Tag Archives: Economy

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

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

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

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

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

 
Lowering Health Care Costs

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

 
Defeating Special Interests

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

 
CLEAN ENERGY
 
Lowering Energy Costs

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

 
Building a Clean Energy Economy

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

 
Reducing Harmful Pollution

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

 
TAXES
 
Making the Tax Code Fairer

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

 
Reducing the Deficit

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

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

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

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

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

White House Memo: President Biden’s Plan to Tackle Inflation

People are really really upset about paying more for gas and groceries, kind of forgetting how it was a year ago to feel you might die from COVID-19. COVID, coupled with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, are the two biggest drivers of inflation, which has been even more severe in other countries, but Biden has taken steps to mitigate or reverse – getting blocked at every turn by Republicans. Meanwhile, people can adjust their own behavior to reduce costs – drive less, bike more, for example – and moving the economy to electric vehicles, with billions being spent by the Biden Administration to develop the infrastructure, will also create jobs and increase wages © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The White House has published a memo outlining President Biden’s plan to tackle inflation:

As our economy begins to transition to more stable growth, President Biden has made combatting inflation and lowering costs for families his top economic priority. President Biden’s plan to tackle inflation has three key pillars: 

1. Reducing costs on everyday items

2. Lowering the deficit

3. Giving the Federal Reserve the independence it needs to act

The biggest single driver of inflation now is Putin’s war against Ukraine –increases in food and energy prices account for around 50% of this month’s CPI. Putin’s Price Hike hit hard in May: gas pump prices are up by $2 a gallon in many places since Russian troops began to threaten Ukraine. President Biden has taken action to blunt the impact of Putin’s Price Hike for families:

• The President announced the release of a record 1 million barrels per day from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

• He rallied our Allies and partners to join us, releasing a combined 240 million additional barrels of oil on the market. 

• He expanded access to biofuels like E15, which will lower prices at thousands of gas stations in the across the country.

• While oil production is increasing and projected to reach a historic level next year, oil companies are sitting on 9,000 unused permits to drill more and pocketing the largest profits in years.

80% of a typical family’s monthly budget is spent on items other than food and energy. That means that even as we work to address energy and food prices in the near-term, making other necessities more affordable for working families can give families more breathing room at the end of the month.

• President Biden announced that tens of millions of households – or nearly 40% of all households in America – will be able to save $50 per month or more on high-speed internet, which is now an economic necessity for American families. 

• President Biden took action to save hundreds of thousands of families hundreds of dollars a month by fixing the Affordable Care Act’s “family glitch.” Nearly 1 million Americans would see their coverage become more affordable.

• President Biden has cut the deficit by $1.7 trillion – more this year than any President in history, reducing inflationary pressures. 

The President calls on Congress to act urgently as well.

• The President has called on Congress to pass a bill to crack down on ocean shippers to lower the price of goods. In the last year, shipping prices have gone up by as much as 1,000% driving higher prices for families on items from appliances to apparel. 

• The President calls on Congress to pass legislation to cut costs for families like energy bills and prescription drugs. According to an independent analysis, the clean energy tax credits and investments the President has proposed would save families $500 per year on their energy costs by 2030, and transition our economy away from relying on energy produced by autocrats like Putin. And the President believes that Congress should give Medicare the power to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies, and that Congress should cap the cost of insulin at $35 per month. These reforms wouldn’t just lower costs for consumers; they would also reduce federal spending. 

• Congress could lower the deficit even more by asking the super wealthy and profitable corporations to pay their fair share. According to an outside analysis, 55 companies paid no money in taxes last year. It’s wrong for the super wealthy and profitable corporations to pay a lower tax rate than a teacher or firefighter. 

Congressional Republicans’ only plan to tackle inflation increases taxes for working families. And, their attacks on gas prices are incoherent and dishonest. 

• Senator Rick Scott, a member of Senate Republican Leadership changed his words on his agenda to raise taxes on millions of working and middle class Americans by $1,500, but still said “We need them pulling the wagon and paying taxes” and that he “apologizes to absolutely nobody.” He also stood by his Congressional Republican plan to put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block every 5 years.

• Congressional Republicans blame President Biden for gas prices, but the truth is that gas pump prices are up by $2 a gallon in many places since Russian troops began to threaten Ukraine. This is Putin’s price hike. A majority of Republicans in Congress support Ukraine in their fight for their democracy and our alliance to strengthen theirposition, and now cynically blame the President for Putin’s actions that have raised prices around the world. That’s not economics, that’s politics.

