Posts

Kids using technology

Biden To Call For Universal Preschool As Part Of New Family Plan 

President Joe Biden is set to deliver his first joint address to Congress this week, where he is planning on calling for universal preschool as a part of his American Families Plan. According to his administration Biden is looking to make a major “investment in our kids,” and will be laying out how his proposal will help families with basic expenses. 

White House officials claim that the administration has held briefings with key senators to discuss the details of the proposal itself. The child care proposal comes after Biden began enforcing the American Relief stimulus packages to help aid Americans struggling to make ends meet with the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Embed from Getty Images

According to the White House Biden will be calling for a national partnership among all the states to provide free, high quality, accessible preschool care to all 3 and 4-year-old children. Once fully implemented, the act will help more than 5 million children and save the average family $13,000. 

The $200 billion investment is set to prioritize more underprivileged areas first, as these have been the hardest within the past year. The main goal is to give every family the freedom to decide where they want their child to go to preschool without worrying about the cost. The plan will also work to ensure all publicly-funded preschools are high quality, meaning they have a low student-to-teacher ratio, offer a developmentally appropriate curriculum, and create an overall supportive environment that is inclusive for all students. 

According to reports from CBS news, “the president is seeking to leverage tuition-free community college and teacher scholarships to support those who wish to earn a bachelor’s degree or another credential that supports their work as an educator, or to become an early childhood educator. Educators will also receive job-embedded coaching, professional development, and wages that reflect the importance of their work.”

Embed from Getty Images

All employees working in pre-k programs and Head Start will earn a wage of at least $15 an hour as a part of the American Families Plan. Additionally those with the proper qualifications will receive compensation commensurate with kindergarten educators. 

Currently the average child care worker earns $11.65 an hour, so the inclusion of these financial provisions for workers will hopefully work to bring back some of the thousands of child care workers who were forced to leave the labor force due to the pandemic. 

Studies have shown that kids who participate in pre-K are more likely to take honors classes and are less likely to repeat a grade while kids in lower-income areas do better once they reach middle school. This is due to a multitude of educational inequality issues within America, but a lot of it roots back to the access most children have to preschool programs. 

“Together, these plans reinvest in the future of the American economy and American workers, and will help us out-compete China and other countries around the world.”

This proposal, along with the proposals for the American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan, will include a tax increase for major corporations and the wealthiest 1% of Americans.

The White House

Biden’s Stimulus Plan Relieves Lower-Income Americans Of Heavy Taxes

The relief law also extends the federal boost for unemployment benefits as well as food stamps and other aid programs for struggling renters and homeowners throughout the country. The overall goal of this relief package was to specifically help lower-income households who have been hit the hardest by the pandemic. 

Biden Working On $3 Trillion Package To Improve Infrastructure In America 

President Joe Biden is working on assembling a new package of investments that would divide $3 trillion among the nation’s infrastructure and domestic needs throughout the next few years. Biden met with Senate Democrats privately this week to begin laying out the groundwork for improving the country’s roads, hospitals, and green energy systems. The investments will be part of Biden’s “Build Back Better” campaign promise. 

According to sources, this package will resemble the recent $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill that the president just passed in that it will include family-friendly policies; for this package though the policies will focus on education and paid family leave. 

Embed from Getty Images

A White House source claimed that the plans are still preliminary, but the overall goal is to use the money to help improve the nation’s economy and overall quality of life for every American. Senator Richard Blumenthal is just one of many Democrats who are prepared to move forward with the package should they be blocked by Republicans. “We need to get it done,” Blumenthal proclaimed. 

This package is also likely a response to the Biden Administration’s handling of the US-Mexico border and immigration in general; a topic that the administration is already under fire for due to a slew of migrant crossings and other failed promises brought on by Biden and his team. 

According to Yahoo News, “an infrastructure package would include roughly $1 trillion for roads, bridges, rail lines, electrical vehicle charging stations and the cellular network, among other items. 

“The goal would be to facilitate the shift to cleaner energy while improving economic competitiveness.”

“A second component would include investments in workers with free community college, universal pre-kindergarten and paid family leave. No part of the proposal has been finalized and the eventual details of any spending could change,” sources said. 

