Today, just days after Colonial Pipeline, which supplies 45 percent of the gasoline to the Eastern Seaboard, was hit by a ransomware attack which the FBI believes was perpetrated by DarkSide, a relatively new criminal group based in Eastern Europe exposed the vulnerability of key U.S. infrastructure, President Biden signed an Executive Order to improve the nation’s cybersecurity and protect federal government networks.
The White House supplied this fact sheet about the actions taken under the Executive Order:
Recent cybersecurity incidents such as SolarWinds, Microsoft Exchange, and the Colonial Pipeline incident are a sobering reminder that U.S. public and private sector entities increasingly face sophisticated malicious cyber activity from both nation-state actors and cyber criminals. These incidents share commonalities, including insufficient cybersecurity defenses that leave public and private sector entities more vulnerable to incidents.
This Executive Order makes a significant contribution toward modernizing cybersecurity defenses by protecting federal networks, improving information-sharing between the U.S. government and the private sector on cyber issues, and strengthening the United States’ ability to respond to incidents when they occur. It is the first of many ambitious steps the Administration is taking to modernize national cyber defenses. However, the Colonial Pipeline incident is a reminder that federal action alone is not enough. Much of our domestic critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector, and those private sector companies make their own determination regarding cybersecurity investments. We encourage private sector companies to follow the Federal government’s lead and take ambitious measures to augment and align cybersecurity investments with the goal of minimizing future incidents.
Specifically, the Executive Order the President is signing today will:
Remove Barriers to Threat Information Sharing Between Government and the Private Sector. The Executive Order ensures that IT Service Providers are able to share information with the government and requires them to share certain breach information. IT providers are often hesitant or unable to voluntarily share information about a compromise. Sometimes this can be due to contractual obligations; in other cases, providers simply may be hesitant to share information about their own security breaches. Removing any contractual barriers and requiring providers to share breach information that could impact Government networks is necessary to enable more effective defenses of Federal departments, and to improve the Nation’s cybersecurity as a whole.
Modernize and Implement Stronger Cybersecurity Standards in the Federal Government. The Executive Order helps move the Federal government to secure cloud services and a zero-trust architecture, and mandates deployment of multifactor authentication and encryption with a specific time period. Outdated security models and unencrypted data have led to compromises of systems in the public and private sectors. The Federal government must lead the way and increase its adoption of security best practices, including by employing a zero-trust security model, accelerating movement to secure cloud services, and consistently deploying foundational security tools such as multifactor authentication and encryption.
Improve Software Supply Chain Security. The Executive Order will improve the security of software by establishing baseline security standards for development of software sold to the government, including requiring developers to maintain greater visibility into their software and making security data publicly available. It stands up a concurrent public-private process to develop new and innovative approaches to secure software development and uses the power of Federal procurement to incentivize the market. Finally, it creates a pilot program to create an “energy star” type of label so the government – and the public at large – can quickly determine whether software was developed securely. Too much of our software, including critical software, is shipped with significant vulnerabilities that our adversaries exploit. This is a long-standing, well-known problem, but for too long we have kicked the can down the road. We need to use the purchasing power of the Federal Government to drive the market to build security into all software from the ground up.
Establish a Cybersecurity Safety Review Board. The Executive Order establishes a Cybersecurity Safety Review Board, co-chaired by government and private sector leads, that may convene following a significant cyber incident to analyze what happened and make concrete recommendations for improving cybersecurity. Too often organizations repeat the mistakes of the past and do not learn lessons from significant cyber incidents. When something goes wrong, the Administration and private sector need to ask the hard questions and make the necessary improvements. This board is modeled after the National Transportation Safety Board, which is used after airplane crashes and other incidents.
Create a Standard Playbook for Responding to Cyber Incidents. The Executive Order creates a standardized playbook and set of definitions for cyber incident response by federal departments and agencies. Organizations cannot wait until they are compromised to figure out how to respond to an attack. Recent incidents have shown that within the government the maturity level of response plans vary widely. The playbook will ensure all Federal agencies meet a certain threshold and are prepared to take uniform steps to identify and mitigate a threat. The playbook will also provide the private sector with a template for its response efforts.
Improve Detection of Cybersecurity Incidents on Federal Government Networks. The Executive Order improves the ability to detect malicious cyber activity on federal networks by enabling a government-wide endpoint detection and response system and improved information sharing within the Federal government. Slow and inconsistent deployment of foundational cybersecurity tools and practices leaves an organization exposed to adversaries. The Federal government should lead in cybersecurity, and strong, Government-wide Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) deployment coupled with robust intra-governmental information sharing are essential.
Improve Investigative and Remediation Capabilities. The Executive Order creates cybersecurity event log requirements for federal departments and agencies. Poor logging hampers an organization’s ability to detect intrusions, mitigate those in progress, and determine the extent of an incident after the fact. Robust and consistent logging practices will solve much of this problem.
The White House released fact sheets that highlight the need for and impact of the investments proposed by President Biden in the American Families Plan in states and territories across the country. The American Families Plan is a once-in-a-generation investment in the foundations of middle-class prosperity: education, health care, and child care.
The fact sheets highlight how many families would benefit from free community college and universal pre-K, the high costs of child care, the number of workers who lack access to paid family leave, and the thousands of dollars families and workers would save in tax cuts and credits.
Individual fact sheets for each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and other territories are linked below.
These fact sheets are the latest in a series from the White House highlighting the benefits of the American Families Plan for communities, in addition to a series of fact sheets on the American Jobs Plan. Fact sheets on how the American Families Plan advances racial equity and supports rural America have been released in recent weeks.
President Biden held a historic Leaders Summit on Climate, in which he announced higher targets for the US to achieve, and underscored America’s commitment to leading a clean energy revolution, linking climate action to economic growth. The White House issued this summary:
On Day One, President Biden fulfilled his commitment to rejoin the Paris Agreement. Days later, he took executive actions to ensure we tackle the climate crisis at home and abroad – all while creating jobs and strengthening our economy. This week, he held a historic summit with 40 world leaders to show that America is back.
Over the course of two days and eight sessions, President Biden convened heads of state and government, as well as leaders and representatives from international organizations, businesses, subnational governments, and indigenous communities to rally the world in tackling the climate crisis, demonstrate the economic opportunities of the future, and affirm the need for unprecedented global cooperation and ambition to meet the moment.
On the first day of the summit, President Biden upped the ante. He announced the United States will target reducing emissions by 50-52 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. He underscored America’s commitment to leading a clean energy revolution and creating good-paying, union jobs – noting that the countries that take decisive action now will reap the economic benefits of the future.
In the United States, the Biden-Harris Administration has mobilized a whole-of-government approach to unleash economic opportunities, create good jobs, and advance environmental justice. From the national to the local level and across all agencies, the federal government is not only working to help those hit hardest by climate impacts, but also creating a more resilient, equitable, and prosperous future.
While the Biden-Harris Administration has committed itself to addressing the climate crisis, countries across the globe must also step up. Given that more than 85 percent of emissions come from beyond U.S. borders, domestic action must go hand in hand with international leadership. All countries – and particularly the major economies – must do more to bend the curve on global emissions so as to keep a 1.5 degree C limit on global average temperature rise within reach. President Biden’s Leaders Summit helped ensure the international community is working together to tackle the climate crisis and support the most vulnerable. Together with the new United States 2030 target along with those announced in the run-up to and at the summit, more than half of the world’s economy is now committed to the pace of action we need to limit warming to 1.5 degree C. And this coalition is growing.
President Biden convened the U.S.-led Major Economies Forum (MEF) on Energy and Climate, a group the United States first convened during the George W. Bush Administration. Together, the 17 MEF economies are responsible for approximately 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and global GDP. At the Summit, alongside the United States, the other MEF participants committed to take the necessary steps to set the world up for success in this decisive decade. The heads of state and leaders of the MEF participants were also joined by the leaders of countries that are especially vulnerable to climate impacts, as well as countries charting innovative pathways to a net-zero economy. Business leaders, innovators, local officials, and indigenous and youth representatives participated in the summit, sharing their insights and planned contributions to help tackle the climate crisis.
For our part, the United States is leading the way with a range of bold new commitments across the federal government that demonstrate its leadership, create jobs, rally the rest of the world to step up, mobilize finance, spur transformational innovations, conserve nature, build resilience, strengthen adaptation and drive economic growth for communities. U.S. commitments include:
Enhancing climate ambition and enabling the transformations required to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. President Biden is galvanizing efforts by the world’s major economies to reduce emissions during this critical period. From reducing short-lived climate pollutants and supporting the most vulnerable to investing in nature-based solutions, these transformational changes are critical to keep a 1.5 degree C limit on global average temperature rise within reach. Just as importantly, they will create new, good-paying jobs today to drive tomorrow’s economy.
The Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government approach is ensuring that climate considerations are incorporated across U.S. engagements both at home and abroad. Some of the initiatives that were announced today include:
Launching a Global Climate Ambition Initiative. The U.S. government will support developing countries in establishing net-zero strategies, implementing their nationally determined contributions and national adaptation strategies, and reporting on their progress under the Paris Agreement. The Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), working with other agencies, will coordinate U.S. government efforts to support countries around the world to enhance and meet their climate goals in ways that further their national development priorities. We will engage strategically with governments, the private sector, civil society, and communities to support transformational policies and programs, build human and institutional capacity, and create momentum toward a zero-emissions, climate-resilient future.
Setting ambitious benchmarks for climate investments at DFC. The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is committing to achieve a net zero investment portfolio by 2040, the earliest target of any G7 or G20 development finance institution (DFI), and to make at least one-third of all its new investments have a climate nexus beginning in FY 2023. DFC will make climate issues central to its development strategy for the first time and bring all of its tools to bear to ensure a just transition that supports sustainable economic growth in developing countries. Working with the Rockefeller Foundation, DFC will support distributed renewable energy and other innovative climate investments to benefit millions worldwide. It has released a rolling call for proposals for climate investment funds, is bringing onboard its first Chief Climate Officer, and has established a $50 million climate technical assistance facility. These pioneering goals are unique among its peer institutions, and DFC will collaborate with other DFIs and encourage them to raise their own ambitions.
Committing to climate investments at MCC. The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) will expand and deepen work to address climate change challenges across its investment portfolio and business operations—investing in climate-smart development and sustainable infrastructure. Over the next five years, MCC commits that more than 50 percent of its program funding will go to climate-related investments. MCC will promote low-carbon economic development, help countries transition away from fossil fuels, and maintain a coal-free policy across its portfolio of grants.
Launching a Greening Government Initiative. The Greening Government Initiative launch marks the first international convening on greening national plans for sustainable government operations. Co-chaired by Canada and the United States, GGI countries seek to lead by example in developing and implementing climate action plans that increase the resilience of and mitigate emissions from national government operations and real property. Through coordinating our national priorities and collaborating on common goals, we hope to foster and inspire a global “race to the top” of government efforts toward achievement of the goals of the Paris Agreement. The United States and Canada will lead this initiative through cooperation in the management of national government procurement and real property, helping both nations achieve their individual goals of a net-zero emissions economy, 100 percent clean electricity usage, and a zero-emissions vehicle fleet.
