Tag Archives: President Biden

Council of Economic Advisers Issues The 2024 Economic Report of the President

President Biden delivers the2024 State of the Union Address © Karen Rubin/news-p[hotos-features.com via c-span.org

The Council of Economic Advisers under the leadership of Chair Jared Bernstein released the 2024 Economic Report of the President, the 78th report since the establishment of CEA in 1946. The 2024 Report brings economic evidence and data to bear on many of today’s most significant issues and questions in domestic and international economic policy:

Chapter 1, The Benefits of Full Employmentwhich is dedicated to the late Dr. William Spriggs, examines the labor market, distributional, and macroeconomic impacts of full employment, with a particular focus on the benefits for economically vulnerable groups of workers who are much more likely to be left behind in periods of weak labor markets.

Chapter 2, The Year in Review and the Years Ahead, describes macroeconomic and financial market trends in 2023 and presents the Federal government’s FY 2024 macroeconomic forecast.

Chapter 3, Population, Aging, and the Economyexplains how long-run trends in fertility and mortality are shaping the U.S. population and labor force.

Chapter 4, Increasing the Supply of Affordable Housingexplores the causes and consequences of the nation’s longstanding housing shortage and how the Biden-Harris administration’s policy agenda can significantly increase the production of more affordable housing.

Chapter 5, International Trade and Investment Flowspresents key facts about long-term trends in U.S. international trade and investment flows, including the role of global supply chains, and highlights the benefits and costs of global integration for American workers.

Chapter 6, Accelerating the Clean Energy Transition, applies a structural change framework to explain the factors that can accelerate the transition towards a clean energy economy.

Chapter 7, An Economic Framework for Understanding Artificial Intelligenceuses an economic framework to explore when, how, and why AI may be adopted, adapting standard economic models to explore AI’s potential effects on labor markets, while examining policy decisions that will affect social and macroeconomic outcomes.

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Actions to Continue Advancing Pay Equity and Women’s Economic Security

President Biden is working to close gender and racial wage gaps including by improving wages for health workers and caregivers © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

On Equal Pay Day, March 12, the Biden Administration marked celebrate how far we have come—and how far we have yet to go—in closing the gender pay gap.  Under the Biden-Harris Administration, America has seen an unprecedented—and equitable—economic recovery, building back an economy that is the strongest in the world. Women’s labor force participation is the highest it has been in decades, and the gender pay gap is the narrowest it has ever been on record.
 
At the same time, President Biden recognizes we still have work left to do. Women workers are still paid on average only 84 cents for every dollar paid to men. And the disparities are even greater for many women of color. These inequities cost women more than $1 trillion every year, and add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars lost over the course of a career for individual workers.
 
President Biden and Vice President Harris remain committed to closing gender and racial wage gaps and ensuring all people have a fair and equal opportunity to participate in the labor force and support their families. Closing wage gaps is critical to strengthening and growing the economy. This Equal Pay Day, the Biden-Harris Administration reaffirms its commitment to tackling pay gaps and announces new efforts to continue to build our understanding of pay disparities, address inequities, and support women’s economic security.

These actions will:

  • Promote equitable access to good-paying jobs. Last week, the President signed the Executive Order on Scaling and Expanding the Use of Registered Apprenticeships, which will expand and diversify Registered Apprenticeship programs, benefitting women and other underrepresented workers by increasing access to high-quality pathways to good-paying, family-sustaining jobs.
     
  • Support equal pay and further understanding of pay inequities. Today, for the first time, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is making available aggregate pay data from 2017 and 2018—collected from private employers and Federal contractors with 100 or more employees—via a user-friendly interactive tool, allowing researchers, stakeholders, and the public to better understand pay disparities based on sex, race/ethnicity, geography, industry, job category, and more.
     
  • Address occupational segregation. Today, the Department of Labor (DOL) is issuing an update to the Bearing the Cost report, analyzing the impact of “occupational segregation” on women’s economic security, particularly for Black and Hispanic women. Occupational segregation—the overrepresentation of women and people of color in occupations and industries that pay less, and their underrepresentation in occupations and industries that pay more—is a key contributor to pay inequity. DOL found that, over the course of a year, Black women lost $42.7 billion and Hispanic women lost $53.3 billion in wages compared to white men due to the impacts of occupational segregation.

Today’s announcements follow recent actions the Biden-Harris Administration has taken to further pay equity and transparency. On Equal Pay Day 2022, the President issued an Executive Order that committed to eliminate discriminatory pay practices in the Federal government and Federal contracting workforces. In January 2024, the Administration made good on that promise by committing to:

  • Advance pay equity for Federal workers. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) published a final rule ensuring that more than 80 Federal agencies will no longer consider an individual’s non-Federal current or past pay when determining the salaries of Federal employees.  Ending the consideration of salary history in pay-setting decisions is a proven way to curb pay discrimination that often follows workers from job to job.
     
  • Promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in Federal contracting by advancing pay equity and pay transparency laws. The Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council issued a proposal to prohibit Federal contractors and subcontractors from seeking and considering information about job applicants’ compensation history for employment decisions for personnel working on or in connection with a government contract. In addition, the proposal would require Federal contractors and subcontractors to disclose expected salary ranges in job postings, a policy shown to reduce pay inequities. These proposals will also help Federal contractors recruit, diversify, and retain talent; improve job satisfaction and performance; and reduce turnover—all factors associated with promoting the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of the Federal contractor workforce.
     
  • Affirm equal pay obligations for Federal contractors. DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) issued new guidance clarifying existing protections against discrimination in hiring or pay decisions. The guidance will help Federal contractors and employees understand when reliance on an individual’s compensation history for hiring or pay decisions may result in unlawful discrimination.

These efforts build upon actions the Biden-Harris Administration has taken to close gender and racial wage gaps and strengthen women’s economic security, which has led to the lowest unemployment rate among women since 1953. These include:

  • Ensuring women have access to good-paying jobs being created by the President’s Investing in America agenda. The Biden-Harris Administration’s investments through the American Rescue Plan (ARP), Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), CHIPS and Science Act, and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) have created thousands of good-paying jobs in industries of the future. The Administration has taken steps to ensure increased access to these jobs, including for women, people of color, and members of other communities currently underrepresented in these growing sectors have equitable access to these careers. These steps include:
    • Launching the Good Jobs Initiative. DOL’s Good Jobs Initiative provides critical information to workers, employers, and government agencies to improve job quality, empower workers, and ensure workers, especially those from underserved communities, can access good union jobs free from discrimination and harassment. The Initiative is dedicated to advancing the Departments of Labor and Commerce’s Good Jobs Principles, which address recruitment and hiring; diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility; and pay. Key implementing agencies have signed memoranda of understanding with DOL to support the Good Jobs Initiative, promote equitable workforce development, and ensure workers have what they need to deliver on the President’s once-in-a-generation Investing in America agenda. 
       
    • Expanding access to good-paying construction jobs. To ensure women can access the almost 200,000 new construction jobs expected from the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic investments, the Department of Commerce launched the Million Women in Construction initiative, which calls on chip manufacturers, construction companies and unions to bring one million women into the construction industry over the next decade, roughly doubling women’s representation in the industry. DOL also launched the Mega Construction Project (Megaproject) Program, which fosters equal employment opportunity on designated BIL- and CHIPS-funded construction projects through intensive on-the-ground assistance to remove hiring barriers and promote consideration of a diverse pool of qualified workers, including women, people of color, veterans, and people with disabilities.
       
    • Improving access to child care for the semiconductor workforce through CHIPS and Science Act implementation requirements. The Department of Commerce’s implementation of the CHIPS and Science Act included a historic requirement that applicants requesting over $150 million in direct funding submit plans to provide accessible, affordable, high-quality child care. 
       
  • Increasing access to affordable care and supporting caregivers. Access to affordable, high-quality care is essential to ensuring parents, especially moms, can participate fully in the workforce. From day one, the Biden-Harris Administration has focused on ways to lower child care costs for hardworking families and improve wages for child care workers. The ARP Child Care Stabilization program delivered historic support to over 225,000 child care programs serving as many as 10 million children across the country. Over 90% of the child care programs that have received assistance are women-owned. The Council of Economic Advisors found that this stabilization funding supported savings for families with young children, raised the real wages of child care workers, and helped hundreds of thousands of women with young children enter or re-enter the workforce.

In addition, in April 2023, President Biden signed an Executive Order with more than 50 directives to nearly every cabinet-level agency to increase access to affordable, high-quality care and boost job quality for early educators and long-term care workers, who are disproportionately women of color. Among the many actions agencies have taken, the Department of Health and Human Services finalized a rule strengthening the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program and lowering child care costs for more than 100,000 families. 

  • Increasing the minimum wage. The President issued Executive Orders directing the Administration to work toward ensuring that employees working on Federal contracts and Federal employees earned at least a $15 per hour minimum wage. Those directives went into effect in January 2022, raising the wages of about 370,000 Federal employees and employees of Federal contractors. In addition to helping the government do its work more efficiently, these directives take a step towards narrowing racial and gender disparities in income, as many low paid workers are women and people of color. The order also eliminates the subminimum wage for workers with disabilities on Federal contracts. The President has called on Congress to raise the Federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, so that American workers can have a job that delivers dignity and to make greater strides towards pay equity.
     

Supporting women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Small Business Administration-backed loans to women-owned small businesses are up more than 60 percent, totaling $5.1 billion in lending to women-owned businesses in FY23. And a new report found that from 2019 to 2023, women’s small business formation surged, substantially outpacing overall formation. This Administration has invested $70 million in the Women Business Centers (WBC) network, expanding it for the first time into all 50 states and tripling the number of WBCs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and other minority-serving institutions. President Biden is also investing $10 billion through the ARP State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) to help States, territories, and Tribal governments leverage tens of billions more in matching public and private dollars to support small businesses across the United States, with a particular focus on historically underserved entrepreneurs, including women business owners. The ARP Restaurant Revitalization Fund helped over 40,000 women-owned restaurants and bars—thanks in part to steps taken by the Administration to ensure that women-owned and socially and economically disadvantaged businesses were able to access assistance.

FACT SHEET: President Biden’s Proposed 2025 Budget Protects Progress, Social Security, Medicare, Invests in America, Reduces Deficit

Budget Details Vision to Protect Progress, Lower Costs, Protect and Strengthen Social Security and Medicare, Invest in America and the American People, and Reduce the Deficit 

President Biden delivers the State of the Union Address outlining his priorities for the next term © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com via cspan.org.

From Day One of this Administration, President Biden has tackled challenges head-on while delivering long-lasting results. Over the past three years, he has overseen a strong economic recovery, amassed one of the most successful legislative records in generations, grown the economy from the middle out and bottom up, and delivered important progress for the American people.

Since the President and Vice President took office, the economy has added about 15 million jobs, the unemployment rate has remained below 4 percent for two years in a row—a more than 50-year record—while inflation has fallen by two-thirds. Our strong labor market has meant higher paychecks for working Americans, with inflation-adjusted wages and wealth higher now than before the pandemic. The President’s top economic priority remains lowering costs for hardworking Americans. Under his leadership, the Administration is working to bring down prescription drug costs, health insurance premiums, utility bills, and costs for everyday goods and services—all while taking on junk fees that some banks, airlines, and other big corporations use to rip off Americans. At the same time, he has also restored U.S. leadership on the world stage while keeping Americans safe and promoting democracy at home and abroad. 

The President has delivered this progress while fulfilling his commitment to fiscal responsibility. The deficit is over $1 trillion lower than when President Biden took office, thanks in large part to the strength of our economic recovery. In addition, the President has also enacted another roughly $1 trillion in savings over the next decade through the Fiscal Responsibility Act, and through Inflation Reduction Act provisions that empower Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices, cap insulin at $35 per month for seniors, and make our tax system fairer by making billion-dollar corporations pay a minimum tax and enabling the IRS to crack down on wealthy and corporate tax cheats.

The Budget details the President’s vision to protect and build on his Administration’s progress by continuing to lower costs for working families, protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare, invest in America and the American people to make sure the middle class has a fair shot and we leave no one behind, and reduce the deficit by cracking down on fraud, cutting wasteful spending, and making the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share. Building on the President’s record of fiscal responsibility, his Budget reduces the deficit by $3 trillion over the next 10 years—on top of paying for new investments.

The President’s vision of progress, possibilities, and resilience is in stark contrast to Congressional Republicans, who have repeatedly fought to slash critical programs the American people count on and increase the deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars, including by attempting to repeal the parts of the Inflation Reduction Act that take on special interests like Big Pharma, big corporations, and wealthy tax cheats. The President’s Budget:

Lowers Costs for the American People

The President has made lowering costs for hardworking families his top domestic priority. Under his leadership we have seen significant progress bringing down inflation. Inflation is down by more than two-thirds, and costs have fallen for key household purchases from a gallon of gas to a gallon of milk. While Congressional Republicans have consistently taken actions that would raise costs for working families, the President’s Budget would continue lowering costs for families.

Lowers Drug Prices and Expands Access to Prescription Drugs. Thanks to action taken by the Administration, millions of seniors and people with disabilities are saving money on their drug costs, and the Administration announced the first ten drugs for which prices will be negotiated as it continues implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act. The Budget builds on this success by significantly increasing the pace of negotiation, bringing more drugs into negotiation sooner after they launch, expanding the Inflation Reduction Act’s inflation rebates and $2,000 out-of-pocket prescription drug cost cap beyond Medicare and into the commercial market, and other steps to build on the Inflation Reduction Act drug provisions. In addition, the Budget extends the $35 cost-sharing cap for a month’s supply of insulin to the commercial market. The Budget also includes proposals to ensure Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are prudent purchasers of prescription drugs and limits Medicare Part D cost-sharing for high-value generic drugs, such as those used to treat hypertension and hyperlipidemia, to no more than $2 per month for Medicare beneficiaries. These reforms will not only cut costs for the Federal government by $200 billion; they will also save billions of dollars for seniors.

Cuts Taxes for Families with Children and American Workers. President Biden’s tax cuts cut child poverty in half in 2021 and are saving millions of people an average of about $800 per year in health insurance premiums today. Going forward, in addition to honoring his pledge not to raise taxes on anyone earning less than $400,000 annually, President Biden’s tax plan would cut taxes for middle- and low-income Americans by $765 billion over 10 years. The Budget restores the full Child Tax Credit enacted in the American Rescue Plan, which helped cut child poverty nearly in half in 2021 to its lowest level in history and narrowed racial disparities in access to the credit. The President’s Budget would restore the expanded Child Tax Credit, lifting 3 million children out of poverty and cutting taxes by an average of $2,600 for 39 million low- and middle-income families that include 66 million children. This includes 18 million children in low-income families who would be newly eligible for the full credit, and 2 million children living with a caregiver who is at least 60 years old. It would also provide breathing room for day-to-day expenses by allowing families to receive their tax credit through monthly payments. And by strengthening the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-paid workers who aren’t raising a child in their home, the President’s Budget would cut taxes by an average of $800 for 19 million working individuals or couples. That includes 2 million older workers age 65 and older and 5 million young adults age 18 to 24 who would be newly eligible for the credit.

Lowers Child Care Costs for Hard-Working Families. The President is committed to providing relief to hard-working families. His Budget creates a historic new program under which working families with incomes up to $200,000 per year would be guaranteed affordable, high-quality child care from birth until kindergarten, with most families paying no more than $10 a day, and the lowest income families paying nothing—providing a lifeline to the parents of more than 16 million children. The Budget also includes $8.5 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) which will help states expand child care assistance to serve over 2 million low-income children.

