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Inflation

Retail Sales Drop 0.3% In May As Federal Reserve Prepares To Hike Interest Rates Further

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, retail sales fell 0.3% in May, wiping out any progress made by a 0.7% rise in April. It comes as a 8.6% inflation jump has forced millions to focus their money on food and gas, the latter of which now sits above $5 per gallon nationally.

U.S. Consumer Confidence Slips In May Among Inflation

On Tuesday, The Conference Board reported that its consumer confidence index decreased slightly in May to 106.4, a score that — while still a strong number — is down from 108.6 in April (which saw a small increase itself from March).

Meanwhile, the group’s present situation index, which is based on consumers’ assessments of current business and labor market conditions, declined from 152.9 to 149.6. The expectations index, based on consumers short-term outlooks for income, business, and labor, decreased from 79.0 to 77.5.

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“The decline in the present situation index was driven solely by a perceived softening in labor market conditions,” Lynn Franco, The Conference Board’s senior director of economic indicators, said. “By contrast, views of current business conditions — which tend to move ahead of trends in jobs — improved. Overall, the present situation index remains at strong levels, suggesting growth did not contract further in Q2.”

“That said, with the expectations index weakening further, consumers also do not foresee the economy picking up steam in the months ahead. They do expect labor market conditions to remain relatively strong, which should continue to support confidence in the short run.”

The dip in confidence comes after April saw an 8.3% year-over-year rise, which was down from March’s 8.5% year-over-year hike. Also not helping is the producer price index, which saw a jump of 6.9% in April. That’s down from March’s 7.1%, but up from February’s 6.7%.

Even with the Federal Reserve’s attempts to fight inflation by raising interests rates by 0.5% to 1.00%, the soaring prices will likely continue to be a burden to Americans over the coming summer months. One area consumers are being tortured in are rising gas prices, which now sit at a national average of $4.6 per gallon.

The labor market continues to remain a question mark for consumers even after employers added 428,000 jobs in April, keeping the unemployment rate at a pandemic-low 3.6%. Those numbers helped the country keep a 12-month streak of 400,000 or more jobs added.

However, that steady improvement may be misleading. Politico noted that data released by the Ludwig Institute suggests the “true rate of unemployment” (or TRU) is higher than national or local figures show and accounted for 23.1% of the labor force in April.

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“We think it misleads the American people to say, ‘Oh, we’ve got 3.6 percent of America that is unemployed, ergo, a huge percent of the population is employed,’ when in fact they can’t make above a poverty wage,” Ludwig told Politico.

Additionally, Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell has previously called the labor market “unsustainably hot,” and — in an interview with Marketplace — explained that the demand of labor is inconsistent with low inflation. “What we need to do is we need to get demand down, give supply a chance to recover and get those to align,” he said.

President Joe Biden met with Powell Tuesday, saying afterwards that inflation has become his top domestic priority. “My plan to address inflation starts with the simple proposition: Respect the Fed, respect the Fed’s independence, which I have done and will continue to do,” Biden said.

How Biden deals with inflation could significantly impact his odds of possessing a second term in two years. According to FiveThirtyEight, the President currently sits at a 54.0% disapproval rating (up from 52.4% May 1), with just 40.8% approving of his work. Biden has pointed to the Ukraine invasion and supply chain issues as culprits of inflation woes.

Gun Control Laws

Following Uvalde Shooting That Left 19 Children Dead, Calls For Stricter Gun Laws Intensify

For the over 16,000 citizens of Uvalde, Texas, waking up every day since Tuesday has been an unending nightmare after 19 children and two teachers were shot dead at Robb Elementary School by Salvador Ramos, who had shot his grandmother earlier that morning. 17 others were injured.

Ramos — who has been referred to by residents as a loner who dropped out of high school — was armed with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle, which he purchased two of for his 18th birthday. While his past and personality clearly pointed to a disturbed individual, investigators have yet to find any sort of motive for the attack.

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The attack is the deadliest school shooting since 20 children and six adults were killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012. It also comes just 13 days after a shooter killed 10 in a Buffalo grocery store.

Since January, there have now been more than 200 mass shootings in the U.S. These countless tragedies have sparked outrage and emotional displays across the country, with gun laws coming into intense spotlight.

