to the number of other ways they can get tested. The Administration is quickly completing a contracting process for the unprecedented purchase of one billion at-home, rapid tests to distribute as part of this program. The Department of Defense, in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services, has already awarded several of the contracts that will result from this process—with over 420 million tests already under contract. Given the incredible volume of tests being procured and the diversity of manufacturers, additional contracts will continue to be awarded over the coming weeks.

  • Ordering Process: Starting on January 19th, Americans will be able to order a test online at COVIDTests.gov. To ensure broad access, the program will limit the number of tests sent to each residential address to four tests. Tests will usually ship within 7-12 days of ordering.
     
  • Distribution and Delivery Process: The Administration will partner with the United States Postal Service to package and deliver tests to Americans that want them. All orders in the continental United States will be sent through First Class Package Service, with shipments to Alaska, Hawaii, and the U.S. Territories and APO/FPO/DPO addresses sent through Priority Mail. 
     
  • Ensuring Equity and Reaching Hardest-Hit Communities: The Administration is taking a number of steps to ensure this program reaches our hardest-hit and highest-risk communities. This includes prioritizing processing orders to households experiencing the highest social vulnerability and in communities that have experienced a disproportionate share of COVID-19 cases and deaths, particularly during this Omicron surge; launching a free call line, so that Americans who have difficulty accessing the internet or need additional support can phone-in orders for their tests; and, working with national and local organizations with deep experience serving communities of color, people living with disabilities, and other high-risk communities to serve as navigators, raise awareness about the program, and help people submit requests.

The Biden Administration continues acting aggressively to further increase equitable access to free COVID-19 testing for all Americans, as testing needs arise. This includes:

  • Requiring Health Insurers to Cover the Cost of At-Home COVID-19 Tests Starting January 15thOn Monday, the Administration announced that, starting January 15th, private insurance companies will be required to cover at-home COVID-19 tests. This means consumers with private health insurance coverage will be able to get these tests for free. Insurance companies and health plans are required to cover eight free at-home tests per covered individual per month. That means a family of four, all on the same plan, would be able to get 32 of these tests covered by their health plan per month. As part of the requirement, the Administration is strongly incentivizing plans and insurers to allow people to get these tests directly through preferred pharmacies or retailers with no out-of-pocket costs, with the plan or insurer covering the cost upfront, eliminating the need for people to submit reimbursement claims.
     
  • Making 10 Million More Tests Available to Schools Nationwide: On Wednesday, the Administration took new actions to increase access to COVID-19 testing in schools. This includes increasing the number of COVID-19 tests available to schools by 10 million per month to help schools safely remain open and implement screening testing and test-to-stay programs—which will allow schools to double the volume of testing they were performing in November 2021—and supporting free testing access for students, school staff, and families through federal testing sites. These actions double down on the Administration’s commitment to keeping all schools safely open for full-time in-person learning, and build on the historic investments the Administration has already made to expand school testing, including providing states $10 billion in American Rescue Plan funding to support COVID-19 screening testing for teachers, staff, and students and $130 billion in American Rescue Plan funding that schools can use on COVID-19 testing. In addition to these resources, at the President’s direction, FEMA has been providing states, Tribes, and territories 100 percent federal reimbursement to support COVID-19 testing, including at schools. There was no federal support for testing in schools prior to the start of the Administration.
     
  • Standing Up New Federal Surge Free Testing Sites: To help states and communities that need additional testing capacity as they battle Omicron, the Administration has rapidly stood up many new, federal free testing sites across the nation over the past several weeks. Already, there are 18 accessible sites operating in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Washington D.C.—with approximately 20 additional sites opening soon. These new federal sites have been effective in ensuring our hardest-hit and high-risk communities have equitable access to testing, with initial data showing that over three in four tests at the New York and New Jersey sites—sites that have been open the longest—have been administered to people of color.

These actions build on the significant steps the Administration has taken since Day One on testing to:

  • Increase Overall Testing Supply in the U.S.: Starting last February, the Administration has used the Defense Production Act, industrial mobilization and advance purchase commitments to ramp up supply of testing, including at-home, rapid tests. This includes $3 billion in advance purchase commitments this Fall, which allowed domestic testing manufacturers to increase production, add factory lines, increase staffing, and move up manufacturing timelines. As a result, the U.S. went from 24 million at-home, rapid tests on the market in August, to 46 million in October, to 100 million in November, to over 300 million in December, to 375 million in January. This is on top of the work the Administration has done to increase capacity for lab-based COVID-19 testing; the U.S. is now conducting more lab-based tests per capita than many peer countries, including Germany, Canada, and Japan.
     
  • Increase the Number of Tests Authorized in the U.S.: In March, to bring more at-home, rapid tests to market, the Administration worked to create a new, streamlined pathway for manufacturers to more quickly receive authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for their tests. This accelerated pathway has been successfully used by at least six manufacturers this year. In addition, using resources from the American Rescue Plan, the Administration launched a new, innovative partnership between NIH and FDA last October to help manufacturers further accelerate authorization. The first two tests to use this pathway were authorized in December—weeks, if not months, ahead of schedule. These actions have paid off: When the President took office, there were zero at-home, rapid tests on the market. Today, there are nine on the market. This gives consumers more options and increases competition to lower prices.
     
  • Increase the Number of Places to Get Tested in the U.S.: Since January 2021, the Administration has more than quadrupled the number of pharmacies participating in the federal program for in-store testing—from 2,500 to over 10,000. At the President’s direction, FEMA has provided states, Tribes, and territories with 100 percent reimbursement for a range of testing costs, including state-run testing sites, since January 2021. Overall, there are now over 20,000 federally-supported free testing sites nationwide, with more pharmacies joining the federal free testing program each week. In addition, the Administration has stood up new federal free surge testing sites in areas of need, with more opening each week.
     
  • Increase Access to Free Testing in the U.S.: From the start, the Administration has taken significant action to reduce the cost of testing and increase access to free testing. Last February, the Administration required insurers to cover provider-ordered testing for free, including for asymptomatic individuals. The Administration also acted to ensure Medicaid programs cover all COVID-19 testing, and invested nearly $5 billion to cover testing costs for uninsured individuals—resulting in over 47 million tests covered. In addition to expanding the number of free testing sites to over 20,000 nationwide, the Administration delivers 2.5 million tests to long-term care facilities each week, and also launched a program to distribute 50 million free at-home tests to thousands of locations, including community health centers and rural health clinics that serve our hardest-hit and highest-risk communities. The announcements made today and earlier this week build on this work and will further ensure all Americans have equitable access to free testing.

Biden-Harris Administration Races to Deploy Clean Energy that Creates Jobs, Lowers Costs for Consumers, Industry

New Actions Advance Offshore Wind, Leverage Public Lands for Clean Energy, and Build the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Transmission Lines
 

Long Island activists in 2016 protesting for offshore wind, solar energy projects at Long Island Power Authority headquarters. Projects put on hold during Trump administration, have now gotten back on the fast track by the Biden Administration, bringing a whole-of-government approach. The Department of the Interior is holding a record-breaking offshore wind lease sale, with the most lease areas ever offeredin the New York Bight off the coasts of New York and New Jersey. The upcoming lease sale is projected to generate up to 7 gigawatts (GW) of clean energy, power two million homes, and create thousands of jobs in manufacturing, construction, operations, maintenance, and service industries in nearby communities © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

When President Biden came into office nearly a year ago, he pulled every lever to position America to scale up clean energy that creates good-paying, union jobs and lowers energy bills for consumers. Since then, the Biden-Harris Administration has readied offshore areas to harness power from wind, approved new solar projects on public lands, and passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to build thousands of miles of transmission lines that deliver clean energy.
 
Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is making major leaps forward on wind, solar, transmission, and other clean energy projects to create high-quality jobs and deliver affordable, carbon pollution-free electricity across the country. Seven federal agencies are announcing clean energy projects and plans that demonstrate the Administration’s unwavering commitment to creating cleaner and cheaper energy, and the actions showcase President Biden’s unprecedented coordination activating the entire government to fight climate change, produce good-paying, union jobs, and accelerate America’s clean energy economy.
 
These actions include:

  • The Department of the Interior is holding a record-breaking offshore wind lease sale, with the most lease areas ever offered, in the New York Bight off the coasts of New York and New Jersey. The upcoming lease sale is projected to generate up to 7 gigawatts (GW) of clean energy, power two million homes, and create thousands of jobs in manufacturing, construction, operations, maintenance, and service industries in nearby communities. The sale includes innovative lease provisions that will lead to offshore wind projects being built with union labor and Made in America materials. Working together, New York, New Jersey and the federal government will build on these new lease stipulations through a new federal-state partnership that will ensure local residents—including underserved communities—benefit from new developments.
     
  • A number of agencies are working together to drive the rapid build-up of offshore wind—a brand new U.S. clean energy industry that can create nearly 80,000 good-paying jobs by 2030. For example, the Department of Transportation recently announced port investments to help develop areas that will be used to build and stage offshore wind turbine components, and efforts are underway across the Departments of Commerce, the Interior, and Energy to promote biodiversity and cooperative ocean use and support innovation across the supply chain.
     
  • The Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Defense, Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency are forming a new collaboration to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of reviews of clean energy projects on public lands, in order to expand solar, onshore wind, and geothermal energy, building on the Department of the Interior’s approvals over the past year of 18 onshore projects that will deliver 4.175 GW of clean energy.
     
  • The Department of Energy is launching a new Building a Better Grid initiative to accelerate the deployment of new transmission lines—as enabled by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Lawto connect more Americans to cleaner, cheaper energy. This transmission buildout will make our grid more reliable and resilient in the face of intensifying extreme weather and is critical to achieving the President’s goal of 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035.
     
  • To ensure that these benefits reach all Americans, the Department of Agriculture is creating a new pilot program to support clean energy in underserved rural communities and the Department of Commerce is awarding American Rescue Plan funds to support regional coalitions to grow new industry clusters focused on clean energy deployment and job training. And the release of a new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory shows that the Administration’s SolarAPP+ tool is reducing permitting times for residential installations to less than one day, helping local governments fast-track rooftop solar. 

Today’s announcements build on a year of unprecedented progress on clean energy deployment. Before President Biden took office, projects were stalled and agencies were hollowed out. But during his first week, the President issued an Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, which mobilized the entire federal government to activate and deploy clean energy so that Americans can reap the immense climate and economic benefits of the clean energy future.
 
The Administration continues to use every tool available to deploy clean energy at a record pace. But to fully seize the opportunities of a clean energy economy, President Biden is pressing forward on passing the Build Back Better Act. The historic legislation will amount to the nation’s largest investment in combatting climate change, lowering energy costs for working families, and building a clean energy future. It will support domestic manufacturing of wind turbines, solar panels, and other clean technologies; invest in workforce development programs to launch careers in these growing industries; and provide a historic set of clean energy tax credits that are more powerful and accessible. With these investments, the U.S. will lead the world on innovative climate solutions and save the average American family hundreds of dollars each year in energy costs.
 
As work continues to pass the Build Back Better Act, today’s announcements further the Administration’s ongoing commitment to powering our economy with clean American energy:
 
ADVANCING OFFSHORE WIND TO CREATE JOBS
 
To deploy offshore wind at the speed and scale necessary to achieve our climate goals and create tens of thousands of jobs, the Administration is announcing:
 

  • Record-Breaking Lease Sale in the New York Bight. Last year, the Administration established a Wind Energy Area in the New York Bight off the coasts of New York and New Jersey. Today, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is announcing the Final Sale Notice of six commercial lease areas—the most ever offered—with the potential to generate 5.6 to 7 GW of clean energy across 488,201 acres. Innovative leasing provisions will encourage winning bidders to enter into Project Labor Agreements (PLA) that support union jobs. They also will financially incentivize lessees to utilize wind turbine blades, towers, and cables made in America. To promote meaningful stakeholder engagement, lessees must identify any Tribes, ocean users, underserved communities, and others potentially affected by projects and report on engagement activities.  
     