• Congressional Republicans blame the administration for decreased oil production. The truth is oil production is projected to reach a historic level next year. When oil companies produce less, the cost goes up. In 2020, Americans stayed home more and drove less, so oil companies cut back on oil production and refining. Now, demand has returned, but oil production is still 10% below where it was pre-pandemic. Oil companies are sitting on 9,000 unused permits to drill more and pocketing the largest profits in years. The President has called for — and Congressional Democrats have voted for — a “use it or lose it” policy for permits on federal lands, and Congressional Republicans opposed it. 

• The five biggest oil companies made $35 billion in the first quarter of this year—that’s four times what they made in the same quarter last year. Congressional Republicans oppose making these companies pay their fair share in taxes.

Fact Sheet: Biden Economic Plan Delivers Robust Progress in all 50 States- See How Your State is Doing

Sign of a robust economy: airline traffic © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The White House released new state-by-state fact sheets that highlight several economic indicators —including state employment, unemployment insurance claims, gross domestic product, supplemental poverty, and vaccination rates—which demonstrate the robust economic progress under President Biden’s leadership. This wasn’t by accident. This is the result of President Biden’s plan to build the economy from the bottom up and the middle out.
 
When President Biden took office, our economy was in crisis and COVID-19 was wreaking havoc on our country. Thanks to his American Rescue Plan, unemployment is near historic lows, the vast majority of Americans are vaccinated, the number of adults with a positive outlook on their overall financial well-being reached an all-time high last year, the number of Americans relying on government unemployment benefits has dropped by more than 90%, and new businesses are being created at record rates. 
 
The fact sheets highlight our historic economic recovery strong foundation to transition to stable and steady growth that works for working families. Fact sheets for all 50 states are linked below. 

Fact Sheets by State

White House Memo: Five Key Points on our Economic Transition and How We Got Here

Even before disruptions to global energy and food markets from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drove inflation higher, many other factors boosted demand, shifted its composition, and constrained supply, which led to higher prices. Higher gas prices – which have become a political weapon – are also caused by price gouging as Big Oil reaps record profits. And consumers, spoiled by low gas prices from the last two years, are finding ways to reduce consumption, which would benefit the climate © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

This memo, highlighting five key points of America’s transition to sustainable growth, the role the American Rescue Plan played in that growth, and how the Administration is turning its focus to address a range of global economic challenges with inflation chief among them, was provided by the White House:

Earlier this week, the President noted that our economy is in a moment of transition: from what has been an historic economic recovery to what can be a period of stable, steady growth that works for working families. The President understands that Americans are dealing with the challenge of elevated inflation. And addressing inflation is his top economic priority.

This is a moment when we can build on the unique strengths of our recovery to bring down inflation and ensure that we don’t give up the historic economic gains of the last year. It also means building on the recovery to deliver growth that actually works for working families – unlike the growth that we saw too often in the years before the pandemic, when we were promised that gains for those at the top would trickle down to working families. President Biden’s approach is to build the economy from the bottom up and the middle out.

As we look ahead and aim to achieve stable, steady growth, here are five key points about how we arrived at our current economic moment. In short, the Administration passed the American Rescue Plan in a moment of significant economic uncertainty and, because of the Administration’s decisive action, we now face a range of global economic challenges – with inflation chief among them – from a position of strength. 

  1. The American Rescue Plan helped deliver one of the strongest job markets in American history.

When President Biden took office, the unemployment rate was 6.4% and around 20 million Americans were on unemployment insurance. Since then, the unemployment rate has come down to 3.6 % — with only three times in the last 50 years when the rate has been lower – and fewer than 1.5 million Americans are receiving unemployment insurance. Before the Rescue Plan passed, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected the unemployment rate would be 5% right now, and would not drop below 4% until 2026. In addition, the number of Americans between the ages of 25 and 54 who are working or looking for work is higher today than it was before the pandemic began. In the wake of the Great Recession, that recovery took 12 years. As the Washington Post noted this weekend, we are in the midst of a “great return to work.” While it “took more than six years to recover from the Great Recession … this jobs recovery is on track to take about 2.5 years. That’s worth celebrating.”

  1. The American Rescue Plan has meant the U.S. recovery has been the envy of the world.

According to the latest World Economic Outlook from the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. economy will be larger at the end of this year—relative to its pre-pandemic size—than any other Group of 7 economy. The U.S. economy may grow faster this year than China’s economy for the first time since 1976, according to a projection by Bloomberg Economics. CBO recently projected that U.S. economic growth would continue in 2022 and 2023, albeit at a slower rate than in 2021, with unemployment remaining low and inflation falling throughout this year and next. The CBO forecast was roughly in line with the consensus of private sector forecasters.