Mobilizing financing to drive the net-zero transition and adapt to climate change. Finance plays a vital role in accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy and building a climate-resilient future. Current financial flows are inadequate for addressing the scale of the climate crisis. Through President Biden’s international climate finance plan, the U.S. government will make strategic use of multilateral and bilateral channels and institutions to assist developing countries in implementing ambitious emissions reduction measures, protect critical ecosystems, build resilience against the impacts of climate change, and promote the flow of capital toward climate-aligned investments and away from high-carbon investments. To more effectively mobilize public and private finance to address the climate crisis, the United States announced it is:
Scaling up international financing to address climate needs. The United States intends to double by 2024 our annual public climate finance to developing countries relative to the average level during the second half of the Obama-Biden Administration (FY 2013-2016). As part of this goal, the United States intends to triple its adaptation finance by 2024. The Biden Administration will work closely with Congress to meet these goals.
Issuing the first U.S. International Climate Finance Plan. The United States is publishing its first-ever U.S. international climate finance plan, which lays out how federal agencies and departments responsible for international climate finance will work together to deliver that finance more efficiently and with greater impact.
Launching an international dialogue on decreasing fiscal climate risk through national budgets. Earlier this month, the United States announced a more than $14 billion increase in the President’s Budget over FY 2021 enacted levels across the entire government to tackle the climate crisis, the largest in history. The United States is launching an international dialogue on aligning the budget with climate risks and opportunities. The dialogue will build both on U.S. leadership in climate budgeting and assessing climate risk and on the pioneering work already being done in multilateral fora. The United States will engage with participating countries through bilateral and multilateral channels to collaborate on cost-effective strategies across participating countries to increase climate investments while creating good-paying jobs. The dialogue will also explore how to improve climate risk analysis in national operations that could help countries optimize and expand investments in adaptation and reduce national exposure to the impacts of climate change.
Transforming energy systems. The potential of solar energy, wind power, and electricity storage technologies has improved dramatically over the past few years. But we need to go further and faster. To support accelerated action, new commitments include:
Establishing a Net-Zero Producers Forum. In support of efforts to achieve net-zero emissions by midcentury, the United States, together with the energy ministries from Canada, Norway, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, representing 40 percent of global oil and gas production, established a cooperative forum that will create pragmatic net-zero strategies, including methane abatement, advancing the circular carbon economy approach, development and deployment of clean-energy and carbon capture and storage technologies, diversification from reliance on hydrocarbon revenues, and other measures in line with each country’s national circumstances.
Establishing a U.S.-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership. The United States is working with allies and partners around the world to set ambitious 2030 targets for climate action and clean energy innovation and deployment. The U.S.-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership will elevate ambitious climate action as a core theme of U.S.-India collaboration and support the achievement of India’s ambitious targets, including reaching 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030. The Partnership will aim to mobilize finance and speed clean energy deployment; demonstrate and scale innovative clean technologies needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across sectors including industry, transportation, power, and buildings; and build capacity to measure, manage, and adapt to the risks of climate-related impacts.
Supporting ambitious renewable energy goals and pathways in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Department of State announced scaled-up technical assistance to countries participating in the Renewable Energy for Latin America and the Caribbean (RELAC) initiative, a regional effort led by Colombia, Chile, and Costa Rica to increase renewable energy capacity to at least 70 percent by 2030. Expanded U.S. support through the Low Emission Development Strategies Global Partnership and the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory will center on peer learning and training on policies and technical measures for achieving high levels of renewable energy grid integration. U.S. support to enable current RELAC countries and motivate additional countries to join RELAC will be delivered in cooperation with the InterAmerican Development Bank, the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), and the Global Power System Transformation Consortium.
Supporting clean energy mineral supply chains. The Energy Resource Governance Initiative (ERGI) is a multinational effort founded by Australia, Botswana, Canada, Peru, and the United States to help build sustainable supply chains and promote sound sector governance for the minerals vital to technologies powering the energy transition, such as solar panels, electric vehicles, and battery storage. The United States has committed more than $10.5 million in bilateral technical assistance in support of ERGI principles in more than ten countries around the world. The Initiative’s focus is now expanding to include greening mining operations, as well as re-use and recycling of key minerals and metals. The United States will also join the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining in support of international cooperation on the minerals and metals that make the renewable energy transition possible.
Revitalizing the transport sector. The transformation of the transport sector offers some of the biggest opportunities for deep emissions cuts, new jobs, and healthier cities. To jump-start this revolution, the United States is committing to:
Sparking the zero-emission transportation revolution – at home and abroad. The Department of Transportation (DOT) is taking a comprehensive approach to addressing the climate crisis and expanding ways for all modes of transportation to transition to zero emissions. This includes funding for lower-emission buses, expanding access to electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, using our public rights of way in climate-supportive ways, and working with partners around the world bilaterally, regionally, and in multilateral fora to help catalyze the transition to zero-emitting transportation as swiftly as possible.
Joining the Zero Emission Vehicle Transition Council. The United States will join a coalition of governments representing more than half of new vehicle sales globally that is dedicated to accelerating the global transition to zero emission vehicles.
Reducing emissions from international shipping. The international shipping sector contributes approximately three percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and the sector’s emissions are only projected to increase. In support of the global effort to keep within reach a 1.5 degree C limit on global average temperature increase, and in support of global efforts to achieve net-zero GHG emissions no later than 2050, the United States is committing to work with countries in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to adopt a goal of achieving zero emissions from international shipping by 2050 and to adopt ambitious measures that will place the sector on a pathway to achieve this goal.
Reducing emissions from international aviation. The United States is committed to working with other countries on a vision toward reducing the aviation sector’s emissions in a manner consistent with the goal of net-zero emissions for our economy by 2050, as well as on robust standards that integrate climate protection and safety. The United States intends to advance the development and deployment of high integrity sustainable aviation fuels and other clean technologies that meet rigorous international standards, building on existing partnerships, such as through ASCENT– the Aviation Sustainability Center – and pursue policies to increase the supply and demand of sustainable aviation fuels. In the International Civil Aviation Organization, we will engage in processes to advance a new long-term aspirational goal in line with our vision for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the aviation sector, and continue to participate in the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).
Building workforces for the future and ensuring U.S. competitiveness. Climate action is an opportunity to spur job creation while enabling all communities and workers to benefit from the clean energy economy. To create opportunities for American-made solutions to tackle the climate crisis abroad, the United States is announcing new commitments to:
Launching a Global Partnership for Climate-Smart Infrastructure. The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) will launch the Global Partnership to connect U.S. industry to major energy and transportation infrastructure investments in emerging markets. This initiative will support the rebuilding of the U.S. middle class through the export of U.S.-manufactured goods and services, while enhancing economic recovery through climate-smart infrastructure development for our partners and allies globally. The Global Climate-Smart Infrastructure Partnership will leverage USTDA’s project preparation and partnership-building tools to support the use of U.S. technologies and services in overseas climate-smart infrastructure projects.
Creating the EXIM Chairman’s Council on Climate. The U.S. Export-Import Bank (EXIM) will create a Chairman’s Council on Climate, a sub-committee of EXIM’s Advisory Committee dedicated to advising EXIM on how to better support U.S. exporters in clean energy, foster the transition to a low-carbon economy, and create clean U.S. jobs at home. Membership will be comprised of a wide range of representatives which could include, for example, members of U.S. industry, the financial sector, trade associations, labor, academia, think tanks, and civil society organizations. EXIM will open applications to the public in summer 2021.
Supporting workers and communities in the shift to a global clean energy future. As the United States moves towards a clean energy economy, it is committed to helping energy workers and communities address the challenges and equitably capitalize on the opportunities associated with this transition. The U.S. Secretary of Energy convened the energy ministers of Canada, India, and the European Commission, along with representatives from the labor and advocacy communities, to begin a discussion on global efforts to address this critical issue. To continue the dialogue, the Department of Energy announced that it is joining Canada, the European Union, and Chile to launch the Empowering People initiative at the Clean Energy Ministerial this June.
Promoting innovation to bring clean technologies to scale. Innovation will spur the technology and transformations necessary to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change at scale, while also creating enormous new economic opportunities to build the industries of the future. To build the future we want, the United States announced:
Clean energy innovation and manufacturing. The United States commits to accelerating the technology progress critical to advancing sustainable development and achieving a net-zero global economy. The effort will spur good-paying American jobs focused on developing, manufacturing, and exporting cost-effective products that support sustainable development across the world. The U.S. Department of Energy will define a series of performance targets and coherently leverage the diverse expertise and talent at American universities, businesses, and national laboratories to accelerate research and development in top linchpin technologies, beginning with: hydrogen, carbon capture, industrial fuels, and energy storage. The targets and roadmaps will look beyond incremental advances and aim, instead, at the game-changing breakthroughs that will secure American leadership in the manufacture of net-zero carbon technologies and support sustainable development around the world. In the coming weeks, the U.S. Department of Energy will convene experts from American academia, business, and the national laboratories to announce the first of these moonshot-style ventures and catalyze the game-changing breakthroughs that will grow new businesses and new jobs domestically and export these net-zero carbon technologies all around the world.
Reinvigorating leadership and participation in Mission Innovation. The Biden-Harris Administration has announced plans to quadruple clean energy innovation funding over the next four years, and the United States is playing a key role in advancing international collaboration on innovation and supporting the launch of Mission Innovation 2.0, including:
Launching, and leading together with international partners, a major Mission Innovation international technology mission on carbon dioxide removal at COP26.
Joining Mission Innovation’s hydrogen mission and co-leading, with Denmark, a mission to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in international shipping, both slated to launch at the June 2021 Mission Innovation ministerial.
Planning to host the co-located 2022 Mission Innovation and Clean Energy Ministerial meetings.
Leading the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate. The United States will lead the creation of the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate along with the United Arab Emirates and in coordination with several other partner countries. The goal of this initiative is to accelerate innovation and research and development in agricultural and food systems in order to spur low-carbon growth and enhance food security. The initiative will be advanced at the UN Food Systems Summit in September 2021 and launched at COP26 in November 2021 through the UK’s COP26 Campaign for Nature.
Joining the Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT). The United States will join the Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT), along with co-founders Sweden and India. LeadIT convenes countries and companies committed to speeding innovation in technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in energy-intensive sectors and speed progress to net-zero emissions by 2050.
Launching a Global Power System Transformation (G-PST) Consortium. To speed progress toward a carbon-free power system by 2035 at home and around the world, the United States, along with the United Kingdom, joined leading power system operators, world-class research institutes, and private institutions from countries at the forefront of power system transitions to launch this new consortium, which couples cutting-edge research with knowledge diffusion to share best-in-class operational, engineering, and workforce development solutions with power system operators around the world. The G-PST Consortium aims to help system operators to permanently change their emissions trajectories while simultaneously improving grid reliability, resiliency, and security and supporting economic growth.