Increases Affordable Housing Supply to Reduce Housing Costs. The President believes that all Americans should be able to afford a quality home, which is why the Budget includes a historic investment of more than $258 billion that would build or preserve over 2 million units. The Budget builds on previous investments and actions by this Administration to boost housing supply and lower housing costs, particularly for lower- and middle-income households. The Budget expands the existing Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and proposes a new Neighborhood Homes Tax Credit. To further address the critical shortage of affordable housing in communities throughout the Nation, the Budget provides $20 billion in mandatory funding for a new Innovation Fund for Housing Expansion. The Budget invests $1.3 billion in the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) to construct and rehabilitate affordable rental housing and provide homeownership opportunities. The Budget also provides $7.5 billion in mandatory funding for new Project-Based Rental Assistance contracts to incentivize the development of new climate-resilient affordable housing. Together these proposals would expand the supply of safe and affordable housing, bring new units to market, and ultimately help curb cost growth across the broader rental market.

Expands Access to Homeownership and Affordable Rent and Reduces Down Payments for First-Time and First-Generation Homebuyers. The Budget proposes a new Mortgage Relief Credit to help increase access to affordable housing. The proposal includes a new tax credit for middle-class first-time homebuyers of up to $10,000 over two years to ease affordability challenges. In addition, to unlock starter home inventory and allow middle-class families to move up the housing ladder and empty nesters to right size, the President is calling on Congress to provide a one-year tax credit of up to $10,000 to middle-class families who sell their starter home. The Budget also provides $10 billion in mandatory funding for a new First-Generation Down Payment Assistance program to address homeownership and wealth gaps. For renters, the Budget proposes $32.8 billion in discretionary funding for the Housing Choice Voucher Program to maintain and protect critical services for all currently assisted families and support an additional 20,000 households. The Budget also provides $9 billion to establish a housing voucher program for all 20,000 youth aging out of foster care annually, and provides $13 billion to incrementally expand rental assistance for 400,000 extremely low-income veteran families, paving a path to guaranteed assistance for all who have served the Nation and are in need.

Reduces the Cost of College and Lifts the Burden of Student Debt. From Day One of his Administration, President Biden vowed to fix the student loan system and make sure higher education is a pathway to the middle class—not a barrier to opportunity. Already, the President has cancelled more student debt than any President in history, approving debt cancellation for nearly 4 million borrowers through more than two dozen executive actions. The Budget includes a $12 billion mandatory Reducing the Costs of College Fund that will fund strategies to lower college costs for students, including a new Classroom to Career Fund that will enable students to more affordably obtain postsecondary degrees by increasing access to career-connected dual enrollment opportunities. The Budget also builds on the President’s historic actions to reduce student debt and the cost of college by eliminating the origination fees charged to borrowers on every new federal student loan, which costs families billions. In addition, to help low- and middle-income students overcome financial barriers to postsecondary education, the Budget proposes to increase the discretionary maximum Pell Grant by $100 and thereby expand the reach of the program to help over 7.2 million students attend a public or non-profit college. The Budget builds on successful bipartisan efforts to increase the maximum Pell Grant award by $900 over the past two years—the largest increase in more than 10 years. The Budget also expands free community college through a Federal-State partnership and provides two years of subsidized tuition for students from families earning less than $125,000 enrolled in a four-year Historically Black College and University (HBCU), Tribally Controlled College and University (TCCU), or Minority-Serving Institution (MSI). 

Lowers Health Care Costs. The President believes that healthcare is a right, not a privilege. With enrollment in Marketplace coverage at an all-time high, the Budget builds on the incredible success of the Affordable Care Act by making permanent the expanded premium tax credits that the Inflation Reduction Act extended, and providing Medicaid-like coverage to individuals in States that have not adopted Medicaid expansion, paired with financial incentives to ensure States maintain their existing expansions. For Medicaid and CHIP, the Budget allows States to extend the existing 12-month continuous eligibility for all children to 36 months, and allows States to provide continuous eligibility for children from birth until they turn age 6. Further, the Budget prohibits enrollment fees and premiums in CHIP.

Reduces Home Energy and Water Costs. The Budget provides $4.1 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), helping families access home energy and weatherization assistance—vital tools for protecting families from extreme weather and climate change. In addition, the Budget proposes to allow States the option to use a portion of their LIHEAP funds to provide water bill assistance to low-income households.

Protects and Strengthens Social Security and Medicare

Social Security and Medicare are more than government programs, they’re a promise—a rock-solid guarantee that generations of Americans have counted on—that after a life of hard work, you will be able to retire with dignity and security. As the President has made clear, he will reject any efforts to cut or undermine the Medicare or Social Security benefits that seniors and people with disabilities have earned and paid into their entire working lives. The Budget honors that ironclad commitment by firmly opposing benefit cuts to either program and by embracing reforms that would protect and strengthen these programs. The President remains committed to working with the Congress to protect and strengthen Medicare and Social Security for this and future generations and strongly rejects Congressional Republicans’ attempts to cut benefits for hardworking Americans.

Protects and Strengthens Medicare. The Budget strengthens Medicare by extending the solvency of the Medicare Hospital Insurance (HI) trust fund indefinitely by modestly increasing the Medicare tax rate on incomes above $400,000, closing loopholes in existing Medicare taxes, and directing revenue from the Net Investment Income Tax into the HI trust fund as was originally intended. The Budget closes the loophole that allows certain business owners to avoid paying Medicare taxes on these profits and raises Medicare tax rates on earned and unearned income from 3.8 percent to 5 percent for those with incomes over $400,000. In addition, the Budget directs an amount equivalent to the savings from the proposed Medicare drug reforms into the HI trust fund.

Protects the Social Security Benefits that Americans Have Earned. The Administration is committed to protecting and strengthening Social Security. In particular, the Administration looks forward to working with Congress to responsibly strengthen Social Security in a way that ensures no benefit cuts; extends solvency by asking the highest-income Americans to pay their fair share; and improves financial security for seniors and people with disabilities, especially those who face the greatest challenges making ends meet.

Ensures That Americans Can Access the Benefits They’ve Earned. The Budget also invests in staff, information technology, and other improvements at the Social Security Administration (SSA), which will improve customer service at SSA’s field offices, State disability determination services, and teleservice centers for retirees, individuals with disabilities, and their families.

Cuts the Deficit by Promoting Tax Fairness

The President has demonstrated that we can invest in America while achieving meaningful deficit reduction. The deficit is over $1 trillion lower than when President Biden took office, and the President has enacted roughly $1 trillion in additional deficit reduction, including through provisions that empower Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices, cap insulin at $35 per month for seniors and people with disabilities, and establish a minimum tax for large corporations. The Administration looks forward to building on this progress with responsible investments that continue to grow America’s economy from the middle out and bottom up while improving the long-term budget outlook. The Budget proposes another roughly $3 trillion in savings over the next 10 years by making the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share and closing tax loopholes and cutting wasteful spending on Big Pharma, Big Oil, corporate jets and other special interests, and cracking down on wealthy tax cheats. The President’s proposals to reduce the deficit are in sharp contrast to Congressional Republicans plans for tax giveaways skewed to wealthy and big corporations.

Requires Billionaires to Pay at Least 25 Percent of Income in Taxes. Billionaires make their money in ways that are often taxed at lower rates than ordinary wage income, or sometimes not taxed at all, thanks to giant loopholes and tax preferences that disproportionately benefit the wealthiest taxpayers. As a result, many of these wealthy Americans are able to pay an average income tax rate of just 8 percent on their full incomes—a lower rate than many firefighters or teachers. To finally address this glaring inequity, the President’s Budget includes a 25 percent minimum tax on the wealthiest 0.01 percent, those with wealth of more than $100 million.

Raises Tax Rates for Large Corporations. Corporations received an enormous tax break in 2017. While their profits soared, their investment in their workers and the economy did not. Their shareholders and top executives reaped the benefits, without the promised trickle down to workers, consumers, or communities. The President’s Budget would set the corporate tax rate at 28 percent, still well below the 35 percent rate that prevailed prior to the 2017 tax law. In addition, the Budget would raise the Inflation Reduction Act’s corporate minimum tax rate on billion-dollar corporations that the President signed into law from 15 percent to 21 percent, ensuring the biggest corporations pay more of their fair share. These policies are complemented by other proposals to incentivize job creation and investment in the United States to help ensure broadly shared prosperity.

Cracks Down on Tax Avoidance by Large Multinationals and Big Pharma. For decades, countries have competed for multinational business by slashing tax rates, at the expense of having adequate revenues to finance core services. Thanks in part to the Administration’s leadership, more than 130 nations signed on to a global tax framework to finally address this race to the bottom in 2021. Many of our international partners, including many of the world’s largest economies, have implemented or will soon implement this transformational agreement. The President’s Budget proposes to do the same by reforming the international tax system to reduce the incentives to book profits in low-tax jurisdictions, stopping corporate inversions to tax havens, and raising the tax rate on U.S. multinationals’ foreign earnings from 10.5 percent to 21 percent. These reforms would ensure that profitable multinational corporations, including Big Pharma pay their fair share.

Denies Corporations Deductions for All Compensation Over $1 Million Per Employee. Executive pay has skyrocketed in recent decades, with CEO pay averaging more than 300 times that of a typical worker in 2022. The 2017 tax law’s corporate tax cuts only made this problem worse, producing massive boosts to executive compensation while doing nothing for low- and middle-income workers. While corporations can choose to give huge pay packages to their executives, President Biden believes that they don’t deserve a tax break when they do. His Budget proposes new policy to deny deductions for all compensation over $1 million paid to any employee of a C corporation, which would discourage companies from giving their executives massive pay packages and help level the playing field across C corporations.

Ends Capital Income Tax Breaks and Other Loopholes for the Very Wealthy. The President’s Budget will end one of the most unfair aspects of our tax system—the fact that the tax rate the wealthy pay on capital gains and dividends is less than the tax rate that many middle-class families pay on their wages. Households making over $1 million—the top 0.3 percent of all households—will pay the same 39.6 percent marginal rate on their income just like a high-paid worker pays on their wages. Moreover, the Budget eliminates the loophole that allows the wealthiest Americans to entirely escape paying taxes on their wealth by passing it down to heirs.

Ensures That the IRS Can Continue to Collect Taxes Owed by Wealthy Tax Cheats. The Inflation Reduction Act addressed long-standing IRS funding deficiencies by providing stable, multi-year funding to improve tax compliance by finally cracking down on high-income individuals and corporations who too often avoided paying their lawfully owed taxes, and to improve service for the millions of Americans that do pay their taxes. Already, the IRS is using these resources to crack down on tax evasion by the wealthy and big businesses. It has collected more than $500 million in unpaid taxes from fewer than 2,000 delinquent millionaires, is recouping taxes from thousands of millionaires who did not fulfill their basic civic duty by filing a tax return, and is cracking down on high-end tax evasion like deducting personal use of corporate jets as a business expense. At the same time, the IRS is improving customer service and modernizing IT infrastructure. The President’s Budget would restore the full Inflation Reduction Act investment and provide new funding over the long-term to continue cutting the deficit by making sure that wealthy Americans and big corporations pay the taxes they owe through tax compliance initiatives and to continue improving service for taxpayers who are just trying to pay what they owe.

Invests in America and the American People

Expands and Protects Access to Health Care

Supports Family Planning Services, Maternal Health, and Health Equity. Americans deserve access to the healthcare they need, including maternal healthcare, contraception, and family planning services, which are essential to ensuring control over personal decisions about their own health, lives, and families. The Budget includes $390 million for the Title X Family Planning program to increase the number of patients served to 3.6 million. The Budget also builds on a nearly 200 percent funding increase for key programs that address maternal mortality over the course of the Administration, including $376 million to support the ongoing implementation of the White House Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity rates, and address the highest rates of perinatal health disparities.

Saves Lives by Advancing Behavioral Healthcare. In 2022, almost a quarter of adults had a mental illness, 13 percent of adolescents had serious thoughts of suicide, and overdose deaths continued near record highs. As a core pillar of his Unity Agenda, the President released a national strategy to transform how we understand and address mental health in America—and the Budget makes progress on this agenda by improving access to care for individuals and communities. The Budget requires all health plans to cover mental health and substance use disorder benefits, ensures that plans have an adequate network of behavioral health providers, and improves the Department of Labor’s (DOL) ability to enforce the law. The Budget builds on historic investments to improve access to mental health services, and makes significant investments in expanding the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline that is projected to respond to 7.5 million contacts from individuals in distress in 2025 alone and expands mental health care and support services in schools. Additionally, the Administration has made historic advances in expanding access to treatment for opioid use disorder, including signing into law a bipartisan provision to expand the number of medical providers who can initiate treatment for opioid use disorder from 129,000 to nearly 2 million. The Budget increases funding for the State Opioid Response grant program, which has provided treatment services to over 1.2 million people and enabled States to reverse more than 500,000 overdoses with over 9 million purchased overdose reversal medication kits.

Drives Healthcare Innovation to Discover New Treatments and Improve Health Outcomes. Investing in health care innovation and new treatments is a direct investment in the American people. The President’s Budget advances progress toward Biden Cancer Moonshot Goals and the White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research, enhances biodefense and public health infrastructure, and directly invests in treatment and prevention of infectious diseases. The Budget makes significant investments to work toward the President and First Lady’s signature Cancer Moonshot goals of reducing the cancer death rate by at least 50 percent over 25 years and improving the experience of people and families who are living with or who have survived cancer. The President and the First Lady launched the first-ever White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research, recognizing that women have been understudied and underrepresented in health research for far too long. The Administration proposes to transform the way the government funds women’s health research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including by increasing interdisciplinary research at NIH and creating a new nationwide network of centers of excellence and innovation in women’s health—and the Budget would double existing funding for the Office of Research on Women’s Health at NIH, to improve women’s health outcomes. Additionally, over the past three years, substantial progress has been made toward developing and implementing transformational capabilities to increase the Nation’s ability to respond to and prepare for emerging health threats. Building upon this progress, the Budget invests $9.8 billion to bolster public health capacity that will enable the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to better serve and protect the American public. The Budget also invests in the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases, including Hepatitis C, HIV, and vaccine-preventable diseases.

Expands Healthcare, Benefits, and Services for Environmental Exposures. The Honoring our PACT Act of 2022 (PACT Act) represents the most significant expansion of veterans’ healthcare and disability compensation benefits for veterans exposed to toxins and other environmental exposures, including burn pits and Agent Orange, in 30 years. As part of the PACT Act, Congress authorized the Cost of War Toxic Exposures Fund (TEF) to fund increased costs above 2021 funding levels for healthcare and benefits delivery for veterans exposed to certain environmental hazards—and ensure there is sufficient funding available to cover these costs without shortchanging other elements of veteran medical care and benefits delivery. The Budget continues this commitment and includes $24.5 billion for the TEF in 2025, through funds appropriated by the Fiscal Responsibility Act, which is $19.5 billion above the 2023 enacted level.

Prioritizes Veterans’ Mental Health Services and Suicide Prevention for Veterans and Military Servicemembers. The Budget invests $135 million within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) research programs, together with $17 billion within the VA Medical Care program, to increase access to quality mental healthcare, with the goal of helping veterans take charge of their treatment and live full, meaningful lives. In addition, the Budget provides funding to further advance the Administration’s veteran suicide prevention initiatives and to support the Department of Defense’s efforts on Suicide Prevention and Response.

Supports America’s Workforce and Prepares America’s Economy for 21st Century Challenges

Continues Implementation of the President’s Investing in America Agenda. The Budget provides a total of $78.4 billion for highway, highway safety, and transit formula programs, supporting the amounts authorized for year four of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The Budget also reflects an additional $9.5 billion in advance appropriations provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for bridge replacement and rehabilitation, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and other programs to improve the safety, sustainability, and resilience of America’s transportation network.