  1. The American Rescue Plan has meant economic security for millions of families.

Since President Biden took office, incomes are up 5.1% overall and by 11.9% for the bottom 50% of the income distribution – even after accounting for inflation – due to job creation and higher earnings. Self-reported financial well-being at the end of 2021 reached its highest level on record, with 78% of adults reporting that they are financially comfortable. In the same survey, 68% of Americans said they could cover a $400 emergency cash expenses – the highest level in the history of the survey and up 18 percentage points since 2013. Bankruptcy filings also remained below pre-pandemic levels, eviction filings have remained 30% below pre-pandemic levels across the eight months since the eviction moratorium ended, and foreclosures hit an all-time low in 2021.

  1. The Rescue Plan didn’t just improve our economic position; it improved our fiscal position too.

The CBO projected that the deficit will fall by $1.7 trillion this year. This is the largest nominal reduction in the federal deficit in history. According to their projections, the deficit as a share of the economy this year will be at a lower level than in 2019, before the pandemic. It is also a lower level than CBO projected for this year before the American Rescue Plan passed, showing that the strong economic recovery resulting from President Biden’s economic and vaccination plans were not just good for our economy but also for our fiscal position. Public debt as a percent of the economy is also projected to be lower this year than was projected before the Rescue Plan passed – further reflecting the degree to which our strong economic recovery has improved our fiscal position. This progress on deficits and debt was not pre-ordained. In addition to responsibly winding down emergency programs, around half of the reduction in the deficit this year is projected to be driven by an increase in revenues, as household and business earnings have increased given the strong economic recovery.

  1. Inflation is a global challenge, with many causes, but the Rescue Plan is not its predominant cause.

Inflation is elevated around the world, particularly in light of Putin’s invasion into Ukraine, which has driven global food and energy prices higher. Inflation is at its highest level on record in the Euro Area and in Germany, the highest level in 40 years in the U.K., and the highest level in more than 30 years in Canada. Consumer prices have risen by 8.2% in the United States in the last year, 8.1% in the Euro Area, and 9% in the United Kingdom.

Putin’s actions in Ukraine have driven inflation higher in recent months, with gas prices up $1.51 since Putin began amassing troops on the border of Ukraine. It is of course not plausible that disruptions in global energy and food markets are the result of the American Rescue Plan.

And even before disruptions to global energy and food markets have driven inflation higher, many other factors boosted demand, shifted its composition, and constrained supply, which led to higher prices. The pandemic meant that American consumers shifted their consumption from services to durable goods. Businesses were unprepared for demand returning quickly, and we saw an inward shift in supply capacity – from auto production to domestic energy production to rental cars. And supply chain pressures meant bottlenecks and thinner inventories that also drove up prices.

That’s why we know that even without the Rescue Plan – or with a smaller Rescue Plan – inflation would have still been elevated. In fact, according to one independent analysis, keeping inflation close to 2% would have required an unemployment rate in the double digits – instead of today’s 3.6% unemployment rate. Moreover, without the Rescue Plan, another independent analysis shows that we would have had less growth, less job creation, and more human suffering.

Biden Economic Policies Produce $1.3 Trillion Decrease in Deficit, Largest 1-Year Decline in History

The White House is justifiably touting a $1.3 trillion decrease in the budget deficit – the largest one-year decline in U.S. history – to demonstrate the success of its fiscal policies, and particularly, its success in getting control of the coronavirus pandemic and justifying its FY2023 budget proposal. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The Biden Administration is justifiably touting a $1.3 trillion decrease in the budget deficit – the largest one-year decline in U.S. history – to demonstrate the success of its fiscal policies, and particularly, its success in getting control of the coronavirus pandemic and justifying its FY2023 budget proposal. Here’s a statement from the White House:

When the President took office, the pandemic was raging in communities across the country and our economy was struggling to recover from the most severe downturn since the Great Depression. The economy shrunk, and the unemployment rate stood at 6.4 percent. And, the deficit had risen to $3.1 trillion in 2020—yet with trillions in resources, the Trump Administration didn’t secure vaccines for all Americans, most schools were closed, and testing and medical equipment shortages continued.

Even before the pandemic, the Trump tax cuts had added $2 trillion to deficits over a decade. The deficit increased every year of the previous administration.

Unlike his predecessor, President Biden prioritized fiscal responsibility. In the face of the extraordinary challenges he inherited, the President made clear that bold action was needed to jumpstart the economic recovery. He knew that robust investment to change the course of the pandemic and support workers, families, and small businesses was not only the right strategy to build a stronger economy, but also to decrease the deficit. A strong economic recovery would result in less emergency spending and drive future deficits down. In March 2021, he signed into law the historic American Rescue Plan.

The President’s Budget shows that this strategy paid off. The strongest economic growth in four decades, powered by the American Rescue Plan, has also contributed to a historic decline in the deficit—by fueling strong revenue growth and allowing the Administration to responsibly phase down emergency pandemic-related spending. The President’s Budget projects that the deficit in 2022 will be more than $1.3 trillion lower than last year’s—the largest ever one-year decline in our country’s history. It will be less than half of the 2020 deficit the President inherited.