On Wednesday, Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke interrupted Texas Gov. Greg Abbott during a press conference, telling him the time to stop the next shooting is now and he is “doing nothing.” After being escorted out by law enforcement, O’Rourke slammed Abbott, stating the children died because of Abbot’s inaction.

“Because if we do nothing, we will continue to see this. Year after year, school after school, kid after kid. This is on all of us, every single one of us to do something.”

Texas gun laws have been particularly criticized. In the state, there have been eight mass shootings the last 13 years, with 102 deaths since 2017. In June of 2021, Abbott — declaring to keep Texas a “bastion of freedom” — signed several laws that eased weapon restrictions, including one that legally allows law-abiding Texans, who are 21 or over, to carry handguns without a license.

Fellow politicians have echoed O’Rourke’s concerns, with President Joe Biden saying now is the time to “turn this pain into action.” “As a nation we have to ask, ‘When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name do we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?” Biden questioned.

Biden — who expressed his condolences and prayers at the beginning of his speech — focused on the purchasing of assault rifles and claimed when those styles of rifles were banned in 1994, mass shootings went down. When the ban expired 10 years later, Biden said shootings tripled.

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Studies on the effectiveness of the assault weapons ban have shown that criminal use of banned guns declined temporarily, while evidence suggested that the ban contributed to a reduction in gun murder rates. However, the ban failed to bring down the total number of victims per gun murder incident.

It remains to be seen how the long-heated debate will play out, with Republican stances making it difficult for gun reform, like expanded background checks for gun purchases, to gain traction in Congress.

Regardless, the cries for change won’t die silently. Protests are expected to take place at the the National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Houston from May 27-29, where a number of high-profile Republican speakers — including Abbott, Sen. Ted Cruz, and former President Donald Trump — will be in attendance.

If China Invades Taiwan, Biden Confirms U.S. Military Would Intervene

While United States government officials already have set opinions on how to proceed in the event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, it appears not everyone is on the same page. On Monday, President Joe Biden stated that if such a situation developed, the U.S. would intervene military.

Biden gave his remarks during a joint press conference in Tokyo with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida when asked if the U.S. would go further to help Taiwan in an invasion than it did with Ukraine’s conflict with Russia.

“Yes. That’s the commitment we made,” Biden stated. “We agree with the One China policy. We signed on to it, and all the attendant agreements made from there, but the idea that it can be taken by force, just taken by force, is [just not] appropriate.”

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Biden gave further thoughts on the rising tensions between the two territories, saying a conflict would dislocate the entire region, similar to how Russia’s attacks have had shockwaves throughout Europe. Biden also stated that China is “already flirting with danger right now by flying so close and all the maneuvers they’re undertaking.”

However, the White House downplayed his statements, saying they don’t reflect a change in policy. It’s the third time in past months Biden has made a comment about Taiwan protection, only for the White House to give opposing views.

“As the President said, our policy has not changed. He reiterated our One China policy and our commitment to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. He also reiterated our commitment under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide Taiwan with the military means to defend itself.”

According to the One China policy, the U.S. recognizes China’s position that there is only one Chinese government and that Taiwan is a part of China, but the U.S. hasn’t recognized the country’s claim to the self-governing island. China, meanwhile, believes a reunification between Taiwan and the mainland is a necessity – one that would likely take an armed conflict to make happen.

According to administration aides speaking to CNN, several of Biden’s top administration officials were caught off caught by his remarks. Biden running off-script and giving unexpected statements has become a running occurence in recent weeks. In late April, the President said that Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power,” causing a media stir. The White House and allies backtracked those claims afterwards.

Responding to Biden’s comments, China expressed its “strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition,” noting it would not allow any external force to interfere with its internal affairs. Speaking to reporters, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin stated that Taiwan is an “inalienable part of China’s territory.”

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“On issues touching on China’s core interests of sovereignty and territorial integrity, China has no room for compromise or concession,” Wenbin said. “No one should underestimate the firm resolve, staunch will and strong ability of the Chinese people in defending national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

As CNN noted, the U.S. has supplied Taiwan with defensive weapons, similar to the help it has given Ukraine throughout the Russian invasion that is now in its third month. Taiwan — which consists of a population of over 23 million — would certainly need help in a conflict.