Embed from Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked Democratic committee chairmen earlier this month to “start working with their Republican counterparts to begin to craft a big, bold and transformational infrastructure package. The goal is to build swiftly on the coronavirus rescue plan to help people in every zip code by creating good-paying jobs for the future.” 

The Federal Reserve estimates that the spending with the Covid-19 relief bill and this infrastructure package could help the economy grow by up to 6.5%. Biden’s campaign also previously promised an increase on corporate taxes and for individuals making about $400,000 annually, which would also help the economy. 

The House Energy and Commerce Committee debated a $300 billion measure to invest in clean drinking water and broadband internet access this week while Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is set to speak to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee later this week. The Senate Finance Committee is also scheduled to meet and discuss tax spending as a means for paying for this package; all of these committee meetings have to do with the overall relief package the Biden Administration has been working on since last month. 

Biden is expected to release his budget in the coming weeks while Congress continues to discuss and meet regarding the details of this infrastructure package, which lawmakers claim could be ready by this summer.

The White House Podium

Executive Order From Biden Could Improve How US Colleges Handle Sexual Misconduct

President Joe Biden is potentially going to improve on a Trump Administration policy that weakened how American colleges and universities that receive federal funding handle cases of sexual misconduct and assault accusations on campus, according to administration officials. 

Biden is projected to sign an executive order this Monday that would direct the Department of Education to review certain changes to policies that were implemented by former president Donald Trump. These policies include Title IX which prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded institutions. 

Embed from Getty Images

While Biden was campaigning he had a major focus on gender equality, and a big piece of that was a commitment to do better at protecting the young women of America who are constantly threatened at some of the nation’s most prestigious universities. He promised to strengthen Title IX if he won and “sign a second executive order formally establishing the White House Gender Policy Council,” according to two administration officials.

Biden had the plans to create the council before he even took office as well. The order will direct the DOE to review Title IX, and potentially shift how colleges handle allegations of sexual misconduct/assault in the future. 

Back in 2018 Betsy DeVos, Trump’s education secretary, rescinded an Obama-era policy that made it standard for cases regarding sexual assault to require “preponderance of evidence,” and instead required “clear and convincing evidence” to make an allegation valid. Essentially, colleges and universities needed clear cut evidence that an assault occurred to actually do anything about it. These changes that were enforced by DeVos allowed colleges and universities to get away with ignoring the hundreds of allegations that appear on their campuses every year. 

Embed from Getty Images

“The DeVos changes reduced the liability of colleges and universities for investigating sexual misconduct claims and bolstered the due process rights of the accused, including the right to cross-examine their accusers through a third-party advocate at campus hearings,” according to the Associative Press.

With the DOE now expected to review these policies, it’s expected that Biden is intending to make America’s colleges and universities a much safer place for students, and giving them the security of knowing that should something happen to them, they’ll have all the resources, information, and support they need to make sure they remain safe and the right parties are punished appropriately. 

The White House Gender Policy Council is a resurrection of the White House Council on Women and Girls, which was an Obama-era council that worked to combat issues specifically related to women’s rights. That council was disbanded under Trump, and Biden’s resurrection of it with a new name aims to “acknowledge that inequities can affect people of all genders, however, the council will primarily focus on issues facing women and girls due to the disproportionate barriers they face,” an official claimed. 

According to White House officials, “the new council is tasked with helping push gender equity on the administration’s domestic and foreign policy efforts. Some of the issues the council will focus on include combating sexual harassment, addressing structural barriers to women’s participation in the workforce, decreasing gender wage and wealth gaps, addressing caregiving issues that have disproportionately impacted women and responding to gender-based violence.”

Mortgage

Biden Administration Looking To Reverse Trump-Era Mortgage Policy

The Trump-era policy removed a lot of protections for those who were dependent on loans for their payments, as well as created the space for riskier loans to be dealt out.

The White House

President Biden Orders Pandemic Supply Chain Review For 4 Key Industries

Joe Biden will sign an executive order this week that will call for the review of global supply chains responsible for providing pandemic gear to the nation.