The President is now working to build on that progress and further reduce the deficit by reforming the tax system so that corporations and the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share. As the Budget shows, with these reforms, we can cut costs for families, continue growing the economy from the bottom up and middle out, and put America on a sound fiscal course for the future—shrinking the deficit the President inherited by two-thirds as a share of the economy.

President Biden’s Strategy to Combat the Pandemic and Jumpstart the Economy is Driving Down Deficits

Thanks to the American Rescue Plan and the President’s strategy to control the pandemic, in 2021 our economy grew at 5.7 percent, the fastest rate in nearly 40 years. We created more than 6.5 million jobs, the most our country has ever recorded in a single year. The unemployment rate has dropped to 3.8 percent, lower than the Congressional Budget Office had projected in its pre-American Rescue Plan baseline at any point over the next decade. And between the start and the end of 2021, we went from about 41,000 to more than 200 million Americans vaccinated, and from most schools closed to 99 percent of schools are open for in-person learning.

The Administration’s economic success and success in controlling the pandemic is lowering the deficit in two ways.

First, because of the historic pace of our economic and labor market recovery, the economy no longer needs the kind of emergency support it received last year. With businesses open and people back at work, the Federal Government will spend about $1 trillion less on pandemic and economic support in 2022 than in 2021. That includes hundreds of billions of dollars less support to businesses, which are now making investments and creating jobs without the need for help. Likewise, after historic drops in both the overall unemployment rate and the long-term unemployment rate—the share of people out of work for more than six months—we no longer need emergency unemployment assistance, and ongoing Unemployment Insurance claims are at their lowest level since 1970.  

Second, a stronger economy means higher incomes for households and higher earnings for businesses. Because of this economic progress, the government is projected to collect more than $300 billion in additional revenues compared to last year, a nearly 10 percent increase.

The President’s Budget Continues to Lower Deficits

Even before the pandemic, the Trump Administration added $2 trillion to deficits over 10 years through tax cuts that largely helped wealthy people and large corporations. President Biden believes in a different approach: growing the economy from the middle out, not the top down, and paying for all new investments by ensuring that the wealthiest Americans and large corporations pay their fair share.

As he made clear in his State of the Union address, the President is committed to working with Congress to enact legislation that lowers costs for American families, expands the productive capacity of the American economy, and further reduces the deficit: by reducing prescription drug costs and fixing the tax code to ensure corporations and wealthy people pay the taxes they already owe and close loopholes they exploit.

The President’s FY 2023 Budget also proposes additional smart, targeted investments designed to spur durable economic growth, create jobs, reduce cost pressures, and foster shared prosperity—while more than fully offsetting their cost. The Budget reduces deficits by more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years.

Under the Budget policies, deficits as a share of the economy would fall to less than one-third of the 2020 level the President inherited. Overall, the Budget details an economically and fiscally responsible path forward—addressing the long-term fiscal challenges facing our country while making investments that will produce stronger economic growth and broadly shared prosperity for generations to come.

Biden Takes Action to Reduce Pain of ‘Putin’s Price Hike’ at the Pump

Americans are recoiling at rising prices at the pump, failing to appreciate that Europeans are seeing prices rise 45%, and despite the fact our supplies are not impacted by the embargo on Russian oil. Rather, Big Oil continues to record record profits, use windfall profits to buy back stock, reward shareholders and pay bonuses to CEOs. President Biden is appealing to the companies’ “patriotism” by pumping more supply and not pocketing quite as much, and also warning against price-gouging. He is also pushing the oil companies to utilize unused leases. The White House provided a fact sheet detailing how President Biden is responding to what he has dubbed “Putin’s Price Hike” at the pump © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Americans are recoiling at rising prices at the pump, failing to appreciate that Europeans are seeing prices rise 45%, and despite the fact our supplies are not impacted by the embargo on Russian oil. Rather, Big Oil continues to record record profits, use windfall profits to buy back stock, reward shareholders and pay bonuses to CEOs. President Biden is appealing to the companies’ “patriotism” by pumping more supply and not pocketing quite as much, and also warning against price-gouging. He is also pushing the oil companies to utilize unused leases. Here is a fact sheet from the White House of how President Biden is responding to what he has dubbed “Putin’s Price Hike” at the pump: –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Americans face rising prices at the pump because of Putin’s Price Hike.  Since Putin accelerated his military build-up around Ukraine, gas prices have increased by nearly a dollar per gallon.  Because of Putin’s war of choice, less oil is getting to market, and the reduction in supply is raising prices at the pump for Americans.  President Biden is committed to doing everything in his power to help American families who are paying more out of pocket as a result.  That is why President Biden announced a two-part plan to ease the pain that families are feeling by increasing the supply of oil starting immediately and achieving lasting American energy independence that reduces demand for oil and bolsters our clean energy economy. 
 