Launching the FIRST Program to support the use of small modular reactors. In support of the Administration’s commitment to increasing reliable energy access worldwide while meeting carbon reduction targets, the Department of State is launching the Foundational Infrastructure for the Responsible Use of Small Modular Reactor Technology (FIRST) Program with an initial $5.3 million investment. FIRST provides capacity-building support to enable partner countries to benefit from advanced nuclear technologies and meet their clean energy goals under the highest standards of nuclear security, safety, and nonproliferation.
Providing urgent support for vulnerable countries to adapt and build resilience to the climate crisis. The climate crisis is already posing challenges to communities at home and around the world. Millions of Americans feel the effects of climate change each year when agriculture fields are flooded, wildfires destroy neighborhoods, and storms knock out power. Communities of color and low-income communities around the country are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Abroad, many vulnerable countries already are facing catastrophic climate impacts. They must build their resilience to the climate crisis now. To strengthen our capacity to help people, reduce future risks and improve resilience, the United States is announcing it is:
Supporting environmental justice and climate resilience. EPA will fund $1 million in grants/cooperative agreements through the Commission on Environmental Cooperation (CEC) to work with underserved and vulnerable communities, including indigenous communities, in Canada, Mexico, and the United States to prepare them for climate-related impacts. This initiative will provide funding directly to community-based organizations to help them develop community-driven solutions to the challenges of climate change. These projects could involve vulnerable communities converting workers to clean jobs, addressing extreme weather impacts, transitioning to clean energy and/or transportation, or utilizing traditional ecological knowledge. Following a competitive process, the most innovative and impactful projects will be approved by consensus by the environment ministers of the three countries. The United States currently chairs the CEC Council.
Partnering with islands to lead on climate and energy resilience. The United States is committed to partnering with small islands in their efforts to combat the climate crisis in ways that reflect their unique cultures and development challenges by building resilience in the face of a changing climate. Working together, the Department of State, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will launch a new partnership to advance the inclusion of locally generated climate information, knowledge, data and decision support tools in ongoing and emerging sustainability and resilience endeavors in island regions. The Department of State will support a unique island-led partnership, the Local2030 Island Network, which links U.S. island jurisdictions with those around the world in developing common solutions in a shared cultural context. NOAA will work with this network and other partners to enhance the capacity of island nations to integrate climate data and information, and it will apply effective coastal and marine resource management strategies to support sustainable development. DOE will launch the Energy Transitions Initiative – Global, which will focus on transforming the energy systems of and increasing resilience for islands and remote communities, starting in the Caribbean and Asia-Pacific and growing to include other vulnerable communities. USAID, through the Pacific Climate Ready project and the Caribbean Energy and Resilience initiatives, will support small island developing states to strengthen their systems and capacities to become more climate resilient in ways that are country-driven, coordinated, inclusive, and equitable.
Reducing black carbon by investing in clean cookstoves. Household energy emissions have a significant impact on the climate, environment, human health, gender, and livelihoods. In addition, the reduction of short-lived climate pollutants, such as methane and black carbon, can in the short term contribute significantly to keeping a 1.5 degree C limit on global average temperature rise within reach. Given the urgent need for tangible, ambitious, and global action, the U.S. government is announcing that it is resuming and strengthening its commitment to the United Nations Foundation’s Clean Cooking Alliance. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will work with the Clean Cooking Alliance, other governments, and partners to reduce emissions from home cooking and heating that contribute to climate change and also directly affect the health and livelihoods of almost 40 percent of the world’s population.
Mitigating black carbon health impacts in Indigenous Arctic communities. EPA, working through our partners in the Arctic Council, is pleased to announce the Black Carbon Health in Indigenous Arctic Communities project to be implemented by the Aleut International Association. Indigenous Arctic communities need tools to understand their exposure to black carbon emissions, to help them identify significant local sources, and to share best practices for preventing and mitigating the health impacts of air pollution and climate. The project will help these communities measure, analyze, and addresses black carbon exposure and strengthen their capacity to develop and promote black carbon mitigation strategies.
Implementing nature-based solutions. Nature is a critical part of reaching net-zero emissions and enhancing community resilience. The world’s ocean and forests are critical carbon sinks and a source of life and livelihoods. Recognizing nature’s vital role, the United States is announcing new resources and support for:
Investing in tropical forests to drive towards a net-zero world. Halting deforestation globally, and restoring forests and other ecosystems, is critical to reaching a net-zero emissions world by 2050. The United States is joining together with other governments and private sector companies today to announce the Lowering Emissions by Accelerating Forest finance (LEAF) Coalition. The LEAF Coalition expects to mobilize at least $1 billion this year to incentivize tropical and subtropical countries in reducing emissions from forests by paying for verified emissions reductions that meet a high environmental and social standard. This is a crucial component to raising global climate ambition and to halting and reversing deforestation by 2030.
Funding nature-based approaches to coastal community and ecosystem resilience.The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and additional governmental and private partners will provide $34 million for nature-based approaches through the National Coastal Resilience Fund. These projects will advance restoration or enhancement of natural features, such as coastal wetlands, dunes, and coral reefs, to protect coastal communities and infrastructure from flooding, while also improving habitat for fish and wildlife. NOAA and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation commit to advancing the science and practice of implementing nature-based approaches to coastal resilience with international communities of practice by participating in exchanges and dialogues to share the lessons and innovations learned from these projects. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners will also provide $78 million in grants to help conserve or restore nearly 500,000 acres of wetlands in Canada, Mexico, and the United States through the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission.
Promoting resilience in the Southern Ocean. The United States is supporting the three marine protected area proposals in the Southern Ocean before the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). These unique areas are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and they must be protected. The United States is calling on all CCAMLR members to adopt these marine protected areas at this year’s meeting.
Promoting safety and security at home and abroad. Climate change has been identified by the Department of Defense (DoD) as a critical national security threat and threat multiplier. As a result, DoD has undertaken assessments of the impacts that the climate crisis has on American military instillations. Today the United States is announcing:
Conducting climate exposure assessments on all U.S. installations. The DoD is announcing a plan to complete climate exposure assessments on all major U.S. installations within 12 months and all major installations outside the continental U.S. within 24 months using the Defense Climate Assessment Tool (DCAT). The DCAT helps identify the climate hazards to which DoD installations are most exposed, which is the first step in addressing the potential physical harm, security impacts, and degradation in readiness resulting from global climate change.
Supporting assessments in partner countries around the world. The DoD is also announcing its commitment to share the DCAT with a number of attending allied partners and militaries.
Supporting action at every level. Fully addressing the climate crisis requires an all-of-society response. President Biden is committed to working with sub-national actors, business, civil society, indigenous communities, and youth to facilitate collective ambitious action that yields lasting results.
Advancing subnational and non-state engagement abroad. The United States will step up engagement with subnational governments and non-state actors around the world to accelerate climate action. It will also partner with U.S. cities, states, territories, and Tribes in the context of its diplomatic outreach globally, supporting their engagement at UN Climate Change summits and working with other countries to elevate similar efforts.
Catalyzing subnational action and participation in COP26. The United States endorses Race To Zero, a global campaign for net-zero targets from businesses, cities, and regions, and will work to seek additional U.S participants. The United States also announced an intent to commission analysis of the emission reduction potential from subnational leadership worldwide and to work with national and subnational partners globally to achieve this potential.
Today’s announcements are additional steps in the Biden-Harris Administration’s work to advance an unprecedented whole-of-government response to climate change while creating good-paying, union jobs and advancing environmental justice. On his first day in office, President Biden fulfilled his promise to rejoin the Paris Agreement, and one week later he signed an Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. As part of this Order, the President charged federal agencies to take a comprehensive approach to addressing the climate crisis. From reducing emissions to advancing a just transition, the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to working hand in hand with international leaders, civil society, businesses, and communities and getting countries around the world to step up and meet this global challenge.
President Joe Biden gave remarks immediately following the jury verdict that found Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty for the death of George Floyd, saying “We must not turn away. We can’t turn away. We have a chance to begin to change the trajectory in this country. It’s my hope and prayer that we live up to the legacy.” Here is a highlighted transcript:
Today, a jury in Minnesota found former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts in the murder of George Floyd last May.
It was a murder in the full light of day, and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see the systemic racism the Vice President just referred to — the systemic racism that is a stain our nation’s soul; the knee on the neck of justice for Black Americans; the profound fear and trauma, the pain, the exhaustion that Black and brown Americans experience every single day.
The murder of George Floyd launched a summer of protest we hadn’t seen since the Civil Rights era in the ‘60s — protests that unified people of every race and generation in peace and with purpose to say, “Enough. Enough. Enough of the senseless killings.”
Today — today’s verdict is a step forward. I just spoke with the Governor of Minnesota, who thanked me for the close work with his team.
And I also just spoke with George Floyd’s family again — a remarkable family of extraordinary courage. Nothing can ever bring their brother, their father back. But this can be a giant step forward in the march toward justice in America.
Let’s also be clear that such a verdict is also much too rare. For so many people, it seems like it took a unique and extraordinary convergence of factors: a brave young woman with a smartphone camera; a crowd that was traumatized — traumatized witnesses; a murder that lasts almost 10 minutes in broad daylight for, ultimately, the whole world to see; officers standing up and testifying against a fellow officer instead of just closing ranks, which should be commended; a jury who heard the evidence, carried out their civic duty in the midst of an extraordinary moment, under extraordinary pressure.
For so many, it feels like it took all of that for the judicial system to deliver a just — just basic accountability.
We saw how traumatic and exhausting just watching the trial was for so many people. Think about it, those of you who are listening — think about how traumatic it was for you. You weren’t there. You didn’t know any of the people.
But it was difficult, especially for the witnesses who had to relive that day.
It’s a trauma on top of the fear so many people of color live with every day when they go to sleep at night and pray for the safety of themselves and their loved ones.
Again — as we saw in this trial, from the fellow police officers who testified — most men and women who wear the badge serve their communities honorably.
But those few who fail to meet that standard must be held accountable. And they were today; one was. No one should be above the law. And today’s verdict sends that message.
But it is not enough. We can’t stop here.
In order to deliver real change and reform, we can and we must do more to reduce the likelihood that tragedies like this will ever happen and occur again; to ensure that Black and brown people or anyone — so they don’t fear the interactions with law enforcement, that they don’t have to wake up knowing that they can lose their very life in the course of just living their life. They don’t have to worry about whether their sons or daughters will come home after a grocery store run or just walking down the street or driving their car or playing in the park or just sleeping at home.
And this takes acknowledging and confronting, head on, systemic racism and the racial disparities that exist in policing and in our criminal justice system more broadly.
You know, state and local government and law enforcement needs to step up, but so does the federal government. That’s why I have appointed the leadership at the Justice Department that I have, that is fully committed to restoring trust between law enforcement and the community they are sworn to serve and protect. I have complete confidence in the Attorney General — General Garland’s leadership and commitment.
I have also nominated two key Justice Department nominees — Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke — who are eminently qualified, highly respected lawyers who have spent their entire careers fighting to advance racial equity and justice.
Vanita and Kristen have the experience and the skill necessary to advance our administration’s priorities to root out unconstitutional policing and reform our criminal justice system, and they deserve to be confirmed.