China’s armed forces dwarf any potential resistance thanks to its expected 2022 spending of 1.45 trillion yuan ($230.16 billion USD) on defense. In terms of activity duty personnel, China possesses around 2 million while Taiwan boasts just 163,000.

Federal Reserve

Federal Reserve Raises Interest Rates By 0.5% In Largest Move Since 2000

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates by 0.5% to 1.00%, marking the largest increase in over two decades as it attempts to fight the ever-increasing inflation that has continued to cause financial burdens for Americans.

Since 2000, the Fed has only raised interest rates in increments of 0.25%. “Inflation remains elevated, reflecting supply and demand imbalances related to the pandemic, higher energy prices, and broader price pressures,” the Fed said in a FOMC statement. “The Committee is highly attentive to inflation risks.”

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In March, inflation rates rose to 8.5%, up 0.6% from February’s 7.9% and 1.5% from December’s 7%. It’s now the highest inflation rate the country has seen since the 1980s, though forecasts project a downturn over the coming months. The increased interest rates will take time to lower the inflation, however.

The Fed explained it’s monitoring the situation of the 10-week-old Russian invasion of Ukraine — citing “tremendous human and economic hardship” — among other global issues that have essentially stalled production and sent the supply chain spiraling.

“The invasion and related events are creating additional upward pressure on inflation and are likely to weigh on economic activity. In addition, COVID-related lockdowns in China are likely to exacerbate supply chain disruptions.”

As for what this all means for the average citizen, borrowing will become more expensive. Higher interests rates will occur for mortgages, student debt, car loans, credit cards, and business loans for both small and large companies.

Higher mortgage rates are a particularly hard pill to swallow for those in the already difficult-to-navigate real estate market, as home prices alone have shot up during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first quarter of 2021, the average home sold for $507,800.

Currently, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate sits at over 5%, up from 3.10% in early-December and 4.16% in mid-March. The Fed will now discuss increased interest rates between 0.75% to 1.00% in June and July, while some officials have advocated for raising rates to 2.5% by the end of 2022.

Following the Fed’s announcement, the Dow Jones Industrial Average spiked up 900 points to 34,064 before dropping 1,000 points Thursday morning, or 2.9%. The S&P 500 saw a 3.3% drop, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 4.6%. Similarly, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, had a 5.3% slide.

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Speaking Wednesday, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell attempted to relay that the bank understands the financial hardship Americans are going through, and explained the raising interests rates were done in order to relief that inflation tension. “Inflation is much too high, and we understand the hardship it is causing,” Powell said.

Powell also emphasized his belief that the economy can withstand the higher rates, with unemployment rates dropping by 0.2% from February to March and total job openings rate at 7.1%, a year-over-year increase of 1.6%. “Nothing about it says it’s close to or vulnerable to a recession,” he said.

President Joe Biden has previously supported the Fed’s monetary decisions. “The Federal Reserve provided extraordinary support during the crisis for the previous year and a half,” he said back in January. “Given the strength of our economy and pace of recent price increases, it’s appropriate — as Fed Chairman Powell has indicated — to recalibrate the support that is now necessary.”

The actions aren’t without concerns, however. As the Associated Press notes, many have criticized the Fed for taking too long to tackle inflation, leading to doubt from analysts that a recession can ultimately be avoided.

Young College Student

Biden Administration To Erase Student Debt For 40,000 Borrowers

In an attempt to make good on the promises of federal student debt relief, the Biden Administration — announced by the Department of Education on Tuesday — has made changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) that would see 40,000 borrowers become eligible to have their debt immediately discharged.

7,000 borrowers with older loans will also see forgiveness under income-driven repayment (IDR) plans. On top of that, 3.6 million more will move closer towards forgiveness by receiving at least three years of additional credit.

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The department, which cited that this move addresses “historic failures” in regards to IDR plans, also aims to take more care of accurately tracking monthly payments for borrowers on IDR, which are typically smaller amounts.

“Student loans were never meant to be a life sentence, but it’s certainly felt that way for borrowers locked out of debt relief they’re eligible for,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement. “These actions once again demonstrate the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to delivering meaningful debt relief and ensuring federal student loan programs are administered fairly and effectively.”

The Biden administration had previously extended the payment pause on student loans  — which was set to end on May 1 — through the end of August. Interest on loans has been paused since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic back in March of 2020.