Provides National, Comprehensive Paid Family and Medical Leave and Calls for Paid Sick Days. The Budget proposes a national, comprehensive paid family and medical leave program, providing up to 12 weeks of leave to allow eligible workers to take time off to care for and bond with a new child; care for a seriously ill loved one; heal from their own serious illness; address circumstances arising from a loved one’s military deployment; or find safety from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The President also calls on Congress to require employers to provide seven job-protected paid sick days each year to all workers.

Empowers, Protects, and Invests in Workers. Workers power America’s economic prosperity, building the economy from the middle out and bottom up. To ensure workers are treated with dignity and respect in the workplace and are paid the wages they’re owed, the Budget invests $2 billion in the Department of Labor’s worker protection agencies. The Budget also proposes funding for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to support implementation and enforcement of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and advancement of pay equity through the collection and analysis of employer pay data. Additionally, the Budget includes funding to strengthen the National Labor Relations Board’s capacity to enforce workers’ rights to organize and collectively bargain for better wages and working conditions.

Confronts the Climate Crisis While Spurring Clean Energy Innovation, Increasing Resilience, and Protecting Natural Resources

Lowers Energy Costs and Catalyzes Clean Energy and Economic Growth in Rural Communities. The Budget builds on the President’s historic Inflation Reduction Act to reduce energy bills for families, expand clean energy, transform rural power production, and create thousands of good-paying jobs for people across rural America. The Budget provides funding for loan guarantees for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements for farmers and rural small businesses, and authority for rural electric loans to support additional clean energy, energy storage, and transmission projects that would create good-paying jobs.

Invests in Clean Air and Reduces Health and Environmental Hazards for At-Risk Communities. The Budget provides a total of $1.5 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Air and Radiation to continue the development of national programs, policies, and regulations that control air pollution and radiation exposure. The Budget provides $8.2 billion for the Department of Energy (DOE) to address legacy waste and contamination in communities, as well as funding for EPA’s Toxic Substances Control Act enforcement. The Administration will ensure the investments for the management of toxic chemicals, including per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, cleanup of legacy pollution, and long-term stewardship of these sites align with the Justice40 Initiative to benefit disadvantaged communities.

Creates Jobs by Building Clean Energy Infrastructure. The Budget invests $1.6 billion through the DOE to support clean energy workforce and infrastructure projects across the Nation, including funding to weatherize and retrofit homes of low-income Americans, create good jobs and ensure reliable supply chains by manufacturing clean energy components here at home, electrify Tribal homes and transition Tribal colleges and universities to renewable energy, and support utilities and State and local governments in building a grid that is more secure, reliable, resilient, and able to integrate electricity from clean energy sources. These investments, which complement and bolster the historic funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, will create good-paying jobs and revitalize American manufacturing while driving progress toward the Administration’s climate goals, including 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035.

Strengthens Climate Resilience in Communities and Ecosystems. Building on the National Climate Resilience Framework, the Budget invests $23 billion in climate adaptation and resilience across the federal government to address the increasing severity of flood, wildfire, drought, and other extreme weather events fueled by climate change, including funding to support the wildland firefighting workforce through permanent and comprehensive pay reform. The Budget also provides funding to help farmers, ranchers, and forestland owners meet production goals in the face of a changing climate while conserving, maintaining, and restoring natural resources on their lands. The Budget complements the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, which dedicate more than $50 billion across the Federal government to advance climate resilience strategies in every community in America.

Supports and Expands the American Climate Corps. Last year, the Administration announced the launch of the American Climate Corps (ACC) to mobilize a new, diverse generation of more than 20,000 clean energy, conservation, and climate resilience workers, and this year, the first cohort of ACC members will begin their service. The Budget would provide mandatory funding to expand the ACC over the next decade by supporting an additional 50,000 ACC members annually by 2031. The ACC will provide job training and service opportunities on a wide range of projects that tackle climate change in communities around the country.

Doubles Down on America’s Global Climate Leadership. Beyond leading by example through domestic investments, the Budget provides a path to achieving the President’s $11 billion commitment for international climate finance. The Budget also supports $3 billion contribution through mandatory funding to finance the Green Climate Fund. The Budget builds on historic international climate finance progress made over the course of this Administration, in which estimated 2023 levels of $9.5 billion represent a near-sixfold increase from 2021.

Invests in America’s Families

Supports a Strong Nutrition Safety Net. The Budget provides $8.5 billion for critical nutrition programs, including $7.7 billion to fully fund the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) to serve all eligible participants, which is critical to the health of pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and young children. By investing in outreach and modernization, WIC would reach 800,000 more women, infants, and children each month, providing vital nutrition assistance to nearly 7 million individuals, up from 6.2 million in 2021. In addition, the Budget includes an emergency contingency fund that would provide additional resources when there are unanticipated cost pressures.

Builds a Strong Foundation for Families with Universal Pre-K and Head Start. The Budget funds voluntary, universal, free preschool for all four million of America’s four-year-olds and charts a path to expand preschool to three-year-olds. High-quality preschool would be offered in the setting of the parent’s choice—from public schools to child care providers to Head Start. The Budget also increases Head Start funding by $544 million to support the Administration’s goal to reach pay parity between Head Start staff and public elementary school teachers with similar qualifications over time. Together these proposals would support healthy child development, help children enter kindergarten ready to learn, and support families by reducing their costs prior to school entry and allowing parents to work.

Expands Opportunity and Advances Equity

Advances Efforts to End Homelessness. The Budget provides $4.1 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants to continue supporting approximately 1.2 million people experiencing homelessness each year and to expand assistance to approximately 25,000 additional households, specifically survivors of domestic violence and homeless youth. These new resources build on Administration efforts that have expanded assistance to roughly 140,000 additional households experiencing homelessness since the President took office. The Budget further reflects the Administration’s commitment to make progress toward ending homelessness by providing $8 billion in mandatory funding for the acquisition, construction, or operation of housing to expand housing options for people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness, as well as $3 billion in mandatory funding for grants to provide counseling and emergency rental assistance to older adult renters at-risk of homelessness.

Honors Commitments to Support Tribal Communities. Incorporating feedback from Tribal consultations, the Budget continues to provide robust support for Tribal Nations and Native communities in keeping with our federal trust and treaty responsibilities. For example, the Budget invests $4.6 billion for the Department of Interior’s (DOI) Tribal programs. This investment in DOI’s Tribal programs build on historic investments in Indian Country under the American Rescue Plan, Inflation Reduction Act, and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and promote long-term success by addressing critical infrastructure and climate adaptation needs in Native communities.

Expands Access to Capital for Small Businesses. Building on the historic growth in small business applications under the President and Vice President’s leadership, the Budget supports historic lending levels across the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) business lending programs. The over $58 billion in lending provided in the Budget would address the need for greater access to affordable capital, particularly in underserved communities. The Budget proposes a new direct 7(a) lending program, which would further enable SBA to address gaps in access to small dollar lending.

Promotes Equity in Education and Builds a Diverse, Capable STEM Workforce. The Budget increases institutional capacity at HBCUs, TCCUs, MSIs, and under-resourced institutions, including community colleges, and doubles funding by providing $100 million for four-year HBCUs, TCCUs, and MSIs to expand research and development infrastructure. In support of the CHIPS and Science Act’s priority of building a diverse, STEM-capable workforce, the Budget provides $1.4 billion for STEM education and workforce development programs at the National Science Foundation that have an emphasis on diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility. The Budget also includes funding for programs focused on increasing the participation of groups historically underrepresented in science and engineering fields, including women and girls and people of color.

Protects Americans at Home and Abroad

From taking action to combat hate in America’s communities, tackle gun violence, and strengthen trust in the Nation’s democratic institutions, to defending freedom around the globe, and rebuilding key alliances, the Administration has taken decisive action to strengthen America at home and abroad, all with the goal of keeping Americans safe. The Budget builds on this progress with proposals to continue investing in State, local, Tribal, and Federal law enforcement, reducing gun violence and crime, securing the border and strengthening the immigration system, and revitalizing U.S. alliances and partnerships while confronting global threats and strengthening America’s military.

Secures the Border and Strengthens the Immigration System. In October 2023, the Administration transmitted an emergency supplemental request for managing the southwest border and migration totaling $13.6 billion. The Budget includes, and therefore reiterates the need for, the unmet needs from the October supplemental request. The Budget includes investments to build longer-term capacity in the areas of border security, immigration enforcement, and countering illicit fentanyl. This amount includes funding to hire 1,300 additional Border Patrol Agents to secure the border, 1,000 additional Customs and Border Protection Officers to stop illicit fentanyl and other contraband from entering the U.S., an additional 1,600 Asylum Officers and support staff to facilitate timely immigration dispositions, as well as $849 million for cutting-edge detection technology at ports of entry. The Budget also reiterates the ask for funding to hire 375 new immigration judge teams to help reduce the immigration case backlog. Taken together, these long-term capacity building investments equip the Nation’s border security and immigration system to more effectively respond to challenges present along the border.

Tackles Crime, Reduces Gun Violence, and Makes America’s Communities Safer. The Budget makes significant investments to bolster Federal law enforcement capacity to strengthen public safety and it also pursues new mandatory investments to combat violent crime and support victims. The Budget includes $17.7 billion for Department of Justice law enforcement, including $2 billion, an increase of over 30 percent since 2021, for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to effectively investigate and prosecute gun crimes. To support state, local, and Tribal law enforcement efforts, the Budget proposes $31.8 billion in mandatory funding to support President Biden’s Safer America Plan, and complements this plan with proposed discretionary investments of $270 million for the COPS Hiring Program and $100 million for community violence intervention and prevention. The Budget also builds upon the Safer America Plan by investing an additional $1.2 billion over five years to launch a new Violent Crime Reduction and Prevention Fund to give law enforcement the support they need to focus on violent crime, including support to hire 4,700 detectives to help drive down the high rate of unsolved violent crimes. In support of victims of crime, the Budget also requests $7.3 billion to replenish and reform the Crime Victims Fund to ensure a stable and predictable source of funding is available to support critical victim service and compensation programs over the next decade.

Prioritizes Efforts to End Gender-Based Violence. The Administration has prioritized funding for programs under the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA). These programs have seen funding increased by over 35 percent since 2021 and the Budget proposes further expansion to $800 million for programs under VAWA, including key investments in sexual assault services, transitional housing, and legal assistance for survivors. The Budget also makes clear the Administration’s priority to strongly support underserved and Tribal communities by providing $15 million for culturally-specific services, $5 million for underserved populations, $25 million to assist enforcement of Tribal special domestic violence jurisdiction under VAWA 2022’s expansions, $3 million to support Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys, and $10 million for a new special initiative to address Missing and Murdered Indigenous People (MMIP).

Combats Narcotics Trafficking. The Budget provides $3.3 billion to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to combat drug trafficking, including $1.2 billion to combat opioid trafficking, save lives, and make our communities safer. The Budget invests an additional $18 million in Domestic Counter-Fentanyl Threat Targeting Teams at the Drug Enforcement Administration to enhance America’s fight against the transnational criminal networks pushing deadly illicit fentanyl in America’s communities. The Budget also provides $494 million in grants supporting efforts to address substance use. The Budget includes funding to disrupt the international synthetic drug trade which would counter the worldwide flow of fentanyl and other synthetics that endanger public safety and health, and contribute to tens of thousands of drug-overdose deaths in the United States annually.

Reiterates the Administration’s Request for Immediate Funding for Urgent National Security Priorities Related to Ukraine, Israel, and the Indo-Pacific. In October 2023, the Administration transmitted an emergency supplemental request totaling $92 billion to Congress for urgent national security needs. This request included funding to support Ukraine as it continues to defend itself against Russian aggression, Israel’s defense against terrorism, the Indo-Pacific’s regional security, life-saving humanitarian assistance, including for the Palestinian people, and other national security priorities. The request would also make significant and much needed investments in the American defense industrial base, benefitting U.S. military readiness and helping to create and sustain jobs in dozens of states across America. Absent congressional action on this emergency request, the United States will not be able to continue to provide support to Ukraine to meet their battlefield needs as they defend against Russian attacks every day, provide urgently needed military support to allies and partners, make critical DIB investments, or sustain life-saving assistance and development in some of the world’s most vulnerable areas. The Administration appreciates the bipartisan supplemental legislation that passed the Senate, which would address these urgent needs and advance our own national security.

Supports Ukraine, European Allies, and Partners. The Budget continues critical support for Ukraine, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies, and other European partner states by prioritizing funding to enhance the capabilities and readiness of U.S., allied, and partner forces in the face of continued Russian aggression. However, this Budget cannot address the critical support to Ukraine that requires congressional action on the Administration’s October 2023 National Security Supplemental request.

Promotes Integrated Deterrence in the Indo-Pacific and Globally. To sustain and strengthen deterrence, the Budget prioritizes China as America’s pacing challenge in line with the 2022 National Defense Strategy. The Department of Defense’s 2025 Pacific Deterrence Initiative highlights some of the key investments the Federal government is making, focuses on strengthening deterrence in the region, and demonstrates the Administration’s long-term commitment to the Indo-Pacific. DOD is building the concepts, capabilities, and posture necessary to meet these challenges, working to integrate deterrence efforts across the U.S. Government and with U.S. allies and partners.

Ensures Readiness Across America’s Armed Forces. The Budget continues to ensure that U.S. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and Guardians remain the best trained and equipped fighting forces in the world. The Budget places additional emphasis on foundational investments to sustain current weapon systems and support increased training across DOD.

Invests in the Submarine Industrial Base. DOD conducted the 2025 Submarine Industrial Base (SIB) study to determine how to complete the once-in-a-generation recapitalization of the Submarine Force needed to increase the United States’ ability to build and sustain attack submarines to meet U.S. military requirements. These investments will also support the Administration’s commitments under AUKUS, the first major deliverable of which was the historic decision to support Australia acquiring conventionally-armed, nuclear-powered submarines. In line with the results on this study, the Budget includes $3.4 billion for the SIB in 2025.

Provides Life-Saving Humanitarian Assistance and Combats Global Food Insecurity. The Budget provides $10.3 billion in life-saving humanitarian and refugee assistance to support more than 330 million people in need in more than 70 countries in addition to the emergency supplemental request of $10 billion to address unprecedented global humanitarian needs, including the dire humanitarian situation facing Palestinians in Gaza. The Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development will have to reduce life-saving assistance around the globe without the additional $10 billion in humanitarian assistance requested in the Administration’s October 2023 National Security Supplemental Request.

Additional Budget Fact Sheets:

FACT SHEET: The President’s Budget Creates Good-Paying Clean Jobs, Cuts Energy Costs, and Delivers on the President’s Ambitious Climate Agenda 

SOTU: President Biden Announces Plan to Lower Housing Costs for Working Families

President Biden is taking action to help families afford their first house © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

This fact sheet from the White House details President Biden’s plans to lower housing costs for working families. This includes building and preserving over 2 million new homes to lower rents and cost of buying a home. –Karen Rubin, [email protected]

President Biden believes housing costs are too high, and significant investments are needed to address the large shortage of affordable homes inherited from his predecessor and that has been growing for more than a decade. During his State of the Union Address, President Biden will call on Congressional Republicans to end years of inaction and pass legislation to lower costs by providing a $10,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers and people who sell their starter homes; build and renovate more than 2 million homes; and lower rental costs.  President Biden also announced new steps to lower homebuying and refinancing closing costs and crack down on corporate actions that rip off renters.

We are starting to see some progress. More housing units are under construction right now than at any time in the last 50 years, rents have fallen over the last year in many places, and the homeownership rate is higher now than before the pandemic. But rent is still too high, and Americans who want to buy a home still have difficulty finding one they can afford. That is why President Biden has a landmark plan to build over 2 million homes, which will lower rents, make houses more affordable, and promote fair housing.