We also need Congress to act. George Floyd was murdered almost a year ago. There’s meaningful police reform legislation in his name. You just heard the Vice President speak of it. She helped write it. Legislation to tackle systemic misconduct in police departments, to restore trust between law enforcement and the people that are entrusted to serve and protect. But it shouldn’t take a whole year to get this done.
In my conversations with the Floyd family — and I spoke with them again today — I assured them that we’re going to continue to fight for the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act so we can — I can sign it into law as quickly as possible. And there’s more to do.
Finally, it’s the work we do every day to change hearts and minds as well as laws and policies — that’s the work we have to do. Only then will full justice and full equality be delivered to all Americans. And that’s what I just discussed with the Floyd family.
The guilty verdict does not bring back George. But through the family’s pain, they are finding purpose so George’s legacy will not be just about his death, but about what we must do in his memory.
I also spoke to Gianna — George’s (inaudible) — George’s young daughter, again. When I met her last year — I’ve said this before — at George’s funeral, I told her how brave I thought she was. And I, sort of, knelt down to hold her hand. I said, “Daddy’s looking down on you. He’s so proud.” She said to me then — I’ll never forget it — “Daddy changed the world.”
Well, I told her this afternoon, “Daddy did change the world.” Let that be his legacy: a legacy of peace, not violence — of justice.
Peaceful expression of that legacy are inevitable and appropriate, but violent protest is not. And there are those who will seek to exploit the raw emotions of the moment — agitators and extremists who have no interest in social justice; who seek to carry out violence, destroy property, to fan the flames of hate and division; who will do everything in their power to stop this country’s march toward racial justice. We can’t let them succeed.
This is the time for this country to come together, to unite as Americans. There can never be any safe harbor for hate in America.
I’ve said it many times: The battle for the soul of this nation has been a constant push and pull for more than 240 years — a tug of war between the American ideal that we’re all created equal and the harsh reality that racism has long torn us apart.
At our best, the American ideal wins out. So we can’t leave this moment or look away, thinking our work is done. We have to look at it as we did for those 9 minutes and 29 seconds. We have to listen. “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.” Those were George Floyd’s last words. We can’t let those words die with him. We have to keep hearing those words.
We must not turn away. We can’t turn away. We have a chance to begin to change the trajectory in this country. It’s my hope and prayer that we live up to the legacy.
May God bless you. And may God bless the — George Floyd and his family.
Thank you for taking the time to be here. This can be a moment of significant change.
On April 14, speaking from the Treaty Room in the White House, President Joe Biden declared that American troops would be out of Afghanistan, America’s longest war, by September 11, 2021, 20 years after the terror attacks masterminded by Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda that left 3000 dead New York, Washington DC and Shanksville, PA. here is a highlighted transcript:
Good afternoon. I’m speaking to you today from the Roosevelt — the Treaty Room in the White House. The same spot where, on October of 2001, President George W. Bush informed our nation that the United States military had begun strikes on terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. It was just weeks — just weeks after the terrorist attack on our nation that killed 2,977 innocent souls; that turned Lower Manhattan into a disaster area, destroyed parts of the Pentagon, and made hallowed ground of a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and sparked an American promise that we would “never forget.”
We went to Afghanistan in 2001 to root out al Qaeda, to prevent future terrorist attacks against the United States planned from Afghanistan. Our objective was clear. The cause was just. Our NATO Allies and partners rallied beside us. And I supported that military action, along with overwhelming majority of the members of Congress.
More than seven years later, in 2008, weeks before we swore the oath of office — President Obama and I were about to swear — President Obama asked me to travel to Afghanistan and report back on the state of the war in Afghanistan. I flew to Afghanistan, to the Kunar Valley — a rugged, mountainous region on the border with Pakistan. What I saw on that trip reinforced my conviction that only the Afghans have the right and responsibility to lead their country, and that more and endless American military force could not create or sustain a durable Afghan government.
I believed that our presence in Afghanistan should be focused on the reason we went in the first place: to ensure Afghanistan would not be used as a base from which to attack our homeland again. We did that. We accomplished that objective.
I said, among — with others, we’d follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell if need be. That’s exactly what we did, and we got him. It took us close to 10 years to put President Obama’s commitment into form. And that’s exactly what happened; Osama bin Laden was gone.
That was 10 years ago. Think about that. We delivered justice to bin Laden a decade ago, and we’ve stayed in Afghanistan for a decade since. Since then, our reasons for remaining in Afghanistan are becoming increasingly unclear, even as the terrorist threat that we went to fight evolved.
Over the past 20 years, the threat has become more dispersed, metastasizing around the globe: al-Shabaab in Somalia; al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula; al-Nusra in Syria; ISIS attempting to create a [caliphate] in Syria and Iraq, and establishing affiliates in multiple countries in Africa and Asia.
With the terror threat now in many places, keeping thousands of troops grounded and concentrated in just one country at a cost of billions each year makes little sense to me and to our leaders. We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan, hoping to create ideal conditions for the withdrawal, and expecting a different result.
I’m now the fourth United States President to preside over American troop presence in Afghanistan: two Republicans, two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth.
After consulting closely with our allies and partners, with our military leaders and intelligence personnel, with our diplomats and our development experts, with the Congress and the Vice President, as well as with Mr. Ghani and many others around the world, I have concluded that it’s time to end America’s longest war. It’s time for American troops to come home.
When I came to office, I inherited a diplomatic agreement, duly negotiated between the government of the United States and the Taliban, that all U.S. forces would be out of Afghanistan by May 1, 2021, just three months after my inauguration. That’s what we inherited — that commitment.
It is perhaps not what I would have negotiated myself, but it was an agreement made by the United States government, and that means something. So, in keeping with that agreement and with our national interests, the United States will begin our final withdrawal — begin it on May 1 of this year.
We will not conduct a hasty rush to the exit. We’ll do it — we’ll do it responsibly, deliberately, and safely. And we will do it in full coordination with our allies and partners, who now have more forces in Afghanistan than we do.
And the Taliban should know that if they attack us as we draw down, we will defend ourselves and our partners with all the tools at our disposal.
Our allies and partners have stood beside us shoulder-to-shoulder in Afghanistan for almost 20 years, and we’re deeply grateful for the contributions they have made to our shared mission and for the sacrifices they have borne.
The plan has long been “in together, out together.” U.S. troops, as well as forces deployed by our NATO Allies and operational partners, will be out of Afghanistan before we mark the 20th anniversary of that heinous attack on September 11th.
But — but we’ll not take our eye off the terrorist threat. We’ll reorganize our counterterrorism capabilities and the substantial assets in the region to prevent reemergence of terrorists — of the threat to our homeland from over the horizon. We’ll hold the Taliban accountable for its commitment not to allow any terrorists to threaten the United States or its allies from Afghan soil. The Afghan government has made that commitment to us as well. And we’ll focus our full attention on the threat we face today.
At my direction, my team is refining our national strategy to monitor and disrupt significant terrorist threats not only in Afghanistan, but anywhere they may arise — and they’re in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and elsewhere.
I spoke yesterday with President Bush to inform him of my decision. While he and I have had many disagreements over policies throughout the years, we’re absolutely united in our respect and support for the valor, courage, and integrity of the women and men of the United States Armed Forces who served. I’m immensely grateful for the bravery and backbone that they have shown through nearly two decades of combat deployments. We as a nation are forever indebted to them and to their families.
You all know that less than 1 percent of Americans serve in our armed forces. The remaining 99 percent of them — we owe them. We owe them. They have never backed down from a single mission that we’ve asked of them.
I’ve witnessed their bravery firsthand during my visits to Afghanistan. They’ve never wavered in their resolve. They’ve paid a tremendous price on our behalf. And they have the thanks of a grateful nation.
While we will not stay involved in Afghanistan militarily, our diplomatic and humanitarian work will continue. We’ll continue to support the government of Afghanistan. We will keep providing assistance to the Afghan National Defenses and Security Forces.
And along with our partners, we have trained and equipped a standing force of over 300,000 Afghan personnel today and hundreds of thousands over the past two decades. And they’ll continue to fight valiantly, on behalf of the Afghans, at great cost. They’ll support peace talks, as we will support peace talks between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban, facilitated by the United Nations. And we’ll continue to support the rights of Afghan women and girls by maintaining significant humanitarian and development assistance.
And we’ll ask other countries — other countries in the region — to do more to support Afghanistan, especially Pakistan, as well as Russia, China, India, and Turkey. They all have a significant stake in the stable future for Afghanistan.
And over the next few months, we will also determine what a continued U.S. diplomatic presence in Afghanistan will look like, including how we’ll ensure the security of our diplomats.
Look, I know there are many who will loudly insist that diplomacy cannot succeed without a robust U.S. military presence to stand as leverage. We gave that argument a decade. It’s never proved effective — not when we had 98,000 troops in Afghanistan, and not when we were down to a few thousand.
Our diplomacy does not hinge on having boots in harm’s way — U.S. boots on the ground. We have to change that thinking. American troops shouldn’t be used as a bargaining chip between warring parties in other countries. You know, that’s nothing more than a recipe for keeping American troops in Afghanistan indefinitely.
I also know there are many who will argue that we should stay — stay fighting in Afghanistan because withdrawal would damage America’s credibility and weaken America’s influence in the world. I believe the exact opposite is true.
We went to Afghanistan because of a horrific attack that happened 20 years ago. That cannot explain why we should remain there in 2021.
Rather than return to war with the Taliban, we have to focus on the challenges that are in front of us. We have to track and disrupt terrorist networks and operations that spread far beyond Afghanistan since 9/11.
We have to shore up American competitiveness to meet the stiff competition we’re facing from an increasingly assertive China. We have to strengthen our alliances and work with like-minded partners to ensure that the rules of international norms that govern cyber threats and emerging technologies that will shape our future are grounded in our democratic values — values — not those of the autocrats.
We have to defeat this pandemic and strengthen the global health system to prepare for the next one, because there will be another pandemic.
You know, we’ll be much more formidable to our adversaries and competitors over the long term if we fight the battles for the next 20 years, not the last 20.
And finally, the main argument for staying longer is what each of my three predecessors have grappled with: No one wants to say that we should be in Afghanistan forever, but they insist now is not the right moment to leave.
In 2014, NATO issued a declaration affirming that Afghan Security Forces would, from that point on, have full responsibility for their country’s security by the end of that year. That was seven years ago.
So when will it be the right moment to leave? One more year, two more years, ten more years? Ten, twenty, thirty billion dollars more above the trillion we’ve already spent?
“Not now” — that’s how we got here. And in this moment, there’s a significant downside risk to staying beyond May 1st without a clear timetable for departure.
If we instead pursue the approach where America — U.S. exit is tied to conditions on the ground, we have to have clear answers to the following questions: Just what conditions require to — be required to allow us to depart? By what means and how long would it take to achieve them, if they could be achieved at all? And at what additional cost in lives and treasure?
I’m not hearing any good answers to these questions. And if you can’t answer them, in my view, we should not stay. The fact is that, later today, I’m going to visit Arlington National Cemetery, Section 60, and that sacred memorial to American sacrifice.
Section 60 is where our recent war dead are buried, including many of the women and men who died fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. There’s no — there’s no comforting distance in history in Section 60. The grief is raw. It’s a visceral reminder of the living cost of war.