Since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, around 725,000 of the 43 million federal student debt borrowers have seen their debt discharged, which totals to over $17 billion in relief. Still, total outstanding student loan debt remains at $1.7 trillion.

IDR plans have had a troubled past. An NPR investigation revealed that the plans — which promise loan forgiveness after 20 to 25 years and manageable monthly payments as low as $0 — had been “badly mismanaged” by the department and loan servicers.

Department documents dating back to 2016 acquired by NPR showed that despite 4.4 million borrowers having repaid for over 20 years, only 32 had their loans canceled under IDR. Meanwhile, some servicers weren’t tracking payments, and didn’t know when borrowers qualified for cancellation unless they were asked by the borrowers to do an intensive records review.

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The department, along with Federal Student Aid (FSA) noted it will address “forbearance steering” by conducting a one-time account adjustment in order to count certain long-term forbearances, which the department considers to be more than 12 consecutive months or 36 cumulative months. Borrowers will then be given credits based on their length of forbearance.

Throughout his election campaign, Biden promised to forgive each borrower $10,000 in loans, which would end up totaling to about $400 billion. However, that claim has yet to flourish, as Biden stated he didn’t have the executive authority to cancel up to $50,000 debt per borrower. White House press secretary Jen Psaki later said the President would be “happy to sign” legislation canceling student debt if Congress passes it.

Along with pausing student debt (and expanding the coverage of the pause) Biden has worked to give relief by targeting smaller groups. One such case includes those who were defrauded by their school, which ended up totaling $2 billion in loan cancellation.

House Passes Bill To Help Veterans Exposed To Burn Pits

On Thursday, the House approved a bill, referred to as the “Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2021,” that will expand benefits for post- 9/11 veterans that were sickened by toxins, such as from burn pits, during their military service. The final vote was 256-174, with 34 Republicans voting in addition to the entire 222 Democrats.

The passing comes two days after President Joe Biden gave an extra push for the legislation during his State of the Union speech. “I’m also calling on Congress to pass a law to make sure veterans devastated by toxic exposures in Iraq and Afghanistan finally get the benefits and the comprehensive health care that they deserve,” Biden said.

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According to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), an estimated 3.5 million veterans have been exposed to burn pits, which are used to discard waste at military camps and can cause headaches, nausea, difficulty breathing, and other life-threatening, long-term symptoms.

“This year, 86% of respondents [to IAVA’s yearly member survey] reported exposure to burn pits or other toxins and 89% of those exposed reported symptoms that are or might be caused by that exposure,” IAVA stated. Among other hazardous toxins that servicemembers are exposed to include contaminated groundwater, Agent Orange — a herbicide chemical — radiation exposure, and embedded fragments.

“They came home, many of the world’s fittest and best trained warriors in the world, never the same. Headaches. Numbness. Dizziness. A cancer that would put them in a flag-draped coffin,” Biden said, adding that he wasn’t sure if burn pits were responsible for his late son Beau Biden’s brain cancer, which took his life in 2015.

The bill would designate 23 respiratory illnesses and cancers as being likely linked to toxic exposures related to burn pits and other hazards. It would also see nearly $300 billion spent over the next 10 years, a price that some political opponents are hesitant of.

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At a press conference on Capitol Hill Wednesday that featured numerous supporters like political commentator Jon Stewart and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, tribulations caused by exposure were recounted by former veteran and the American Legion’s director of health policy Katie Purswell. “I struggle to think of a single person that I deployed with who may not have been exposed, at some point, to toxins while deployed.”

“While it was our decision to raise our hands and fight our nation’s wars for those who cannot or will not, what we didn’t know was that our long-lasting health issues might not even begin to show during our time in service.”

Veterans of the Vietnam War would also benefit, making nearly 490,000 servicemembers with illnesses like hypertension and bladder cancer eligible for disability. Members of the House Veterans Affairs Committee noted that 2018 findings showed “sufficient evidence of an association” between hypertension and Agent Orange.

Meanwhile, the Senate’s Veterans Affairs Committee is undergoing its own approach to the issue of toxic exposure to veterans. According to ABC News, sources familiar with the process said the House and Senate will have to figure out policy differences and take their respective bills to conference over the next few months in order to reach a final compromise.