  • New State-Federal Partnership. Today, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland joined New York Governor Kathy Hochul and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy to celebrate progress in the New York Bight and announce a new collaboration between BOEM, New York, and New Jersey on offshore wind with a focus on job creation and environmental justice. Through a new shared vision and working group, these partners will work together on strengthening regional supply chains and delivering benefits to underserved communities.
     
  • DOT Port Investments for Manufacturing and Staging Hubs. The Department of Transportation (DOT) recently awarded Port Infrastructure Development Program Grants to two hubs that will strengthen the U.S. offshore wind supply chain. In Virginia, the Portsmouth Marine Terminal will receive $20 million to construct staging and storage areas for wind turbine components—supporting union jobs for dockworkers, crane operators, and building trades members. In New York, the Port of Albany will receive $29.5 million for the Offshore Wind Tower Manufacturing Port Project, which will develop vacant areas along the Hudson River for a first-of-its-kind U.S. facility for fabrication and assembly of offshore wind towers, creating hundreds of jobs in construction, manufacturing, and maritime activities. DOT announced in March 2021 that this discretionary port funding would be available to support offshore wind activities, and that climate and environmental justice considerations would factor into the review process. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law significantly increases funding for the Port Infrastructure Development Program Grants to expand federal investments in ports.
     
  • Funding for Innovative Supply Chain and Maintenance Projects. The National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium is awarding over $3 million to six offshore wind R&D projects, bringing total investment through NOWRDC over the past year to $14 million. The competitive awards will fund three new supply chain projects to facilitate U.S. manufacturing, ensure quality component production, and simplify transportation of major wind plant components. Three additional projects will support asset monitoring and inspection to reduce operational costs for offshore wind farms. The NOWRDC was established in 2018 with a $20.5 million Department of Energy (DOE) investment and matching funds from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), with follow-on contributions from state agencies in Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts, Maine, and New Jersey—all resulting in approximately $48 million in committed funds.
     
  • NOAA-BOEM Memorandum of Understanding. The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and BOEM are entering an interagency agreement to collaboratively advance offshore wind energy while protecting biodiversity and promoting cooperative ocean use. This partnership underscores NOAA and BOEM’s commitment to leverage their resources and expertise to responsibly deploy 30 GW by 2030 in a way that protects environmental quality, creates jobs, and advances environmental justice.
     
  • DOE Report Underscoring Need for Continued Offshore Wind Investment. The Department of Energy will be issuing a report on “Offshore Wind Energy Strategies: Regional and National Strategies to Maximize the Effectiveness, Reliability, and Sustainability of U.S. Offshore Wind Energy Development and Operation.” It outlines five strategic priorities for tapping into the enormous potential for growth and job creation in the offshore wind industry: expanding targeted federal incentives, reducing costs through innovation, improving siting and permitting processes, investing in supply chain development, and facilitating grid integration of offshore wind projects. The President’s Build Back Better Act would advance these priorities with expanded investment and production tax credits for offshore wind deployment, advanced manufacturing credits to incentivize Made in America wind turbine components, and investments across transmission planning, port infrastructure, and improved leasing and permitting processes.

These actions follow a year of interagency collaboration to jumpstart the U.S. offshore wind industry—in 2021, the Administration: 

  • Launched an offshore wind strategy to achieve a new national target of deploying 30 GW by 2030 and create jobs up and down the supply chain, from factories in the heartland to shipyards on the coasts.
     
  • Approved the nation’s first two commercial-scale offshore wind projects, Vineyard Wind 1 and South Fork Wind, which will be built by a highly skilled, well-paid union workforce. 
     
  • Developed a roadmap for holding seven offshore wind lease sales and completing reviews of 16 multi-billion dollar offshore wind projects—representing 22 GW of clean energy—by 2025.

Moving ahead in 2022, BOEM will conduct reviews of wind energy areas offshore northern California (Humboldt) and central California (Morro Bay); explore new potential Wind Energy Areas in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coasts of Oregon and the central Atlantic; and advance lease sales in the Carolina Long Bay and offshore California.
 
FAST-TRACKING CLEAN ENERGY ONSHORE

America’s public lands have substantial potential to support solar, wind, and geothermal energy projects. As part of ongoing efforts to advance these projects in an environmentally sound way and in close collaboration with community stakeholders, the Administration is announcing:

  • Five-Agency Collaboration to Expedite Reviews. The Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Defense, Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency have issued a new Memorandum of Understanding to improve federal agency coordination and prioritize reviews for renewable energy projects located on public lands managed by the Interior and Agriculture Departments. This collaboration will expedite decision-making by establishing interagency coordination teams with qualified staff to facilitate environmental reviews and other federal reviews.
     
  • Renewable Energy Coordination Offices. The Department of the Interior is developing plans for new Renewable Energy Coordination Offices (RECOs), authorized by the Energy Act of 2020. The RECOs will realign Bureau of Land Management resources to consolidate renewable energy work, and support collaboration on public lands renewable energy project permitting across Interior and other federal agencies.
     
  • Major Progress toward 25 GW by 2025. Since President Biden took office, the Administration has approved 18 onshore projects totaling 4.175 GW (including eight located on public lands and ten with interconnection lines on public lands) and initiated processing of another 54 priority projects with the potential to add at least 27.5 GW of clean energy. Most recently, the Bureau of Land Management approved the Arica and Victory Pass solar projects in California, which will provide up to 465 megawatts of electricity with up to 400 megawatts of battery storage. With today’s actions, the Administration will continue advancing toward the goal of permitting 25 GW of solar, onshore wind, and geothermal energy on public lands by 2025.

BUILDING CLEAN TRANSMISSION LINES

The President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is the largest-ever investment in America’s power grid, including funding to build out thousands of miles of new transmission lines that are critical to unlocking clean energy resources and providing American homes, schools, and businesses with electricity that is more affordable and reliable in the face of extreme weather, wildfires, and other disasters. 

To harness the new funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, today the Department of Energy is announcing a coordinated transmission deployment program, which will catalyze nationwide buildout of long-distance, high-voltage transmission lines. As outlined in a new Notice of Intent, the pillars of the “Building a Better Grid” initiative are:
 

  • Financing transmission lines and other grid upgrades, including through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s new $2.5 billion Transmission Facilitation Program, a revolving fund for new, replacement, or upgraded transmission lines; $3 billion expansion of the Smart Grid Investment Grant Program, focused on advanced technologies that increase capacity and enhance flexibility of the existing grid; and more than $10 billion in grants for states, Tribes, and utilities to enhance grid resilience and prevent power outages. DOE will also leverage existing financing, including the $3.25 billion Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) Transmission Infrastructure Program, which facilitates deployment of renewable energy in WAPA’s 15-state service territory, and a number of loan guarantee programs through the Loan Programs Office.  
     
  • Strengthening coordination with state and local governments, Tribal nations, and other stakeholders, including through participation in regional convenings with independent system operators (ISOs), regional transmission organizations (RTOs), state regulatory commissions, utilities, and others.
     
  • Modernizing transmission planning to drive investment to the highest-need projects, including through a new National Transmission Planning Study, National Transmission Needs Study, Offshore Wind Transmission Study, and expanded technical assistance to help states and regions with policy implementation.
     
  • Improving permitting processes, in coordination with the Infrastructure Implementation Task Force and other federal initiatives, including by helping developers provide early information to permitting agencies; using public-private partnerships to advance new transmission lines and system upgrades; and designating National Corridors in areas with transmission capacity constraints that harm consumers.
     
  • Supporting research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) of next-generation transmission technology, including through collaborations with the National Laboratories and industry partners.

Last year, the Administration laid the foundation for these efforts by revitalizing Department of Energy transmission financing assistance programs and through Department of Transportation actions to help states host transmission lines along public highways and other transportation rights-of-way.

DELIVERING BENEFITS TO COMMUNITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY

The Administration has prioritized clean energy deployment in rural communities, providing financing for agricultural producers and rural small businesses to install solar arrays and other clean energy infrastructure and for grid upgrades across rural areas. To build on these investments, the Department of Agriculture is creating a new Rural Energy Pilot Program with $10 million in available grants for rural communities that are particularly underserved to deploy community-scale clean energy technologies, innovations, and solutions. This upcoming pilot program will also help economically distressed rural communities conduct community energy planning to advance local goals for clean, affordable, and reliable power.

Additionally, President Biden’s American Rescue Plan is driving historic economic recovery from the pandemic—including by helping communities create new jobs and industries in clean energy. The Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) recently announced the finalists for Phase 1 of the Build Back Better Regional Challenge, which uses American Rescue Plan funds to support regional industry clusters that will promote equitable economic growth and workforce development. The finalists include 14 regional coalitions focused on clean energy and other climate-related industries, which will receive a combined $7 million in planning grants and compete to win awards of $25 million to $100 million for implementation. Among these finalists are projects to reuse abandoned mine lands for solar, wind, and geothermal energy generation; utilize offshore wind as a power source for hydrogen production in industrial areas; and support clean energy job training, entrepreneurship, and innovation in areas historically dependent on fossil fuel economies.

The Administration is also helping local governments speed up approvals for rooftop solar in order to unlock economic and health benefits for their communities. In July 2021, the Department of Energy launched the Solar Automated Permit Processing (SolarAPP+) tool, an online platform that enables jurisdictions to rapidly approve residential solar installation permits. Now, a new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory shows that in a pilot conducted in Arizona and California, the SolarAPP+ tool reduced the average permit review time to less than one day. More than 125 localities have already signed up to consider using SolarAPP+, and the Department of Energy is continuing to recruit additional communities across the country.  

VP Kamala Harris: ‘We will fight to secure our most fundamental freedom – the freedom to vote’

“The assault on our freedom to vote will be felt by every American, in every community, in every political party….The American people have waited long enough.  The Senate must act,” Vice President Kamala Harris declared in a speech on voting rights in Atlanta. “We will fight to secure our most fundamental freedom: the freedom to vote.” © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via msnbc.

Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden came out forcefully to demand protection of voting rights and election integrity in speeches in Atlanta and called for removing the filibuster, weaponized as an obstacle to Senate action. Republicans in the Senate and House immediately twisted and attacked the Democrats’ desire to assure free and equal access to the ballot and fair counting as an attempt to hijack elections, rather than preserve the foundational element of democracy, dismissing what Republican-dominated legislatures are doing around the country to – by simple majority vote – enact voter suppression, gerrymandered maps and rules that allow them to subvert elections by overturning the will of the majority.

The assault on our freedom to vote will be felt by every American, in every community, in every political party….The American people have waited long enough.  The Senate must act,” Harris declared. “We will fight to secure our most fundamental freedom: the freedom to vote. Here is a highlighted transcript of Vice President Harris’ remarks:

Last week, one year after a violent mob breached the United States Capitol, the President of the United States and I spoke from its hallowed halls and we made clear: We swore to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.  And we will.  We will fight.  (Applause.)  We will fight to safeguard our democracy.  We will fight to secure our most fundamental freedom: the freedom to vote. 

And that is why we have come to Atlanta today — to the cradle of the Civil Rights Movement; to the district that was represented by the great Congressman John Lewis — (applause) — on the eve of the birthday of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  (Applause.)