Immediately Increasing Supply
 
At the start of this year, gas was about $3.30 a gallon.  Today, it’s over $4.20, an increase of nearly $1.  And now, a significant amount of Russian oil is not making it to market.  The President banned the import of Russian oil – which Republicans and Democrats in Congress called for and supported.  It was the right thing to do.  But, as the President said, Russian oil coming off the global market would come with a cost, and Americans are seeing that at the pump.
 
The first part of the President’s plan is to immediately increase supply by doing everything we can to encourage domestic production now and through a historic release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to serve as a bridge to greater supply in the months ahead.
 
Increasing Domestic Production
 
The fact is that there is nothing standing in the way of domestic oil production. The United States is already approaching record levels of oil and natural gas production. There are oil companies that are doing the right thing and committing to ramp up production now.  Right now, domestic production is expected to increase by 1 million barrels per day this year and nearly 700,000 barrels per day next year.
 
Still, too many companies aren’t doing their part and are choosing to make extraordinary profits and without making additional investment to help with supply.  One CEO even acknowledged that, even if the price goes to $200 a barrel, they’re not going to step up production. 
 
Right now, the oil and gas industry is sitting on more than 12 million acres of non-producing Federal land with 9,000 unused but already-approved permits for production. Today, President Biden is calling on Congress to make companies pay fees on wells from their leases that they haven’t used in years and on acres of public lands that they are hoarding without producing. Companies that are producing from their leased acres and existing wells will not face higher fees. But companies that continue to sit on non-producing acres will have to choose whether to start producing or pay a fee for each idled well and unused acre.
 
Historic Release from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a Bridge Through the Crisis

After consultation with allies and partners, the President will announce the largest release of oil reserves in history, putting one million additional barrels on the market per day on average – every day – for the next six months. The scale of this release is unprecedented: the world has never had a release of oil reserves at this 1 million per day rate for this length of time. This record release will provide a historic amount of supply to serve as bridge until the end of the year when domestic production ramps up.
 
The Department of Energy will use the revenue from the release to restock the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in future years. This will provide a signal of future demand and help encourage domestic production today, and will ensure the continued readiness of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to respond to future emergencies.  
 
President Biden is coordinating this action with allies and partners around the world, and other countries are expected to join in this action, bringing the total release to well over an average 1 million barrels per day.
 
Achieving Real American Energy Independence
 
The United States is the largest oil producer in the world and is a net energy exporter.  Despite that, the actions of a dictator half a world away can still impact American families’ pocketbooks. The President will announce his commitment to achieving real energy independence – which centers on reducing our dependence on oil altogether.
 
The President will call on Congress to pass his plan to speed the transition to clean energy that is made in America.  His plan will help ensure that America creates millions of good-paying union jobs in clean, cutting-edge industries for generations to come. And it will save American families money in the immediate future – including more than $950 a year in gas savings from taking advantage of electric vehicles, and an additional $500 a year from using clean electricity like solar and heat pumps to power their homes.   
 
And, the President will issue a directive, authorizing the use of the Defense Production Act to secure American production of critical materials to bolster our clean energy economy by reducing our reliance on China and other countries for the minerals and materials that will power our clean energy future.  Specifically, the DPA will be authorized to support the production and processing of minerals and materials used for large capacity batteries–such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, and manganese—and the Department of Defense will implement this authority using strong environmental, labor, community, and tribal consultation standards. The sectors supported by these large capacity batteries—transportation and the power sector—account for more than half of our nation’s carbon emissions.  The President is also reviewing potential further uses of DPA – in addition to minerals and materials – to secure safer, cleaner, and more resilient energy for America.
 
This week alone, President Biden announced historic efforts to increase energy efficiency and lower costs for consumers.  The Department of Energy opened applications for more than $3 billion in new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding—ten times the historical funding levels of the Weatherization Assistance Program—for energy efficiency and electrification upgrades in thousands of homes that will save families hundreds of dollars on utility bills.  The Administration also advanced smart standards that will lower consumer costs, including a roadmap of 100 actions this year that will save families $100 annually through more efficient home appliances and equipment, as well as new fuel economy standards for cars and trucks to save drivers money at the pump.  And the Administration is seeking additional opportunities to ramp up the deployment of heat pumps to displace fuel burned in buildings, as well as programs to drive efficiency, electrification, and use of clean fuels in the industrial sector.