Lowering Costs of Homeownership

For many Americans, owning a home is the cornerstone of raising a family, building wealth, and joining the middle class. Too many working families feel locked out of homeownership and are unable to compete with investors for a limited supply of affordable for-sale homes. President Biden is calling on Congress to enact legislation to enable more Americans to purchase a home, including:

  • Mortgage Relief Credit. President Biden is calling on Congress to pass a mortgage relief credit that would provide middle-class first-time homebuyers with an annual tax credit of $5,000 a year for two years. This is the equivalent of reducing the mortgage rate by more than 1.5 percentage points for two years on the median home, and will help more than 3.5 million middle-class families purchase their first home over the next two years. 

The President’s plan also calls for a new credit to unlock inventory of affordable starter homes, while helping middle-class families move up the housing ladder and empty nesters right size. Many homeowners have lower rates on their mortgages than current rates. This “lock-in” effect makes homeowners more reluctant to sell and give up that low rate, even in circumstances where their current homes no longer fit their household needs. The President is calling on Congress to provide a one-year tax credit of up to $10,000 to middle-class families who sell their starter home, defined as homes below the area median home price in the county, to another owner-occupant. This proposal is estimated to help nearly 3 million families.

  • Down Payment Assistance for First-Generation Homeowners. The President continues to call on Congress to provide up to $25,000 in down payment assistance to first-generation homebuyers whose families haven’t benefited from the generational wealth building associated with homeownership. This proposal is estimated to help 400,000 families purchase their first home.

The President isn’t waiting for Congress to lower costs for homebuyers and homeowners. Last year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reduced the mortgage insurance premium for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgages, saving an estimated 850,000 homebuyers and homeowners an estimated $800 per year. And today, the President is announcing new actions to lower the closing costs associated with buying a home or refinancing a mortgage.

  • Lowering Closing Costs for Refinancing. The Federal Housing Finance Agency has approved policies and pilots to reduce closing costs for homeowners, including a pilot to waive the requirement for lender’s title insurance on certain refinances. This would save thousands of homeowners up to $1500, and an average of $750, and the lower upfront fees will unlock substantial savings for homeowners as mortgage rates continue to fall and more homeowners are able to refinance. According to independent analysis, across the market title insurance typically pays out only 3% to 5% of premiums in claims to consumers, compared to more than 70% in other types of insurance. Homeowners can still purchase their own title insurance policies if they choose to do so.
  • Lowering Closing Costs for Home Mortgages. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will pursue rulemaking and guidance to address anticompetitive closing costs imposed by lenders on homebuyers and homeowners.  These charges—which benefit the lender but not the borrower—can add thousands to the upfront costs of a mortgage.  Those upfront costs cut into the amount of homebuyers’ down payments and reduce homeowners’ available equity.

In the coming months, the Department of Treasury’s Federal Insurance Office will convene a roundtable of relevant industry stakeholders, including consumer advocates and academics, in order to discuss the title insurance industry and analyze potential reforms. Building on today’s announcements, President Biden is calling on federal agencies to take all available actions to lower costs for consumers at the closing table and help more Americans access homeownership.

Lowering Costs by Building and Preserving 2 Million Homes

America needs to build more housing in order to lower rental costs and increase access to homeownership. That’s why the President is calling on Congress to pass legislation to build and renovate more than 2 million homes, which would close the housing supply gap and lower housing costs for renters and homeowners. This legislation would build on executive actions in the Biden-Harris Administration’s Housing Supply Action Plan that contributed to record housing construction last year.

  • Tax Credits to Build More Housing. President Biden is calling for an expansion of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to build or preserve 1.2 million more affordable rental units. Renters living in these properties save hundreds of dollars each month on their rent compared with renters with similar incomes who rent in the unsubsidized market. The President is also calling for a new Neighborhood Homes Tax Credit, the first tax provision to build or renovate affordable homes for homeownership, which would lead to the construction or preservation of over 400,000 starter homes in communities throughout the country.
  • Innovation Fund for Housing Expansion. The President is unveiling a new $20 billion competitive grant fund as part of his Budget to support communities across the country to build more housing and lower rents and homebuying costs. This fund would support the construction of affordable multifamily rental units; incentivize local actions to remove unnecessary barriers to housing development; pilot innovative models to increase the production of affordable and workforce rental housing; and spur the construction of new starter homes for middle-class families. According to independent analysis, this will create hundreds of thousands of units which will help lower rents and housing costs.
  • Increasing Banks’ Contributions Towards Building Affordable Housing. The President is proposing that each Federal Home Loan Bank double its annual contribution to the Affordable Housing Program – from 10 percent of prior year net income to 20 percent – which will raise an additional $3.79 billion for affordable housing over the next decade and assist nearly 380,0000 households. These funds will support the financing, acquisition, construction, and rehabilitation of affordable rental and for-sale homes, as well as help low- and moderate-income homeowners to purchase or rehabilitate homes.

Lowering Costs for Renters

President Biden is also taking actions to lower costs and promote housing stability for renters. The White House Blueprint for a Renters Bill of Rights lays out the key principles of a fair rental market and has already catalyzed new federal actions to make those principles a reality. Today, President Biden is announcing new steps to crack down on unfair practices that are driving up rental costs:

  • Fighting Rent Gouging by Corporate Landlords. The Biden-Harris Administration is taking action to combat egregious rent increases and other unfair practices that are driving up rents. Corporate landlords and private equity firms across the country have been accused of illegal information sharing, price fixing, and inflating rents. As part of the Strike Force on Unfair and Illegal Pricing announced by President Biden on Tuesday, the President is calling on federal agencies to root out and stop illegal corporate behavior that hikes prices on American families through anti-competitive, unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent business practices. In a recent filing, the Department of Justice (DOJ) made clear its position that inflated rents caused by algorithmic use of sensitive nonpublic pricing and supply information violate antitrust laws. Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission and DOJ filed a joint brief further arguing that it is illegal for landlords and property managers to collude on pricing to inflate rents – including when using algorithms to do so.
  • Cracking Down on Rental Junk Fees. Millions of families incur burdensome costs in the rental application process and throughout the duration of their lease, from “convenience fees” simply to pay rent online to fees charged to sort mail or collect trash. These fees are often more than the actual cost of providing the service, or are added onto rents to cover services that renters assume are included—or that they don’t even want. Last fall, the FTC proposed a rule that if finalized as proposed would ban misleading and hidden fees across the economy, including in housing rental agreements. Last month, HUD released a summary of banned non-rent fees within their rental assistance programs. These actions build on voluntary commitments the President announced last summer from major rental housing platforms to provide customers with the total, upfront cost on rental properties on their platform.

Expanding Housing Choice Vouchers. Over the last three years, the Administration has secured rental assistance for more than 100,000 additional households. The President is calling on Congress to further expand rental assistance to more than half of a million households, including by providing a voucher guarantee for low-income veterans and youth aging out of foster care – the first such voucher guarantees in history. Receiving a voucher would save these households hundreds of dollars in rent each month.

FACT SHEET: Impact of Bipartisan Border Agreement Funding on Border Operations

Families Belong Together Immigration Protest, NYC, June 30, 2018 New York City protests Trump’s family separation policy, 2018. A reminder of how Trump and the MAGA Republicans’ handling of the migrant crisis looked like and what Trump would do in a second term © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Thanks to a steady stream of desperate migrants escaping conflict and climate disasters at the southern border but all over the world  (and propaganda), voters now consider immigration (not women’s reproductive rights, gun violence or climate action) the leading issue. And Trump and the MAGA Republicans want to keep it that way. So after negotiating the toughest immigration reform in 30 years (and Democrats abandoning calls to legalize status for DACA recipients and the rest of the millions of undocumented migrants who have been living and working in the US for years in order to reach a compromise), Trump issued his order that House Republicans nix adopting the National Security Plan, that also included aid to Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and humanitarian aid and instead, voted to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, while Republican Governors Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis are working hard to increase the misery of the desperate migrants and the Democratic cities they are shipping these individuals to, without warning or coordination, just to elevate the crisis. Meanwhile, Trump’s agenda for a second term would go beyond the cruelty of his family-separation program of his first term.

Rather than playing politics on the issue, Biden is trying to take action, and today, in traveling to Brownsville, Texas to meet with U.S. Border patrol agents, is laying out why Republicans’ failure to act is handicapping the administration’s effort to address the migrant crisis in a humanitarian way. This fact sheet is provided by the White House – Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Today, President Biden is traveling to Brownsville, Texas to meet with U.S. Border Patrol agents, law enforcement, frontline personnel, and local leaders to discuss the urgent need to pass the Senate bipartisan border security agreement.

President Biden has repeatedly said he is willing to work in a bipartisan way to secure the border and fix our broken immigration system. Over several months, his Administration negotiated with a bipartisan group of Senators to release a bill that includes the toughest and fairest reforms to secure the border we have had in decades. It would make our country safer, make our border more secure, and treat people fairly and humanely while preserving legal immigration, consistent with our nation’s values. The bill received support from the Border Patrol Union, the Chamber of Commerce, the South Texas Alliance of Cities, and the Wall Street Journal – but Speaker Mike Johnson and House Republicans have decided to play politics at the expense of border security.
 
At the President’s request, the agreement included over $20 billion for border security. The agreement would provide critical resources at the border and significant policy changes, including:
 
Border Patrol: Border Patrol staffing has remained roughly flat over the last four years, despite border encounters increasing by 250 percent over the same period. Today, there are just shy of 20,000 Border Patrol Agents. The bipartisan Senate bill would add more than 1,500 new Customs and Border Protection personnel.

Asylum Officers and Asylum Reform: Similarly, Asylum Officer staffing has remained stagnant over the last four years and there is an insufficient number of asylum officers to do initial screenings. As a result, each asylum case generally takes 5 to 7 years to be heard and adjudicated. Today, there are approximately 1,000 Asylum Officers; the bipartisan Senate bill would add an additional 4,300 Asylum Officers and it would make the asylum process faster and fairer.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): ICE detention facilities are currently over capacity. Today, ICE has approximately 40,000 detention beds. The bipartisan Senate agreement would increase detention beds to a total of 50,000. Moreover, without immediate action from Congress DHS will need to move funding to ICE from other critical missions or reduce ICE’s enforcement operations to manage a shortfall of several hundred million dollars.
 
Immigration Judges: Currently there is a backlog of over 2 million cases for immigration judges. Each asylum case generally takes 5 to 7 years to complete. Without more judges, these timelines and backlogs will continue to grow. Today there is funding for 734 immigration judges, the bipartisan Senate bill would provide funding for an additional 100 immigration judges and their associated staff.
 
Combatting Drug Trafficking: We continue our fight against the trafficking of fentanyl and other illicit drugs. The bipartisan agreement would fund the installation of 100 cutting-edge inspection machines to help detect fentanyl at our Southwest Border ports of entry. It would also give the President the authority to impose sanctions on foreign nationals knowingly involved in significant trafficking of fentanyl by a transnational criminal organization.  
 
The bill also includes $1.4 billion for cities and states who are providing critical services to newcomers, and would expedite work permits for people who are in the country and qualify.
 
In order to truly tackle this problem and support the more than four thousand border and immigration officials who work in the Rio Grande Valley – which includes Brownsville – with the additional personnel and resources they need to secure our border, Congress must act.

FACT SHEET: Marking 51st Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, White House Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access Announces New Actions; Biden, Harris Vow to Restore Rights

Women’s March on Washington, Jan. 21, 2017. The contrast couldn’t be more stark: Women march in record numbers in Washington the day after Trump’s inauguration; Trump now boasts how he is responsible for the Supreme Court overturning women’s reproductive rights. The majority of Americans want reproductive freedom. Today, on what would have been the 51st anniversary of Roe, President Biden and Vice President Harris affirmed their commitment to restore women’s rights, bodily autonomy and self-determination. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Actions to Help Strengthen Access to Contraception, Protect Access to Medication Abortion, and Ensure Patients Receive Emergency Medical Care

Today, on what would have been the 51st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, women’s health and lives hang in the balance due to extreme state abortion bans. These dangerous state laws have caused chaos and confusion, as women are being turned away from emergency rooms, forced to travel hundreds of miles, or required to go to court to seek permission for the health care they need.  

In the face of the continued threats to reproductive freedom, President Biden convened the fourth meeting of the Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access, where agencies announced new actions to protect access to reproductive health care. The Task Force also heard directly from physicians who are on the frontlines of the fallout from the overturning of Roe v. Wade.  

Opening the meeting, President Biden declared:  

Fifty-one years ago today, in Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court recognized a woman’s constitutional right to choose — constitutional right to choose — the right to make a deeply personal decision with her doctor, free from the interference of politicians. I believe Roe v. Wade was right.  But then, a year and a half ago, this Supreme Court made an extreme decision, overturning Roe with their Dobbs decision, to rip away a constitutional right from the American people, which had never been done before — a fundamental right ripped away — important to so many Americans, a right that is vital to a country founded on the idea of freedom.  
 
I said on that day that Roe was overturned, the health and lives of women in this nation would now be at risk.  And that has unfortunately proven to be true…Today, in 2024 in America, women are turned away from emergency rooms, forced to travel hundreds of miles to get basic healthcare in another state that may have a different rule, forced to go to court to plead for help… 
 
The cruelty is astounding — an affront to a woman’s dignity, being told by extreme politicians to wait, to get sicker and sicker to the point where her life may be in danger before you can get the care you need. That cruel reality is the result of extreme Republicans who, for years, have made it their mission to end the Roe v. Wade decision. 
 
Since Roe was overturned, in 21 states, abortion bans are now in effect, many with no exception for rape or incest. We have doctors with us today who are on the frontlines of this crisis.  And they can attest to the consequences that these extreme laws are having on doctors and on their ability to care for their patients. Some doctors are fleeing their home states because of laws that would send them to prison for providing evidence-based healthcare. In states like Texas, doctors can get a life sentence — a life sentence for providing the care they were trained to provide.  It’s outrageous.  It’s simply outrageous.
 
And, frankly, this is just the beginning. My congressional Republican friends are going to even further extremes to undermine a woman’s rights and threatening the lives of women. Three different Republican members in the United States Congress have proposed three different additional national bans to criminalize healthcare in every state.  Let me tell you what they are.
 
One is a zero-week ban with absolutely no exceptions — a zero-week with absolutely no exceptions.  The second is a six-week ban.  The penalty for violating it is jail.  The third is a 15-week ban.  The penalty is a five-year prison sentence.
 
That means even if you live in a state where the extremist Republicans are not running the show, your right to choose, your right to privacy would still be at risk if this law was passed — any of these were passed nationally.
 
And the extreme right is trying to limit all women in America from getting a safe and effective medication, approved by the Federal Drug Administration over 20 years ago based on the FDA’s independent expert judgment.  They’re trying to block women from getting this medication even in states where abortion is legal. 
 
And on top of all of that, if you live in a state where you cannot get this care you need and you make a plan to travel to a state where you can get the[medical care],[Republican officials] are trying to stop that as well. In Alabama the Attorney General is threatening to prosecute people who help family members travel to another state.
 
Folks, this is what it looks like when the right to privacy is under attack.  These extreme laws have no place in the United States of America. 
 
You know, the American people know these laws are wrong.  The vast majority of Americans believe the right to choose is fundamental. 
 
Also today, the Vice President launch her nationwide Fight for Reproductive Freedoms tour to continue fighting back against extreme attacks throughout America. “These extremists want to roll back the clock to a time before women were treated as full citizens,” she declared at the kick-off event in Waukesha County, Wisconsin, 51 years to the day that Roe v. Wade was decided.