Moderna Covid Vaccine

US Just Officially Purchased 200 Million More Covid-19 Vaccines 

When President Joe Biden took office a few weeks ago he promised Americans that his administration would be purchasing another 200 million Covid-19 vaccine doses; 100 million from Pfizer and 100 million from Moderna. The purchase officially went through this week, marking a 50% increase in the nation’s total vaccine supply. 

The US has now ordered a total of 600 million Covid-19 vaccine doses from the two companies; which is enough to vaccinate 300 million Americans or nearly the whole adult population. The new supply is projected to be delivered by the end of July, so the current rate in which vaccines are being distributed will likely not change, however, the increase in supply will prevent the US from experiencing a shortage. 

Biden spoke at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland this week in which he claimed that the vaccination program he inherited from the previous Trump administration was “in much worse shape” than his team had predicted, basically forcing them to start from square one. 

Embed from Getty Images

“My predecessor, to be very blunt about it, did not do his job in getting ready for the massive challenge of vaccinating Americans. He didn’t order enough vaccines, and he didn’t mobilize enough people to administer the shots.” 

Within his first three weeks in office, Biden and his administration managed to increase the weekly vaccine supply for states by 30%. Around 34.7 million American citizens have now received at least one of the two Covid-19 vaccine doses. “Millions more Americans will get vaccinated in February than the previous administration was on track to do,” Biden explained. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci recently spoke with the media and claimed that he expects the US to hit “open season” for vaccinations by April; meaning a majority of Americans will be able to receive their shots by that point regardless of age, occupation or preexisting medical conditions. 

Embed from Getty Images

Both Pfizer and Moderna have vaccines that are more than 90% effective at preventing symptomatic Covid-19. Both companies currently have the highest efficacy rates of any coronavirus shot being distributed around the world currently. Both of the shots rely on messenger RNA that sends coded messages to the body’s immune system to trigger a response that will rid the body of the virus should an individual become exposed. 

Dr. Johan Bester is the director of bioethics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, School of Medicine, who recently spoke with Business Insider about the amazing medical advancement that is a mRNA vaccine. 

“The new mRNA technology is the Rolls Royce of vaccines. These are the top of the line for all vaccines that we’ve seen come out within the last year.”

Public health experts are also optimistic that the rate in which Americans are being vaccinated will increase if the Food and Drug Administration authorizes the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine as well. The company asked US regulators to give its vaccine an emergency use authorization just last week, and the FDA is projected to discuss this request on February 26th. If approved, the vaccine could begin distribution a few days later.

US Stimulus Checks

President Biden To Meet With GOP Senators To Discuss Covid-19 Relief

GOP Senators are meeting with President Biden today to propose an alternative Covid-19 relief package as the White House and congressional Democrats gear up to move forward with Biden’s current $1.9 trillion plan.

Glass Covid Vaccine Bottles

President Biden Announces Purchase Of 200 Million Covid-19 Vaccine Doses 

President Joe Biden announced a slew of executive orders and measures this week that are aimed at ramping up Covid-19 vaccine allocation and distribution. Part of the measures include the purchasing of 200 million more vaccine doses and increased distribution to states by millions of doses beginning next week. 

With those additional doses Biden said that the US has now acquired enough vaccines to fully vaccinate 300 million Americans by the end of the summer or early fall; that’s nearly the entire population in America. When he announced the acquisition of the additional doses he referred to combating the Covid-19 pandemic as a “wartime undertaking,” especially considering the mess that he was left with from the previous administration. 

Embed from Getty Images

“We now have a national strategy to beat Covid-19. It’s comprehensive, it’s based on science, not politics. It’s based on truth, not denial, and it’s detailed.”

The deal entails the US purchasing 100 million more doses from Pfizer/BioNTech and 100 million more from Moderna as well; the only two drugmakers with approved vaccines in the US. The two-dose vaccines that have been granted emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration will hopefully be joined by other vaccines from the handful of other developers around the world nearing completion of their vaccine trials. 