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

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

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

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

Lowering Health Care Costs and Increasing Health Coverage

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

Investing in Mental Health:

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

 
Fighting COVID

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

 
Getting Kids Back in School

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

 
Supporting Working Families

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

 
Helping People Get Back to Work

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

Staying True to Our Veterans:

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

 
Rescuing and Transforming Our Communities:

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

Providing Permanent Tax Relief for Puerto Rico Families

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

Most support ever for Tribal Communities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summer Learning and Enrichment:  

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

Tutoring: 

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

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

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

Community Schools:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The White House Equal Pay Day Summit
Tuesday, March 15, 2022 | 3pm ET 
Watch live here:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/live/

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What’s Behind President Biden’s Remarks on the Economy in his First State of the Union Address

President Joe Biden with Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker Nancy Pelosi at his Speech to the Nation in 2021 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via msnbc.

With the Russian invasion of Ukraine likely to take up a large measure of President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union speech, he is unlikely to have enough time or space to detail his accomplishments and his agenda going forward. Here are more details from the White House about what the President will say about the economy:

President Biden ran for office with a new economic vision: to grow the economy from the bottom up and the middle out, not the top down. On Tuesday, the President will make a strong case that the Biden-Harris economic strategy is producing historic results, and lay out his plan to tackle the economic challenges ahead. He will underscore that during his first year in office, due in large part to the American Rescue Plan, entrepreneurship and business investment rebounded, the economy achieved its fastest job growth in American history, the fastest economic growth in nearly 40 years, and a faster recovery than every other advanced economy. And, he will emphasize that this progress is occurring amidst an historic shift from the old, outdated trickle-down approach to one that centers on workers, families, and small businesses.
 
During his first State of the Union Address, the President will also make clear that there is more work to do to rebuild the economy towards resilience, security, and sustainability. Too many families continue to feel the squeeze of higher costs. The President will make clear that price increases that become entrenched are pernicious, and eat away at the economic progress the country is making. The President will lay out his plan to lower costs for American families while continuing an historically strong economic recovery by:

  1. Making more things in America, strengthening our supply chains, and moving goods faster and cheaper;
     
  2. Reducing the cost of everyday expenses working families face and reducing the deficit;
     
  3. Promoting fair competition to lower prices, help small businesses thrive, and protect consumers; and
     
  4. Eliminating barriers to good-paying jobs for workers all across America.

 
Making more things in America, strengthening our supply chains, and moving goods faster and cheaper:
President Biden will make clear that he believes one of the best ways to lower costs over the long run is to increase the productive capacity of our economy—put simply, to make more things in America with more American workers contributing and earning a good living. He will describe the emerging manufacturing comeback, with American companies betting on America again because of the Administration’s commitment to domestic industrial revitalization and technological development. He will note that in just the last year, the economy added 375,000 manufacturing jobs and companies announced nearly $200 billion in investments for semiconductor, electric vehicle, battery, and critical mineral production and manufacturing in the United States. He will recount how Intel recently announced a new $20 billion factory outside of Columbus, Ohio that will create 7,000 construction jobs and another 3,000 permanent jobs – another sign of the strength of the American economy.
 
President Biden will also announce specific goals for implementation of his landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure law (BIL), a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s economic competitiveness that will strengthen supply chains and move goods to market faster and more efficiently, encouraging more companies to choose America. Over the next year:
 

  • States, territories, Tribes and local governments will start to improve 65,000 miles of roads and 1,500 bridges with federal funding, representing a 44% and 50% increase respectively from average annual improvement levels over the past six years.
     
  • The Federal Aviation Administration will be able to invest in over 600 airport infrastructure projects, including preserving 400 pavement projects on taxiways and runways.
     
  • Communities will invest in an estimated 15,000 new buses, ferries and subway cars, improving commutes for working Americans, families, and students across the country and reducing greenhouse emissions.
     
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will advance over 500 projects across 52 states and territories to strengthen supply chains, improve waterways, and reduce flooding.
     
  • The Environmental Protection Agency will work with state and local governments to fund more than 400 new water projects from replacing lead service lines to improving drinking water systems.
     
  • States, Tribes, and other partners will use BIL funds to reclaim over 15,000 acres of abandoned mine lands, as well as launch new reclamation efforts that will ultimately address tens of thousands of additional acres across the country.
     
  • The Interior Department’s new Orphan Well Program will start work plugging, capping, and remediating over 8,000 abandoned oil & gas well sites in communities across the country.
     
  • The Interior Department will increase its work to reduce the risk of wildfires to communities by more than 30 percent – removing over 300,000 acres of burnable fuels in the places where communities and wildlands meet – as well as the start of work to reduce wildfire risk on an additional 250,000 acres across the country.
     
  • The Department of Energy will take steps to launch a first-of-its kind $140 million demonstration facility to extract and separate rare earth elements and other critical minerals from coal ash, mine tailings, acid drainage, and other legacy fossil fuel waste to sustainably produce materials key to next-generation clean energy technologies.
     
