Newswire : Trump ramps up attack on Manhattan DA with violent imagery and call for ‘Death’ and ‘Destruction’

Trump ramps up attack on Manhattan DA with violent imagery and call for ‘Death’ and ‘Destruction’

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Former President Donald Trump has ramped up the rhetoric and the threats as potential criminal charges loom in New York, Georgia, and Washington. Trump took to his Truth Social platform and posted a photo of him swinging a bat to the head of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
He also threatened that his anticipated arrest would lead to “death and destruction.”
“What kind of person can charge another person, in this case a former President of the United States, who got more votes than any sitting President in history, and leading candidate (by far!) for the Republican Party nomination, with a Crime, when it is known by all that NO Crime has been committed, & also known that potential death & destruction in such a false charge could be catastrophic for our Country? Why & who would do such a thing? Only a degenerate psychopath that truly hates the USA!” Trump wrote.
Then in all capital letters, Trump continued his tirade:
A week before, Trump predicted that authorities from New York would arrest him, however, that has not happened yet.
Bragg’s office said Trump simply misled the public about an imminent arrest.
“We will not be intimidated by attempts to undermine the justice process, nor will we let baseless accusations deter us from fairly applying the law,” Bragg said through a spokesperson.
Bragg, 49, maintained that no one is above the law, and everyone receives equal treatment. “In every prosecution, we follow the law without fear or favor to uncover the truth,” his statement continued. Our skilled, honest, and dedicated lawyers remain hard at work.”
Trump’s social media attack on Bragg could reveal the frustrations and even the concern he might possess over all of the legal problems he currently faces.
Bragg’s case, in which the former President allegedly paid hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels and committed campaign finance crimes, is just the tip of the iceberg for the bombastic Trump.
Most legal experts believe Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis might have a more serious case. A special grand jury disbanded in January after reportedly recommending charges that include obstruction, bribery, and interfering with a presidential election.
Additionally, a Special Counsel’s investigation into Trump allegedly mishandling classified documents at his Florida home has amped up with a federal judge ordering the former President’s lawyer to testify.
Finally, the Congressional committee that investigated the January 6 insurrection has recommended serious charges against Trump to the U.S. Department of Justice. Those charges could include treason.
“It would be a travesty of justice,” Mississippi Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson said if Trump isn’t prosecuted by federal authorities for his role in the insurrection.
“Nobody is above the law, not even the President of the United States,” said Thompson, who chaired the commission.
“What we saw after interviewing more than 1,000 people – the majority of who identify with the Republican Party – we are convinced that whatever happened, happened because of one person. So, we are clear in our recommendation.”

Newwire: Advocates visit Alabama lawmakers to urge support for Medicaid Expansion 

Members of Cover Alabama demonstrate for Medicaid Expansion at Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery

More than 80 Alabamians gathered outside the State House in Montgomery on Tuesday to urge state lawmakers to expand Medicaid to cover adults with low incomes. The Cover Alabama coalition sponsored the event as part of its advocacy day for Medicaid expansion. Alabama Arise is a founding member of Cover Alabama.

Some advocates shared stories of how Medicaid expansion would help their families and communities. Others highlighted how expansion would benefit Alabama’s economy and health care system. All sought to show the human faces of the state’s health coverage gap and the suffering it causes.

“I lost my job because of a chronic health condition. I’m the primary provider for my family, but I could not stay well enough to do my job,” said Jesse Odland, a Huntsville line cook. “Now, I worry my medical debt will affect how my family can thrive. The working class drives our economy, and we’re hit the hardest by the coverage gap.”

Closing the coverage gap would help nearly 300,000 Alabamians access potentially life-saving care. It also would create thousands of new jobs and invigorate the state’s economy, research shows. Medicaid expansion could create more than 20,000 new jobs and save the state almost $400 million each year for the next six years, according to a recent report by the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama. And in rural areas, expansion would have the added benefit of reinforcing rural hospitals.