“As we face this crisis, as we are clear eyed about the harm, let us also understand who is responsible, shall we? The former president hand picked three Supreme Court justices because they intended for them to overturn Roe. .. Proud? Proud? Proud that women across our nation are suffering? Proud that women have been robbed of a fundamental freedom? Proud that doctors could be thrown in prison for caring for their patients, that young people today have fewer rights than their mothers and their grandmothers? How dare he?” the Vice President declared.

Biden-Harris Administration Actions to Protect Reproductive Health Care
 
During the Task Force meeting, members reported on ongoing implementation of the President’s three Executive Orders and a Presidential Memorandum on access to reproductive health care and announce new steps to: 

  • Strengthen Contraception Access and Affordability for Women with Private Health Insurance. The Administration is committed to ensuring that women have access to contraception—an essential component of reproductive health care that has only become more important in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade—and reducing barriers that women face in accessing contraception prescribed by their provider. The Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services (HHS) are issuing new guidance to clarify standards and support expanded coverage of a broader range of FDA-approved contraceptives at no cost under the Affordable Care Act. This action builds on the progress already made by the Affordable Care Act to expand access to affordable contraception for millions of women nationwide.

    In addition, the Office of Personnel Management will strengthen access to contraception for federal workers, retirees, and family members by issuing guidance to insurers participating in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program that incorporates the Departments’ guidance. OPM will also newly require insurers that participate in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program to take additional steps to educate enrollees about their contraception benefits.
    • Reinforce Obligations to Cover Affordable Contraception. The Secretary of HHS is issuing a letter to private health insurers, state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs, and Medicare plans about their obligations to cover contraception for those they serve. The letter targets a wide range of payers to advance compliance with existing standards and underscore the Administration’s commitment to ensuring that women across the country can access affordable contraception. The letter also highlights recent HHS action to expand coverage and improve payment for contraceptives for Medicare beneficiaries, improving access for women with disabilities.
       Educate Patients and Health Care Providers on Their Rights and Obligations for Emergency Medical Care. The Administration is committed to helping ensure all patients, including women who are experiencing pregnancy loss and other pregnancy-related emergencies, have access to emergency medical care required under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). The Administration has long taken the position that the required emergency care can, in some circumstances, include abortion care. The Department of Justice (DOJ) is defending that interpretation of the law before the Supreme Court, which is expected to rule by June. 

      To increase awareness of EMTALA and improve the procedures for ensuring that patients facing all types of medical emergencies receive the care to which they are entitled, HHS is announcing today a comprehensive plan to educate all patients about their rights and to help ensure hospitals meet their obligations under federal law. This effort will include the launch of new accessible and understandable resources about rights and protections for patients under EMTALA and the process for submitting a complaint. HHS will also disseminate training materials for health care providers and establish a dedicated team of experts who will increase the Department’s capacity to support hospitals and providers across the country in complying with federal requirements—to help ensure that every patient receives the emergency medical care required under federal law.
       
  • Protect Access to Safe and Legal Medication Abortion. One year ago today, President Biden issued a Presidential Memorandum directing further efforts to support patients, providers, and pharmacies who wish to legally access, prescribe, or provide medication abortion—including by taking steps to safeguard their safety and security. Today, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security will report on their implementation of this Presidential Memorandum, including the resources they have disseminated to health care providers, including pharmacies, to support safe access to legal medication abortion.

 Today’s announcements build on the Administration’s strong record of taking action since the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. These ongoing efforts to defend reproductive rights include:
 
Protecting Access to Abortion, including Medication Abortion

  • Defend FDA Approval of Medication Abortion in Court.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and DOJ are defending access to mifepristone—a safe and effective drug used in medication abortion that FDA first approved more than twenty years ago—and FDA’s independent, expert judgment in court, including in a lawsuit before the Supreme Court that attempts to curtail access nationwide. The Administration will continue to stand by FDA’s decades-old approval and regulation of the medication and by FDA’s ability to review, approve, and regulate a wide range of prescription medications. Efforts to impose outdated restrictions on mifepristone would limit access to reproductive health care in every state in the country.
    • Protect Access to Safe and Legal Medication Abortion.  On what would have been the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, President Biden issued a Presidential Memorandum directing agencies to consider further efforts to protect access to medication abortion. This Presidential Memorandum was issued in the face of attacks by state officials to prevent women from accessing mifepristone and discourage pharmacies from becoming certified to dispense the medication. These attacks followed independent, evidence-based action taken by FDA to allow mifepristone to continue to be prescribed by telehealth and sent by mail as well as to enable interested pharmacies to become certified.
       
    • Partner with State Leaders on the Frontlines of Abortion Access.  The White House continues to partner with leaders on the frontlines of protecting access to abortion—both those fighting extreme state legislation and those advancing proactive policies to protect access to reproductive health care, including for patients who are forced to travel out of state for care. The Vice President has led these efforts, traveling to 20 states and meeting with more than 250 state legislators, health care providers, and advocates in the past year. Today, she is kicking off her nationwide Fight for Reproductive Freedoms tour in Wisconsin.
       
    • Ensure Access to Emergency Medical Care.  Republican elected officials in states across the country have put women’s lives at risk by banning abortion even when her doctor determines that an abortion is necessary to prevent serious health consequences. The Administration is committed to ensuring all patients, including women who are experiencing pregnancy loss and other pregnancy-related emergencies, have access to the full rights and protections for emergency medical care afforded under federal law—including abortion care when that is the stabilizing treatment required. HHS issued guidance and Secretary Becerra sent letters to providers affirming the Administration’s view that EMTALA preempts conflicting state law restricting access to abortion in emergency situations. The Department of Justice has taken action defend and enforce these protections in court, including in a case currently before the Supreme Court.
       
    • Provide Access to Reproductive Health Care for Veterans.  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued an interim final rule to allow VA to provide abortion counseling and, in certain circumstances, abortion care to veterans and VA beneficiaries. VA provides abortion services when the health or life of the patient would be endangered if the pregnancy were carried to term or when the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest. When working within the scope of their federal employment, VA employees may provide abortion services as authorized by federal law regardless of state restrictions. DOJ will support and provide representation to any VA providers whom states attempt to prosecute for violations of state abortion laws where those providers were appropriately carrying out their duties under VA’s interim final rule. 
       
    • Support Access to Care for Service Members.  The Department of Defense (DoD) has taken action to ensure that Service members and their families can access reproductive health care and that DoD health care providers can operate effectively. DoD has released policies to support Service members and their families’ ability to travel for lawful non-covered reproductive health care and to bolster Service members’ privacy and afford them the time and space needed to make personal health care decisions.
       
    • Defend Reproductive Rights in Court. DOJ created a Reproductive Rights Task Force, which monitors and evaluates state and local actions that threaten to infringe on federal protections relating to the provision or pursuit of reproductive health care, impair women’s ability to seek abortion care where it is legal, impair individuals’ ability to inform and counsel each other about the care that is available in other states, ban mifepristone based on disagreement with FDA’s expert judgment about its safety and efficacy, or impose criminal or civil liability on federal employees who provide legal reproductive health services in a manner authorized by federal law.

 Supporting Women’s Ability to Travel for Medical Care

  • Defend the Right to Travel.  On the day of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, President Biden reaffirmed the Attorney General’s statement that women must remain free to travel safely to another state to seek the care they need. In November 2023, DOJ filed a statement of interest in two lawsuits challenging the Alabama Attorney General’s threat to prosecute people who provide assistance to women seeking lawful out-of-state abortions. DOJ explained that the threatened Alabama prosecutions infringe the constitutional right to travel and made clear that states may not punish third parties for assisting women in exercising that right. DOJ continues to monitor states’ efforts to restrict the constitutional right to travel across state lines to receive lawful health care.  
    • Support Patients Traveling Out of State for Medical Care.  HHS issued a letter to U.S. governors inviting them to apply for Section 1115 waivers to expand access to care under the Medicaid program for women traveling from a state where reproductive rights are under attack and women may be denied medical care. HHS continues to encourage state leaders to consider and develop new waiver proposals that would support access to reproductive health care services.

 
Safeguarding Access to Contraception

  • Strengthen Access to Affordable, High-Quality Contraception.  Ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the President issued an Executive Order directing agencies to consider actions to improve access and affordability for women with private health insurance; promote increased access to over-the-counter contraception; support access to affordable contraception through Medicaid and Medicare; ensure Service members, veterans, and Federal employees are able to access contraception; bolster contraception access across Federal health programs; and support access for college students and employees. These are just some of the recent actions taken by the Biden-Harris Administration to implement this Executive Order:
    • Following FDA’s approval of the first daily oral contraceptive in the United States without a prescription, the Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and HHS issued a Request for Information to solicit public input on how to best ensure coverage and access to over-the-counter preventive services, including contraception, at no cost and without a prescription from a health care provider.
    • Vice President Harris and the Department of Education convened representatives from 68 college and university leaders in 32 states to hear promising strategies from leaders of postsecondary institutions for protecting and expanding access to contraception for their students and on campus.
    • The Gender Policy Council, Domestic Policy Council, and leaders from the Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and HHS convened private sector leaders to stress the need to continue to build on the significant progress already made under the Affordable Care Act in expanding access to contraception and call on participants to take robust additional actions to improve access.
    • The Health Resources and Services Administration proposed new data measures for federally funded health centers that, once finalized, will help ensure that patients are screened for contraception needs. Screening and data measures will help enhance the overall delivery of voluntary family planning and related services, which is a required primary health care service under federal law.
    • The Office of Personnel Management launched a public education campaign to highlight contraception benefits available to federal employees and their family members.
    • HHS is continuing its public-private partnership to expand access to contraception with Upstream, a national nonprofit organization that provides health centers with free patient-centered, evidence-based training and technical assistance to eliminate provider-level barriers to offering the full range of contraceptive options. To date, HHS has connected Upstream to nearly 100 health care clinics, resulting in partnerships that will help Upstream accelerate their national expansion to reach 5 million women of reproductive age every year. 
    • Clarify Protections for Women with Private Health Insurance. Under the Affordable Care Act, most private health plans must provide coverage for contraception and family planning counseling with no out-of-pocket costs. The Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and HHS convened a meeting with health insurers and employee benefit plans. These agencies called on the industry to meet their obligations to cover contraception as required under the law. Following this conversation, these agencies issued guidance to clarify protections for contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
       
    • Expand Access Under the Affordable Care Act.  The Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and HHS proposed a rule to strengthen access to contraception under the Affordable Care Act so all women with private health coverage who need and want contraception can obtain it without cost sharing. Millions of women have already benefited from this coverage, which has helped them save billions of dollars on contraception.
       
    • Support Title X Clinics.  Last year, HHS provided $263 million to over 4,000 Title X clinics across the country to provide a wide range of voluntary, client-centered family planning and related preventive services. The Title X Family Planning Program remains a critical part of the nation’s safety net, providing free or low-cost services for 2.6 million clients in 2022.
       
    • Promote Access to Contraception for Service Members and Their Families and Certain Dependents of Veterans.  To improve access to contraception at military hospitals and clinics, DoD expanded walk-in contraceptive care services for active-duty Service members and other Military Health System beneficiaries, and eliminated TRICARE copays for certain contraceptive services. And VA proposed a rule to eliminate out-of-pocket costs for certain types of contraception through the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

 
Promoting Safety and Security of Patients, Providers, and Clinics

  • Promote Safety and Security of Patients, Providers and Clinics. DOJ continues to robustly enforce the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which protects the right to access and provide reproductive health services.

 
Safeguarding Privacy and Sensitive Health Information

  • Strengthen Reproductive Health Privacy under HIPAA.  HHS issued a proposed rule to strengthen privacy protections under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). As proposed, this rule would prevent an individual’s information from being disclosed to investigate, sue, or prosecute an individual, a health care provider, or a loved one simply because that person sought, obtained, provided, or facilitated legal reproductive health care, including abortion. By safeguarding sensitive information related to reproductive health care, the rule will strengthen patient-provider confidentiality and help health care providers give complete and accurate information to patients. Prior to the proposed ruleHHS issued guidance reaffirming HIPAA’s existing protections for the privacy of individuals’ protected health information.
    • Take Action Against Illegal Use and Sharing of Sensitive Health Information.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has committed to enforcing the law against illegal use and sharing of highly sensitive data, including information related to reproductive health care. Consistent with this commitment, the FTC has taken several enforcement actions against companies for disclosing consumers’ personal health information, including highly sensitive reproductive health data, without permission.
       
    • Help Consumers Protect Their Personal Data.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched a new guide for consumers on best practices for protecting their personal data, including geolocation data, on mobile phones. The guide follows a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued by FCC that would strengthen data breach rules to provide greater protections to personal data. Separately, HHS issued a how-to guide for consumers on steps they can take to better protect their data on personal cell phones or tablets and when using mobile health apps, like period trackers, which are generally not protected by HIPAA.
       
    • Protect Students’ Health Information.  ED issued guidance to over 20,000 school officials to remind them of their obligations to protect student privacy under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The guidance helps ensure that school officials—at federally funded school districts, colleges, and universities—know that, with certain exceptions, they must obtain written consent from eligible students or parents before disclosing personally identifiable information from students’ educational records, which may include student health information. The guidance encourages school officials to consider the importance of student privacy, including health privacy, with respect to disclosing student records. ED also issued a know-your-rights resource to help students understand their privacy rights for health records at school. 
       
    • Safeguard Patients’ Electronic Health Information.  HHS issued guidance affirming that doctors and other medical providers can take steps to protect patients’ electronic health information, including their information related to reproductive health care. HHS makes clear that patients have the right to ask that their electronic health information generally not be disclosed by a physician, hospital, or other health care provider. The guidance also reminds health care providers that HIPAA’s privacy protections apply to patients’ electronic health information.

 
Reinforcing Nondiscrimination Protections under Federal Law

  • Protect Students from Discrimination Based on Pregnancy.  The Department of Education (ED) released a resource for universities reiterating their responsibilities not to discriminate on the basis of pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions, including termination of pregnancy. This guidance reminds schools of their existing and long-standing obligations under Title IX.
    • Strengthen Nondiscrimination in Healthcare.  HHS issued a proposed rule to strengthen nondiscrimination in health care. The proposed rule would implement Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act and affirms protections consistent with President Biden’s Executive Orders on nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

 
Providing Access to Accurate Information and Legal Resources

  • Ensure Easy Access to Reliable Information.  HHS launched and maintains ReproductiveRights.gov, which provides timely and accurate information on people’s right to access reproductive health care, including contraception, abortion services, and health insurance coverage, as well as how to file a patient privacy or nondiscrimination complaint. DOJ also launched justice.gov/reproductive-rights, a webpage that provides a centralized online resource on the Department’s ongoing work to protect access to reproductive health care services under federal law.
    • Hosted a Convening of Lawyers in Defense of Reproductive Rights.  DOJ and the Office of White House Counsel convened more than 200 lawyers and advocates from private firms, bar associations, legal aid organizations, reproductive rights groups, and law schools across the country for a convening of pro-bono attorneys, as directed in the first Executive Order. Following this convening, reproductive rights organizations launched the Abortion Defense Network to offer abortion-related legal defense services, including legal advice and representation.

 
Promote Research and Data Collection

Use Data to Track Impacts on Access to Care.  HHS convened leading experts to discuss the state of existing reproductive health research and what the data tells us about the impact of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, as well as the future of research on reproductive health care access. These convenings helped identify research gaps, opportunities for collaboration, and ways to bolster research efforts for both Federal agencies and external partners.

President Biden on Anniversary of Jan. 6 Insurrrection: Is Democracy Still America’s Sacred Cause?