  • The Department of Energy will make available nearly $3 billion to bolster domestic manufacturing of advanced batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage.
     

To build on these investments and spur more private-sector investment in the United States, the President will also call on Congress to send him bipartisan competitiveness legislation like the COMPETES and USICA bills that have passed the House and the Senate to invest in innovation, manufacturing, and economic development capacity across all of America so America can outcompete China and the rest of the world in the industries of the future.
 
Reducing the cost of everyday expenses working families face:
President Biden will call on Congress to send him legislation that lowers costs of everyday expenses working families face and lowers the deficit by rewarding work, not wealth. He will lay out specific, practical measures that would reduce costs for families right now, including prescription drug costs and health care premiums, child care and pre-k costs, and energy costs. He will point to the other ideas he has proposed on areas ranging from housing to care for seniors and people with disabilities to higher education affordability to direct tax relief for families. These efforts build on the support provided in the American Rescue Plan that has helped reduce the cost of health care, helped more than 5000 universities and community colleges make higher education more affordable, made work pay better for low-income workers through an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, and provided historic middle class tax relief for tens of millions of working families through an expanded Child Tax Credit.
 
The President will make clear that we can lower costs while lowering the deficit by rewarding work, not wealth. He will outline proposals to make sure corporations and the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share, while making clear that no one making under $400,000 a year should see their taxes increased.
 
The President will call on Congress to send him a bill that lowers costs and lowers the deficit without delay. American families need relief from higher costs, and they need it now.

Promoting fair competition to lower prices, help small businesses thrive, and protect consumers:
President Biden will explain that we can also lower costs by promoting fair competition in the U.S. economy. The Administration has taken decisive actions in the first year to stop the trend of corporate consolidation, increase competition, and deliver concrete benefits to America’s consumers, workers, farmers, and small businesses. He will also announce new actions the Biden-Harris Administration is taking this year to tackle some of the most pressing competition and consumer protection problems across our economy. Specifically, he will announce new steps to:
 

  • Lower consumer prices and level the playing field for American businesses in ocean shipping. The President will explain that most traded goods—everything from the housewares you buy online to the agricultural products that American farmers market overseas—are transported by oceangoing vessels. However, the ocean shipping industry is now dominated by just a small number of giant, foreign-owned companies. Three global alliances—groups of ocean carriers that work together—now control 80% of global container ship capacity and 95% on the critical East-West trade lines. And, since the beginning of the pandemic, these carriers have been increasing shipping costs through higher rates and fees. The President will note that the foreign carriers are now seeing record profits, while prices for American consumers and businesses have risen. To combat this problem, the President will announce steps to lower consumer prices and level the playing field for American businesses in ocean shipping, including launching a new Federal Maritime Commission and Department of Justice initiative to promote competition in the ocean freight transportation system. He will also note that the Federal Maritime Commission is ramping up its oversight of the global shipping industry to address complaints about the unfair fees the carriers charge to American businesses. Read the full Biden-Harris Plan to Lower Consumer Prices and Level the Playing Field in Ocean Shipping here.
     
  • Protect seniors and other nursing home residents by cracking down on unsafe nursing homes. The President will explain that while the federal government spends tens of billions of taxpayer dollars on nursing homes annually, these federal funds too often flow to nursing homes with bad track records and dangerous conditions. He will explain that 200,000 residents and staff in nursing homes have died from COVID-19, representing nearly 23% of all COVID-19 deaths in the United States. He will also stress that despite well-documented, widespread health and safety violations, there has been little or no accountability. To protect seniors and crack down on unsafe nursing homes, President Biden will call on Congress to provide nearly $500 million to CMS Survey and Certification, a 24% increase, to support health and safety inspections at nursing homes. He will also announce that the Biden-Harris Administration will, among other new initiatives, establish a new minimum staffing ratio to protect residents, expand penalties for poor performing nursing homes and beef up scrutiny, improve transparency and Americans’ ability to comparison shop for the best home, strengthen value-based payment to ensure taxpayers pay for quality care, and continue to provide COVID-19 testing and vaccinations at nursing homes across the country. Read the full Biden-Harris Plan to Protect Seniors by Cracking Down on Unsafe Nursing Homes here.

Eliminating barriers to good-paying jobs for workers all across America:
President Biden will reflect on one of the strongest labor market recoveries in American history. Specifically, the President will note that during his first year in office, the economy added more than 6.6 million jobs; the unemployment rate fell at its fastest pace on record; the number of number of workers filing for unemployment insurance declined by more than 70 percent; and millions of Americans have entered and reentered the labor force, with the largest increase in the labor force participation rate in more than 25 years. He will highlight the important role that the American Rescue Plan played in positioning employers to hire and workers to rejoin the labor force and find higher quality jobs. Earlier this year, he directed the Secretary of Labor to work with states to reinstate work search requirements for unemployment insurance recipients.