“Alabama’s rural hospitals are in trouble. More than a dozen are at immediate risk of closing this year,” said Dr. Marsha Raulerson, who has been a pediatrician in Brewton for more than 40 years. “When a rural hospital closes, that community loses not only their access to health care but also a primary economic engine and the jobs that come with that. Medicaid expansion is a win-win for patients and providers alike.”

Rev. Carolyn Foster, the faith in community coordinator at Greater Birmingham Ministries, argued that expanding Medicaid is just the right thing to do.

“No matter our creed, we can all agree that we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves,” Foster said. “So long as we allow our neighbors to fall into the health care coverage gap, we are failing to answer that calling. It is an affront to people of faith and people of good will.”

Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid, and North Carolina likely will join that list next week. Debbie Smith, Alabama Arise’s Cover Alabama campaign director, said advocates hope this is the year Alabama will expand, too.

“Research shows Medicaid expansion is favorable on both sides of the political aisle,” Smith said. “We are hopeful Alabama lawmakers will do the smart, compassionate and fiscally responsible thing and expand Medicaid now. How can our state not afford to save money?”

Newswire : Vice President Kamala Harris to reset relations with Africa on her first trip to continent

VP Harris welcomed to Ghana


Mar. 27, 2023 (GIN) – The U.S. has been sending its best and its brightest to Africa with gifts and promises aimed at winning back the continent from its partnerships with China.
This week, Vice President Kamala Harris went off on a 9 day trip designed to discuss increased investment in three countries to help spur economic growth.  Starting with Ghana, she will stop over in Tanzania before winding up in Zambia.
It is the fifth major trip by a senior administration official since the U.S.-Africa summit in Washington, DC, following trips by Secretary Janet Yellen, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the First Lady, and Secretary Antony Blinken, most recently.
This reality tour reflects a growing awareness of the need to deepen U.S. engagement with the continent when it faces growing competition from other global powers, especially China and Russia.
 According to an official statement, the trip will build on December’s US-Africa summit in Washington where President Joe Biden said the U.S. was “all in on Africa’s future.” 
But Ghana’s once-thriving economy is going through its most difficult financial crisis in decades which has presented President Nana Akufo-Addo with rare opposition from the youth. Once described as Africa’s shining star by the World Bank, today it is no longer the economic poster child of West Africa. 
The country is seeking to restructure its debt amid surging inflation of over 50%. Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has just been in Beijing leading negotiations with the Chinese government.
“So far, very positive and encouraging meetings in China,” the finance minister tweeted as he expressed optimism that it would secure external assurances “very soon”.
It is not clear what, if any help, Ms Harris can offer, but she will be under pressure to act like a willing partner in the wake of Mr Ofori-Atta’s China visit.
Her bilateral meeting with President Akufo-Addo will be followed by a visit to a local recording studio in Accra and a meeting with young people in the creative industry.
Next, after delivering a major speech to an audience of young people, the VP will visit the Cape Coast slave castle where she will give a major speech about the brutality of slavery and the African diaspora to an audience of young people. 
On Wednesday, in Accra, the Vice President will meet with women entrepreneurs and discuss the economic empowerment of women.  She will announce a series of continent-wide public and private sector investments to help close the digital gender divide and to empower women economically more broadly. 
Ghana will be followed by Tanzania where she is scheduled to meet President Samia Suluhu Hassan and take part in a wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy there followed by a session with entrepreneurs at a tech incubator and co-working space in Dar.
Finally, off to Zambia which finds itself in a similar position to Ghana. The copper-rich nation became the first African country to default on its debt when the Covid pandemic hit. Zambia is in prolonged discussions with China to restructure its debt and has also sought financial support from the IMF. 
Lastly, in Lusaka, on Saturday, April 1st, the Vice President will convene business and philanthropic leaders, from both the continent and from the United States, to discuss digital and financial inclusion on the continent.  They will discuss how to best partner together and build on the work of her trip and all the private sector announcements that she announced on the trip. 
For decades, the perception of the U.S. has been that it treats African countries like charity cases, according to several regional experts. That was exacerbated during the Trump administration, which largely ignored the continent or reportedly disparaged it. Former President Donald Trump, in a 2018 meeting, referred to some African nations as “shithole countries.” At the same time, China enhanced its investments in Africa, helping to build roads and other infrastructure projects and creating firmer economic and political relations.
“Washington is playing catch up in Africa,” said Cameron Hudson, a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Africa Program. “With all of the business investment that the Chinese have made comes a lot of leverage and political influence in those countries. It’s not just that they’re making money there. It’s that they now have skin in the game in Africa in ways that we don’t. And that gives them leverage that we don’t have.