More than 55 years ago, men, women, and children marched from Selma to Montgomery to demand the ballot.  And when they arrived at the State Capitol in Alabama, Dr. King decried what he called “normalcy” — the normalcy, the complacency that was denying people the freedom to vote.

The only normalcy anyone should accept, Dr. King said, is the “normalcy of justice.”  And his words resonate today.

Over the past few years, we have seen so many anti-voter laws that there is a danger of becoming accustomed to these laws, a danger of adjusting to these laws as though they are normal, a danger of being complacent, complicit.

Anti-voter laws are not new in our nation, but we must not be deceived into thinking they are normal.

We must not be deceived into thinking a law that makes it more difficult for students to vote is normal.

We must not be deceived into thinking a law that makes it illegal to help a voter with a disability vote by mail is normal.  (Applause.)

There is nothing normal about a law that makes it illegal to pass out water or food to people standing in long voting lines.  (Applause.)

And I have met with voters in Georgia.  I have heard your outrage about the anti-voter law here and how many voters will likely be kept from voting.

And Georgia is not alone.  Across our nation, anti-voter laws could make it more difficult for as many as 55 million Americans to vote.  That is one out of six people in our country.

And the proponents of these laws are not only putting in place obstacles to the ballot box, they are also working to interfere with our elections to get the outcomes they want and to discredit those they don’t.

That is not how a democracy should work.

My fellow Americans: Do not succumb to those who would dismiss this assault on voting rights as an unfounded threat — who would wave this off as a partisan game.

The assault on our freedom to vote will be felt by every American, in every community, in every political party.

And if we stand idly by, our entire nation will pay the price for generations to come.

As Dr. King said, “The battle is in our hands.”  And today, the battle is in the hands of the leaders of the American people, those in particular that the American people sent to the United States Senate.

Two landmark bills sit before the United States Senate: the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.  (Applause.) 

And these two bills represent the first real opportunity to secure the freedom to vote since the United States Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act nearly a decade ago.

We do not know when we will have this opportunity again.  Senate Republicans have exploited arcane rules to block these bills.

And let us be clear: The Constitution of the United States gives the Congress the power to pass legislation.  And nowhere — nowhere — does the Constitution give a minority the right to unilaterally block legislation. (Applause.)

The American people have waited long enough.  The Senate must act.

And the bottom line is this: Years from now, our children and our grandchildren, they will ask us about this moment.  They will look back on this time, and they will ask us not about how we felt — they will ask us what did we do.

We cannot tell them that we let a Senate rule stand in the way of our most fundamental freedom.  Instead, let us tell them that we stood together as people of conscience and courage. 

Let us tell them we acted with the urgency that this moment demands. 

And let us tell them we secured the freedom to vote, that we ensured free and fair elections, and we safeguarded our democracy for them and their children.

FACT SHEET: The Biden-Harris Electric Vehicle Charging Action Plan

The Biden-Harris-Administration released an EV Charging Action Plan outlining steps federal agencies are taking to support developing and deploying chargers in American communities across the countryAs a result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Transportation (DOT) will establish a Joint Office of Energy and Transportation focused on deploying EV infrastructure, working hand-in-hand to collect input and guidance from industry leaders, manufacturers, workers, and other stakeholders that will ensure the national network provides convenient charging for all. The initial focus will be building a convenient, reliable public charging network that can build public confidence, with a focus on filling gaps in rural, disadvantaged, and hard-to-reach locations © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Vice President Kamala Harris announced an action plan to fast track Bipartisan Infrastructure Law investments, including this Electric Vehicle Charging Action Plan. Here is a fact sheet provided by the White House:

President Biden has united automakers and autoworkers to drive American leadership forward on clean cars, and he set an ambitious target of 50% of electric vehicle (EV) sale shares in the U.S. by 2030. Now, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will supercharge America’s efforts to lead the electric future, Building a Better America where we can strengthen domestic supply chains, outcompete the world, and make electric cars cheaper for working families.
 
President Biden, American families, automakers, and autoworkers agree: the future of transportation is electric. The electric car future is cleaner, more equitable, more affordable, and an economic opportunity to support good-paying, union jobs across American supply chains as automakers continue investing in manufacturing clean vehicles and the batteries that power them.
 
The Biden-Harris-Administration released an EV Charging Action Plan to outline steps federal agencies are taking to support developing and deploying chargers in American communities across the country. As a result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Transportation (DOT) will establish a Joint Office of Energy and Transportation focused on deploying EV infrastructure, working hand-in-hand to collect input and guidance from industry leaders, manufacturers, workers, and other stakeholders that will ensure the national network provides convenient charging for all. The initial focus will be building a convenient, reliable public charging network that can build public confidence, with a focus on filling gaps in rural, disadvantaged, and hard-to-reach locations.
 
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law makes the most transformative investment in electric vehicle charging in U.S. history that will put us on the path to a convenient and equitable network of 500,000 chargers and make EVs accessible to all Americas for both local and long-distance trips. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes $5 billion in formula funding for states with a goal to build a national charging network. 10% is set-aside each year for the Secretary to provide grants to States to help fill gaps in the network. The Law also provides $2.5 billion for communities and corridors through a competitive grant program that will support innovative approaches and ensure that charger deployment meets Administration priorities such as supporting rural charging, improving local air quality and increasing EV charging access in disadvantaged communities. Together, this is the largest-ever U.S. investment in EV charging and will be a transformative down payment on the transition to a zero-emission future.
 
With the historic investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Biden-Harris Administration is laying the foundation for a nationwide network of EV charging infrastructure to provide a reliable, affordable, convenient, seamless user experience that is equitable and accessible for all Americans. This network will enable:

  • An accelerated adoption of electric vehicles for all private consumers and commercial fleets, including those who cannot reliably charge at their home that can improve our air quality, reduce emissions, put us on a path to net-zero emissions by no later than 2050, and position U.S. industries to lead global efforts.
  • Targeted equity benefits for disadvantaged communities, reducing mobility and energy burdens while also creating jobs and supporting businesses.
  • Create family-sustaining union jobs that can’t be outsourced.

 
 Electric Vehicle Infrastructure
 
The Biden-Harris Administration announced the following actions:

  • Establishing a Joint Office of Energy and Transportation: Tomorrow, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will sign an agreement enabling them to leverage the best resources, talent, and experience at the DOT and the DOE, including the DOE’s National Labs. The Joint Office will ensure the agencies can work together to implement the EV charging network and other electrification provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This will provide states, communities, industry, labor, and consumer groups with a coordinated Federal approach and a “one-stop-shop” for resources on EV Charging and related topics. The agencies will complete a Memorandum of Understanding on December 14th to formally launch the Joint Office.
     
  • Gathering Diverse Stakeholder Input: The White House is convening a series of initial stakeholder meetings on topics including partnerships with state and local government, domestic manufacturing, equity and environmental justice, civil rights, partnering with tribal communities, and maximizing environmental benefits. DOT and DOE will also launch a new Advisory Committee on Electric Vehicles and is targeting to appoint members to this committee by the end of the first quarter of 2022. DOT released an updated guide to deploying EV Charging in highway right-of-way in response to stakeholder interest. To gather input from the widest possible array of stakeholders, DOT has a new EV Charging Request for Information, where stakeholders can submit their priorities for Federal standards and guidance for consideration.
     
  • Preparing to Issue Guidance and Standards for States and Cities: The Administration is already hard at work developing the guidance and standards described in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. No later than February 11th, DOT will publish guidance for States and cities to strategically deploy EV charging stations to build out a national network along our nation’s highway system.  This guidance will look at where we already have EV charging and where we need—or will need—more of it.  It will focus on the needs of disadvantaged and rural communities, catalyze further private investment in EV charging, and ensure we’re smartly connecting to our electric grid. No later than May 13th, DOT will publish standards for EV chargers in the national network to ensure they work, they’re safe, and they’re accessible to everyone.
     
  • Requesting Information from Domestic Manufacturers: EV charger manufacturing, assembly, installation, and maintenance all have the potential to not only support our sustainability and climate goals, but also to drive domestic competitiveness and create good-paying, union jobs in the United States. To ensure this network of EV chargers can be built in America, by America, DOT and DOE are working directly with manufacturers, automakers and labor to understand what domestic sourcing is available today, and what may be possible in the future.  In November, DOT and DOE  released a request for information from domestic manufacturers to identify EV chargers and other charging related components that meet USDOT Buy America requirements and to highlight the benefits of shifting all manufacturing and assembly processes to the United States.
     
  • New Solicitation for Alternative Fuel Corridors: Today, the DOT is announcing a forthcoming solicitation for the 6th round of Alternative Fuel Corridors designations. This program, created by the FAST Act in 2015, recognizes highway segments that have infrastructure plans to allow travel on alternative fuels, including electricity. FHWA will establish a recurring process to regularly update these corridors.

The current network of over 100,000 public chargers operates with different plug types, payment options, data availability, and hardware hookups. Today’s actions will establish a more uniform approach, provide greater convenience for customers, and offer increased confidence for industry.  These federal programs will spur additional private sector investments and drive the build-out of a user-friendly, cost-effective, and financially sustainable national network creating well-paying jobs across manufacturing, installation, and operation. A ubiquitous charging infrastructure targeted to meet different consumers’ needs will provide equitable benefits to all Americans and provide flexibility for future investments, effective integration with a clean power system, and support a growing and diversifying fleet of electrified vehicles.
 
 Electric Vehicle Batteries
 
Another key component of our electric vehicle strategy is to increase domestic manufacturing of EV batteries and components and advance environmentally responsible domestic sourcing and recycling of critical minerals.
 
In June, the Biden-Harris Administration released 100-day reviews of the supply chains of four critical products, including high-capacity batteries and critical minerals and materials. The reviews made dozens of recommendations across Federal agencies securing a reliable and sustainable end-to-end domestic supply chain for advanced batteries. These recommendations include supporting sustainable and responsible domestic mining and processing of key battery minerals, such as lithium, cobalt, and nickel, and ensuring new domestic automotive battery production adheres to high-road labor standards.
 

  • The Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries released the National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries, codifying the findings of the battery supply chain review in a 10-year, whole-of-government plan to urgently develop a domestic lithium battery supply chain that combats the climate crisis by creating good-paying clean energy jobs across America.
     
  • The DOE Loan Programs Office (LPO) published new guidance and a fact sheet for the approximately $17 billion in loan authority in the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program (ATVM) to support the domestic battery supply chain. LPO will leverage full statutory authority to finance key strategic areas of development and fill deficits in the domestic supply chain capacity. This will include the ATVM program making loans to manufacturers of advanced technology vehicle battery cells and packs for re-equipping, expanding or establishing such manufacturing facilities in the United States.
     
  • DOE’s Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) launched a new effort to support deployment of energy storage projects by federal agencies, including a federal government-wide energy storage review that will evaluate the current opportunity for deploying battery storage at federal sites and a call for projects from federal sites interested in deploying energy storage projects. These actions build on steps taken earlier this year to leverage $13 million in FEMP’s Assisting Federal Facilities with Energy Conservation Technologies grants to unlock an estimated $260 million or more in project investments, including battery storage projects.

There are already promising signs that the Administration strategy is working and industry is ready to step up. For example, Lithium is a critical input to batteries where the United States currently has very little domestic supply. The Biden Administration has funded two dozen teams to expand sourcing of lithium from geothermal brines and approved a permit for the Nevada-based Thacker Pass lithium mine. Automakers area also signing contracts that leverage domestic supply, including Ford sourcing lithium from recycled content through Redwood Materials, GM sourcing lithium from geothermal brines in the Salton Sea with Controlled Thermal Resources, and Tesla sourcing lithium from a Piedmont project in North Carolina.
 