For the past 12 years, ever since I became Vice President, I’ve carried with me a card that reminds me of the exact number of American troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. That exact number, not an approximation or rounded-off number — because every one of those dead are sacred human beings who left behind entire families. An exact accounting of every single solitary one needs to be had.
As of the day — today, there are [2,448] U.S. troops and personnel who have died in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel — our Afghanistan conflicts. 20,722 have been wounded.
I’m the first President in 40 years who knows what it means to have a child serving in a warzone. And throughout this process, my North Star has been remembering what it was like when my late son, Beau, was deployed to Iraq — how proud he was to serve his country; how insistent he was to deploy with his unit; and the impact it had on him and all of us at home.
We already have service members doing their duty in Afghanistan today whose parents served in the same war. We have service members who were not yet born when our nation was attacked on 9/11.
War in Afghanistan was never meant to be a multi-generational undertaking. We were attacked. We went to war with clear goals. We achieved those objectives. Bin Laden is dead, and al Qaeda is degraded in Iraq — in Afghanistan. And it’s time to end the forever war.
Thank you all for listening. May God protect our troops. May God bless all those families who lost someone in this endeavor.
President Joe Biden provided the rationale for his American Jobs Plan in remarks on April 7, justifying the $2 trillion plan as a “once-in-a-generation investment in America unlike anything we’ve done since we built the Interstate Highway System and won the Space Race decades ago.” While saying he was willing to hear other ideas and compromise on such things as raising the corporate tax rate to 28% (still lower than 35% rate up until 2017), doing nothing is “not an option.” Here is an edited transcript of his remarks:
Last weekend, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I announced my plan to rebuild what I refer to as the “backbone of America” through the American Jobs Plan.
It’s not a plan that tinkers around the edges; it’s a once-in-a-generation investment in America unlike anything we’ve done since we built the Interstate Highway System and won the Space Race decades ago.
It’s the single largest investment in American jobs since World War Two, and it’s a plan that puts millions of Americans to work to fix what’s broken in our country: tens of thousands of miles of roads and highways, thousands of bridges in desperate need of repair.
But it also is a blueprint for infrastructure needed for tomorrow — not just yesterday; tomorrow — for American jobs, for American competitiveness.
Last week, I said that once Congress is back from recess, I’d get to work right away because we have no time to lose. So here we are.
Democrats, Republicans will have ideas about what they like and what they don’t like about our plan. That’s — that’s a good thing. That’s the American way. That’s the way democracy works. Debate is welcome. Compromise is inevitable. Changes are certain.
In the next few weeks, the Vice President and I will be meeting with Republicans and Democrats to hear from everyone. And we’ll be listening. We’ll be open to good ideas and good-faith negotiations.
But here’s what we won’t be open to: We will not be open to doing nothing. Inaction simply is not an option.
Now, since I announced this plan, I’ve heard from my Republican friends say that it’s — many of them say it’s too big. They say, “Why not focus on traditional infrastructure, fix what we’ve already got — the roads and the highways that exist and the bridges?”
I’m happy to have that debate. But I’d like to tell you my view. We are America. We don’t just fix for today; we build for tomorrow.
Two hundred years ago, trains weren’t “traditional” infrastructure either until America made a choice to lay down tracks across the country. Highways weren’t “traditional” infrastructure until we allowed ourselves to imagine that roads could connect our nation across state lines.
The idea of infrastructure has always evolved to meet the aspirations of the American people and their needs, and it’s evolving again today.
We need to start seeing infrastructures through its effect on the lives of working people in America. What is the foundation today that they need to carve out their place in the middle class to make it — to live, to go to work, to raise their families with dignity, to ensure that good jobs will be there for their kids, no matter who they are or what ZIP Code they live in?
That’s what infrastructure means in the 21st century. It still depends on roads and bridges, ports and airports, rail and mass transit, but it also depends on having reliable, high-speed Internet in every home. Because today’s high-speed Internet is infrastructure.
It depends on the electric grid — a grid that won’t collapse in a winter storm or be compromised by hackers at home or abroad. It depends on investing in “Made in America” goods from every American community, including those that have historically been left out — Black, Latino, Asian American, Native Americans, rural communities.
Talk to folks around the country about what really makes up the foundation of a good economy. Ask a teacher or a childcare worker if having clean drinking water — non-contaminated drinking water in our schools, in our childcare centers is part of that foundation — when we know that the lead in our pipes slows a child’s development when they drink that water.
Ask the entrepreneur whose small business was destroyed by the second 100-year flood in the last 10 years in Iowa — or wildfires in the West that burned 5 million acres last year, an area roughly the size of the entire state of New Jersey. More fires than ever. Or the devastating damage — seeing more frequent and more intense hurricanes and storms on the East and Gulf Coasts.
Ask all those farmers and small-business owners and homeowners whether investing in clean energy to fight the effects of climate change is part of infrastructure.
Ask folks in rural America, where more than 35 percent of the people lack a reliable, high-speed Internet, limiting their ability to conduct business or engage in remote learning for their schools. Ask them whether investing in Internet access will lead to better jobs in town, new markets for farmers, and better opportunities for their kids.
And I’m serious about this. Ask the moms and dads in the “sandwich generation” — the folks carrying enormous personal and financial strains trying to raise their children and care for their parents — their elderly parents or members of their families with a disability. Ask them what sort of infrastructure they need to build a little better life, to be able to breathe a little bit.
It’s expanded services for seniors. It’s homecare workers, who go in and cook their meal, help them get around and live independently in their home, allowing them to stay in their homes — and I might add, saving Medicaid hundreds of millions of dollars in the process.
It’s better wages and benefits and opportunities for caregivers, who are disproportionately women, women of color, and immigrants. Or ask our wounded warriors and military families.
To my Republican colleagues in Congress, shouldn’t we modernize VA hospitals, update them? Many of them are more than 50 years old.
How about the estimated 450,000 post-9/11 veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, who, when they make that emergency call — or their husband, wife, son, daughter makes that call to the VA hospital — “Dad needs help, we have to bring him in.” And they hear, “You have to wait. We don’t have room now. Come back. Call me back in 8 days, 10 days, 12 days.”
Look at more suicides in the military than people getting shot. Is it really your position, my friends, that our veterans don’t deserve the most modern facilities? We could catch that cancer diagnosis quicker, with access to better roads, cleaner water, high-speed Internet that delivers information faster and more of it.
Above all, infrastructure is about meeting the needs of a nation and putting Americans to work and being able to do and get paid for doing — having good jobs. Plumbers and pipefitters replacing those, literally, thousands of miles of — of dangerous lead pipes. They’re still out there.
Everybody remembers what happened in Flint. There’s hundreds of Flints all across America. How many of you know, when you send your child to school, the fountain they’re drinking out of is not fed by a lead pipe? How many of you know the school your child is in still has asbestos in the walls and lacks the ventilation? Is that not infrastructure?
Line workers and electricians laying transmission lines for a modern grid, providing over 500,000 charging stations on the highways we are going to build to accommodate electric vehicles so we can own the future.
Construction workers and engineers building modern hospital — modern hospitals and homes for American families. Healthcare workers, steelworkers, folks who work in the cutting-edge labs.Nearly 90 percent of the infrastructure jobs created by our American Jobs Plan can be filled by people who don’t have a college degree. Seventy-five percent don’t need an associate’s degree.
As I said last week, this is a blue-collar blueprint for increasing opportunity for the American people. It also includes the biggest investment in non-defense research and development on record.
I promise you — this is not part of my speech — but I promise you, you’re all going to be reporting over the next six to eight months how China and the rest of the world is racing ahead of us in the investments they have in the future, attempting to own the future. The technology, quantum computing, investing significant amounts of money and dealing with cancer and Alzheimer’s — that’s the infrastructure of a nation.
There’s a new book out about how our — we’ve fallen behind. America is no longer the leader of the world because we’re not investing. It used to be we invested almost 2.7 percent of our GDP in infrastructure. Now it’s about 0.7 percent. When we were investing in it, we were the leader in the world.
I don’t know why we don’t get this. One of the only — a few major economies in the world whose public investment in research and development has declined as a percentage of GDP in the last 25 years — declined: the United States of America — that led the world.
Why does this matter? Investing in research and development help lead to lithium batteries, LED technology, the Internet itself. It helped lead to vaccine breakthroughs that are helping us beat COVID-19; to the Human Genome Project, which has led to breakthroughs in how we understand and fight cancer and other diseases.
Government — meaning, the taxpayers — funded this research. Government.
When we stop investing in research, we stop investing in the jobs of the future, and we give up leading the world.And when we do invest in research, what we’re really doing is raising the bar on what we can imagine.
Imagine a world where you and your family can travel coast to coast without a single tank of gas, or in a high-speed train, close to as fast as you can go across the country in a plane.
Imagine your children growing up to work in innovation, good-paying jobs in fields that haven’t even been invented yet, like the parents of every computer programmer, every graphic designer, every renewable energy worker once did — imagined.
We invest today so that these jobs will be here in America tomorrow, so America can lead the world that is — as it’s historically done.
That’s why I brought back scientists into the White House. We need to think.
Look, do we think the rest of world is waiting around? “We’re not going to make those kinds of investments,” the rest of the world is saying. Take a look. Do you think China is waiting around to invest in this digital infrastructure or in research and development? I promise you, they are not waiting, but they’re counting on American democracy to be too slow, too limited, and too divided to keep pace.
You’ve heard me say it before: I think this generation is going to be marked by the competition between democracies and autocracies, because the world is changing so rapidly. The autocrats are betting on democracy not being able to generate the kind of unity needed to make decisions to get in that race. We can’t afford to prove them right. We have to show the world — and much more importantly, we have to show ourselves — that democracy works; that we can come together on the big things. It’s the United States of America for God’s sake.
Of course, building the infrastructure of tomorrow requires major investments today.
As I said last week, I’m open to ideas about how to pay for this plan, with one exception: I will not impose any tax increases on people making less than $400,000 a year. If others have ideas out there on how to pay for this investment without violating that rule, they should come forward.
There’s all kinds of opportunities. Just list all the tax breaks that I find difficult to explain: wealthy deductions, $360 billion if you cap them; top rate of 39 percent, which it used to be for a hundred — for years, all the way to the Bush administration; almost a quarter of a trillion dollars, corporate minimum tax; and the fossil fuel giveaways at $40 billion, et cetera. I could go on.
But let me tell you what I proposed, how to do it. We’re going to raise the corporate tax rate. It was 35 percent for the longest time, which was too high. Barack and I thought it was too high during our administration. We all agreed five years ago that it should come down somewhat, but the previous administration reduced it all the way down to 21 percent.
What I’m proposing is that we meet in the middle: 28 percent. Twenty-eight percent — we’ll still have lower corporate rates than any time between World War Two and 2017. It will generate over a trillion dollars in taxes over 15 years.
A new, independent study put out last week found that at least 55 of our largest corporations use the various loopholes to pay zero federal income tax in 2020. It’s just not fair. It’s not fair to the rest of the American taxpayers.