Eutaw City Council approves purchase
and financing of a new backhoe

The Eutaw City Council held its first regular meeting of the month on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. All members of the council were present.

The purchase and financing of the new $121,900 John Deere Backhoe was approved with Warrior Tractor and Equipment Company of Northport, Alabama. The company decided it did not want the city’s old machine as a trade in. The new backhoe will be financed over 48 months at a cost of $2767 per month, with a $10,000 down payment and 5.75% interest. The old machine will be sold as surplus.

Mayor Latasha Johnson commented, “This is part of our plan to have the equipment our employees need to get the job done in repairing and maintaining our streets, water, and sewer systems. The cab of the backhoe is enclosed so the driver will be air conditioned in the summer and warm in the winter.” The monthly payments will be shared 50% by the 7-cent gas fund and 25% each by the water and sewer fund.

The Council also received five months of financial reporting (October 1, 2022 to February 28, 2023 on city accounts, which showed that most account revenues were slightly above budgetary projections and expenses were at or below budget. The financial report on the USDA Loan and Reserve funds were on target. The annual loan payment to USDA of $102,218 was made as scheduled in December 2022.

The Council accepted a proposal for grant-writing from Grant Management of Fairhope, Alabama who will be paid out of grant proceeds.
The Mayor indicated that this group was experienced in writing state grants like Community Service Block Grants (CSBG) and others. The Mayor said there were many grant opportunities available to the city but that a grant writer was needed to prepare the proposals necessary to compete for grants.

Dinah Foreman, Alabama Coordinator of Environmental Services for Communities Unlimited, in Rogersville, Alabama, a technical assistance provider to ADEM, EPA and other state and Federal agencies made a presentation to the council on the services her agency could provide at no cost to the City of Eutaw. Her agency was referred to the city as part of our multi-year grant agreement for the improvement of the Eutaw-Boligee water and sewer system. Among the Assistance this group will provide are management analysis, water operator training, rate studies, board training and development of a policies and procedures manual for the system.

A representative of the PRC Specialized Transport Company, a wrecker service operating out of Northport addressed the council about his interest in purchasing some land around the National Guard Armory for an office and wrecker truck and car lot. No action was taken on the proposal and the representative said he would be back with a more definitive proposal.

In other actions, the Eutaw City Council:

• Approved travel for the Mayor and Water Department staff to attend the Alabama Rural Water Association Meeting in Montgomery, March 19-22, 2023
• Approved a City of Eutaw Public Records request form to seek information from the city.
• Approved payment of bills and claims.
• Heard complains in the public comments section about the service provided by Community Cable Company; assistance provided by Corey Martin, Water Operator, in moving a water meter at Wheatland Circle and concerns about the grant writer and locating sewer lines.

Newswire: U. S. offers $331 Million to help Ethopia heal from war

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken meets with Ethopian President A. Alby