The investments proposed by the Biden Administration will accelerate and amplify this progress. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes more than $7 billion in funding to accelerate innovations and facilities across the battery supply chain from battery materials refining, processing and manufacturing to battery manufacturing, including components, to battery recycling and reuse. These investments will support the development of a North American battery supply chain, help expand manufacturing and recycling facilities in the United States and substantially advance the battery recycling through research, development and demonstration projects in collaboration with retailers as well as state and local governments.
 
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes:

  • $3 billion in competitive grants for battery minerals and refined materials aimed at accelerating the development of the North American battery supply chain.
  • An additional $3 billion for competitive grants aimed at building, retooling, or expanding manufacturing of batteries and battery components (such as cathodes, anodes, and electrolytes), and to establish recycling facilities in the United States.
  • Recognizing the need for innovative and practical approaches to battery and critical mineral recycling, the act includes research, development, and demonstration recycling projects ($60 million) and efforts in cooperation with retailers ($15 million) and state and local governments ($50 million) to increase the collection of spent batteries for reuse, recycling or proper disposal. The electric drive vehicle battery recycling and second-life applications program ($200 million) is focused on making electric vehicles batteries (e.g., optimized designs) easier to recycle and utilize in secondary applications before recycling.

An additional $750 million “Advanced Energy Manufacturing and Recycling Grant Program” to re-equip, expand or establish an industrial or manufacturing facility to reduce GHG emissions of that facility substantially below current best practices.

White House Memo: How Biden Administration is working to Relieve Inflation Pressures on American Families

President Biden’s Build Back Better investment in EV charging stations will go far to help relieve pressure of gas prices at the pump, while installing the stations will provide jobs © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

This is a memo from Kate Bedingfield, White House Communications Director, on what President Biden and his administration is doing to relieve inflation pressure hitting America’s families and why, though a President has limited tools to push back against inflation, his Build Back Better agenda, which would relieve cost-pressure of health care, child and elder care, prescription drug costs, and even gasoline prices by moving toward a clean, renewable energy economy, would be just the prescription needed now:

President Biden grew up in Scranton around a kitchen table just like the ones all over this country. He knows that any increase in prices can squeeze a family’s budget. No family should ever have to feel like they face a choice between paying their bills to keep the lights on or putting food on the table for their families.

Price increases have been a real challenge here at home and around the world as we exit this once-in-a-pandemic and as the economy reboots from a historic shutdown. Even as we see signs that our economic recovery is making process, addressing high prices are the President’s top priority. That’s why this summer, the President began highlighting the cost cutting benefits of the Build Back Better Act.

The memo below outlines where we are in our recovery, what the President is doing in the short- and long-term to address price increases, and the opposition that Congressional Republicans are presenting.

STATE OF PLAY

Since taking office at the time of the worst global economic crisis in decades, President Biden has made beating the pandemic and building a strong economic recovery his top priority. There are two indicators that signal the state of play with the progress of our recovery: jobs and prices.

This past week, we got additional proof that our jobs recovery is on track, setting records, and outpacing other countries. Unemployment insurance claims fell to their lowest level in 50 years. Nearly six million Americas are back to work. And, Americans have more money in their pockets than this time last year — $100 more each month than last year.

But even as America’s economic growth is stronger than virtually any other nation, the President believes that we have to decrease prices for consumer to feel confident in our recovery. While we are starting to see prices decrease and supply chain blockages ease, we know that higher prices are top-of-mind for Americans – and that’s why the President is laser-focused on taking action.

SWIFT ACTION & PROGRESS TO DATE

President Biden is taking swift and decisive action to combat high prices, ease inflationary pressures, and make sure America’s families can put food on the table. In recent weeks and days, President Biden has:

Address Supply Chain Challenges: President Biden is bringing together public and private partners to ease bottlenecks at America’s ports – making sure we can move goods from ship to shelf faster and lower the costs of goods. The President announced that the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are operating 24/7, the Department of Transportation provided $8 million to the Port of Savannah to set up container yards in Georgia and North Carolina, freeing up dock space and speeding up the flow of goods in and out of the port; and yesterday DOT awarded $12.6 million to marine highway projects to help move agricultural goods to market faster.

As a result of the President’s aggressive action, new data yesterday confirms the cost of shipping a container between Asia and the West Coast is more than 25 percent lower than it was three months ago. And this holiday season, America’s major retailers and small businesses – including Target, Walmart, and Esty – have said their shelves will be stocked.

And, as a result of the work of the Biden Administration’s effort to ensure U.S. auto companies received fair allocation of the global supply of chips and to minimize pandemic-related disruptions to semiconductor production in SE Asia, companies like Ford and GM have hailed progress and said they expect car supply will increase. 

Tackling Gas Prices: President Biden sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) expressing concern around oil and gas companies manipulating the marketing and asking the commission to examine any anti-competitive or illegal conduct. He also announced the largest-ever release from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve with other nations, helping bring down gas prices in the near-term.

Since the President raised the prospect of taking action to address energy prices, oil prices are down 10% on average over the last month versus the month before. Retail gas prices are down 7 cents over the last month and whole sale gas prices are down by 15% from their October peak. Pump prices in 20 states are now lower than the 20 year average, adjusted for inflation. Natural gas prices have fallen 25% from their November average.

Encouraged Competition: President Biden issued an executive order to lower prices for American consumers by increasing competition in various industries. Just a few examples of the President’s executive actions on competition include: investing in smaller meat processors to give farmers and ranchers more affordable options, lowering the cost of hearing aids by making them more accessible, and lowering the cost of broadband.

The meat price increases we are seeing are not just the natural consequences of supply and demand in a free market — they are also the result of corporate decisions that take advantage of consumers, farmers and ranchers, and our economy. Gross profit margins for big meat processors are up 50% and net margins are up over 300%. That’s why the President is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to create more competition in meat-processing and over a billion dollars in relief to small businesses and agricultural workers hurt by COVID. Just yesterday, USDA announced investments in small meat processors to give producers more options, help bring competition to the meat-processing industry, and close vulnerabilities in the food supply chain.

THE NEXT STEP: BUILD BACK BETTER

There is more work to do in order to lower prices for American families and maintain a strong economic recovery for years to come.

The average American family spends 60% of their monthly income on health care, housing, child care, and transportation. These are costs that have held back too many American families for too long. If you are concerned about costs facing American families, passing BBB is the most immediate and direct step we can take to deliver. 

Three key pieces of the Build Back Better Act that will cut costs for America’s families:

Lower Health Care & Prescription Drug Costs: This isn’t a partisan issue: outrageous drug prices affect everyone across the board, spanning every kind of condition and disease. BBB will cap insulin costs, expand health care coverage, extend ACA tax credits, empower Medicare to negotiate down costs, limit seniors’ expenses, and hold drug companies accountable.

Lower Child Care Costs: Preschool and child care are prohibitively expensive for middle class families. BBB delivers two years of free preschool and affordable child care in the setting of a parent’s choice, enabling more middle class families to work and succeed in our economy while educating the next generation – so other countries don’t out-educate and out-compete us.

Lower Elder Care Costs: Caring for older loved ones is costing working families and preventing them from fully participating in our workforce and economy. BBB expands access through Medicaid to high-quality, affordable care for older Americans and people with disabilities in their homes – while supporting the workers who care for them.

And, the Build Back Better Act will also cut other costs American families also struggle with – from high housing costs to the costs of climate change impacts.

THE ALTERNATIVE

Congressional Republicans are unified in their opposition to the President’s plans to address price increases.

As President Biden works in tandem with Congress to lower costs for consumers, ease inflationary pressures, and strengthen our economic recovery, Congressional Republicans have no plan to address any of the issues that working families are grappling with right now. Instead of working with the President to fight inflation, Republicans are playing politics with higher prices – one leading Republican even called it a political ‘gold mine’ for them.

The plan Congressional Democrats are supporting:

  • Lowering prices and costs for the American people as the economy recovers from a global pandemic.
  • Extending tax cuts for working families that put money in pockets.
  • Easing inflationary pressures on the economy, as affirmed by 17 Nobel Prize winners in economics.

Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans have no plan to lower prices for working families. Congressional Republicans are only focused on:

  • Fighting against common sense measures to put the pandemic in retreat.
  • Voting against lowering core costs for Americans – prescription drugs, child care, elder care, and housing.
  • Standing united against easing inflationary pressures.

The historic Build Back Better Act will cut costs that American families have struggled with for years. The President and Congressional Democrats are actively working to lower prices and costs for the American people. On the other hand, Republican Members of Congress have no plan, while supporting raising taxes and increasing the biggest costs families deal with.

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Takes Action to Restore, Strengthen American Democracy

Restoring Ethics, Transparency, and the Rule of Law.The Administration will continue working with Congress to restore democratic guardrails to prevent future abuses of presidential power and curtail corruption, with legislation that is consistent with our constitutional principles and that appropriately addresses the balance of powers between the three branches of our federal government. In doing so, the Administration will work to ensure that no branch is able to abuse its authority or undermine a co-equal branch’s constitutional prerogatives, no matter who is in power © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Just before President Joe Biden convenes world leaders for a Summit for Democracy, the Biden-Harris administration released a fact sheet on actions it is taking to restore and strengthen American Democracy:

From the first day in office and every day since, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken decisive action to restore and strengthen American democracy, from cracking down on corruption and promoting transparency to taking critical steps to ensure the federal government works for every American — no matter what they look like or where they live. This cause will be a guiding principle throughout the President’s time in office, and that includes prioritizing the fight to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to protect the sacred right to vote in free, fair, and secure elections.
 
Sustaining democracy is also a shared challenge and commitment for our allies and partners overseas. Against the backdrop of a rise in authoritarianism and increasing threats to democracy around the world, President Biden is convening world leaders for a Summit for Democracy to provide an opportunity to listen, learn, and share how governments and non-governmental actors can strengthen their commitment to democratic principles and practices, and their responsiveness to the people they serve.
 
As President Biden made clear in his first Address to the Joint Session of Congress on April 28, 2021, “We have to prove democracy still works — that our government still works and we can deliver for our people.” Demonstrating that democracy can deliver to improve people’s lives and address the greatest challenges of our time — and that we, the people, can work together to address the threats facing our democracy — is at the heart of the Biden-Harris Administration’s plan to Build Back Better.
 
Last month, after working across the aisle to negotiate with Members of Congress from both parties, President Biden signed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). This once-in-a-generation investment in America’s infrastructure and competitiveness will drive the creation of good-paying union jobs, grow the economy sustainably and equitably, and shows that democracy can deliver results for the American people. President Biden continues to work with Congress to enact the Build Back Better Act, historic legislation that will cut the cost of child care and elder care, invest in affordable housing, position the U.S. to tackle the climate crisis, make health care and prescription drugs more affordable, and much more — fully paid for by ensuring the wealthiest individuals and corporations pay their fair share. These transformational pieces of legislation also make critical investments in American democracy, including: 

  • Delivering Broadband Access and Digital Literacy Skills. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $65 billion to help ensure that every American has access to reliable high-speed internet, close the digital divide, and fund digital literacy initiatives to provide individuals with the skills needed to critically evaluate information online. These investments will democratize access to information, services, and opportunity while promoting information awareness and education.
     