We’re going to — we’re going to try to put an end to this. Not fleece them — 28 percent. If you’re a mom, a dad, a cop, firefighter, police officer, et cetera, you’re paying close to that in your income tax.
I’ve also proposed a global minimum tax, which is being proposed around the world for U.S. corporations, of 21 percent. Let me tell you that means. It means that companies aren’t going to be able to hide their income in places like the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, in tax havens. We’re going to also eliminate deductions used by corporations for offshoring jobs and shifting assets overseas. They offshore the jobs, shift the assets overseas, and then don’t have to pay taxes on all they make there.
And we’ll significantly ramp up IRS enforcement against corporations and the super wealthy who either failed to report their income or underreported. Estimated, that would raise tens of billions of dollars. It adds up to more than what I proposed in just 15 years. It’s honest. It’s fair. It’s fiscally responsible. And it pays for what we need and reduces the debt over the long haul.
And, by the way, I didn’t hear any of our friends, who are criticizing this plan, say that the corporate tax cut, which added $2 trillion to the debt — the Trump tax cut, $2 trillion — $1.9 trillion in debt — wasn’t paid for, the vast majority of which went to the top 1 percent of the wage earners. I didn’t hear anybody hollering in this recovery — the so-called — before I became President — this “K-shaped” recovery, where billionaires made $300 billion more dollars during this period. Where’s the outrage there?
I’m not trying to punish anybody. But damn it, maybe it’s because I come from a middle-class neighborhood, I’m sick and tired of ordinary people being fleeced.
Let me close by saying this: Whatever partisan divisions there are around other issues, there don’t have to be around this one. The divisions of the moment shouldn’t stop us from doing the right thing for the future. These aren’t Republican bridges, Democratic airports, Republican hospitals, or a Democratic power grid. Think of the transcontinental railroad, Interstate Highway System, or the Space Race. We’re one nation, united and connected.
As I said last week, I’m going to bring Republicans to the White House. I invite them to come. We’ll have good-faith negotiations. And any Republican who wants to get this done, I invite. I invite them. We have to get this — things done.
We’re at an inflection point in American democracy. This is a moment where we prove whether or not democracy can deliver. Whether it can lay the foundation for an economy built from the bottom up and the middle out, not trickle-down economics from the very top. Whether it can lay a good foundation for good jobs in a 21st century economy.
I tell the kids — the young people who work for me and to all my kids — when I go on college campuses, they’re going to see more change in the next 10 years than we’ve seen in the last 50 years. We’re going to talk about commercial aircraft flying at subsonic speeds — supersonic speeds. Be able to, figuratively, if you may — if we decided to do it, traverse the world in about an hour, travel 21,000 miles an hour. So much is changing. We have got to lead it.
I believe democracy can come through when the American people come together. We saw it in the American Rescue Plan. We’re seeing it with the Jobs Plan. And the American Rescue Plan, which got so badly criticized — how many of my Republican colleagues have you seen gone on your stations or your newspapers and say, “Boy, people in my state really like it”? Because it would be improper having permission. The number of Republicans and Democrats who were hesitant and have called me saying, “God, this really works.”
Overwhelming majority of the American people — Democrats, Republics, and independents — support infrastructure investments that meets the moment.
So, I urge the Congress: Listen to your constituents and, together, we can lay a foundation for an economy that works for everyone and allows America to remain the world leader. When we do that, I believe, as I said last week, that in 50 years from now, when people look back, they’ll say this was the moment, together, that we won America’s future. I really believe that.
Thank you all. And God bless you. And may God protect our troops. Thank you.
Q Mr. President, are you willing to go lower than the 28 percent corporate tax rate?
THE PRESIDENT: I’m willing to listen to that. I’m willing to — I’m wide open to, but we’ve got to pay for this. We got to pay. There’s many other ways we can do it, but I’m willing to negotiate that.
I’ve come — I’ve come forward with the best, most rational way — in my view, the fairest way, to pay for it. But there are many other ways as well, and I’m open.
Q Will you have failed on your promise of bipartisanship if you don’t get Republicans on board with this plan? Your first plan passed along party lines.
THE PRESIDENT: Look, what I said was I would try to work with my friends on the other side. There are things we’re working on together — some of which we’ve passed and some we will pass.
But the last plan I laid out what was available, what I was suggesting, and how I’d deal with it. And a bipartisan group came to see me. And then a Republican group came to see me. And they started off at $600 billion, and that was it.
If they come forward with a plan that did the bulk of it and it was a billion — three or four, two or three — that allowed me to have pieces of all that was in there, I would have been — I would’ve been prepared to compromise, but they didn’t. They didn’t move an inch. Not an inch.
But, for example, I am dealing with a bipartisan group that came to see me. Now it’s about — what? — three, four weeks ago when they came about computer chips and about — and they said, “Look, we have to have our own supply. We have to work together.” We’re working on that. Chuck Schumer and, I think, McConnell are about to introduce a bill along those lines.
So I’m prepared to work. I really am. But to automatically say that the only thing that’s infrastructure is a highway, a bridge, or whatever — that’s just not rational. It really isn’t.
I think the vast majority of Americans think everything from the sewer pipes, to the — to the — the sewer facilities, to the water pipes — I think they’re infrastructure.
Today, the White House released state-by-state fact sheets that highlight the urgent need in every state across the country for the investments proposed by President Biden in the American Jobs Plan. The fact sheets highlight the number of bridges and miles of road in each state in poor condition, the percentage of households without access to broadband, the billions of dollars required for water infrastructure, among other infrastructure needs.
Individual fact sheets for each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are linked below.
These fact sheets are the latest in a series from the White House highlighting the benefits of the American Jobs Plan for communities. Additional issue-based fact sheets will be released in the coming days and weeks. Fact sheets on how the American Jobs Plan Advances Racial Equity and the American Jobs Plan Supports Rural America have been released in recent weeks.
The American Jobs Plan is an investment in America that will create millions of good jobs, rebuild our country’s infrastructure, and position the United States to out-compete China.
President Joe Biden introduced his American Jobs Plan – an ambitious $2 trillion infrastructure plan – saying “Is it big? Yes. Is it bold? Yes. And we can get it done.” In fact, he declared, “we must,” and laid out a cogent argument for “the largest American jobs investment since World War Two.”
“We have to move now,” Biden declared. “Because I’m convinced that if we act now, in 50 years, people are going to look back and say this was the moment that America won the future.”
Here is an edited transcript of the speech he delivered on March 31, at Carpenters Pittsburgh Training Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in which he introduced his plan to the nation:
It’s the largest American jobs investment since World War Two. It will create millions of jobs, good-paying jobs. It will grow the economy, make us more competitive around the world, promote our national security interests, and put us in a position to win the global competition with China in the upcoming years.
Is it big? Yes. Is it bold? Yes. And we can get it done.
It grows the economy in key ways. It puts people to work to repair and upgrade so — that we badly need. It makes it easier and more efficient to move goods, to get to work, and to make us more competitive around the world.
It’s about infrastructure. The American Jobs Plan will modernize 20,000 miles of highways, roads, and main streets that are in difficult, difficult shape right now. It’ll fix the nation’s 10 most economically significant bridges in America that require replacement.
We’ll also repair 10,000 bridges, desperately needed upgrades to unclog traffic, keep people safe, and connect our cities, towns, and Tribes across the country.
The American Jobs Plan will build new rail corridors and transit lines, easing congestion, cutting pollution, slashing commute times, and opening up investment in communities that can be connected to the cities, and cities to the outskirts, where a lot of jobs are these days. It’ll reduce the bottlenecks of commerce at our ports and our airports.
The American Jobs Plan will lead to a transformational progress in our effort to tackle climate change with American jobs and American ingenuity. It’ll protect our community from billions of dollars of damage from historic super storms, floods, wildfires, droughts, year after year, by making our infrastructure more secure and resilient and seizing incredible opportunities for American workers and American farmers in a clean energy future.
Skilled workers, like one we just heard from, building a nationwide network of 500,000 charging stations, creating good-paying jobs by leading the world in the manufacturing and export of clean electric cars and trucks.
We’re going to provide tax incentives and point-of-sale rebates to help all American families afford clean vehicles of the future. The federal government owns an enormous fleet of vehicles which are going to be transitioned to clean electric vehicles and hydrogen vehicles right here in the United States, by American workers with American products.
When we make all these investments, we’re going to make sure, as the executive order I signed early on, that we buy American. That means investing in American-based companies and American workers. Not a contract will go out, that I control, that will not go to a company that is an American company with American products, all the way down the line, and American workers.
And we’ll buy the goods we need from all of America, communities that have historically been left out of these investments: Black, Latino, Asian American, Native American, rural, small businesses, entrepreneurs across the country.
Look, today, up to 10 million homes in America and more than 400,000 schools and childcare centers have pipes — where they get their water from — pipes that are lead-based pipes, including pipes for drinking water.
The American Jobs Plan will put plumbers and pipefitters to work, replacing 100 percent of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines so every American, every child can turn on a faucet or a fountain and drink clean water.
With each $5,000 investment replacing a line, that can mean up to $22,000 in healthcare costs saved — a chance to protect our children, help them learn and thrive.
We can’t delay. We can’t delay another minute. It’s long past due.
[America invented the internet] but millions of Americans lack access to reliable high-speed Internet, including more than 35 percent of rural America.
It’s a disparity even more pronounced during this pandemic. American Jobs will make sure every single — every single American has access to high quality, affordable, high-speed Internet for businesses, for schools.
Americans pay too much for Internet service. We’re going to drive down the price for families who have service now, and make it easier for families who don’t have affordable service to be able to get it now.
As you saw in Texas and elsewhere, our electric and power — power grids are vulnerable to storms, catastrophic failures, and security lapses, with tragic results.
My American Jobs Plan will put hundreds of thousands of people to work..
We’ll build, upgrade, and weatherize affordable, energy-efficient housing and commercial buildings for millions of Americans.
— line workers, electricians, and laborers — laying thousands of miles of transmission line; building a modern, resilient, and fully clean grid; and capping hundreds of thousands of, literally, orphan oil and gas wells that need to be cleaned up because they’re abandoned — paying the same exact rate that a union man or woman would get having dug that well in the first place.
The American Jobs Plan is going to help in big ways. It’s going to extend access to quality, affordable home or community-based care. Think of expanded vital services like programs for seniors, or think of homecare workers going into homes of seniors and people with disabilities, cooking meals, helping them get around their homes, and helping them be able to live more independently.
For too long, caregivers — who are disproportionately women, and women of color, and immigrants — have been unseen, underpaid, and undervalued.
This plan, along with the American Families Plan, changes that with better wages, benefits, and opportunities for millions of people who will be able to get to work in an economy that works for them.
Decades ago, the United States government used to spend 2 percent of its GDP — its gross domestic product — on research and development. Today, we spend less than 1 percent. I think it’s seven-tenths of 1 percent.
Here’s why that matters: We’re one of only a few major economies in the world whose public investment in research and development as a share of GDP has declined constantly over the last 25 years.
And we’ve fallen back. The rest of the world is closing in and closing in fast.