Mar. 20, 2023 (GIN) – The United States has promised Ethiopia $331 million in humanitarian aid to help heal the war-torn Horn of Africa country.
The funds were announced during a visit by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Ethiopia last week.
The funding will provide life-saving support to those displaced and affected by conflict, drought, and food insecurity in Ethiopia,” he said.
But the aid may not be enough to patch up the frayed relations between the two nations. A tweet posted by African Stream, put it succinctly: “Uncle Sam in the guise of Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Ethiopia to heal ties after the US earlier accused Addis Ababa of war crimes in the Tigray conflict and cut trade ties.
“So what’s with the sudden change of tune?  Could it have anything to do with the fact that arch-geopolitical rival China has been busy signing trade and development deals with Ethiopia and helping the country upgrade its infrastructure?  Looks like someone’s worried they’re losing clout on the continent…”
When Mr. Blinken arrived in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, he was the latest in a parade of Biden administration officials courting the continent amid rising competition for influence with Russia and China, noted the NY Times.
Just a year ago, the two countries were at odds and ends after the U.S. expelled Ethiopia from a regional trade group, citing “gross violations of internationally recognized human rights” by the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Such denunciations were not repeated during the meeting Wednesday, however, which focused on “progress in the agreement to cease hostilities.”
This time, Mr. Blinken’s goal was to reset America’s relationship with Ethiopia, a nation of 120 million, headquarters of the African Union and until recently a pillar of American security policy in the region. But the war badly strained that relationship.
Under the new terms of friendship, Mr. Blinken said that Mr. Abiy, along with Tigrayan leaders with whom he also met here, “should be commended” for bringing a halt to the violence, though he cautioned that more work was needed to carry out the agreement.
He also suggested that the U.S. bore some historical responsibility for Ethiopia’s civil strife by remaining silent when abuses were carried out.
“For our part, the U.S. acknowledges (the) human rights violations and repression committed during the past few decades, actions which sowed the seeds of future conflict,” in an apparent reference to a period when Ethiopia was a major American counterterrorism partner and its government was run by a Tigrayan-dominated coalition. “We and others were insufficiently vocal about these abuses in the past.”
In a photo op before a private meeting, Ethiopia’s foreign minister, Demeke Mekonnen, noted that the two nations “have longstanding relations, and it is time to revitalize them and move forward.”
Former U.S. diplomat to Africa Elizabeth Shackelford, opined: “Mr. Blinken should be skeptical toward Mr. Abiy, whose heroic image as a 2019 Nobel Prize winner has been eclipsed by a ruinous civil war for which he bears much responsibility and during which his forces and allied troops from the neighboring country of Eritrea were accused of massacres, sexual assault and ethnic cleansing in Tigray.
“My hope is that the war has changed our approach to the Ethiopian government and made us buy Abiy’s lines less readily.” 

Newswire: Hate crimes jumped nearly 12% in 2021, new FBI figures show

People demonstrating against hate crimes

By Michael Kosnar, NBC News


Hate crimes in the U.S. increased by 11.6% in 2021 from the previous year, according to revised figures the FBI released Monday.
The statistics showed that 12,411 people were reported to have been victims of hate crimes in 2021, 64.5% of them targeted because of their race or ethnicity, 15.9% targeted for their sexual orientation and 14.1% for their religion. The reports were up from 8,120 in 2020 to 9,065 in 2021 — some crimes had multiple victims.
In 2020, reports of hate crimes increased by less than 3% from the previous year.
The FBI released initial 2021 data in December that indicated a slight decrease in the number of hate crimes. Officials said that report was flawed because of low participation rates by law enforcement agencies across the country that were not using a new reporting system known as the National Incident-Based Reporting System.
The initial figures also did not include data from New York, Los Angeles and Chicago — the country’s three biggest cities by population.
Analysts then went back and had more than 3,000 agencies that had not originally submitted statistics hand in data so the FBI could have a fuller picture of hate crimes.
The figures released Monday include numbers from New York and Los Angeles. Chicago submitted data for part of the year, a senior FBI official told reporters in a background briefing.
The official said the top five hate crimes in 2021 were motivated by feelings against African Americans, whites, gay men, Jews and Asian Americans. The incidents were as varied as intimidation and assault to rape and murder.
The same official said 14,859 law enforcement agencies across the country are now enrolled in the National Incident-Based Reporting System, representing 79% of police agencies covering 91% of the U.S. population.
Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, the No. 3 official at the Justice Department, said” “We are continuing to work with state and local law enforcement agencies across the country to increase the reporting of hate crime statistics to the FBI.
“Preventing, investigating and prosecuting hate crimes are top priorities for the Justice Department, and reporting is key to each of those priorities,” Gupta said in a statement.