  • Foster Civic Engagement and a Culture of National Service. The Build Back Better Act will create a new Civilian Climate Corps (CCC), bringing together a diverse generation of over 300,000 Americans to work together in common purpose to conserve our public lands and waters, bolster community resilience, and address the changing climate. It will provide AmeriCorps with a historic $15 billion investment to expand service opportunities and increase the living allowance and education award for all AmeriCorps members, making national service a more accessible pathway to good-paying union jobs for more Americans of all backgrounds.
     
  • Investing in Civic Infrastructure. The Build Back Better Act contains $3 billion to create a new Community Restoration and Revitalization Fund, which will fund community-led civic infrastructure projects to create shared amenities that spark local economic activity, provide services, and strengthen communities’ civic fabric.
     
  • Supporting Local Journalism. The Build Back Better Act will provide tax credits for local newsrooms to hire journalists, helping to stabilize newsroom budgets in the face of unprecedented challenges and sustaining Americans’ access to the independent journalism that informs citizens and holds the powerful accountable.

The Biden-Harris Administration firmly believes that renewing democracy around the globe begins by working diligently and transparently to strengthen its foundations at home. The Administration is taking bold action across the Summit’s three broad themes: strengthening democracy and defending against authoritarianism; fighting corruption; and promoting respect for human rights.

Strengthening Democracy and Defending Against Authoritarianism
In addition to pressing for essential legislation to protect voting rights and strengthen our democracy, the Biden-Harris Administration is using available authorities and resources to defend the right to vote. The Administration has also advanced a broad range of actions to repair the fabric of our democracy, from bolstering workers’ rights and unions, an essential bulwark of democratic societies, to combating domestic violent extremism. Building on the work of the past year, new announcements we will be highlighting this week include:

Ensuring Compliance with Voting Rights Laws. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has taken a variety of steps to help protect the right to vote, including doubling the number of voting rights attorneys, taking steps to ensure compliance with voting rights statutes, and issuing guidance on (1) the civil and criminal statutes that apply to post-election audits, (2) methods of voting, including early voting and voting by mail, and (3) the vote-dilution protections that apply to all jurisdictions under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act as they engage in redistricting.
 

Making it Easier for Americans to Register to Vote. Federal agencies continue to robustly implement President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Access to Voting, including among many other things:
 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will make it easier for consumers using HealthCare.gov to connect to voter registration services and receive assistance. CMS will also work with states on improving access to voter registration.
 

The Department of Veterans Affairs will provide materials and assistance in registering and voting for tens of thousands of inpatients and residents, including VA Medical Center inpatients and residents of VA nursing homes and treatment centers for homeless veterans.  The Department will also facilitate assistance in registering and voting for homebound veterans and their caregivers through VA’s home-based and telehealth teams. 
 

The U.S. Small Business Administration became the first federal agency to request designation as a voter registration agency pursuant to the National Voter Registration Act, committing to offer Americans seeking services at the agency’s District Field Offices the opportunity to register to vote.
 

Combating Misinformation and Disinformation. Today, the White House announced that an interagency Information Integrity Research and Development Working Group will develop and release a first-of-its-kind strategic plan concerning government-wide research and development to better understand the full information ecosystem; design strategies for preserving information integrity and mitigating the effects of information manipulation, including mis- and disinformation; support information awareness and education; and foster a multi-disciplinary and collaborative research environment.

 
Fighting Corruption
Since Day One, the administration has worked to earn and keep the trust of Americans by cracking down on corruption and promoting an accountable and transparent government that works for the people, from  requiring all appointees to take a stringent ethics pledge, to releasing the President’s and Vice-President’s taxes, to issuing policies to restore DOJ’s independence. In addition to the steps we’ve already taken, this week we will be highlighting actions including:
 

  • Developing a Strategy on Countering Corruption. The Biden-Harris Administration released the first-ever United States Strategy on Countering Corruption, outlining a whole-of-government approach to elevating the fight against corruption both at home and abroad. The Strategy includes the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) publishing proposed regulations requiring companies to identify to FinCEN the real people who own or control them, making it harder for criminals to launder illicit proceeds through shell companies. The Strategy also commits FinCEN to launching a regulatory process for potential new reporting and recordkeeping requirements to increase transparency in real estate transactions, diminishing the ability of corrupt actors to launder ill-gotten proceeds through real estate purchases.
     
  • Restoring Ethics, Transparency, and the Rule of Law. The Administration will continue working with Congress to restore democratic guardrails to prevent future abuses of presidential power and curtail corruption, with legislation that is consistent with our constitutional principles and that appropriately addresses the balance of powers between the three branches of our federal government. In doing so, the Administration will work to ensure that no branch is able to abuse its authority or undermine a co-equal branch’s constitutional prerogatives, no matter who is in power.

 
Promoting Respect for Human Rights
The Biden-Harris Administration has centered equity and the advancement of fundamental rights as a priority to ensure that all Americans are able to fully participate in our democracy and have a fair shot at the American dream. The Administration has worked to embed equity across many fronts, including taking concrete steps to advance gender equality; accelerate LGBTQI+ equality; expand access and inclusion for Americans with disabilities; support and respect Native communities; combat hate crimes; and reform our criminal justice system. In addition to all of the work that has happened over the past year, this week we are proud to highlight new announcements including: 

  • Combating Human Trafficking. In a new National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, the Biden-Harris Administration is reaffirming its commitment to addressing this abhorrent crime, which disproportionately impacts some of the most vulnerable and underserved members of our society. The plan lays out foundational pillars of U.S. and global anti-trafficking efforts — prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships.
     
  • Closing the Racial Wealth Gap. The Biden-Harris Administration — the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world — recently announced new reforms to the federal procurement process that will increase equity, help close the racial wealth gap, and level the playing field for underserved small businesses. The President is delivering on his goal of increasing the share of federal procurement dollars to small disadvantaged businesses, which Black-owned, Latino-owned, and other minority-owned businesses are presumed to qualify, by 50 percent by 2025. This ambitious target will mean an additional $100 billion for underserved small businesses over the next five years.
     
  • Promoting Equality for Transgender and Gender Diverse Americans. Building on the State Department’s announcement that it will offer a third gender marker on U.S. passports, the White House is convening an interagency policy committee to advance a coordinated federal approach to expanding access to accurate and inclusive federal identity documents for transgender and gender diverse people.

Democracy is always a work-in-progress, a constant striving to build a more perfect union. Following the Summit, the Biden-Harris Administration and democracies across the globe will convene governmental, civil society, and private sector partners during a year of consultation, coordination, and action (“Year of Action”) to advance democracy, after which time President Biden intends to again gather world leaders to showcase our collective progress and forge a path forward. The Biden-Harris Administration will continue its steadfast work to strengthen democracy, with additional actions and commitments to be announced throughout the year to come.

For a more comprehensive accounting of the Biden-Harris Administration’s record of accomplishments and ongoing efforts to restore and reinvigorate American democracy, you can go to WH.Gov.

FACT SHEET: Biden Signs Executive Order Catalyzing America’s Clean Energy Economy Through Federal Sustainability

By shifting its own systems, infrastructure, and workforce to clean energy, the federal government will help create the economic thresholds to transition society from heat-trapping fossil fuels that are contributing to the climate crisis © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

U.S. Government Will Lead by Example to Leverage Scale and Procurement Power to Drive Clean, Healthy, and Resilient Operations
 
Today, President Biden signed an executive order that demonstrates how the United States will leverage its scale and procurement power to lead by example in tackling the climate crisis. The executive order will reduce emissions across federal operations, invest in American clean energy industries and manufacturing, and create clean, healthy, and resilient communities. The President is building on his whole-of-government effort to tackle the climate crisis in a way that creates well-paying jobs, grows industries, and makes the country more economically competitive.
 
The President’s executive order directs the federal government to use its scale and procurement power to achieve five ambitious goals:

  • 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity (CFE) by 2030, at least half of which will be locally supplied clean energy to meet 24/7 demand;
  • 100 percent zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) acquisitions by 2035, including 100 percent zero-emission light-duty vehicle acquisitions by 2027;
  • Net-zero emissions from federal procurement no later than 2050, including a Buy Clean policy to promote use of construction materials with lower embodied emissions;
  • A net-zero emissions building portfolio by 2045, including a 50 percent emissions reduction by 2032; and
  • Net-zero emissions from overall federal operations by 2050, including a 65 percent emissions reduction by 2030.

In addition to the five new commitments that form the pillars of today’s executive action, the President also directed the federal government to orient its procurement and operations efforts in line with the following principles and goals:

  • Achieving climate resilient infrastructure and operations;
  • Building a climate- and sustainability-focused workforce;
  • Advancing environmental justice and equity;
  • Prioritizing the purchase of sustainable products, such as products without added perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS); and
  • Accelerating progress through domestic and international partnerships.

Today’s executive action is a part of the President’s broader commitment to increasing investments in America’s manufacturing industries and workers to build back our country better.  By transforming how the federal government builds, buys, and manages its assets and operations, the federal government will support the growth of America’s clean energy and clean technology industries, while accelerating America’s progress toward achieving a carbon pollution-free electricity sector by 2035.
 
President Biden’s executive order demonstrates how the United States government will lead by example to provide a strong foundation for American businesses to compete and win globally in the clean energy economy while creating well paying, union jobs at home. Today’s executive action further reinforces the President’s directive to Buy American and ensure that equity and environmental justice are key considerations in federal operations planning and decision making.
 
The White House also released a detailed description of this plan: The Federal Sustainability Plan: Catalyzing America’s Clean Energy Industries and Creating Jobs Through Federal Sustainability.
 
Together, the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Budget for Fiscal Year 2022, and Build Back Better Act will provide agencies with the funding necessary to achieve the goals of the executive order.
 
Catalyzing America’s Clean Energy Industries and Jobs through Federal Sustainability Executive Order
 
Through this executive order, the federal government will transform its portfolio of 300,000 buildings, fleet of 600,000 cars and trucks, and annual purchasing power of $650 billion in goods and services to:

  1. Transition federal infrastructure to zero-emission vehicles and buildings powered by carbon pollution-free electricity, which will reduce the federal government’s greenhouse gas emissions by 65 percent by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
     
  2. Make federal agencies more adaptive and resilient to the impacts of climate change, and increase the sustainability of federal supply chains, achieving net-zero emissions from federal procurement by 2050.  
     
  3. Mainstream sustainability within the federal workforce, advance equity and environmental justice, and leverage partnerships to accelerate progress.

Transition federal infrastructure to zero-emission vehicles and energy efficient buildings powered by carbon pollution-free electricity:

  • Achieve 100 percent carbon pollution-free electricity use by 2030, including 50 percent on a 24/7 basis. The federal government will work with utilities, developers, technology firms, financiers and others to purchase electricity produced from resources that generate no carbon emissions, including solar and wind, for all its operations by 2030. Half of the federal government’s 100 percent carbon pollution-free annual electricity demand will be procured on a 24/7 basis, meaning that the federal government’s real-time demand for electricity will be met with clean energy every hour, every day, and produced within the same regional grid where the electricity is consumed. With the scope and scale of this electricity demand, the federal government expects it will catalyze the development of at least 10 gigawatts of new American clean electricity production by 2030, spurring the creation of new union jobs and moving the country closer to achieving a carbon pollution-free electricity sector by 2035.
     
  • Transition to 100 percent acquisition of zero-emission vehicles by 2035 for the federal vehicle fleet, including 100 percent light duty vehicle acquisition by 2027. The federal government will work with American vehicle, battery, and charging equipment manufacturers and installers to transform its fleet into the largest zero-emission vehicle fleet in the Nation, reaching 100 percent zero-emission vehicle acquisitions by 2035. This will accelerate the advancement of America’s industrial capacity to supply zero-emission vehicles and electric vehicle batteries and create and sustain good union jobs in manufacturing, engineering, and skilled-trades.
     