We can’t allow this to continue. The American Jobs Plan is the biggest increase in our federal non-defense research and development spending on record. It’s going to boost America’s innovative edge in markets where global leadership is up for grabs — markets like battery technology, biotechnology, computer chips, clean energy, the competition with China in particular.
When NASA invented ways to keep food safe for the astronauts, it led to programs that have been used to — for decades to keep food safe in supermarkets. At least 2,000 products and services have been developed and commercialized as a result of American space exploration.
GPS has helped us find each other. Computer chips allow us to see and talk to one another..
Xi Jinping, the leader of China, said, You’ve always said, Mr. President, that you can define America in one word: possibilities.” That’s who we are.
In America, anything is possible. Like what we did with vaccines a decade ago that laid the foundation for COVID-19 vaccines we have today. Like we did when the Interstate Highway System that transformed the way we traveled, lived, worked, and developed.
Along with the American Rescue Plan, the proposal I put forward will create millions of jobs — estimated by some Wall Street outfits: over 18 million jobs over four years; good-paying jobs. It also works to level the playing field, empower workers, and ensure that the new jobs are good jobs that you can raise a family on, and ensure free and fair choice to organize and bargain collectively.
Too often, economic growth and recovery is concentrated on the coast. Too often, investments have failed to meet the needs of marginalized communities left behind.
There is talent, innovation everywhere. And this plan connects that talent through cities, small towns, rural communities; through our businesses and our universities; through our entrepreneurs, union workers all across America.
We have to move now. Because I’m convinced that if we act now, in 50 years, people are going to look back and say this was the moment that America won the future.
What I’m proposing is a one-time capital investment of roughly $2 trillion in America’s future, spread largely over eight years. It will generate historic job growth, historic economic growth, help businesses to compete internationally, create more revenue as well. They are among the highest-value investments we can make in the nation — investing in our infrastructure.
But put it another way, failing to make these investments adds to our debt and effectively puts our children at a disadvantage relative to our competitors. That’s what crumbling infrastructure does. And our infrastructure is crumbling. We’re ranked 13th in the world.
What’s more, it heightens our vulnerability to our adversaries to compete in ways that they haven’t up to now. And our adversaries are worried about us building this critical infrastructure.
Put simply, these are investments we have to make. We can afford to make them — or, put another way, we can’t afford not to.
So how do we pay for it?
Less than four years ago, as I said, the Congress passed a tax cut of $2 trillion, increasing the national debt $2 trillion. It didn’t meet virtually any of the predictions it would in terms of growing the economy. Overwhelmingly, the benefits of that tax package went to the wealthiest Americans. It even included new investments that would profit by shifting profits and jobs overseas if you’re a corporation. It was bad for American competitiveness, deeply unfair to the middle-class families, and wrong for our future.
So, here’s what I’d do. I start with one rule: No one — let me say it again — no one making under $400,000 will see their federal taxes go up. Period. This is not about penalizing anyone. I have nothing against millionaires and billionaires. I believe American — in American capitalism. I want everyone to do well.
But here’s the deal: Right now, a middle-class couple — a firefighter and a teacher with two kids — making a combined salary of, say, $110-, $120,000 a year pays 22 cents for each additional dollar they earn in federal income tax. But a multinational corporation that builds a factory abroad — brings it home and then sell it — they pay nothing at all. We’re going to raise the corporate tax. It was 35 percent, which is too high. We all agreed, five years ago, it should go down to 28 percent, but they reduced it to 21 percent. We’re going to raise it back to — up to 28 percent.
No one should be able to complain about that. It’s still lower than what that rate was between World War Two and 2017. Just doing that one thing will generate $1 trillion in additional revenue over 15 years.
In 2019, an independent analysis found that are 91 — let me say it again, 91 Fortune 500 companies — the biggest companies in the world, including Amazon — they used various loopholes so they’d pay not a single solitary penny in federal income tax. I don’t want to punish them, but that’s just wrong. That’s just wrong. A fireman and a teacher paying 22 percent? Amazon and 90 other major corporations are paying zero in federal taxes?
I’m going to put an end to that, and here’s how we’ll do it. We’re establishing a global minimum tax for U.S. corporations of 21 percent. We’re going to level the international playing field. That alone will raise $1 trillion over 15 years.
We’ll also eliminate deductions by corporations for offshoring jobs and shifting assets overseas. You do that, you pay a penalty; you don’t get a reward in my plan. And use the savings from that to give companies tax credits to locate manufacturing here — in manufacturing and production here in the United States.
And we’ll significantly ramp up the IRS enforcement against corporations who either fail to report their incomes or under-report. It’s estimated that could raise hundreds of billions of dollars. All of this adds up to more than what I’ve proposed to spend in just 15 years.
It’s honest. It’s fiscally responsible. And by the way, as the experts will tell you, it reduces the debt — the federal debt over the long haul. But let me be clear: These are my ideas on how to pay for this plan. If others have additional ideas, let them come forward. I’m open to other ideas, so long as they do not impose any tax increase on people making less than $400,000.
The divisions of the moment shouldn’t stop us from doing the right thing for the future.
I’m going to bring Republicans into the Oval Office; listen to them, what they have to say; and be open to other ideas. We’ll have a good-faith negotiation with any Republican who wants to help get this done. But we have to get it done.
I truly believe we’re in a moment where history is going to look back on this time as a fundamental choice that had to be made between democracies and autocracies.
You know, there’s a lot of autocrats in the world who think the reason why they’re going to win is democracies can’t reach consensus any longer; autocracies do.
That’s what competition between America and China and the rest of the world is all about. It’s a basic question: Can democracies still deliver for their people? Can they get a majority?
Today, President Biden announced that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is extending access to the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace until August 15 – giving consumers additional time to take advantage of new savings through the American Rescue Plan. This action provides new and current enrollees an additional three months to enroll or re-evaluate their coverage needs with increased tax credits available to reduce premiums.
“Every American deserves access to quality, affordable health care – especially as we fight back against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Through this Special Enrollment Period, the Biden Administration is giving the American people the chance they need to find an affordable health care plan that works for them. The American Rescue Plan will bring costs down for millions of Americans, and I encourage consumers to visit HealthCare.gov and sign up for a plan before August 15.”
As a result of the American Rescue Plan, additional savings will be available for consumers through HealthCare.gov starting April 1. These savings will decrease premiums for many, on average, by $50 per person per month and $85 per policy per month. On average, one out of four enrollees on HeathCare.gov will be able to upgrade to a higher plan category that offers better out of pocket costs at the same or lower premium compared to what they’re paying today.
Consumers who want to access the SEP to enroll in coverage and see if they qualify for financial help to reduce the cost of monthly premiums, can visit HealthCare.gov or CuidadoDeSalud.gov to view 2021 plans and prices and enroll in a plan that best meets their needs. Additionally, consumers can call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596, which provides assistance in over 150 languages. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325. Consumers can also find a local assister or agent/broker in their area: https://localhelp.healthcare.gov
Consumers who are eligible and enroll under the SEP will be able to select a plan with coverage that could start as soon as the first month after plan selection. Current enrollees will be able to change to any plan available to them in their area. To take advantage of the SEP, current enrollees should review their application and make changes, if needed, to their current information and submit their application in order to receive an updated eligibility result.
Additionally, beginning in early July on HealthCare.gov, consumers who have received or have been determined eligible to receive unemployment compensation for any week during 2021 may be able to get another increase in savings when enrolling in new Marketplace coverage or updating their existing Marketplace application and enrollment. These savings to be made available starting in early July for eligible consumers are in addition to the increased savings available to consumers on HealthCare.gov starting April 1.
The SEP is currently available to consumers in the 36 states that use the HealthCare.gov platform. Consumers served by State-based Marketplaces that use their own platform can check their state’s website to find out more information on Special Enrollment Periods in their state.
President Joe Biden delivered his first public address to the nation on the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 being declared a global pandemic and the nation shut down. He delivered it with compassion and understanding for the turmoil, the loss of lives and livelihoods, that every American has endured, and delivered it with somber but hopeful tone that a better future is just ahead. He even put a date on it, setting a goal of July 4th, when it Americans can once again gather together in celebration of independence. The date was not random or fantastical, but based on the progress made in substantively increasing the supply and distribution of vaccine, and warned that there still could be forces – like more transmissible variants – that could interfere with the July 4th date. He took responsibility in a whole-of-government sense, but also called upon the nation, in unity, to continue to use public health measures – wearing masks, social distancing and hand-washing – so that the July 4th goal could be achieved. He reminded Americans of what it means to be an American – to be optimistic, innovative, heroic.
“Over a year ago, no one could’ve imagined what we were about to go through, but now we’re coming through it, and it’s a shared experience that binds us together as a nation,” President Biden declared. “We are bound together by the loss and the pain of the days that have gone by. But we’re also bound together by the hope and the possibilities of the days in front of us.”
Here are President Biden’s remarks, highlighted: THE PRESIDENT: Good evening, my fellow Americans.
Tonight, I’d like to talk to you about where we are as we mark one year since everything stopped because of this pandemic.
A year ago, we were hit with a virus that was met with silence and spread unchecked.
Denials for days, weeks, then months that led to more deaths, more infections, more stress, and more loneliness.
Photos and videos from 2019 feel like they were taken in another era. The last vacation. The last birthday with friends. The last holiday with the extended family.
While it was different for everyone, we all lost something.
A collective suffering. A collective sacrifice. A year filled with the loss of life — and the loss of living for all of us.
But, in the loss, we saw how much there was to gain in appreciation, respect, and gratitude.
Finding light in the darkness is a very American thing to do. In fact, it may be the most American thing we do.
And that’s what we’ve done.
We’ve seen frontline and essential workers risking their lives — sometimes losing them — to save and help others. Researchers and scientists racing for a vaccine. And so many of you, as Hemingway wrote, being strong in all the broken places.
I know it’s been hard. I truly know.
As I’ve told you before, I carry a card in my pocket with the number of Americans who have died from COVID to date. It’s on the back of my schedule. As of now, the total deaths in America: 527,726. That’s more deaths than in World War One, World War Two, the Vietnam War, and 9/11 combined.
They were husbands, wives, sons and daughters, grandparents, friends, neighbors — young and old. They leave behind loved ones unable to truly grieve or to heal, even to have a funeral.
But I’m also thinking about everyone else who lost this past year to natural causes, by cruel fate of accident, or other diseases. They, too, died alone. They, too, leave loved ones behind who are hurting badly.
You know, you’ve often heard me say before, I talk about the longest walk any parent can make is up a short flight of stairs to his child’s bedroom to say, “I’m sorry. I lost my job. We can’t be here anymore.” Like my Dad told me when he lost his job in Scranton.
So many of you have had to make that same walk this past year.
You lost your job. You closed your business. Facing eviction, homelessness, hunger, a loss of control, and, maybe worst of all, a loss of hope.
Watching a generation of children who may be set back up to a year or more — because they’ve not been in school — because of their loss of learning.
It’s the details of life that matter most, and we’ve missed those details.
The big details and small moments.
Weddings, birthdays, graduations — all the things that needed to happen but didn’t. The first date. The family reunions. The Sunday night rituals.
It’s all has exacted a terrible cost on the psyche of so many of us. For we are fundamentally a people who want to be with others — to talk, to laugh, to hug, to hold one another.