In this, President Joe Biden’s first major speech of 2024, on January 5 marking the third anniversary of the January 6 insurrection which he delivered at Valley Forge, he highlights what is at stake in the upcoming 2024 election: nothing short of whether the United States will be ruled by democracy or a despot. “Is democracy still America’s sacred cause” he asked in what may well be considered Biden’s “Gettysburg Address.” 

In this, President Joe Biden’s first major speech of 2024, which he delivered at Valley Forge on January 5, marking the third anniversary of the January 6th Insurrection, he highlights what is at stake in the upcoming 2024 election: nothing short of whether the United States will be ruled by democracy or a despot. “Is democracy still America’s sacred cause” he asked in what may well be considered Biden’s “Gettysburg Address.” 

In contrast, Donald Trump’s first campaign speech committed himself to “retribution, revenge,” weaponizing the Department of Justice to persecute anyone who looks like they are doing well against him, literally tearing up the Constitution, enacting the Insurrection Act, pardoning the January 6 insurrectionists (he calls “hostages”) and being dictator (for the first day). And by suggesting that his own top military general be executed (for showing loyalty to the Constitution instead of him), he has laid down the gauntlet of weaponizing  and routinizing political intimidation to insure his power.

As President Biden has said so many times, “this is not hyperbole” but a real call out to the existential crisis Americans must confront.

“Whether democracy is still America’s sacred cause is the most urgent question of our time, and it’s what the 2024 election is all about.” “Democracy is on the ballot.  Your freedom is on the ballot.”  

“Without democracy, no progress is possible.  Think about it.  The alternative to democracy is dictatorship — the rule of one, not the rule of ‘We the People.’” 
  
“Democracy means having the freedom to speak your mind, to be who you are, to be who you want to be.  Democracy is about being able to bring about peaceful change.  Democracy — democracy is how we’ve opened the doors of opportunity wider and wider with each successive generation, notwithstanding our mistakes.”
 
“But if democracy falls, we’ll lose that freedom.  We’ll lose the power of “We the People” to shape our destiny.  If you doubt me, look around the world.  Travel with me as I meet with other heads of state throughout the world.”

Here is a slightly edited, highlighted transcript of President Biden’s remarks at Valley Forge, Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, on January 5 –Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com   

In this, President Joe Biden’s first major speech of 2024, on January 5 marking the third anniversary of the January 6 insurrection which he delivered at Valley Forge, he highlights what is at stake in the upcoming 2024 election: nothing short of whether the United States will be ruled by democracy or a despot. “Is democracy still America’s sacred cause” he asked in what may well be considered Biden’s “Gettysburg Address.” 

3:23 P.M. EST
 
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)
 
AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Four more years! (Applause.)
 
THE PRESIDENT:  (Laughs.)  Well, thank you. 
 
AUDIENCE:  Four more years!  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Please.  Thank you.  Please.  Thank you very, very much.
 
Today — the topic of my speech today is deadly serious, and I think it needs to be made at the outset of this campaign.
 
In the winter of 1777, it was harsh and cold as the Continental Army marched to Valley Forge.  General George Washington knew he faced the most daunting of tasks: to fight and win a war against the most powerful empire that existed in the world at the time. 
 
His mission was clear.  Liberty, not conquest.  Freedom, not domination.  National independence, not individual glory. 
 
America made a vow.  Never again would we bow down to a king. 
 
The months ahead would be incredibly difficult.  But General Washington knew something in his bones, something about the spirit of the troops he was leading, something — something about the soul of the nation he [that] was struggling to be born.
 
In his general order, he predicted, and I quote, “with one heart and one mind,” “with fortitude and with patience,” they would overcome every difficulty — the troops he was leading. 
 
And they did.  They did.
 
This army that lacked blankets and food, clothes and shoes.  This army whose march left bloody, bare footprints in the snow.  This ragtag army made up of ordinary people.  Their mission, George Washington declared, was nothing less than “a sacred cause.”  That was the phrase used: “a sacred cause.” 
 
Freedom, liberty, democracy.  American democracy. 
 
I just visited the grounds of Valley Forge.  I’ve been there a number of times from the time I was a Boy Scout years ago.  You know, it’s the very site that I think every American should visit because it tells the story of the pain and the suffering and the true patriotism it took to make America.
 
Today, we gather in a new year, some 246 years later, just one day before January 6th, a day forever shared in our memory because it was on that day that we nearly lost America — lost it all. 
 
Today, we’re here to answer the most important of questions.  Is democracy still America’s sacred cause?  I mean it.  (Applause.)
 
This is not rhetorical, academic, or hypothetical.  Whether democracy is still America’s sacred cause is the most urgent question of our time, and it’s what the 2024 election is all about.  
 
The choice is clear.  Donald Trump’s campaign is about him, not America, not you.  Donald Trump’s campaign is obsessed with the past, not the future.  He’s willing to sacrifice our democracy, put himself in power. 
 
Our campaign is different.  For me and Kamala, our campaign is about America.  It’s about you.  It’s about every age and background that occupy this country.  It’s about the future we’re going to continue to build together.
 
And our campaign is about preserving and strengthening our American democracy.
  Three years ago tomorrow, we saw with our own eyes the violent mob storm the United States Capitol.  It was almost in disbelief as you first turned on the television. 
 
For the first time on our history, insurrectionists had come to stop the peaceful transfer — transfer of power in America — first time — smashing windows, shattering doors, attacking the police. 
 
Outside, gallows were erected as the MAGA crowd chanted, “Hang Mike Pence.” 
 
Inside, they hunted for Speaker Pelosi [of] the House, was chanting, as they marched through and smashed windows, “Where’s Nancy?”
 
Over 140 police officers were injured.  Jill and I attended the funeral of police officers who died as a result of the events of that day. 
 
And because Donald — because of Donald Trump’s lies, they died because these lies brought a mob to Washington. 
 
He promised it would be “wild,” and it was.  He told the crowd to “fight like hell,” and all hell was unleashed. 
 
He promised he would right them — right them.  Everything they did, he would be side by side with them.  Then, as usual, he left the dirty work to others.  He retreated to the White House.
 
As America was attacked from within, Donald Trump watched on TV in the private small dining room off my Oval — off the Oval Office. 
 
The entire nation watched in horror.  The whole world watched in disbelief.  And Trump did nothing. 
 
Members of his staff, members of his family, Republican leaders who were under attack for the — at that very moment pled with him: “Act.  Call off the mob.” 
 
Imagine had he gone out and said, “Stop.” 
 
And still, Trump did nothing.  It was among the worst derelictions of duty by a president in American history: an attempt to overturn a free and fair election by force and violence.
 
A record 81 million people voted for my candidacy and to end his presidency.  Trump lost the popular vote by 7 million. 
 
Trump’s claims about the 2020 election never could stand up in court.  Trump lost 60 court cases — 60.  Trump lost the Republican-controlled states.  Trump lost before a Trump-appointed judge — and then judges.  And Trump lost before the United States Supreme Court.  (Applause.)  All of it, he lost.
 
Trump lost recount after recount after recount in state after state.  But in desperation and weakness, Trump and his MAGA followers went after election officials who ensured your power as a citizen would be heard.  These public servants had their lives forever upended by attacks and death threats for simply doing their jobs.
 
In Atlanta, Georgia, a brave Black mother and her daughter, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, were doing their jobs as elected workers until Donald Trump and his MAGA followers targeted and threatened them, forcing them from their homes and unleashing racist vitriol on them.  Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was just hit with $148 million judgment for cruelty and defamation that he inflicted against them. 
 
Other state and local elected officials across the country faced similar personal attacks.  In addition, Fox News agreed to pay a record $787 million for the lies they told about voter fraud.
 
Let’s be clear about the 2020 election.  Trump exhausted every legal avenue available to him to overturn the election — every one.  But the legal path just took Trump back to the truth that I had won the election and he was a loser.  (Applause.)
 
Well, knowing how his mind works now, he had one — he had one act left — one desperate act available to him: the violence of January the 6th. 
 
And since that day, more than 1,200 people have been charged for their assault on the Capitol.  Nearly 900 of them have been convicted or pled guilty.  Collectively, to date, they have been sentenced to more than 840 years in prison.  (Applause.)
 
And what has Trump done?  Instead of calling them “criminals,” he’s called these insurrectionists “patriots.”  They’re “patriots.”  And he promised to pardon them if he returns to office. 
 
Trump said that there was “a lot of love” on January the 6th.  The rest of the nation, including law enforcement, saw a lot of hate and violence.    One Capitol police officer called it a “medieval battle.”  That same officer called vile — was called vile, racist names. He said he was more afraid in the Capitol of the United States of America, in the chambers, than when he was fighting as a soldier in the war in Iraq.  He said he was more afraid inside the halls of Congress than fighting in the war in Iraq.
 
In trying to rewrite the facts of January 6th, Trump is trying to steal history the same way he tried to steal the election.  But we knew the truth because we saw it with our own eyes.  It wasn’t like something — a story being told.  It was on television repeatedly.  We saw it with our own eyes. 
 
Trump’s mob wasn’t a peaceful protest.  It was a violent assault.  They were insurrectionists, not patriots.  They weren’t there to uphold the Constitution; they were there to destroy the Constitution.
 
Trump won’t do what an American president must do.  He refuses to denounce political violence. 
 
So, hear me clearly.  I’ll say what Donald Trump won’t.  Political violence is never, ever acceptable in the United States political system — never, never, never.  It has no place in a democracy.  None.  (Applause.)
 
You can’t be pro-insurrectionist and pro-American. 
 
You know, Trump and his MAGA supporters not only embrace political violence, but they laugh about it.  At his rally, he jokes about an intruder, whipped up by the Big Trump Lie, taking a hammer to Paul Pelosi’s skull and echoing the very same words used on January 6th: “Where’s Nancy?” 
 
And he thinks that’s funny.  He laughed about it.  What a sick — (laughter and applause).  My God.
 
I think it’s despicable, seriously — not just for a president, for any person to say that.  But to say it to the whole world listening. 

When I was overseas — anyway.  (Laughter.) 
 
Trump’s assault on democracy isn’t just part of his past.  It’s what he’s promising for the future.  He’s being straightforward.  He’s not hiding the ball. 
 
His first rally for the 2024 campaign opened with a choir of January 6th insurrectionists singing from prison on a cell phone while images of the January 6th riot played on a big screen behind him at his rally.

Can you believe that?  This is like something out of a fairy tale — a bad fairy tale.

Trump began his 2024 campaign by glorifying the failed violent insurrectionist — insurrection at our — on our Capitol.

The guy who claims law and order sows lawlessness and disorder.

Trump’s not concerned about your future, I promise you.  Trump is now promising a full-scale campaign of “revenge” and “retribution” — his words — for some years to come.  They were his words, not mine.  He went on to say he would be a dictator on day one.

I mean, if I were writing a book of fiction and I said an American president said that, and not in jest —

He called it, and I quote, the “termination of all the rules, regulation, and articles, even those found in the U.S. Constitution,” should be terminated, if it’s his will.

It’s really kind of hard to believe.  Even found in the Constitution, he could terminate?

He’s threatened the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with the death penalty.  Says he should be put to death because the Chairman put his oath to the Constitution ahead of his personal loyalty to Trump.

This coming from a president who called — when he visited a cemetery, called dead soldiers “suckers” and “losers.”  Remember that?

Sometimes, I’m really happy the Irish in me can’t be seen.  (Laughter.)

It was right around the time I was at Beau’s grave, Tommy.

How dare he?  Who in God’s name does he think he is?

With former aides, Trump plans to invoke the Insurrectionist Act — the Insurrection Act, which would allow him to deploy — which he’s not allowed to do in ordinary circumstances — allow him to deploy U.S. military forces on the streets of America.
  He said it.

He calls those who oppose him “vermin.”  He talks about the blood of Americans being poisoned, echoing the same exact language used in Nazi Germany.

He proudly posts on social media the words that best describe his 2024 campaign, quote, “revenge”; quote, “power”; and, quote, “dictatorship.”

There’s no confusion about who Trump is and what he intends to do.

I placed my hand on our family Bible, and I swore an oath on the very same steps of the Capitol just 14 days after the attack on January the 6th.

As I looked out over the capital city, whose streets were lined with National Guard to prevent another attack, I saw an American that had been pushed to the brink — an America that had been pushed to the brink.

But I felt enormous pride — not in winning.  I felt enormous pride in America because American democracy had been tested and American democracy had held together.  And when Trump had seen weakness in our democracy and continues to talk about it, I saw strength — your strength.  It’s not hyperbole.  Your strength.  Your integrity.  American strength and integrity.

Ordinary citizens, state election officials, the American judicial system had put the Constitution first and sometimes at their peril — at their peril.

Because of them, because of you, the will of the people prevailed, not the anger of the mob or the appetites of one man.

When the attack on January 6th happened, there was no doubt about the truth.  At the time, even Republican members of Congress and Fox News commentators publicly and privately condemned the attack.

As one Republican senator said, “Trump’s behavior was embarrassing and humiliating for the country.”  But now, that same senator and those same people have changed their tune.

As time has gone on, politics, fear, money, all have intervened.  And now these MAGA voices who know the truth about Trump on January 6th have abandoned the truth and abandoned democracy.

They made their choice.  Now the rest of us — Democrats, independents, mainstream Republicans — we have to make our choice.

I know mine.  And I believe I know America’s.

We will defend the truth, not give in to the Big Lie.  We’ll embrace the Constitution and the Declaration, not abandon it.  We’ll honor the sacred cause of democracy, not walk away from it.

Today, I make this sacred pledge to you.  The defense, protection, and preservation of American democracy will remain, as it has been, the central cause of my presidency.
  (Applause.)
 
America, as we begin this election year, we must be clear: Democracy is on the ballot.  Your freedom is on the ballot.  (Applause.)
 
Yes, we’ll be voting on many issues: on the freedom to vote and have your vote counted, on the freedom of choice, the freedom to have a fair shot, the freedom from fear.  And we’ll debate and disagree. 
 
Without democracy, no progress is possible.  Think about it.  The alternative to democracy is dictatorship — the rule of one, not the rule of “We the People.” 
 
That’s what the soldiers of Valley Forge understood.  And so was me — was what we have to understand it as well.  We’ve been blessed so long with a strong, stable democracy.  It’s easy to forget why so many before us risked their lives and strengthened democracy, what our lives would be without it.
 
Democracy means having the freedom to speak your mind, to be who you are, to be who you want to be.  Democracy is about being able to bring about peaceful change.  Democracy — democracy is how we’ve opened the doors of opportunity wider and wider with each successive generation, notwithstanding our mistakes.
 
But if democracy falls, we’ll lose that freedom.  We’ll lose the power of “We the People” to shape our destiny.  If you doubt me, look around the world.  Travel with me as I meet with other heads of state throughout the world. 
 
Look at the authoritarian leaders and dictators Trump says he admires — he, out loud, says he admires.  I won’t go through them all.  It would take too long.
 
Look, remember when he refers to what he calls the “love letter” exchanges between he and the dictator of North Korea?  Those women and men out there in the audience who ever fought for the American military, would you ever believe you’d hear a president say something like that?
 
His admiration for Putin — I can go on. 
 
And look at what these autocrats are doing to limit freedom in their countries.  They’re limiting freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom to assemble, women’s rights, LGB[T]Q rights, people are going to jail, so much more. 

It’s true: The push and pull of American history is not a fairy tale.  Every stride forward in America is met with a ferocious backlash, many times from those who fear progress and those who exploit that fear for their own personal gain; from those who traffic in lies told for power and profit; from those who are driven by grievance and grift, consumed by conspiracy and victimhood; from those who seek to bury history and ban books.
 
Did you ever think you’d be at a political event talking about book banning for in a presidential election? 
 