  • Modernize the federal buildings portfolio to reach net-zero emissions by 2045, including a 50 percent reduction in building emissions by 2032. The federal government will work across existing real property and during new building construction and major renovations to increase water and energy efficiency, reduce waste, electrify systems, and promote sustainable locations for federal facilities to strengthen the vitality and livability of the communities in which federal facilities are located. Additionally, the Biden-Harris Administration will implement the first-ever Federal Building Performance Standard, and will use performance contracting to improve buildings with no up-front costs.

Make federal agencies more adaptive and resilient to the impacts of climate change, and increase the sustainability of federal supply chains, achieving net-zero emissions from federal procurement by 2050.

  • Make federal agencies more adaptive and resilient to the impacts of climate change. The intensifying impacts of climate change present physical, operational, and financial risks to federal infrastructure, agency missions, and our services to the American people. Agencies will implement the actions identified through their October 7, 2021, Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plans and modernize federal policy, programs, operations, and infrastructure to support climate resilience investment. By taking action now to better manage and mitigate climate risks, we will minimize future disruptions and destruction to federal operations, assets, and programs and ensure the federal government can continue providing critical services to the Nation.
     
  • Increase the sustainability of federal supply chains, achieving net-zero emissions from federal procurement by 2050. The companies that supply the federal government are critical partners in achieving our climate goals and growing the economy and American jobs. Cutting emissions from the federal government’s procurement also means buying materials with a lower carbon footprint. The federal government will launch a “buy clean” initiative for low-carbon materials and prioritize the purchase of sustainable products, such as products without added perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Through these actions, the federal government will provide a large and stable signal to the market for sustainable and low-carbon goods made in America, advancing America’s industrial capacity to supply the goods and materials of the future while growing good jobs for American workers.

Mainstream sustainability within the federal workforce, advance equity and environmental justice, and leverage partnerships to accelerate progress.

  • Mainstream sustainability within the federal workforce. The federal government’s 4.2 million employees are critical stakeholders and leaders in the shift to sustainable and resilient operations. The federal government will build capacity through engagement, education, and training so that federal workers are ready to embed sustainability, climate adaptation, and environmental stewardship analysis and action in their jobs as we work to Build Back Better.
     
  • Advance equity and environmental justice. The federal government will advance the goals of the Administration’s Justice40 Initiative by ensuring that economic equity and environmental justice are key considerations in operations planning and decision making. A federal environmental justice representative will serve on the newly established Chief Sustainability Officer Council. To incorporate equity, agencies will implement this executive order consistent with the President’s Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, which helps ensure that government contracting and procurement opportunities are available on an equal basis.
     
  • Leverage partnerships to accelerate progress. Collaboration with leading American unions, businesses, States, Tribes, municipalities, and other countries will accelerate progress and catalyze greater climate action at home and abroad. The federal government will build upon its newly launched Greening Government Initiative, which convenes governments around the world to collaborate on greening government operations. Further, the Administration will launch a Presidential Sustainability Executives Program, placing senior leaders from the private and non-profit sectors to serve across the federal government, bringing innovative perspectives and critical expertise to achieve these ambitious, and imperative, sustainability and climate preparedness goals.

Actions Agencies are Taking to Meet the Goals of the Sustainability Executive Order

Across the federal government, agencies are moving expeditiously to meet the President’s call for action and are positioned to meet the ambitious goals of his executive order and Federal Sustainability Plan. Highlights are included below:
 
100 percent CFE by 2030, including 50 percent on a 24/7 Basis

  • In 2022, the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Edwards Air Force Base in California will add 520 megawatts (MW) of CFE to the grid by completing one of the country’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) array projects and in the process creating more than 1,000 union and other construction jobs.
     
  • In 2022, DOD’s Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii will complete construction of the nation’s largest 100 percent clean energy microgrid. By leveraging a 14-megawatt (MW) solar facility paired with a 70 megawatt-hour (MWh) battery energy storage system sited on the base, the Pacific Missile Range Facility can become self-sufficient for all its electricity needs in the event of a loss of transmission feed from the utility grid.

100 Percent ZEV Acquisitions by 2035, including 100 percent Light-Duty ZEV Acquisitions by 2027

  • In 2021, the Department of the Interior (DOI) began transitioning its fleet of U.S. Park Police lightweight motorcycles and dirt bikes to 100 percent ZEVs at its Washington, D.C., New York City, and San Francisco locations, with plans to reach a 100 ZEV fleet by 2025.
     
  • In early 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will begin field testing the Ford Mustang Mach-E ZEV for use in its law enforcement fleet, which currently consists of over 30,000 vehicles.

Net-Zero Emissions Buildings by 2045, including a 50 percent reduction by 2032

  • In 2023, the Department of Transportation will complete its Volpe Transportation Center project that collapses six buildings into a low-emissions building with rooftop solar PV panels, ZEV charging stations for the federal fleet and employee vehicles, green and cool roof technologies, a rainwater reclamation and reuse system, and a climate-resilient above-grade data center.
     
  • By 2022, the Department of the Treasury will have completed the majority of its energy infrastructure improvements at an Internal Revenue Service Center outside of New York City through a 17-year, $30.9 million energy savings performance contract (ESPC). The ESPC has so far delivered nearly $14 million in capital improvements and $2.2 million in annual utility bill savings. ESPCs allow federal agencies to procure energy savings and facility improvements with no up-front capital costs or special appropriations from Congress.

Net-Zero Emissions Procurement by 2050

  • In 2021, DOD collected information from its suppliers on their efforts to measure and report greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. DOD is using this information to develop low-carbon purchasing guidelines that will become part of its standard operating procedures.
     
  • In 2022, the General Services Administration (GSA) will require contractors to disclose the embodied carbon of building materials for new building and major modernization contracts. Embodied carbon refers to the greenhouse gas emissions (mostly carbon dioxide) resulting from the mining, harvesting, processing, manufacturing, transportation, and installation of materials. 

Net-Zero Emissions from overall Federal Operations by 2050, including a 65 percent reduction by 2030

  • By January 2022, DOD’s Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany in Georgia anticipates achieving net-zero energy status.

Climate Resilient Infrastructure and Operations

  • In 2021, more than 20 major federal agencies released plans describing how they will integrate climate-readiness across missions and programs and bolster resilience of Federal assets. For example, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is collecting building-level data across HUD programs to map existing climate risks to help inform the Department on how to best address climate impacts and protect HUD-assisted assets and their occupants.
     
  • DOD is integrating climate change considerations across its strategic guidance and planning documents, including the National Defense Strategy, which will be released in 2022.

Develop a Climate- and Sustainability-Focused Workforce

  • The Department of State is assessing its climate and sustainability management staffing and training gaps to inform a longer-term plan that will prioritize areas of concern and greatest needs.
     
  • In 2022, the Department of Labor will launch a new training course for its senior leadership team on climate change management considerations and environmental justice principals. The Department will also include climate change literacy in new employee orientation material.

Advance Environmental Justice and Equity

  • In 2021, GSA launched an Environmental Justice and Equity Task Group to identify and propose effective approaches to improve environmental justice and equity in federal sustainable building processes, enhancing engagement with communities and key partners throughout the building lifecycle.
     
  • In 2021, the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) convened Climate and Equity roundtables across the country to gather feedback to inform how NOAA provides climate services, engages with underserved and vulnerable communities, and strengthens internal processes to respond to expressed needs.
     
  • As outlined in its October 2021 Strategic Framework for Addressing Climate ChangeDHS is incorporating the need to achieve equity as guiding principle through all lines of effort described in the framework.

Accelerate Progress Through Domestic and International Partnerships

  • In 2021, the United States and Canada launched the Greening Government Initiative, a first-of-its-kind initiative that will enable countries to share lessons learned, promote innovation, and accelerate national efforts to green government operations and help meet Paris Agreement commitments. Today, the 39 GGI participating countries are beginning share key organizational features and policies and identify potential areas for collaboration.
     
  • In 2020, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) New England’s Boston Healthcare System partnered with National Grid on a plan to transition its 70-car fleet to ZEV. Consistent with National Grid’s recommendations, VA is working with GSA to procure approximately 25 ZEVs in the 2022 acquisition cycle.

Biden Administration Takes Action to Protect Americans from Rising Home Heating Costs

The Biden-Harris Administration called on states, localities and tribes to plan early and coordinate across programs to effectively use historic American Rescue Plan resources to address home energy costs this winter. The White House also called on utility companies that receive public dollars to prevent devastating utility shut-offs this winter and help expedite the delivery of unprecedented federal aid © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Biden Administration, recognizing the pressure American families are under because of rapidly rising costs for food, gasoline and home heating oil, largely caused by the sudden surge in demand at a time when supply chains are still struggling under the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, has taken a number of steps to alleviate pressure. The administration has worked to alleviate the bottlenecks at major ports, facilitated hiring of truck drivers, and has relieved much of the pressure (Los Angeles port has 29 percent fewer containers waiting to be dispatched); Biden has directed the FTC to insure gas and oil companies are not gouging consumers, and now, the Biden Administration announced it would deploy American Rescue Plan funds to protect American families from home heating costs. Here is a fact sheet of the Administration’s actions on home heating costs – Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

FACT SHEET:

Biden Administration Deploys American Rescue Plan Funds to Protect Americans from Rising Home Heating Costs; Calls on Utility Companies to Prevent Shut Offs This Winter

 Unprecedented Funding and Partnerships with State, Local and Tribal Governments to Protect Vulnerable Homeowners and Renters

Today, the Biden-Harris Administration called on states, localities and tribes to plan early and coordinate across programs to effectively use historic American Rescue Plan resources to address home energy costs this winter. The White House also called on utility companies that receive public dollars to prevent devastating utility shut-offs this winter and help expedite the delivery of unprecedented federal aid.
 
The American Rescue Plan provides critical resources that states, localities and tribes can use to address home energy costs:

  • More than doubling available Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding: The recent average annual funding for LIHEAP is $3-4 billion, which typically serves 5 million households. The American Rescue Plan provided an additional $4.5 billion available until September 2022.
     
  • Delivering Emergency Rental Assistance—unavailable in previous winters—to help cover utility bills: First established last December—and provided an additional $21.5 billion in funding by the American Rescue Plan—Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) programs provide help with past-due utility bills or ongoing assistance with energy costs to help distressed renters avoid shut-offs and keep current on expenses. Even as most programs were just beginning to ramp up between January and June 2021, grantees made over 200,000 payments to support households with utility arrears and over 140,000 prospective utility payments.
     
  • Providing state, local and tribal governments additional resources to help energy-burdened middle-class families, including through the $350 billion State & Local Fiscal Recovery Fund: States and localities have the flexibility to use Fiscal Recovery Funds to help deliver energy relief to families, including for middle-class households that may not be eligible for programs directed to the lowest income consumers.

Today the White House called on Utilities and Energy Providers to Commit to Proactively Use Their Resources to Help

The Administration welcomed initial commitments from several utility companies including DTE EnergyEversourceNational GridNorthWestern Energy and Portland General Electric, as well as the delivered fuel trade association NEFI, that all agreed to the following:

  • Identify Eligible Recipients: Many utility companies already offer programs to help families in need. Utilities should proactively identify those who may be eligible for public benefits, such as LIHEAP and ERA, using financial hardship and other customer data. In order to help identify and prequalify customers for benefits, utilities can also use third-party data – such as whether a home is rented or owned and which census tract it is in – and data through partnership with government agencies including income or proxies, like eligibility for other programs. For example, in Connecticut, utilities are using third-party data to pre-qualify and contact customers, and share the results with state agencies to expedite energy assistance payments.
     