Biden Addresses Ukraine, Economy, COVID-19 In State Of The Union Speech

In his first, 62-minute State of the Union speech Tuesday night, President Joe Biden tackled the growing threat of Russia aggression, detailing multiple efforts being undertaken in order to not only assist Ukraine and damage the Kremlin, but to “protect American businesses and consumers” that could face economic collateral damage.

Unity was on full display, with Biden explaining that despite the numerous political differences they hold, he and all other members of Congress are joined “with an unwavering resolve that freedom will always triumph over tyranny.” To show support for Ukraine, lawmakers were asked to stand and cheer.

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“In the battle between democracy and autocracies, democracies are rising to the moment, and the world is clearly choosing the side of peace and security,” Biden declared, noting numerous times the courage and determination Ukrainian citizens have shown in the face of the unprovoked invasion that’s resulted in hundreds of innocent injuries and deaths.

The President announced that the U.S. would join NATO allies like Canada and the U.K. by closing off American airspace to all Russian flights in a further attempt to isolate the country and squeeze its economy, which he mentioned is already showing signs of cracking due to enforced sanctions.

“The ruble has already lost 30 percent of its value. The Russian stock market has lost 40 percent of its value, and trading remains suspended. The Russian economy is reeling, and Putin alone is the one to blame.”

Among other measures being taken include cutting off Russia’s largest banks from the international financial system — which would make “Putin’s $630 billion war fund worthless” — seizing luxury apartments, yachts, and jets from Russian oligarchs, and giving $1 billion in direct assistance to Ukraine. Biden added that U.S. troops are also mobilizing in Poland, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.

However, as he’s done throughout the past couple months, Biden reiterated that the mobilized forces would not be engaging Russian forces in Ukraine. “Our forces are not going to Europe to fight in Ukraine, but to defend our NATO allies in the event that Putin decides to keep moving west,” Biden said.

Turning his attention back to the homeland, Biden highlighted the impacts of his American Rescue Plan, stating it fueled the efforts to vaccinate and fight COVID-19 while creating 6.5 million new jobs in the last year.

“The economy grew at a rate of 5.7 [percent] last year, the strongest growth rate in nearly 40 years, the first step in bringing fundamental change to our economy that hasn’t worked for the working people of this nation for too long.”

Biden pitched that the key to fighting rising inflation — which he termed “building back America” — is to cut the costs of prescription drugs, energy costs, and child care while relying more on American supply chains as opposed to foreign. Biden also emphasized that no one earning less than $400,000 a year would see additional raises on taxes.

In what is almost two years since the pandemic begun in the U.S., Biden refused to ease back on combating the Coronavirus. “I know some are talking about living with COVID-19. But tonight I say that we will never just accept living with COVID-19.”

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While reaffirming the safety and need for vaccinations and protocols — currently, 65.2% of Americans are fully vaccinated — he stated the launching of a “test to treat” initiative so that “people can get tested at a pharmacy, and if they prove positive, receive antiviral pills on the spot at no cost.”

When it comes to police brutality and police resource allocations, Biden stressed that the answer is not to choose between safety and equal justice or defund the police, but to “fund them with resources and training” that are needed to protect communities, while urging for additional crackdowns on gun trafficking and untraceable ghost guns that can be bought online.

According to FiveThirtyEight, 53.1% of polls currently disapprove of Biden against a 41.3% approval. Biden’s disapproval number is up from around 50% in mid-December, while he hasn’t had a positive approval rating since August, when he sat at 47.2% approval.

President Biden’s Vaccine Mandate For 100 Million Workers Officially Being Enforced

Back in September President Biden announced that he would be working on creating multiple vaccine mandates to get more Americans vaccinated. On Thursday, the administration started the process by releasing mandates for over 100 million workers. 

The first rule has been issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and covers mandates for companies with 100 or more employees; it’s estimated this rule will apply to 84 million workers. Companies need to ensure their employees are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by January 4th, or they will need to provide a negative test in order to come into work every week. 

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OSHA’s rule also requires employers to pay their employees for the time it takes for them to get vaccinated, and recover from any potential side effects that arise. 

Employers also won’t be required to pay for weekly testing for their unvaccinated employees, or even provide the testing in the first place. This is in an attempt to get more employees to actually receive their vaccines as opposed to remaining at higher risk for exposure. 