Newswire: San Francisco board open to reparations with $5 Million payouts

By The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Payments of $5 million to every eligible Black adult, the elimination of personal debt and tax burdens, guaranteed annual incomes of at least $97,000 for 250 years and homes in San Francisco for just $1 a family.
These were some of the more than 100 recommendations made by a city-appointed reparations committee tasked with the thorny question of how to atone for centuries of slavery and systemic racism. And the San Francisco Board of Supervisors hearing the report for the first time Tuesday voiced enthusiastic support for the ideas listed, with some saying money should not stop the city from doing the right thing.
Several supervisors said they were surprised to hear pushback from politically liberal San Franciscans apparently unaware that the legacy of slavery and racist policies continues to keep Black Americans on the bottom rungs of health, education and economic prosperity, and overrepresented in prisons and homeless populations.

“Those of my constituents who lost their minds about this proposal, it’s not something we’re doing or we would do for other people. It’s something we would do for our future, for everybody’s collective future,” said Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, whose district includes the heavily LGBTQ Castro neighborhood.
The draft reparations plan, released in December, is unmatched nationwide in its specificity and breadth. The committee hasn’t done an analysis of the cost of the proposals, but critics have slammed the plan as financially and politically impossible. An estimate from Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, which leans conservative, has said it would cost each non-Black family in the city at least $600,000.
Tuesday’s unanimous expressions of support for reparations by the board do not mean all the recommendations will ultimately be adopted, as the body can vote to approve, reject or change any or all of them. A final committee report is due in June.
Some supervisors have said previously that the city can’t afford any major reparations payments right now given its deep deficit amid a tech industry downturn.
Tinisch Hollins, vice-chair of the African American Reparations Advisory Committee, alluded to those comments, and several people who lined up to speak reminded the board they would be watching closely what the supervisors do next.
“I don’t need to impress upon you the fact that we are setting a national precedent here in San Francisco,” Hollins said. “What we are asking for and what we’re demanding for is a real commitment to what we need to move things forward.”
The idea of paying compensation for slavery has gained traction across cities and universities. In 2020, California became the first state to form a reparations task force and is still struggling to put a price tag on what is owed.
The idea has not been taken up at the federal level.
In San Francisco, Black residents once made up more than 13% of the city’s population, but more than 50 years later, they account for less than 6% of the city’s residents — and 38% of its homeless population. The Fillmore District once thrived with Black-owned night clubs and shops until government redevelopment in the 1960s forced out residents.
Fewer than 50,000 Black people still live in the city, and it’s not clear how many would be eligible. Possible criteria include having lived in the city during certain time periods and descending from someone “incarcerated for the failed War on Drugs.”
Critics say the payouts make no sense in a state and city that never enslaved Black people. Opponents generally say taxpayers who were never slave owners should not have to pay money to people who were not enslaved.
Advocates say that view ignores a wealth of data and historical evidence showing that long after U.S. slavery officially ended in 1865, government policies and practices worked to imprison Black people at higher rates, deny access to home and business loans and restrict where they could work and live.
Justin Hansford, a professor at Howard University School of Law, says no municipal reparations plan will have enough money to right the wrongs of slavery, but he appreciates any attempts to “genuinely, legitimately, authentically” make things right. And that includes cash, he said.
“If you’re going to try to say you’re sorry, you have to speak in the language that people understand, and money is that language,” he said.
John Dennis, chair of the San Francisco Republican Party, does not support reparations although he says he’d support a serious conversation on the topic. He doesn’t consider the board’s discussion of $5 million payments to be one.
“This conversation we’re having in San Francisco is completely unserious. They just threw a number up, there’s no analysis,” Dennis said. “It seems ridiculous, and it also seems that this is the one city where it could possibly pass.”
The board created the 15-member reparations committee in late 2020, months after California Gov. Gavin Newsom approved a statewide task force amid national turmoil after a white Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, a Black man.
The committee continues to deliberate recommendations, including monetary compensation, and its report is due to the Legislature on July 1. At that point it will be up to lawmakers to draft and pass legislation.
The state panel made the controversial decision in March to limit reparations to descendants of Black people who were in the country in the 19th century. Some reparations advocates said that approach does take into account the harms that Black immigrants suffer.
Under San Francisco’s draft recommendation, a person would have to be at least 18 years old and have identified as “Black/African American” in public documents for at least 10 years. Eligible people must also meet two of eight other criteria, though the list may change.
Those criteria include being born in or migrating to San Francisco between 1940 and 1996 and living in the city for least 13 years; being displaced from the city by urban renewal between 1954 and 1973, or the descendant of someone who was; attending the city’s public schools before they were fully desegregated; or being a descendant of an enslaved person.
The Chicago suburb of Evanston became the first U.S. city to fund reparations. The city gave money to qualifying people for home repairs, down payments 3. and interest or late penalties due on property. In December, the Boston City Council approved of a reparations study task force.