  • Directly Screen and Notify Potentially Eligible Recipients: Utilities and energy providers should inform customers of energy assistance programs, screen customers for benefits eligibility, and facilitate referrals to available benefits programs prior to any shut-offs.
     
  • Expedite Assistance to Vulnerable Households: Energy providers should be critical partners by proactively working to establish the processes and data-sharing relationships needed to speed benefits to their eligible customers as quickly as possible. For example, in Michigan, utilities work in partnership with the state to receive bundled payments on behalf of many customers at once, speeding processing and helping benefits quickly reach their customer’s accounts. In South Carolina, utility companies receive a bulk payment from the state prior to the full satisfaction of application and documentation requirements that they can use to apply benefits to customers quickly.
     
  • No Shutoffs for Customers Applying for Financial Hardship Assistance: Beyond state or local shut-off moratoria requirements, when utility companies are notified that a customer is applying for financial hardship assistance, including energy assistance benefits, they should commit to restore service or delay shut-off. For example, in Michigan, once a household applies for ERA utility benefits, the utility company places a hold on utility shut off. Utilities should also commit to provide at least 30 days’ notice to all customers before a shut-off.
     
  • Facilitate Assistance to Delivered Fuel Customers: In order to expedite benefits, providers of delivered fuels should commit to proactively notify families in distress of how to contact a state and local agency for assistance. Fuel providers with capacity should set up processes to facilitate referrals with customer permission. Fuel providers should prioritize deliveries to households approved for benefits, particularly where providers receive direct deposits credited to customer accounts prior to or immediately following delivery. Fuel providers with capacity should go even further by agreeing to deliver fuels to approved households through deferred payment or budgeting agreements.

Today the Administration also called on States, Localities and Tribes to:
 
Prepare Early to Distribute Expanded LIHEAP to More Families

  • Strong and Effective Winter Plans: The Administration is providing technical assistance to LIHEAP grantees to speed up state and local planning and program implementation for winter.
     
  • Quick and Automatic Distribution of Benefits: HHS is urging grantees to consider expediting payments to households that have benefitted from LIHEAP in previous years and simplifying eligibility verification. This option will not be appropriate for all grantees, but some states have already shown it can work. For example, Maine and New York are providing automatic payments to households who have received benefits in the past.
     
  • Expanded Outreach to Newly Eligible Households: HHS is urging grantees to consider additional outreach to households who need energy assistance for the first time this year. A significant number of households receive LIHEAP year after year, but as a result of the economic disruption of the pandemic and rising energy prices additional households are expected to need help. These households may be unfamiliar with how to access benefits, and grantees can help these families access the unprecedented LIHEAP resources available as well as refer to other benefits.
     
  • Coordination between LIHEAP, ERA and Other Programs: Given differences in eligibility, HHS and Treasury are clarifying how grantees of LIHEAP and ERA can coordinate to quickly provide benefits to eligible households. Coordination ensures support can reach a greater number of households, including those who do not qualify for LIHEAP due to their household incomes, people on fixed incomes, the elderly, and others in need. These best practices include coordinating outreach to households, establishing regular communication with program leaders and energy providers, streamlining intake, and referring across programs as appropriate. For example, rental households not fully served by LIHEAP could be referred to ERA, and homeowners could be referred to LIHEAP. Where available, the Homeowners Assistance Fund may be able to serve middle-class homeowner households.

 Use of Emergency Rental Assistance to Aid Renters with Utility Costs

  • Provide Forward-Looking Assistance to Low-income Renters Facing High Energy Costs: The Treasury Department is encouraging grantees to take advantage of the flexibility to provide forward-looking utility assistance payments over the next several months to low-income families facing high heating costs, including for those renters who rely on delivered fuels to heat their homes. ERA grantees may also cover arrears and related fees for utility bills dating back to the start of the pandemic.
     
  • Lower Burdens and Speed Assistance to Distressed Renters Through Collaboration between ERA Program Administrators and Utility Providers: The Administration is facilitating cooperation between state and local governments and utility providers to identify customers at risk of energy insecurity and confirm household eligibility. To support this effort, the Treasury Department has issued guidance encouraging grantees to establish data sharing agreements and bulk payment methods with utility providers.
     
  • Expedite Payments Through Partnerships with Non-Profits to Prevent the Loss of Utility Services: When the rapid delivery of a payment could reasonably be necessary to prevent the loss of utility services, Treasury has provided grantees flexibility to partner with nonprofit organizations for the purpose of making immediate payments while a household’s application is still being processed.
     
  • Increased Home Heating Costs Can Qualify Income-Eligible Households for Needed Assistance this WinterThe Treasury Department is clarifying that elevated energy costs may be a form of COVID-19-related hardship that puts distressed renters at-risk of housing instability qualifying them for assistance with their utilities. Households can self-attest to experiencing both a COVID-related hardship and risk of housing instability based on significant increases in their home heating costs.

Use All Available Tools to Help Working and Middle-Class Families

  • State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund Can Help Families Ineligible for Other Support: States, localities and tribes can tap the $350 billion allocated by the American Rescue Plan to provide additional relief on home heating costs, particularly to middle-class households. For example, Louisville has supported a utility relief fund that provides residents who have fallen behind on gas or electric bills a one-time credit of up to $1,000.
     
  • $10 Billion Homeowners Assistance Fund to help Distressed Homeowners Keep Up with Utility Bills: Treasury is encouraging states, tribes and territories to utilize funds from this American Rescue Plan program to help cover home energy costs or prevent the loss of utilities this winter, including for hard-pressed middle-class families.
     
  • $1 Billion Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund: The American Rescue Plan also created a new fund for states, territories and tribes of which a substantial portion remains and is available to provide cash or utility-specific assistance to needy families. 

The Administration also Highlighted Additional Financial Support Helping Hard-Pressed Families with Energy Costs:

  • 1/3 of Families Using Child Tax Credit for Utility Bills: Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, the families of more than 61 million children are receiving expanded monthly Child Tax Credit payments up to $300 per child and nearly a third used it to pay for utilities –including home energy costs – between July and October 2021.
     
  • Weatherization Assistance to Reduce Energy Costs: The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act invests a historic $3.5 billion in the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program, reducing energy costs for more than 700,000 low-income households by increasing the energy efficiency of their homes.
     
  • $100 million to Cover Rent and Utilities in Hard-Hit Rural Areas: The American Rescue Plan is providing financial support through September 2022 to over 26,000 overburdened rural households living in multi-family housing financed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • Preventing Families from Choosing “Heat or Eat”: More low-income children and families face hunger when energy prices rise during winter as higher home heating costs eat up family budgets. The Biden-Harris Administration increased Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits on October 1 by an average of $36.24 per month, which will help to prevent this cruel tradeoff between heat and food this winter.

Biden Administration’s Objections to $778 Billion National Defense Authorization Act is Roadmap to Defense Policy

While strongly supporting enactment of a National Defense Authorization Act, the Biden Administration took exception to several aspects including funding platforms that cannot be properly modernized, wanting to merge Trump’s Space Force into the Air National Guard instead of an expensive stand-alone, and wanting funding to close Guantanamo. It also addresses Afghanistan and Israel, among others, and is generally a statement of Biden’s defense policy © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

While “strongly supporting” enactment of a National Defense Authorization Act, the Biden Administration took exception to several aspects including funding platforms that cannot be properly modernized, wanting to merge Trump’s Space Force into the Air National Guard instead of an expensive stand-alone, and wanting funding to close Guantanamo. It also addresses Afghanistan and Israel, among others, and is generally a statement of Biden’s defense policy.

The Administration looks forward to continuing to work with Congress to set an appropriate and responsible level of defense spending to support the security of the Nation.  At the same time, the Administration looks forward to working with Congress to provide appropriate resources for non-security investments and security investments outside the Department of Defense (DOD).”

Senator Bernie Sanders said he would vote against the $778 billion reauthorization bill as hypocrisy, when too many in Congress say the nation can’t afford universal health care and pre-K, while allocating $37 billion more than Trump’s last budget, even though the war in Afghanistan is over (where is the “peace dividend”?)

This is a bill that has us spending more money on the military than the next 12 nations combined and more money in real inflation-adjusted dollars than we did during the height of the Cold War or during the wars in Vietnam and Korea,” Sanders declared.

“This is a bill giving an obscene amount of money to an agency – the Department of Defense – with hundreds of billions of dollars of cost overruns and which remains the only federal agency that hasn’t been able to pass an independent audit in decades.

“On top of that, it is likely that Senate leadership will attach a so-called ‘competitiveness bill’ that includes $52 billion in corporate welfare, no strings attached money for a handful of extremely profitable microchip companies” for a combined $1 trillion bill, Sanders stated.

Biden would more or less agree on much of Sanders’ issues:

Here is the Statement of Administration Policy Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
S. 2792 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022

(Sen. Reed, D-RI, and Sen. Inhofe, R-OK)

The Administration strongly supports enactment of a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for a 61st consecutive year and is grateful for the strong, bipartisan work this year by the Senate Armed Services Committee on behalf of America’s national defense. 

The Administration looks forward to continuing to work with Congress to set an appropriate and responsible level of defense spending to support the security of the Nation.  At the same time, the Administration looks forward to working with Congress to provide appropriate resources for non-security investments and security investments outside the Department of Defense (DOD).  A strong economy is critical to ensuring that our Nation is positioned for strategic competition, and investments in diplomacy, development, and economic statecraft enhance the effectiveness of national defense spending and promote national security.

The Administration opposes the direction to add funding for platforms and systems that cannot be affordably modernized given the need to eliminate wasteful spending and prioritize survivable, and resilient forces that credibly deter advanced threats.  Our national security interests require forces that can fight across the spectrum of conflict.

The Administration looks forward to working with Congress to address its concerns, a number of which are outlined below.  The Administration also looks forward to reviewing the classified annex to the committee report and working with Congress to address any concerns about classified programs.

Optimizing Program Investments and Modernization.  The Administration strongly opposes restoration of funding to systems that limit DOD’s ability to divest or retire lower priority platforms not relevant to tomorrow’s battlefield.  The President’s Budget divests or retires vulnerable and costly platforms that no longer meet mission or security needs, and reinvests those savings in transformational, innovative assets that match the dynamic threat landscape and advance the capabilities of the force of the future.  The Administration strongly opposes language that would limit decommissioning or inactivation of battle force ships before the end of their expected service life (section 135) and retiring A-10 aircraft (section 143).  The Administration also strongly opposes language that would establish minimum inventory requirements of systems such as tactical airlift and fighter aircraft (sections 141 and 142) and would authorize unrequested funding for Expeditionary Fast Transport ships.  Such provisions would limit the Department’s flexibility to prioritize resource investment, delay modernization of capabilities, and impede implementation of the emergent National Defense Strategy. 

Afghanistan Security Forces Fund.  Section 1213 provides authorities no longer needed following the collapse of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF).  Therefore, the Administration strongly urges the Senate to adopt the language in the House bill to enable the responsible termination of the Afghanistan Security Forces Fund (ASFF) by authorizing the use of ASFF for costs associated with the termination of support to the ANDSF.  The termination will involve, at a minimum, closing out several hundred contracts and, in many cases, negotiating financial settlements with the contractors, developing a full accounting for all ASFF-funded equipment and supplies that are outside Afghanistan, and assessing amounts and the use of appropriations for potential contract settlement costs and the cost of transporting and storing ASFF-funded materiel for purposes of treating it as DOD stocks.  More analysis is necessary to develop prudent estimates of these costs and of timelines for completing these actions.