Unvaccinated workers will also be required to wear face coverings at all times; this rule will be enforced starting December 6th. 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services are requiring around 17 million health care workers to be vaccinated by January 4th. However, healthcare workers won’t be given the option to decline being vaccinated to opt for weekly testing. 

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Some employers are worried that the deadlines OSHA provided won’t give some of them enough time to gather the information required to find out who’s already vaccinated and who’s not. However, the Biden Administration asserted their authority in issuing these mandates due to OSHA’s responsibility to provide safe and healthy working conditions for all employees. 

“A virus that has killed more than 745,000 Americans, with more than 70,000 new cases per day currently, is clearly a health hazard that poses a grave danger to workers,” said a senior administration official.

Companies will mainly be responsible for enforcing the OSHA rule, as there’s only a couple thousand state and federal OSHA inspectors nationwide. It’s expected that OSHA inspectors will more likely be responding to employee complaints regarding their employers or fellow workers who aren’t abiding by the mandates. 

Employers that violate the rule can face fines up to $13,000 per violation, and depending on how severe the violation is that fine could multiply by ten.

President Biden Reflects On ‘Deadlist Year On Reacord For Transgender Americans’ During Day Of Remembrance 

President Joe Biden released a statement for Transgender Day Of Remembrance, where he paid tribute to “those we lose in the deadliest year on record for transgender Americans.” 

“We also remember the countless other transgender people, disproportionately Black and brown transgender women and girls, who face brutal violence, discrimination, and harassment.” 

The White House marked the day on Friday with a vigil in the Diplomatic Room of the White House, hosted by second gentleman Doug Emhoff. 

Transgender Day of Remembrance is meant to be the final day of Transgender Awareness Week, and it takes the time to memorialize victims of anti-transgender violence all across the country. The Human Rights Campaign recently declared 2021 as the deadliest year on record for transgender and nonbinary people, with at least 45 transgender or gender-nonconforming people on record being killed in hate-filled acts of violence. 

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 “Our hearts are with all who knew and loved the 45 people who have been killed this year. The march to end this epidemic of violence continues.” White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a tweet.

Within his statement, Biden called on the Senate to pass the Equality Act, which amends the 1964 Civil Rights Act to protect people from being discriminated against based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 

“The Equality Act will ensure that all people are able to live free from fear and discrimination, a right all Americans should have.” 

The Equality Act was passed in the House back in March, but has since been stalled by the Senate. “In spite of our progress strengthening civil rights for LGBTQI+ Americans, too many transgender people still live in fear and face systemic barriers to freedom and equality,” Biden wrote.

According to news reports, “the administration also released a report Saturday from the first Interagency Working Group on Safety, Opportunity, and Inclusion for Transgender and Gender Diverse Individuals, which is made up of representatives from the US Agency for International Development, the Departments of State, Justice, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Education, Homeland Security, Labor, Interior and Veterans Affairs, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the US Interagency Council on Homelessness.”

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The report also emphasized that the “violence against transgender Americans is the direct result of systemic anti-transgender stigma and hate, pervasive discrimination, disproportionate criminalization, and marginalization and exclusion of gender minorities, with violence against transgender communities heightened today due to a historic spike in legislation targeting transgender people for discriminatory and unjust treatment.”

Biden’s statement is the latest in a series of administrative motions that aim to support the LGBTQ+ community. Biden has since revered former president Trump’s ban on transgender Americans in the military, reinstated a special envoy for LGBTQ+ rights, and issued the first presidential proclamation to mark Transgender Day Of Visibility as an official day in March. 

Beyond the heightened violence that transgender Americans have faced this year, from a legislative standpoint their rights were also being consistently threatened. In fact, 2021 also marked a record year for anti-transgender legislation; 100 bills have been introduced among state legislators across 33 states all of which aimed at restricting the rights of transgender individuals. 

A majority of the bills target transgender youth, to which Bien responded:

“To ensure that our government protects the civil rights of transgender Americans, I charged my team with coordinating across the federal government to address the epidemic of violence and advance equality for transgender people,” Biden stated. 

“I continue to call on state leaders and lawmakers to combat the disturbing proliferation of discriminatory state legislation targeting transgender people, especially transgender children. Today, we remember. Tomorrow — and every day — we must continue to act.”