But this virus has kept us apart.
Grandparents haven’t seen their children or grandchildren. Parents haven’t seen their kids. Kids haven’t seen their friends.
The things we used to do that always filled us with joy have become the things we couldn’t do and broke our hearts.
Too often, we’ve turned against one another.
A mask — the easiest thing to do to save lives — sometimes it divides us.
States pitted against one other instead of working with each other.
Vicious hate crimes against Asian Americans, who have been attacked, harassed, blamed, and scapegoated. At this very moment, so many of them — our fellow Americans — they’re on the frontlines of this pandemic, trying to save lives, and still — still — they are forced to live in fear for their lives just walking down streets in America. It’s wrong, it’s un-American, and it must stop.
Look, we know what we need to do to beat this virus: Tell the truth. Follow the scientists and the science. Work together. Put trust and faith in our government to fulfill its most important function, which is protecting the American people — no function more important.
We need to remember the government isn’t some foreign force in a distant capital. No, it’s us. All of us. “We the People.” For you and I, that America thrives when we give our hearts, when we turn our hands to common purpose. And right now, my friends, we are doing just that. And I have to say, as your President, I am grateful to you.
Last summer, I was in Philadelphia, and I met a small-business owner — a woman. I asked her — I said, “What do you need most?” I’ll never forget what she said to me. She said — looking me in the eye, she said, “I just want the truth. The truth. Just tell me the truth.” Think of that.
My fellow Americans, you’re owed nothing less than the truth.
And for all of you asking when things will get back to normal, here is the truth: The only way to get our lives back, to get our economy back on track is to beat the virus.
You’ve been hearing me say that for — while I was running and the last 50 days I’ve been President. But this is one of the most complex operations we’ve under- — ever undertaken as a nation in a long time.
That’s why I’m using every power I have as President of the United States to put us on a war footing to get the job done. It sounds like hyperbole, but I mean it: a war footing.
And thank God we’re making some real progress now.
On my first full day in office, I outlined for you a comprehensive strategy to beat this pandemic. And we have spent every day since attempting to carry it out.
Two months ago, the country — this country didn’t have nearly enough vaccine supply to vaccinate all or near all of the American public. But soon we will.
We’ve been working with the vaccine manufacturers — Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson — to manufacture and purchase hundreds of millions of doses of these three safe, effective vaccines. And now, at the direction and with the assistance of my administration, Johnson & Johnson is working together with a competitor, Merck, to speed up and increase the capacity to manufacture new Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is one shot.
In fact, just yesterday, I announced — and I met with the CEOs of both companies — I announced our plan to buy an additional 100 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines. These two companies — competitors — have come together for the good of the nation, and they should be applauded for it.
It’s truly a national effort, just like we saw during World War II.
Now because of all the work we’ve done, we’ll have enough vaccine supply for all adults in America by the end of May. That’s months ahead of schedule.
And we’re mobilizing thousands of vaccinators to put the vaccine in one’s arm. Calling on active duty military, FEMA, retired doctors and nurses, administrators, and those to administer the shots.
And we’ve been creating more places to get the shots. We’ve made it possible for you to get a vaccine at any one of nearly 10,000 pharmacies across the country, just like you get your flu shot.
We’re also working with governors and mayors, in red states and blue states, to set up and support nearly 600 federally supported vaccination centers that administer hundreds of thousands of shots per day. You can drive up to a stadium or a large parking lot, get your shot, never leave your car, and drive home in less than an hour.
We’ve been sending vaccines to hundreds of community health centers all across America, located in underserved areas. And we’ve been deploying and we will deploy more mobile vehicles and pop-up clinics to meet you where you live so those who are least able to get the vaccine are able to get it.
We continue to work on making at-home testing available.
And we’ve been focused on serving people in the hardest-hit communities of this pandemic — Black, Latino, Native American, and rural communities.
So, what does all this add up to? When I took office 50 days ago, only 8 percent of Americans after months — only 8 percent of those over the age of 65 had gotten their first vaccination. Today, that number is [nearly] 65 percent. Just 14 percent of Americans over the age 75, 50 days ago, had gotten their first shot. Today, that number is well over 70 percent.
With new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the CDC — that came out on Monday, it means simply this: Millions and millions of grandparents who went months without being able to hug their grandkids can now do so. And the more people who are fully vaccinated, the CD [CDC] will continue to provide guidance on what you can do in the workplace, places of worship, with friends, and as well as travel.
When I came into office, you may recall, I set a goal that many of you said was, kind of, way over the top. I said I intended to get 100 million shots in people’s arms in my first 100 days in office. Tonight, I can say we are not only going to meet that goal, we’re going to beat that goal. Because we’re actually on track to reach this goal of 100 million shots in arms on my 60th day in office. No other country in the world has done this. None.
Now I want to talk about the next steps we’re thinking about.
First, tonight, I’m announcing that I will direct all states, tribes, and territories to make all adults — people 18 and over — eligible to be vaccinated no later than May 1.
Let me say that again: All adult Americans will be eligible to get a vaccine no later than May 1. That’s much earlier than expected.
Let me be clear: That doesn’t mean everyone’s going to have that shot immediately, but it means you’ll be able to get in line beginning May 1. Every adult will be eligible to get their shot.
To do this, we’re going to go from a million shots a day that I promised in December, before I was sworn in, to maintaining — beating our current pace of two million shots a day, outpacing the rest of the world.
Secondly, at the time when every adult is eligible in May, we will launch, with our partners, new tools to make it easier for you to find the vaccine and where to get the shot, including a new website that will help you first find the place to get vaccinated and the one nearest you. No more searching day and night for an appointment for you and your loved ones.
Thirdly, with the passage of the American Rescue Plan — and I thank again the House and Senate for passing it — and my announcement last month of a plan to vaccinate teachers and school staff, including bus drivers, we can accelerate the massive, nationwide effort to reopen our schools safely and meet my goal, that I stated at the same time about 100 million shots, of opening the majority of K-8 schools in my first 100 days in office. This is going to be the number one priority of my new Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona.
Fourth, in the coming weeks, we will issue further guidance on what you can and cannot do once fully vaccinated, to lessen the confusion, to keep people safe, and encourage more people to get vaccinated.
And finally, fifth, and maybe most importantly: I promise I will do everything in my power, I will not relent until we beat this virus, but I need you, the American people. I need you. I need every American to do their part. And that’s not hyperbole. I need you.
I need you to get vaccinated when it’s your turn and when you can find an opportunity, and to help your family and friends and neighbors get vaccinated as well.
Because here’s the point: If we do all this, if we do our part, if we do this together, by July the 4th, there’s a good chance you, your families, and friends will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout and a barbeque and celebrate Independence Day. That doesn’t mean large events with lots of people together, but it does mean small groups will be able to get together.
After this long hard year, that will make this Independence Day something truly special, where we not only mark our independence as a nation, but we begin to mark our independence from this virus.
But to get there, we can’t let our guard down.
This fight is far from order — from over. As I told the woman in Pennsylvania, “I will tell you the truth.”
A July 4th with your loved ones is the goal. But a goal — a lot can happen; conditions can change.
The scientists have made clear that things may get worse again as new variants of the virus spread.
And we’ve got work to do to ensure everyone has confidence in the safety and effectiveness of all three vaccines.
So my message to you is this: Listen to Dr. Fauci, one of the most distinguished and trusted voices in the world. He has assured us the vaccines are safe. They underwent rigorous scientific review. I know they’re safe. Vice President Harris and I know they’re safe. That’s why we got the vaccine publicly in front of cameras so — for the world to see, so you could see us do it. The First Lady and the Second Gentleman also got vaccinated.
Talk to your family, your friends, your neighbors — the people you know best who’ve gotten the vaccine.
We need everyone to get vaccinated. We need everyone to keep washing their hands, stay socially distanced, and keep wearing the masks as recommended by the CDC.
Because even if we devote every resource we have, beating this virus and getting back to normal depends on national unity.
And national unity isn’t just how politics and politicians vote in Washington or what the loudest voices say on cable or online. Unity is what we do together as fellow Americans. Because if we don’t stay vigilant and the conditions change, then we may have to reinstate restrictions to get back on track. And, please, we don’t want to do again.
We’ve made so much progress. This is not the time to let up. Just as we are emerging from a dark winter into a hopeful spring and summer is not the time to not stick with the rules.
I’ll close with this.
We’ve lost so much over the last year.
We’ve lost family and friends.
We’ve lost businesses and dreams we spent years building.
We’ve lost time — time with each other.
And our children have lost so much time with their friends, time with their schools. No graduation ceremonies this — this spring. No graduations from college, high school, moving-up ceremonies.
You know, and there’s something else we lost.
We lost faith in whether our government and our democracy can deliver on really hard things for the American people.
But as I stand here tonight, we’re proving once again something I have said time and time again until they’re probably tired of hearing me say it. I say it foreign leaders and domestic alike: It’s never, ever a good bet to bet against the American people. America is coming back.
The development, manufacture, and distribution of the vaccines in record time is a true miracle of science. It is one of the most extraordinary achievements any country has ever accomplished.
And we also just saw the Perseverance rover land on Mars. Stunning images of our dreams that are now a reality. Another example of the extraordinary American ingenuity, commitment, and belief in science and one another.
And today, I signed into law the American Rescue Plan, an historic piece of legislation that delivers immediate relief to millions of people. It includes $1,400 in direct rescue checks — payments. That means a typical family of four earning about $110,000 will get checks for $5,600 deposited if they have direct deposit or in a check — a Treasury check.
It extends unemployment benefits. It helps small businesses. It lowers healthcare premiums for many. It provides food and nutrition, keeps families in their homes. And it will cut child poverty in this country in half, according to the experts. And it funds all the steps I’ve just described to beat the virus and create millions of jobs.
In the coming weeks and months, I’ll be traveling, along with the First Lady, the Vice President, the Second Gentleman and members of my Cabinet, to speak directly to you, to tell you the truth about how the American Rescue Plan meets the moment. And if it fails, I will acknowledge that it failed. But it will not.
About how after a long, dark years — one whole year, there is hope and light of better days ahead.
If we all do our part, this country will be vaccinated soon, our economy will be on the mend, our kids will be back in school, and we will have proven once again that this country can do anything — hard things, big things, important things.
Over a year ago, no one could’ve imagined what we were about to go through, but now we’re coming through it, and it’s a shared experience that binds us together as a nation. We are bound together by the loss and the pain of the days that have gone by. But we’re also bound together by the hope and the possibilities of the days in front of us.
My fervent prayer for our country is that, after all we have been through, we’ll come together as one people, one nation, one America.
I believe we can and we will. We’re seizing this moment. And history, I believe, will record: We faced and overcame one of the toughest and darkest periods in this nation’s history — darkest we’ve ever known.
I promise you, we’ll come out stronger with a renewed faith in ourselves, a renewed commitment to one another, to our communities, and to our country.
This is the United States of America, and there is nothing — nothing — from the bottom of my heart, I believe this — there is nothing we can’t do when we do it together.
So God bless you all.
And please, God, give solace to all those people who lost someone.