Recommendations of the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military (IRC).  The Administration commends the determined and bipartisan effort reflected by the bill to advance the shared goal of Congress and the Administration to make real and sustainable progress on the prevention of and response to sexual assault and other related crimes, and improve support for survivors.

The Administration supports effective implementation of the IRC’s recommendations focused on accountability, improving prevention, climate and culture, and victim care and support and has developed and instituted a phased implementation plan to build the foundation and infrastructure necessary to do so sustainably.  The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to clarify Sec. 530B, to allow for alignment with the Department of Defense’s ongoing implementation strategy. Additionally, some of the IRC’s recommendations – such as 4.2 b, which relates to services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs – are beyond the authority of the Secretary of Defense to implement unilaterally. 

The Administration is committed to executing military justice reform, and welcomes efforts by Congress to enact legislation that supports core aspects of the IRC’s recommendations for accountability, namely: that the decision to prosecute special victim crimes (including, but not limited to: sexual assault, sexual harassment, and domestic violence) be made by Special Victim Prosecutors (SVPs) within a fully professionalized judge advocate organization; that SVPs have the requisite litigation experience and specialized training to be able to work with victims of these complex, interpersonal crimes; and that each Military Department establish an Office of the Special Victim Prosecutor (OSVP) that can operate with independence from the command reporting structure and under the direction of the Secretary of the Military Department, without intervening authority.  The Administration believes that each Secretary of a Military Department should have discretion to determine the director of the OSVP, who may be a Senior Executive Service civilian, best suited to carry out the mission of the Office as determined by that Secretary. 

To ensure effective reform, the Administration recommends the date prescribed by section 552, so that adequate time is provided to issue necessary implementing regulations, identify and hire appropriately qualified personnel, train both new and existing personnel, and then place them in newly created positions.

Additionally, effective reform will require an increase in the resources committed to the system.  Accordingly, the Administration objects to section 564, which would require implementation of the military justice reforms using otherwise-authorized personnel and resources.  The Administration will work with Congress to determine the appropriate resource level needed to ensure effective implementation of the revised military justice system. 

In addition to these recommendations from the IRC, the Administration urges Congress to enable military protective orders (MPOs) to be given full faith and credit, and enact legislation that would provide DOD and the Services sufficient time to assess and implement this change.

Limitation on Modifications to Sexual Assault Reporting Procedures.  The Administration strongly objects to section 566, which would prohibit the Secretary of Defense from amending section 4 of enclosure 4 of DOD Instruction 6495.02, relating to Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Procedures, “or otherwise prescribe any regulations or guidance relating to the treatment and handling of unrestricted and restricted reports of sexual assault, until 30 days after notifying the congressional defense committees of the proposed amendment or modification.”  This provision could delay potential needed updates to DOD’s sexual assault regulations.  The administration is committed to working with Congress in a transparent way on these important matters, but must maintain flexibility to amend internal policies when needed.

Air and Space National Guard.  The Administration does not oppose section 902, which would rename the Air National Guard as the Air and Space National Guard.  This provision would avoid the significant administrative expenses associated with establishing a stand-alone Space National Guard, so DOD can prioritize the development of new space capabilities.  The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress on alternative Space Force concepts that are efficient, effective, and appropriate for space missions.

DOD Contractor Professional Training Material Disclosure Requirements.  The Administration strongly opposes section 818, which would require all DOD contractors to post online or, if they lack an online presence, submit in paper to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment all diversity, equal opportunity, equity, inclusion, or tolerance training materials or internal policies related to these subjects.  This provision would require the disclosure of intellectual property and proprietary information.  Furthermore, the provision would be a barrier to entry, especially for small businesses or companies contracting with the Department for the first time.  This provision, therefore, would limit the number of entities willing or able to do business with the Department at a time when access to talent, technology, and innovation is a critical determinant of the U.S.’s ability to compete.

Limitations on Use of Funds in the National Defense Sealift (NDS) Fund.  The Administration strongly objects to the removal of funding for used sealift vessels.  The Administration also urges support for the necessary relief to recapitalize the sealift fleet with used vessels by removing existing statutory limitations.  The Administration strongly encourages Congress to remove the statutory cap on the number of used sealift vessels DOD can procure and to remove the statutory link between the use of NDS funding for the purchase of used vessels and the requirement to procure new construction vessels.  This will allow the Administration to recapitalize the sealift fleet, with all used ship conversions taking place in U.S. shipyards, for a fraction of the cost of procuring new vessels.

Basic Needs Allowance for Low-Income Regular Members.  The Administration supports a basic needs allowance.  The Administration needs a more comprehensive data analysis to determine the inclusion or exclusion of basic allowance for housing when considering the calculation of a basic needs allowance.  Using this analysis, the Administration would like to work with Congress to develop an appropriate calculation for targeting recipients of a basic needs allowance.

Prohibition on Missile Defense Agency Production of Satellites and Ground Systems Associated with Operation of Such Satellites.  The Administration strongly objects to section 1510, which would prohibit the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) from authorizing or obligating funding for a program of record for the production of satellites, with an associated limitation of funds. Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) On-Orbit Prototype Demonstration phase began in January 2021 with contracts awarded to two industry teams.  This program supports unique missile defense requirements to provide fire-control quality tracking data on hypersonic and ballistic missile threats for engagement by missile defense weapons, and is a critical element of the Missile Defense System kill-chain.  Enacting section 1510 would delay delivery of this capability to the warfighter.  Also, consistent with congressional direction, the Secretary of Defense has certified the Director of MDA as the responsible agent for developing the HBTSS capability.

Modification of United States-Israel Operations-Technology Cooperation within the United States-Israel Defense Acquisition Advisory Group.  While the Administration strongly supports strengthening the U.S.-Israel relationship, the Administration strongly opposes section 1271, which would make the United States-Israel Operations-Technology Working Group (OTWG) mandatory.  DOD has developed draft Terms of Reference for such a group and is finalizing negotiations with Israel.  However, enactment of section 1271 would eliminate the flexibility the Administration needs to ensure that the terms, membership, and focus of the OTWG are in the U.S. interest.

Enhancement of Recusal for Conflicts of Personal Interest Requirements for Department of Defense Officers and Employees.  The Administration is committed to preventing conflicts of interest, but is concerned that section 1103 lacks any mechanism for the Secretary of Defense to grant a waiver or authorization to authorize participation when it is in the best interests of the Government.  Section 1103 needs to be aligned with existing ethics rules because it introduces new terms, broader standards, and requires the Department to further screen all DOD personnel from participating in “covered matters” involving clients and competitors of an employee’s former employer for four years.  Section 1103 would significantly extend the time and resources needed to make decisions and limit DOD’s ability to hire qualified personnel.

Missile Defense Radar in Hawaii.  The Administration opposes added funding for the Homeland Defense Radar – Hawaii (HDR-H).  The Department had planned to field HDR-H, the Pacific Radar, the Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV), and the Long Range Discrimination Radar by the mid-2020s as a system of systems to improve homeland ballistic missile defense.  The Pacific Radar has been delayed indefinitely due to stalled negotiations with the host nation, and the RKV program has been cancelled.  Hawaii is currently defended against missile threats to the same extent as the rest of the United States, and DOD is currently investing in other capabilities, such as the Next Generation Interceptor, which will support the long-term defense of Hawaii.

Reprioritization of Military Construction Funding to Unrequested Projects.  The Administration opposes section 4601, which would realign military construction funding authorization from priority projects to other projects not included in the President’s Budget.  Contrary to the Administration’s fiscally responsible policy to fully fund projects, the bill proposes to fund 14 military construction projects incrementally, effectively creating an unfunded obligation of almost $1 billion to complete these projects.

Alignment of Close Combat Lethality Task Force.  The Administration strongly opposes section 905, which would prevent implementation of the Secretary of Defense’s decision to realign the Close Combat Lethality Task Force (CCLTF) to the Secretary of the Army, effective October 1, 2021.  Section 905 would prevent the alignment of the CCLTF with the organization best positioned to identify, test, develop, demonstrate, and integrate new close combat capabilities, capacity that is already built into the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence.  Importantly, the CCLTF will remain a joint organization, with a Tri-Service board governing the work of the CCLTF.

Prohibition on Support for Offensive Military Operations Against the Houthis in Yemen.  The Administration opposes section 1272 because it is unnecessary; the Administration already has ceased support for Saudi-led coalition offensive operations in Yemen.  In addition, because DOD does not have the lead for humanitarian aid delivery, the Secretary of Defense is not the appropriate official to provide the requested report.

Prohibition on Reduction of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles of the United States.  The Administration objects to section 1543, which would restrict the President and the Department of Defense from reducing the number of deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles below 400.  The Administration objects to this restriction while the force structure is under review as part of the ongoing Nuclear Posture Review (NPR).  This language would constrain the President’s ability to propose the nuclear force he determines is necessary.

Significant New Foreign Policy Provisions.  The Administration is concerned that the bill includes certain sections—specifically 1011, 1201, 1205, 1207, 1208, 1209, 1211, 1242, and 1275—that would require DOD engagement in, analysis of, or reporting on significant foreign policy issues without including sufficient means for the Secretary of State to provide input and ensure that foreign assistance is carried out in a manner consistent with foreign policy priorities.

Coordination Between United States Cyber Command and Private Sector.  The Administration opposes section 1604, as this provision’s relationship to section 1642(b) of the FY 2019 NDAA is unclear. The Secretary of Defense’s authority to “make arrangements with private sector entities, on a voluntary basis” under section 1642(b) is scoped to the four top nation-state threats.  In contrast, section 1604 is not similarly scoped, is not tied to existing authorities, is arguably duplicative, lacks appropriate coordination with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, and may prohibit internal U.S Government information sharing.

Pilot Program on Public-Private Partnerships with Internet Ecosystem Companies to Detect and Disrupt Adversary Cyber Operations.  The Administration opposes section 1605, which would require the Secretary of Defense to initiate a pilot program to use public-private partnerships to facilitate detection and disruption of malicious cyber activity on private sector infrastructure.  Many of the authorized activities would be achieved more effectively through existing federal activities, such as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative and several Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement programs. Establishing a separate pilot program led by DOD would further complicate federal efforts to collaborate with the private sector, including “internet ecosystem companies,” in a unified, coordinated manner.

Safe Drinking Water Act Amendment on Cybersecurity.  The Administration urges support for the requested amendment to the Safe Drinking Water Act to enhance cybersecurity and resilience requirements for drinking water systems.  Recent incidents show that cyber-attacks and malicious cyber activity against drinking water systems can disrupt and endanger our critical water infrastructure’s ability to provide safe and reliable drinking water, and put the health and lives of our citizens at risk. 

Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility.  The Administration strongly objects to sections 1031, 1032, and 1033, which would extend the prohibitions on the use of funds to: transfer Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility (GTMO) detainees to the United States (1031); construct or modify facilities in the United States to house transferred GTMO detainees (1032); and transfer GTMO detainees to certain countries (1033).  These provisions would interfere with the President’s ability to determine the appropriate disposition of GTMO detainees and to make important foreign policy and national security determinations regarding whether and under what circumstances to transfer detainees to the custody or effective control of foreign countries.

Constitutional Concerns.  Certain provisions of the bill, such as section 1232, raise constitutional concerns.  The Administration looks forward to working with Congress to address this and other constitutional concerns.