To further our economic recovery and increase the productive capacity of our economy, the President will announce his Administration’s plan to ensure everyone who wants to work should have the opportunity to find a high-quality job. Specifically, he will express his support for:
 

  • Enacting the Protecting the Right to Organize Act. President Biden will express his firm belief that every worker in every state must have a free and fair choice to organize or join a union, and the right to bargain collectively with their employer, without fear of intimidation, coercion, threats, and anti-union propaganda. He will reiterate that the middle class built America and unions built the middle class. And, he will emphasize that empowering workers is central to the Biden-Harris strategy to grow our economy from the bottom up and the middle out. The President will call on Congress to pass the Richard L. Trumka Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act and the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act, ensuring that more private-sector workers and many more public-sector workers nationwide have a genuine right to organize and bargain collectively.
     
  • Expanding skills-based hiring and increasing access to registered apprenticeships and training. President Biden will reiterate his commitment to creating pathways to the middle class for all Americans. He will stress that millions of Americans without a college degree are needlessly disadvantaged in the pursuit of good jobs, even when they have the skills and knowledge employers need. To support skills-based hiring, President Biden will announce that his Administration will explore using federal and procurement dollars to by hire based on skills rather than educational qualifications alone, , including through boosting hiring of people from Registered Apprenticeships and labor-management partnership training programs. Additionally, the Administration remains committed to strengthening the pipeline for more underserved communities to access these opportunities. As an example, the Administration has supported and increased access to quality trucking jobs by expanding Registered Apprenticeship programs for drivers; and developing more seamless paths for veterans and underrepresented communities, such as women, to access good driving jobs. He will state that the Administration is supporting and challenging employers to move towards skill-based hiring, including through a new budget proposal to invest in skills-based hiring research tools and technical assistance. This effort builds on the American Rescue Plan’s critical workforce investments in the past year – with more than half of states already committing Fiscal Recovery Funds to training and apprenticeships and efforts to hire and retain critical workers – and catalyzing investments in place-based regional workforce strategies through the Commerce Department’s Good Jobs Challenge.
  • Expanding programs in high-demand fields at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs). President Biden will explain that research has found that HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs are vital to helping underrepresented students achieve economic mobility, including in STEM fields. However, he will also stress that these institutions have significantly fewer resources than other top colleges and universities, undermining their ability to grow and support more students. To address this persistent problem, and building on the progress made by the American Rescue Plan providing the largest investment through the Department of Education ever in these institutions, the President will call on Congress to expand existing institutional aid grants to HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs, which can be used by these institutions to strengthen their academic, administrative, and fiscal capabilities, including by creating or expanding educational programs in high-demand fields (e.g., STEM, computer sciences, nursing, and allied health).
     
  • Providing up to more than $2,000 in additional assistance to low-income students by increasing the Pell Grant award. President Biden will note that broad access to education beyond high school is increasingly important for economic growth and competitiveness in the 21st century, but also remind us that higher education has become unaffordable for too many families. Over 6 million students depend on Pell Grants to finance their education, yet the amount of money in these grants has not kept up with the rising cost of college and DREAMers still do not have access. During his State of the Union Address, President Biden will call on Congress to increase the maximum Pell Grant award by more than $2,000.
     
  • Supporting paycheck fairness. President Biden will note that women in the U.S. who work full-time, year-round are paid only 83 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts, on average. He will also express his belief that ensuring equal pay is essential to advancing America’s values of fairness and equity as well as our economic strength here at home and our competitiveness abroad. President Biden will use his State of the Union Address as an opportunity to call on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which will take important steps towards the goal of ending pay discrimination.
     
  • Raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. President Biden will recount that throughout the pandemic, millions of American workers have put their lives on the line to keep their communities and country functioning, including the 40 percent of frontline workers who are people of color. The President will express his belief that hard-working Americans deserve sufficient wages to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads, without having to work multiple jobs. The President already issued executive actions to ensure 370,000 federal employees and employees of federal contractors are paid a minimum of $15 per hour – because investing in workers also makes employers, including the government, work better and faster. The President will call on Congress to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and end the tipped minimum wage and sub-minimum wage for people with disabilities so that workers across the country can have a little breathing room and provide opportunity for their families.
     
  • Creating a national comprehensive paid family and medical leave program. President Biden will stress that nearly four of five private sector workers – and 90 percent of the lowest wage workers – have no access to paid family leave, which is a critical input for economic growth and competitiveness in the 21st century. He will call on Congress to pass comprehensive paid family and medical leave legislation so millions of American workers can take time to bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill loved one or heal from their own serious illness.