Newswire: Researchers find Obamacare has significantly reduced racial disparities in health care access, especially in states that expanded Medicaid

Poor People’s Campaign holds rally for Medicaid Expansion at the steps of the Alabama State Capital on March 11, 2023  and  Pictured : President Obama signing the Affordable Care Act in 2010

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

Former President Barack Obama’s signature piece of legislation has proved the gift that’s kept on giving for Black and Brown communities in America.
Since its passage in 2010, the Affordable Care Act – better known as Obamacare – has helped cut the U.S. uninsured rate nearly in half while significantly reducing racial and ethnic disparities in both insurance coverage and access to care – particularly in states that expanded their Medicaid programs, according to a new report issued by the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit that promotes a high-performing healthcare system.
Obamacare has reduced racial and ethnic disparities in both insurance coverage and access to care — particularly in states that expanded their Medicaid programs, the report’s authors noted.
Alabama is one of eleven states, most in the South, that have not expanded Medicaid since it was available in 2013. North Carolina recently approved the expansion of Medicaid to serve over 350,000 low income working people in that state.
While much of that progress occurred between 2013 and 2016, federal data show that more than 5 million people gained coverage between 2020 and early 2022, driving the uninsured rate down to a historic low of 8 percent.
Researchers found that insurance coverage rates improved for Black, Hispanic, and white adults between 2013 and 2021.
The coverage gap between Black and white adults dropped from 9.9 to 5.3 percentage points, while the gap between Hispanic and white adults dropped from 25.7 to 16.3 points.
Additionally, uninsured rates for adults in all three groups improved during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, a finding that held true in states that had expanded Medicaid and those that had not.
The report further noted that Black and Hispanic adults experienced larger gains in Medicaid and individual market coverage than white adults between 2019 and 2021.
Between 2013 and 2021, states that expanded Medicaid eligibility had higher rates of insurance coverage and health care access, with smaller disparities between racial/ethnic groups and larger improvements, than states that didn’t expand Medicaid.

Obamacare attempted to improve coverage rates in several ways, including by allowing states to expand Medicaid eligibility to everyone below 138 percent of the federal poverty level (in 2023, $20,120 for an individual and $41,400 for a family of four), funded nearly fully by the federal government; and by subsidizing and regulating coverage purchased through the individual market.
According to the report, uninsured rates for adults in each of the three racial/ethnic groups fell after the coverage expansions went into effect in 2014, and Black and Hispanic residents reported the largest gains.
Uninsured rates for Hispanic adults fell by 15.7 percentage points between 2013 and 2021. Also, the Black adult uninsured rate dropped by 10.9 points, and the white uninsured rate declined by 6.3 points.
“These gains reduced coverage disparities considerably,” the authors determined.
The gap between white and Black adults has dropped from 9.9 percentage points to 5.3 points, and the gap for Hispanic adults has declined from 25.7 to 16.3 points.
While the largest coverage gains occurred from 2013 to 2016, adult uninsured rates for these three groups, and for the nation overall, dropped again between 2019 and 2021, as new federal policies aimed at boosting coverage took effect.
“In fact,,” the researchers wrote, “they reached historic lows, despite modest declines in employer-based coverage from pandemic-related job losses.”
They concluded that Obamacare “has been a powerful force for racial equity in health and health care over the past decade.”
“The expansion in access to affordable coverage has served as the backbone for this progress, helping to remove financial barriers and increase access to primary care clinics and other providers where people can get the care, they need to stay healthy,” the authors wrote.