The choice and contest between those forces — those competing forces, between solidarity and division — is perennial.  But this time, it’s so different. 
 
You can’t have a contest — you can’t have a contest if you see politics as an all-out war instead of a peaceful way to resolve our differences.  All-out war is what Trump wants. 
 
That’s why he doesn’t understand the most fundamental truth about this country.  Unlike other nations on Earth, America is not built on ethnicity, religion, geography.  We’re the only nation in the history of the world built on an idea — not hyperbole — built on an idea: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal.”
 
It’s an idea declared in the Declaration, created in a way that we viewed everybody as equal and be — should be treated equally throughout their lives.
 
We’ve never fully lived up to that.  We have a long way to go.  But we’ve never walked away from the idea.  We’ve never walked away from it before.  But I promise you, I will not let Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans — (applause) — force us to walk away now.
 
We’re living in an era where a determined minority is doing everything in its power to try to destroy our democracy for their own agenda.  The American people know it, and they’re standing bravely in the breach. 
 
Remember, after 2020, January 6th insurrection to undo the election in which more Americans had voted than any other in American history?  America saw the threat posed to the country, and they voted him out.  In 2022, historic midterm election, in state after state, election after election, the election deniers were defeated. 
 
Now, in 2024, Trump in running as the “denier-in-chief” — the election denier-in-chief.  Once again, he’s saying he won’t honor the results of the election if he loses.
 
Trump says he doesn’t understand.  Well, he still doesn’t understand the basic truth, and that is you can’t love your country only when you win.  (Applause.)  You can’t love your country only when you win.
 
So, I’ll keep my commitment to be president for all of America, whether you voted for me or not.  I’ve done it for the last three years, and I’ll continue to do it. 
 
Together, we can keep proving that America is still a country that believes in decency, dignity, honesty, honor, truth.  We still believe that no one, not even the President, is above the law.  We still believe — (applause) — the vast majority of us still believe that everyone deserves a fair shot at making it.  We’re still a nation that gives hate no safe harbor. 

I tell you from my experience working with leaders around the world — and I mean this sincerely, not a joke — that America is still viewed as the beacon of democracy for the world. 

I can’t tell you how many — how many world leaders — and I know all of them, virtually all of them — grab my arm in private and say, “He can’t win.  Tell me.  No, my country will be at risk.” 

Think of how many countries, Tommy, you know that are on the on the edge.  Imagine. 

We still believe in “We the People,” and that includes all of us, not some of us.

Let me close with this.  On that cold winter of 1777, George Washington and his American troops at Valley Forge waged a battle on behalf of a revolutionary idea that everyday people — like where I come from and the vast majority of you — not a king or a dictator — that everyday people can govern themselves without a king or a dictator. 

In fact, in the rotunda of the Capitol, there’s a giant painting of General George Washington — not President Washington — and he is resigning his commission as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. 

A European king at this — at the time said, after he won the revolution, “Now is the time for him to declare his kingship.”

But instead, the mob that attacked the Capitol, waving Trump flags and Confederate flags, stormed right past that portrait.  That image of George Washington gave them no pause, but it should have.

The artist that painted that portrait memorialized that moment because he said it was, quote, “one of the highest moral lessons ever given to the world.”  End of quote.

George Washington was at the height of his power.  Having just defeated the most powerful empire on Earth, could have held onto the power as long as he wanted.  He could have made himself not a future president but a future monarch, in effect. 

And, by the way, when he got elected president, he could have stayed for two, three, four, five terms, until he died.  But that wasn’t the America he and the American troops at Valley Forge had fought for.

In America, genuine leaders — democratic leaders, with a small “d” — don’t hold on to power relentlessly.  Our leaders return power to the people.  And they do it willingly, because that’s the deal.  You do your duty.  You serve your country. 
 
And ours is a country worthy of service, as many Republican presidents and Democratic presidents have shown over the years. 

We’re not perfect.  But at our best, we face on — we face head on the good, the bad, the truth of who we are.  We look in the mirror and ultimately never pretend we’re something we’re not.  That’s what great nations do.  And we’re a great nation.  We’re the greatest nation on the face of the Earth.  We really are.  (Applause.)
 
That’s the America I see in our future.  We get up.  We carry on.  We never bow.  We never bend.  We speak of possibilities, not carnage.  We’re not weighed down by grievances.  We don’t foster fear.  We don’t walk around as victims. 
 
We take charge of our destiny.  We get our job done with the help of the people we find in America, who find their place in the changing world and dream and build a future that not only they but all people deserve a shot at. 
 
We don’t believe — none of you believe America is failing.  We know America is winning.  That’s American patriotism.
  (Applause.)
 
And it’s not winning because of Joe Biden.  It’s winning. 
 
This is the first national election since January 6th insurrection placed a dagger at the throat of American democracy — since that moment.  We all know who Donald Trump is.  The question we have to answer is: Who are we?  That’s what’s at stake.  (Applause.)  Who are we? 
 
In the year ahead, as you talk to your family and friends, cast your ballots, the power is in your hands.  After all we’ve been through in our history, from independence to Civil War to two world wars to a pandemic to insurrection, I refuse to believe that, in 2024, we Americans will choose to walk away from what’s made us the greatest nation in the history of the world: freedom, liberty.  (Applause.)
 
Democracy is still a sacred cause.  And there’s no country in the world better positioned to lead the world than America. 
 
That’s why — (applause) — I’ve said it many times.  That’s why I’ve never been more optimistic about our future.  And I’ve been doing this a hell of a long time.  (Laughter.)
 
Just have to remember who we are — with patience and fortitude, with one heart.  We are the United States of America, for God’s sake.  (Applause.)
 
I mean it.  There is nothing — I believe with every fiber that there is nothing beyond our capacity if we act together and decently with one another.  Nothing, nothing, nothing.  (Applause.)  I mean it.
 
We’re the only nation in the world that’s come out of every crisis stronger than we went into that crisis.  That was true yesterday and it’s true today, and I guarantee you will be true tomorrow. 
 
God bless you all.  And may God protect our troops.  (Applause.)
 
Thank you.  Thank you.
 
(The First Lady joins the President onstage.)  I understand power.  (Laughter.)
 
Thank you all so very much.  (Inaudible.)  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  (Applause.)
 
3:56 P.M. EST  

FACT SHEET: Biden Takes New Actions to Strengthen America’s Supply Chains, Lower Costs for Families, and Secure Key Sectors

During the inaugural convening of the new White House Council on Supply Chain Resilience, President Biden will unveil more than 30 new actions to strengthen America’s supply chains

As part of his Bidenomics agenda to lower costs for American families, President Biden announced nearly 30 new actions to strengthen supply chains critical to America’s economic and national security. These actions will help Americans get the products they need when they need them, enable reliable deliveries for businesses, strengthen our agriculture and food systems, and support good-paying, union jobs here at home. Among the actions: the USDA is investing $196 million to strengthen our domestic food supply chains and create more opportunity for farmers and entrepreneurs in 37 states and in Puerto Rico. These investments—which build on prior investments in diversified food processing, resilient agricultural markets, and fertilizer production—expand farmer income opportunities, create economic opportunities for people and businesses in rural areas, and lower food costs. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

You don’t hear anything about it because 1) it’s lots of facts and figures and 2) the nonstop criminality, latest court craziness of Trump and his scheme to become a dictator are dominating news. But the collapse of supply chains during the COVID pandemic was the biggest reason for triggering inflation, and the Biden administration focus to develop Made in America manufacturing and reduce dependency on foreign production is one of the biggest factors in reducing costs for Americans (despite greed-based price hikes). Here’s a Fact sheet from the White House:

As part of his Bidenomics agenda to lower costs for American families, President Biden is announcing nearly 30 new actions to strengthen supply chains critical to America’s economic and national security. These actions will help Americans get the products they need when they need them, enable reliable deliveries for businesses, strengthen our agriculture and food systems, and support good-paying, union jobs here at home.

President Biden announced these actions alongside members of his Cabinet and other senior Administration officials at the inaugural meeting of the new White House Council on Supply Chain Resilience. The Council, which President Biden established, will support the enduring resilience of America’s critical supply chains.

Robust supply chains are fundamental to a strong economy. When supply chains smooth, prices fall for goods, food, and equipment, putting more money in the pockets of American families, workers, farmers, and entrepreneurs. That is why President Biden made supply chain resilience a priority from Day One of his Administration—including by signing an Executive Order on America’s Supply Chains and establishing a Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force that worked with states, Tribes, local governments, businesses, family farms, labor, and allies and partners to address the acute supply chain crises caused by the pandemic. Since then, the Administration has made historic investments to strengthen supply chains and prevent future disruptions by expanding production capacity in key sectors and building infrastructure through the CHIPS and Science Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

These efforts helped unsnarl supply chains, re-normalize the flow of goods, and lower inflation. From October 2021 to October 2023, supply chain pressures as measured by the New York Fed declined from near-record highs to a record low, helping lower inflation, which has fallen by 65% from its peak.

Today, President Biden is building on this progress by announcing bold new actions to further strengthen supply chains, lower costs for families, and help Americans get the goods they need, including:

  • The creation of the Council on Supply Chain Resilience. Today, President Biden will convene the inaugural meeting of the White House Council on Supply Chain Resilience, which will advance his long-term, government-wide strategy to build enduring supply chain resilience. The Council will be co-chaired by the National Security Advisor and National Economic Advisor, and include the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, the Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, and Veterans Affairs; the Attorney General; the Administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Small Business Administration; the Directors of National Intelligence, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy; the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers; the U.S. Trade Representative; and other senior officials from the Executive Office of the President and other agencies.
     
  • Use of the Defense Production Act to make more essential medicines in America and mitigate drug shortages. President Biden will issue a Presidential Determination to broaden the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) authorities under Title III of the Defense Production Act (DPA) to enable investment in domestic manufacturing of essential medicines, medical countermeasures, and critical inputs that have been deemed by the President as essential to the national defense. HHS has identified $35 million for investments in domestic production of key starting materials for sterile injectable medicines. HHS will also designate a new Supply Chain Resilience and Shortage Coordinator for efforts to strengthen the resilience of medical product and critical food supply chains, and to address related shortages. HHS intends to institutionalize this coordination to advance the department’s supply chain resilience and shortage mitigation goals over the long term. The Department of Defense (DOD) will also soon release a new report on pharmaceutical supply chain resilience aimed at reducing reliance on high-risk foreign suppliers. These actions are a subset of the Administration’s broader work to increase access to essential medicines and medical products.
     
  • New cross-governmental supply chain data-sharing capabilities. The Administration has developed several cross-government partnerships to improve supply chain monitoring and strategy, including:
    • The Department of Commerce’s new, first-of-its-kind Supply Chain Center is integrating industry expertise and data analytics to develop innovative supply chain risk assessment tools, and is coordinating deep-dive analyses on select critical supply chains to drive targeted actions to increase resilience. This Center is building broad partnerships across government, industry, and academia, including collaborating with the Department of Energy (DOE) to conduct deep-dive analyses on clean energy supply. Additionally, Commerce is partnering with HHS to assess industry and import data that can help address foreign dependency vulnerabilities and points of failure for critical drugs.
    • The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Freight Logistics Optimization Works (“FLOW”) program is a public-private partnership that brings together U.S. supply chain stakeholders to create a shared, common picture of supply chain networks and facilitate a more reliable flow of goods. DOT is announcing a new milestone for FLOW, in which participants are beginning to utilize FLOW data to inform their logistics decision making, helping to avoid bottlenecks, shorten lead times for customers, and enable a more resilient and globally competitive freight network through earlier warnings of supply chain disruption. As the effort continues to mature, DOT will work with the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to increase data transparency for containerized shipments of agricultural products in the United States, efforts that can help producers and sellers avoid disruptions that can increase food prices.
    • These new analytical capabilities will enable the Council to coordinate a more complete, whole-of-government critical supply chain monitoring function.

Additional actions to support stronger supply chains and access to affordable, reliable energy and critical technology:

Investing in critical supply chains:

  • DOE today announced $275 million in grant selections for its Advanced Energy Manufacturing and Recycling Grant Program, investments that will revitalize communities affected by coal mine or coal power plant closures through investment in clean energy supply chains, including production of critical materials, components for grid-scale batteries and electric vehicles, onshore wind turbines, and energy conservation technologies. DOE also announced up to $10 million of funding for a “critical material accelerator” and a $5.6-million prize to develop circular clean energy supply chains. These efforts build on action by President Biden to authorize DOE’s use of the DPA to increase domestic production of five key clean energy technologies—including electric heat pumps—as well as DOE’s recently announced $3.5-billion investment through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to boost domestic production of advanced batteries and battery materials needed for essential clean energy technologies such as stationary storage and electric vehicles.
  • USDA is making investments worth $196 million to strengthen our domestic food supply chains and create more opportunity for farmers and entrepreneurs in 37 states and in Puerto Rico. These investments—which build on prior investments in diversified food processing, resilient agricultural markets, and fertilizer production—expand farmer income opportunities, create economic opportunities for people and businesses in rural areas, and lower food costs.
  • DOD, building on the $714 million in DPA investments it has made in 2023 to support defense-critical supply chains, will publish the first ever National Defense Industrial Strategy (NDIS). The NDIS will guide engagement, policy development, and investment in the defense industrial base over the next three to five years. It will ensure a coordinated, whole-of-government approach to and focus on the multiple layers of suppliers and sub-suppliers that make up these critical supply chains.

Planning for long-term industrial resilience and future supply chain investments:

  • Launch of the quadrennial supply chain review. The Council will complete the first quadrennial supply chain review by December 31, 2024. As part of the review, the Council will update criteria on industries, sectors, and products defined as critical to national and economic security. In addition, 12 months after the Council promulgates the criteria, and annually thereafter, the Council will apply the criteria to review and update the list of critical sectors, as appropriate.
  • Smart manufacturing plan. DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO) is sponsoring a study by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine to develop a nationwide plan for smart manufacturing. The report will establish key priorities for investment to support new digital and artificial intelligence technologies. These investments will enhance the productivity and security of the manufacturing systems that are critical for maintaining domestic supply chains.

Deploying new capabilities to monitor existing and emerging risks:

  • New Resilience Center and tabletop exercises for supply chain disruptions. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is announcing the launch of a new Supply Chain Resilience Center (SCRC), which will be dedicated to ensuring the resilience of supply chains for critical infrastructure needed to deliver essential services to the American people. Near-term priorities will include addressing supply chain risks resulting from threats and vulnerabilities inside U.S. ports. Additionally, in 2024, in collaboration with other federal agencies and foreign governments, DHS will facilitate at least two tabletop exercises designed to test the resilience of critical cross-border supply chains. Further, DHS and the Department of Commerce will collaborate to continue to strengthen the semiconductor supply chain and further the implementation of the CHIPS and Science Act.
  • Launch of DOT Multimodal Freight Office. As part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (“BIL”) implementation, DOT is launching its Office of Multimodal Freight Infrastructure and Policy (“Multimodal Freight Office”). This office is responsible for maintaining and improving the condition and performance of the nation’s multimodal freight network including through the development of the National Multimodal Freight Network, review of State Freight Plans, and the continued advancement of the FLOW initiative in partnership with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
  • Monitoring of climate impacts. The White House National Security Council, Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Council of Economic Advisers will co-lead an interagency effort in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to monitor global developments related to El Niño, including this climate phenomenon’s impact on U.S. and global commodity prices, agriculture and fishery output, disruptions to global and trade supply chains, and resulting impacts on food security, human health, and social instabilities.
  • Energy and critical mineral supply chain readiness. To more consistently track risk and opportunity across energy supply chains, DOE is developing an assessment tool that accounts for raw materials, manufacturing, workforce, and logistics considerations. Additionally, to help assess the potential for trade disruptions of select critical minerals and materials, the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) will map and develop geospatial databases for select global critical product supply chains, with a current focus on semiconductor components; and will seek designation by the Chief Statistician of the United States of a federal statistical unit providing the nation’s official minerals statistics. Additionally, the National Science and Technology Council’s Critical Minerals Subcommittee plans to launch a new criticalminerals.gov website in January 2024 that will highlight cross-governmental supply chain efforts.
  • Defense supply chain mapping and risk management. DOD is increasing supply chain visibility through the creation of a Supply Chain Mapping Tool to analyze supplier data for 110 weapon systems. This capability will be used to develop defense industrial base wargaming scenarios to identify vulnerabilities and develop mitigation strategies.