However, as it currently stands the US can potentially get by with just the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine options. The new purchase will increase the current Covid-19 vaccine supply from 400 million to 600 million, according to an official working within the Biden administration. The President also committed to increasing weekly vaccine supplies for certain states, tribes, and territories; upping the amount of minimum doses distributed weekly to 10 million. 

Embed from Getty Images

Biden’s Covid coordinator, Jeff Zients, informed governors this Tuesday that the Covid vaccine allocations for states will begin increasing by around 16% starting next week. The President claims that the US will soon be able to vaccinate up to 1.5 million people every day, and the nation could surpass that initial target after three weeks if all goes to plan. 

So far there have been around 22.7 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines administered to Americans. Biden’s initial goal was to get 100 million Americans fully vaccinated within his first 100 days in office, and with this new promise of increased distribution, he should have no issue meeting that goal. 

3.3 million Americans have received their second, and therefore final, dose of the Covid-19 vaccine treatment as of Tuesday evening. The President claimed that ensuring facilities have enough of the vaccine, syringes, and other necessary equipment/staff to administer the vaccines will be top priority along with this increased production. 

Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office that would speed up the development and distribution of these supplies. He claimed that the worst part of his current administration’s plan is the fact that they’re essentially starting from scratch after 421,000+ Americans have already died. “The sad part is the last administration didn’t leave anything, didn’t even leave a plan.” However, Biden and his administration are confident that within the coming months more and more Americans will be vaccinated and life can begin to feel a little normal again. 

National Anthem on American Flag

Lady Gaga Delivers Inspiring National Anthem Performance At Inauguration 

Lady Gaga wowed America with her beautifully inspiring rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” back at Super Bowl 50, so fans were eager to see her performance of the national anthem at President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’s inauguration ceremony that took place this Wednesday morning. 

Gaga’s rendition of the national anthem is already being regarded as one of the most “exuberant renditions of the national anthem in pop music history,” drawing comparisons to Whitney Houston’s iconic performance of the anthem at Super Bowl XXV. 

After her triumphant finish she remained at the podium for a moment, positively beaming as she let the significance of that moment sink in. She took to social media later to explain that she was truly feeling how special of a moment that was, to be performing the national anthem and marking the transition into a new era of unity in politics in America. 

Embed from Getty Images

“Singing our National Anthem for the American People is my honor. I will sing during a ceremony, a transition, a moment of change — between POTUS 45 and 46. For me, this has great meaning,” she tweeted prior to her performance. 

Gaga was rocking a billowing scarlet red ball gown skirt and navy blue turtleneck that was embellished with a huge brooch shaped like a golden dove carrying an olive branch. Fashion blogs immediately took to social media to praise how radiant and distinguished Gaga looked as she sang the anthem for the next administration entering the White House. 

“My intention is to acknowledge our past, be healing for our present, and passionate for a future where we work together lovingly. I will sing to the hearts of all people who live on this land.”

Embed from Getty Images

Gaga and Biden have been working together for quite some time now campaigning within the past year. The same year Gaga sang at the Super Bowl, Biden introduced her for her powerful performance of “Til It Happens To You,” her nominated theme from the campus sexual assault documentary The Hunting Ground.  

One year later at the Academy Awards, Biden and Gaga teamed up yet again for a PSA for It’s On Us, a sexual assault awareness campaing that was founded by Biden and former president Barack Obama. 

Most recently Gaga sang a selection of her greatest hits at Biden’s final presidential campaign rally in Pittsburgh on November 2nd. She changed the lyrics of her hit song “You and I” to “There’s something about Joe, you and I,” later on expressing at the event that Pennsylvania residents need to make their voices heard. 

“This is a big one, Pennsylvania. So if you’re here, you probably already believe in Joe Biden. I know I believe in Joe Biden. You probably already believe he’s the right choice over Donald Trump. You don’t need me to tell you why. Because, like me, you’ve experienced the last four years and have all the evidence you need to look at this choice and know in your heart, without any doubt, that Joe Biden is the right choice.”

The two finalized their year of collaboration with the beautifully cathartic rendition of the anthem from Lady Gaga, officially welcoming Joe Biden as 46th President of the United States.