Newswire: Here’s how the White House says President Biden’s budget advances equity

President Biden and Vice President Harris

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent

President Joe Biden unveiled a $6.8 trillion budget plan that includes aiding several social programs, raising taxes on the wealthy, and decreasing the country’s debt by $3 trillion over the next decade.
While the plan has little chance of passing through the GOP-led House, the President doubled-down on a previous executive order that directs the federal government to advance an ambitious equity and racial justice agenda.
Biden reminded lawmakers that his administration has made significant progress advancing equity across the federal government, including by releasing a second executive order last month that strengthens the government’s ability to create opportunities for communities and populations that have been historically underserved, and one that “continues to build an America in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential.”

Advance Maternal Health and Health Equity

The Budget includes $471 million to support implementation of the White House Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity rates and address persistent disparities; expand maternal health initiatives in rural communities; implement implicit bias training for healthcare providers; create pregnancy medical home demonstration projects; and address the highest rates of perinatal health disparities, including by supporting the perinatal health workforce.
In addition, the Budget requires all States to provide continuous Medicaid coverage for 12 months postpartum, eliminating gaps in health insurance at a critical time.
The budget expands access to quality, affordable health care by investing $150 billion over 10 years to improve and expand Medicaid home and community-based services, such as personal care services, which would allow older Americans and individuals with disabilities to remain in their homes and stay active in their communities as well as improve the quality of jobs for home care workers.
To bolster the health care workforce, the budget provides a total of $966 million in 2024 to expand the National Health Service Corps, which provides loan repayment and scholarships to healthcare professionals in exchange for practicing in underserved areas, and a total of $350 million to expand programs that train and support the nursing workforce.
Additionally, the budget supports survivors of domestic violence and other forms of gender-based violence by significantly increasing support and protect survivors of gender-based violence, including $519 million for the Family Violence Prevention and Services (FVPSA) program to support domestic violence survivors—double the 2023 enacted level.
The President also wants to guarantee adequate and stable funding for HIS.
The budget requests an additional $3 billion in 2024 for a total of $8.1 billion in discretionary resources, and proposes all IHS resources as mandatory beginning in 2025.
Housing Support and Development

Biden also proposes to provide $90 million to support State and local fair housing enforcement organizations and to further education, outreach, and training on rights and responsibilities under Federal fair housing laws.
The budget also invests in HUD staff and technical assistance to affirmatively further fair housing and reduce barriers that restrict housing and neighborhood choice.
The White House said the budget would expand access to affordable rent through the Housing Choice Voucher Program, which currently provides 2.3 million low-income families with rental assistance to obtain housing in the private market.
Biden wants to provide $32.7 billion, an increase of $2.4 billion over the 2023 enacted level, to maintain services for all currently assisted families and—together with HCV program reserves—to expand assistance to an additional 180,000 households, particularly those who are experiencing homelessness or fleeing domestic violence.
To further ensure that more households have access to safe and affordable housing, the budget provides $9 billion in mandatory funding 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 450,000 extremely low-income veteran families, paving a path to guaranteed assistance for all who have served the nation and are in need.
To prevent and reduce homelessness, the budget provides $3.7 billion, an increase of $116 million over the 2023 enacted level, for HUD Homeless Assistance Grants to meet renewal needs and expand assistance to approximately 25,000 additional households, including survivors of domestic violence and homeless youth.
The budget also seeks to prevent evictions by making the legal process during eviction proceedings fairer, and mitigate future housing instability, and providing $3 billion in mandatory spending for competitive grants to promote and solidify state and local efforts to reform eviction policies by providing access to legal counsel, emergency rental assistance, and other forms of rent relief.
Also, to help ensure that every student receives a high-quality education, the Budget provides $20.5 billion for Title I, which would continue historic progress in increasing Title I funding over the past two years.
Title I provides critical funding to 90 percent of school districts across the nation, helping them to provide students in low-income communities the academic opportunities and support they need to succeed.
The administration said every child with a disability should have access to the high-quality early intervention, special education services, and personnel needed to thrive in school and graduate ready for college or a career.
The budget invests $16.8 billion in Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) grants to support special education and related services for more than seven million students with disabilities in grades Pre-K through 12, an increase of $2.1 billion above the 2023 enacted level.
Information for this report was provided by the White House.