Engaging public and private stakeholders to expand supply chain risk modeling:

  • Supply Chain Data and Analytics Summit. The Department of Commerce will convene a diverse array of public and private stakeholders at a Supply Chain Data and Analytics Summit in 2024. A key aim of the summit will be to invite expert input into supply chain risk assessment models and tools. The summit will also assess data availability, utility, and limitations and consider actions to improve data flows.
  • AI hackathons to strengthen critical mineral supply chains. USGS, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), building on their 2022 prize challenges announcement, will host a series of hackathons beginning in February 2024 to develop novel artificial intelligence approaches to assess domestic critical mineral resources.
  • Risk mapping for labor rights abuses. The Department of Labor (DOL) updated its Comply Chain guidance for identifying and addressing labor rights violations in global supply chains. In addition, DOL is providing $8 million for two four-year projects to identify supply chain traceability methods and technologies to address child labor or forced labor risks in diverse supply chains, such as the cobalt and cotton sectors. DOL will also undertake new supply chain research on mining and agriculture products across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

In addition to the announcements above, the Administration continues to deepen engagement with allies and partners to strengthen global supply chains, including:

Deepening international early warning systems to detect and respond to supply chain disruptions in critical sectors with allies and partners, including:

  • With the European Union. In May 2023, the United States and the EU established an early warning system for semiconductor supply chain disruptions under the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council.
  • With Japan and the Republic of Korea. In August, the United States, Japan, and the Republic of Korea committed at Camp David to launch early warning system pilots, starting by identifying priority products and materials such as critical minerals and rechargeable batteries and establishing mechanisms to rapidly share information on disruptions to critical supply chains.
  • With Mexico and Canada. Through the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the United States, Canada, and Mexico established a trilateral Sub-Committee on Emergency Response to coordinate North American efforts to maintain regional trade flows during emergency situations.
  • With Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the World Health Organization. The Global Regulatory Working Group on Drug Shortages, currently chaired by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, meets quarterly to discuss product shortages participating jurisdictions are encountering and ways such shortages are being addressed. The group’s exchange of information helped address product shortages experienced by each partner during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent “tripledemic” including COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus.
  • With global partners. Through the President’s Emergency Plan for Adaptation and Resilience (PREPARE), the U.S. government funds activities to improve the weather, water, and climate observing capabilities and data sharing in regions and countries that are needed to produce actionable local, regional, and global climate information and minimize impacts upon infrastructure, water, health, and food security.

Strengthening global supply chains through other innovative multilateral partnerships:

  • Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) Supply Chain Agreement. The United States and 13 IPEF partners concluded a first-of-its-kind Supply Chain Agreement that gives partners new tools to build diversified, competitive supply chains for critical sectors, including an IPEF Supply Chain Council to coordinate action. The Department of Commerce is kickstarting this effort through pilot projects to enhance the resilience of key supply chains, including those related to semiconductors, critical minerals, and cold chain services. In addition, the Supply Chains Agreement establishes a Crisis Response Network that will allow IPEF partners to better prepare for and respond to supply chain disruptions through emergency communication channels and joint crisis simulations, as well as a Labor Rights Advisory Board to promote worker rights across supply chains.
  • Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity (Americas Partnership). The Americas Partnership is focused on, among other things, strengthening and diversifying supply chains. In its first year of work, the Americas Partnership will focus on the development of regional competitiveness plans in three critical sectors: semiconductors, clean energy, and medical supplies.
  • North American Leaders’ Summit (NALS). Through NALS, the United States, Canada, and Mexico are enhancing the resilience of North America’s supply chains for critical minerals, semiconductors, and other essential goods. This trilateral effort includes partnering with regional industry and academia to create quality jobs, promote investment, grow talent, and catalyze innovation.
  • Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGI). Through PGI, the United States is mobilizing public and private financing to incentivize investments and develop transformative economic corridors to diversify global supply chains and create new opportunities for American workers and businesses. From the development of the Lobito Corridor, connecting the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia with global markets through Angola, to the launch of the landmark India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor—through PGI, the United States is creating novel interconnections across regions to facilitate trade and secure clean energy, digital, food security, and other critical supply chains.
  • Global Labor Directive. On November 16, President Biden signed the Presidential Memorandum on Advancing Worker Empowerment, Rights, and High Labor Standards Globally. The President directed several departments to address labor rights abuses in global supply chains and identify innovative approaches to promote internationally recognized labor rights throughout the supply chain, including by collaborating with labor organizations, workers, and other labor stakeholders to consider efforts that support worker-led monitoring of labor rights compliance.
  • The Mineral Security Partnership (MSP). The Department of State, along with partners including Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Norway, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the European Union (represented by the European Commission), established the MSP to accelerate the development of diverse and sustainable critical energy minerals supply chains. The MSP works with host governments and industry to facilitate targeted financial and diplomatic support for strategic projects along the value chain with an emphasis on those projects which adhere to and promote the highest labor, environmental and sustainability standards.
  • International Technology Security and Innovation (ITSI) Fund. Created by the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, the ITSI Fund promotes the diversification of the global semiconductor supply chain. State will partner with countries to develop the most attractive economic environments for private investment. With ITSI Fund support, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development has established the Semiconductor Exchange Network allowing policymakers in the semiconductor industry to examine risks and interdependencies on the current state of the semiconductor ecosystem. Additionally, the ITSI Fund is supporting ecosystem reviews in key partner countries that will inform future collaboration on developing this critical sector.

ICYMI: ‘The U.S. won’t back down from the challenge of Putin and Hamas’ – Joe Biden

President Joe Biden: “Will we relentlessly pursue our positive vision for the future, or will we allow those who do not share our values to drag the world to a more dangerous and divided place?”

This is from President Joe Biden’s opinion column published in the Washington Post, November 18, 2023Joe Biden: The U.S. won’t back down from the challenge of Putin and Hamas


Today, the world faces an inflection point, where the choices we make — including in the crises in Europe and the Middle East — will determine the direction of our future for generations to come.
 
What will our world look like on the other side of these conflicts?
 
Will we deny Hamas the ability to carry out pure, unadulterated evil? Will Israelis and Palestinians one day live side by side in peace, with two states for two peoples?
 
Will we hold Vladimir Putin accountable for his aggression, so the people of Ukraine can live free and Europe remains an anchor for global peace and security?
 
And the overarching question: Will we relentlessly pursue our positive vision for the future, or will we allow those who do not share our values to drag the world to a more dangerous and divided place?
 
Both Putin and Hamas are fighting to wipe a neighboring democracy off the map. And both Putin and Hamas hope to collapse broader regional stability and integration and take advantage of the ensuing disorder. America cannot, and will not, let that happen. For our own national security interests — and for the good of the entire world.
 
The United States is the essential nation. We rally allies and partners to stand up to aggressors and make progress toward a brighter, more peaceful future. The world looks to us to solve the problems of our time. That is the duty of leadership, and America will lead. For if we walk away from the challenges of today, the risk of conflict could spread, and the costs to address them will only rise. We will not let that happen.
 
That conviction is at the root of my approach to supporting the people of Ukraine as they continue to defend their freedom against Putin’s brutal war.
 
We know from two world wars in the past century that when aggression in Europe goes unanswered, the crisis does not burn itself out. It draws America in directly. That’s why our commitment to Ukraine today is an investment in our own security. It prevents a broader conflict tomorrow.
 
We are keeping American troops out of this war by supporting the brave Ukrainians defending their freedom and homeland. We are providing them with weapons and economic assistance to stop Putin’s drive for conquest, before the conflict spreads farther.
 
The United States is not doing this alone. More than 50 nations have joined us to ensure that Ukraine has what it needs to defend itself. Our partners are shouldering much of the economic responsibility for supporting Ukraine. We have also built a stronger and more united NATO, which enhances our security through the strength of our allies, while making clear that we will defend every inch of NATO territory to deter further Russian aggression. Our allies in Asia are standing with us as well to support Ukraine and hold Putin accountable, because they understand that stability in Europe and in the Indo-Pacific are inherently connected.
 
We have also seen throughout history how conflicts in the Middle East can unleash consequences around the globe.
 
We stand firmly with the Israeli people as they defend themselves against the murderous nihilism of Hamas. On Oct. 7, Hamas slaughtered 1,200 people, including 35 American citizens, in the worst atrocity committed against the Jewish people in a single day since the Holocaust. Infants and toddlers, mothers and fathers, grandparents, people with disabilities, even Holocaust survivors were maimed and murdered. Entire families were massacred in their homes. Young people were gunned down at a music festival. Bodies riddled with bullets and burned beyond recognition. And for over a month, the families of more than 200 hostages taken by Hamas, including babies and Americans, have been living in hell, anxiously waiting to discover whether their loved ones are alive or dead. At the time of this writing, my team and I are working hour by hour, doing everything we can to get the hostages released.
 
And while Israelis are still in shock and suffering the trauma of this attack, Hamas has promised that it will relentlessly try to repeat Oct. 7. It has said very clearly that it will not stop.
 
The Palestinian people deserve a state of their own and a future free from Hamas. I, too, am heartbroken by the images out of Gaza and the deaths of many thousands of civilians, including children. Palestinian children are crying for lost parents. Parents are writing their child’s name on their hand or leg so they can be identified if the worst happens. Palestinian nurses and doctors are trying desperately to save every precious life they possibly can, with little to no resources. Every innocent Palestinian life lost is a tragedy that rips apart families and communities.
 
Our goal should not be simply to stop the war for today — it should be to end the war forever, break the cycle of unceasing violence, and build something stronger in Gaza and across the Middle East so that history does not keep repeating itself.
 
Just weeks before Oct. 7, I met in New York with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The main subject of that conversation was a set of substantial commitments that would help both Israel and the Palestinian territories better integrate into the broader Middle East. That is also the idea behind the innovative economic corridor that will connect India to Europe through the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel, which I announced together with partners at the Group of 20 summit in India in early September. Stronger integration between countries creates predictable markets and draws greater investment. Better regional connection — including physical and economic infrastructure — supports higher employment and more opportunities for young people. That’s what we have been working to realize in the Middle East. It is a future that has no place for Hamas’s violence and hate, and I believe that attempting to destroy the hope for that future is one reason that Hamas instigated this crisis.
 
This much is clear: A two-state solution is the only way to ensure the long-term security of both the Israeli and Palestinian people. Though right now it may seem like that future has never been further away, this crisis has made it more imperative than ever.
 
A two-state solution — two peoples living side by side with equal measures of freedom, opportunity and dignity — is where the road to peace must lead. Reaching it will take commitments from Israelis and Palestinians, as well as from the United States and our allies and partners. That work must start now.
 
To that end, the United States has proposed basic principles for how to move forward from this crisis, to give the world a foundation on which to build.

First Lady to Lead First-Ever White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research

 The White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research will galvanize the Federal government as well as the private and philanthropic sectors to spur innovation, unleash transformative investment to close research gaps, and improve women’s health. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

While MAGA Republicans are doing their best to undermine women’s rights, health, ability to succeed, President Biden has announced the first-ever White House initiative on Women’s Health Research, to be led by First Lady Jill Biden and the White House Gender Policy Council. The new initiative will fundamentally change how we approach and fund women’s health research. Presently, most medical research is conducted on men, with serious consequences for health of women across the country. Here is a fact sheet from the White House explaining the new initiative:

Despite making up more than half of the population, women have been understudied and underrepresented in health research for far too long. Research on women’s health is drastically underfunded, leading to significant research gaps, with serious consequences for the health of women across the country. This lack of investment limits our understanding of conditions that are specific to women, predominantly affect women, or affect women differently. In order to give women and their health care providers the tools and information that they need to more effectively prevent, diagnose, and treat these conditions – from rheumatoid arthritis to menopause to Alzheimer’s disease to cardiovascular disease to endometriosis – our nation must fundamentally change how we approach and fund women’s health research.
 
If we act swiftly, we can pioneer the next generation of discoveries in women’s health – improving the lives of millions of women. That’s why, today, President Biden is establishing a new White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research. This new effort will be led by First Lady Jill Biden, who has long championed women’s health, and the White House Gender Policy Council. The Initiative will be chaired by Dr. Carolyn Mazure, an esteemed leader in the field of women’s health research, who will coordinate the Initiative on behalf of the Office of the First Lady and the Gender Policy Council.
 
“I have always believed in the power of research to save lives and to ensure that Americans get the high-quality health care they need,” President Biden stated. “To achieve scientific breakthroughs and strengthen our ability to prevent, detect, and treat diseases, we have to be bold. That’s why today, we’re establishing a new White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research so that my Administration—from the National Institutes of Health to the Department of Defense—does everything we can to drive innovation in women’s health and close research gaps.”
 
“Every woman I know has a story about leaving her doctor’s office with more questions than answers,” commented First Lady Jill Biden. “Not because our doctors are withholding information, but because there’s just not enough research yet on how to best manage and treat even common women’s health conditions. In 2023, that is unacceptable. Our new White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research will help change that by identifying bold solutions to uncover the answers that every woman and her family deserves. We also are calling on congressional leaders, the private sector, research institutions, and philanthropy to join us in taking urgent action to improve the health and lives of women throughout the nation.”
 
PRESIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM ESTABLISHING WHITE HOUSE INITIATIVE ON WOMEN’S HEALTH RESEARCH
 
The White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research will galvanize the Federal government as well as the private and philanthropic sectors to spur innovation, unleash transformative investment to close research gaps, and improve women’s health. As a first step, through today’s Presidential Memorandum, the President is directing his Administration to: 

  • Establish an Initiative consisting of executive departments and agencies across the Federal government. Initiative members include Federal agencies, such as the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Defense, and Veterans Affairs, and White House offices, such as the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy.  
     
  • Deliver concrete recommendations to advance women’s health research. Within 45 days, Initiative members will recommend concrete actions that the Biden-Harris Administration can take to improve how research on women’s health is conducted and maximize the Administration’s investments in women’s health research, including to address health disparities and inequities.
     
  • Take a targeted, high-impact approach. To deliver results quickly, Initiative members will set priority areas of focus where additional investments could be transformative—in areas of research ranging from heart attacks in women to menopause.
     
  • Engage the scientific, private sector, and philanthropic communities. The Initiative will explore new public-private partnerships and engage private and philanthropic leaders to drive innovation and ensure the combined power of public, private, and philanthropic sectors advances research on women’s health.

Dr. Carolyn M. Mazure serves as the Chair of the White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research and has recently joined the Office of the First Lady. Dr. Mazure comes to the White House from the Yale School of Medicine, where she has served as the Norma Weinberg Spungen and Joan Lebson Bildner Professor in Women’s Health Research, and Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology. After three years at the National Institutes of Health and fellowship training at Yale, Dr. Mazure joined the Yale faculty as an active clinician and NIH-funded researcher. She created Women’s Health Research at Yale, the university’s interdisciplinary research center on the health of women, which studies a wide breadth of topics from cardiovascular disease to cancers. She holds a Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University and did her fellowship and post-doctoral work at Yale School of Medicine.