Newswire: USDA announces next steps in providing financial assistance to borrowers who have faced discrimination

Washington, March 1, 2023 (Press Release No. 45.23) – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the first steps in its process for providing financial assistance to farmers, ranchers or forest landowners who have previously suffered discrimination with respect to USDA farm lending programs. In addition, USDA set a target of distributing the allocated funds, which were authorized by the Inflation Reduction Act, out to borrowers by the end of 2023. This process has been carefully designed in accordance with the IRA, the Federal Acquisition Regulation, and significant stakeholder input.
Specifically, Section 22007 of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), signed into law by President Biden in August 2022, directs USDA to provide financial assistance to producers who have experienced discrimination in USDA’s farm lending programs and has appropriated $2.2 billion for this program. Under the law, the Secretary of Agriculture is responsible for administering the assistance through qualified nongovernmental entities under standards set by USDA.
“These funds are yet another stepping stone in the long march towards justice and an inclusive, equitable USDA. Through this program and a neutral, comprehensive financial assistance process, USDA will acknowledge wrongs of the past and open up avenues that provide farmers, ranchers and forest landowners who have experienced discrimination by USDA the opportunity to be heard,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
“In providing this financial assistance, our goal is to make sure eligible people have adequate, understandable information about what is available to them, how to apply, and what to expect from USDA at each step. As we work to make all our programs more equitable, accessible and accountable, we are applying these same principles to make sure all Americans know how to engage with USDA’s services so we can prevent more inequities and build new levels of trust with the People’s Department going forward.”
Following President Biden signing the IRA, USDA took immediate steps to convene listening sessions and seek public comments about the design of the program to make sure farmers, advocates, academics, legislators, tribal governments, and other experts were heard.
Now, in accordance with the requirements of the Federal Acquisition Regulation, the Department will soon issue contracts to nongovernmental program administrators, as the IRA specifies, that will coordinate the delivery of a national program of financial assistance to impacted farmers, ranchers or forest landowners. The vendors will include a national administrator to oversee the program and four regional hubs that will be set up to solicit and process applications efficiently. Vendors for the four regional hubs are encouraged to partner with organizations with experience in agriculture and specifically organizations that work with and represent underserved producers and have a relationship with USDA.
Organizations such as existing USDA cooperators that are interested in serving as partners to the regional hubs vendors should send an email to by March 17, 2023 to have the name and contact information of their organization added to a list of interested potential partner organizations that will be made available to all regional hub interested vendors.
In addition to a national administrator and regional hubs, USDA will partner with community-based organizations across the country with experience in agriculture and reach into underserved communities. Building on work underway with existing cooperators and grantees through NIFA, FSA, NRCS and OPPE, these organizations will conduct outreach and ensure potential applicants are informed about the program and have the opportunity to apply. Organizations that would like to serve as cooperators should express their interest through an email to by March 31, 2023.
The Department anticipates final selection of the vendors managing the program to occur by late Spring 2023. As soon as the national administrator, regional hubs, and cooperators are selected and prepared to begin the application process, USDA will work with them to disseminate specific details concerning the application period, with the goal of having payments made by the end of 2023.
The Department will also reach out to trusted cooperators that can further assist eligible farmers, ranchers, or forest landowners nearer to their locations. These trusted cooperators will be drawn from those with long-standing experience in agriculture technical assistance, outreach, and support for the farming community.
By taking these important steps to fulfill the mandates of Section 22007, USDA hopes to recognize and acknowledge the discrimination suffered by individuals, take steps to rebuild trust with communities, and create a better and stronger U.S. agriculture that is more diverse and resilient. This is one piece of a much broader effort at USDA to improve equity and access and eliminate barriers to its programs for underserved individuals and communities. More information about this work can be accessed at, where USDA will continue to share updates on its progress.