President Joe Biden plans to give his State of the Union speech on March 1, 2022. I always tune in. I think of it as a sort of pep rally for America. I listen to the rebuttal, too, which is usually a doom and gloom speech about how tragic things are for all of us.
For the next few weeks, I’m reviewing and comparing what the Democratic Party hoped to do for the nation in their Party Platform with what’s accomplished so far. I’m doing this because there’s more going on than we hear and read about.
Protecting American and recovering from the COVID-19 Pandemic
You might recognize my tables from 2020, when I compared the Party Platforms of each party. Just so I can keep everything straight, I put the information into a simple chart, like I would for corporate goals. This is also the way CoCo’s Individual Education Plans got laid out, too. Pretty easy to understand; I think:
We will______________ by_____________ so that______________ happens.
Think of this as an annual review for President Biden.
|We will||By||So that we||Progress|
|Under-stand the scope of the pandemic||Make testing available, convenient, free||Save lives||Rapid testing became available in 2021 at pop-up kiosk and health care centers. At home tests became free or reimbursable through most insurances in 2021. Medicare began paying for at-home tests in 2022.|
|Help Americans with health costs||Expand Medicaid||Preserve and expand health insurance coverage||39 States have adopted Medicaid Expansion, which was part of ACA.|
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 devotes Part J to various Medicaid expansions, many specific to COVID-19.
|Help un-employed people with health costs||Pick up the cost of COBRA; reopen ACA enrollment; offer a public option||Preserve and expand health insurance coverage||A six month free COBRA period for unemployed was part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. It ended in September 2021.|
|Restore supplies of PPE||Work with private-sector manufacturers||Ensure medical supplies are distributed according to need||The American Rescue Plan Act includes Emergency Rural Development Grants; Funding for supply chain; Funding for the Defense Production Act for medical supplies enhancement; and funding for Public Health supply chain.|
|Enforce non-discrimination protections||Prohibit rationing ; improve oversight for residents and staff at nursing homes;|
expand support for telemedicine
|Americans do not have to go without essential health care during the pandemic||The American Rescue Plan includes funding for “strike teams” for nursing homes; funding for telehealth is part of the Rural assistance and Behavior health needs;|
|Follow informed advice of scientist and public health experts||Take steps to protect federal science from political influence||We are never again vulnerable to a global pandemic||The American Rescue Plan includes funding for science and technology.|
Biden established a 46 member team to “unearth past problems with the politicization of science within government and to tighten scientific integrity rules for the future.”
|Reform unemploy-ment insurance system||Promote payroll support and work-sharing programs;|
expand unemployment insurance system to cover gig, part-time, and tipped workers; make sure all companies pay into the systems;
expand nutrition assistance and food security programs;
upgrade states’ unemployment system technology
|Keep workers whole and take care of our workforce||The American Rescue Plan includes specific assistance for railroad workers and Veterans, as well as an Extention of the CARES Act for the unemployed.|
WIC, SNAP, and other nutrition programs received funds for expansion through the American Rescue Plan
|Support and create jobs||Extend aid to state and local governments, school districts, and public and nonprofit colleges and universities to address budget shortfalls and secure jobs; |
condition state and federal aid on maintaining and expanding public-sector employment
|Prevent a depression||The American Rescue Plan Act includes Aviation job protection, retraining for rail workers and veterans.|
To support a living wage, Biden overturned four Trump era rules were overturned and put in effect one executive order.
|Make child care affordable and widely available||Provide funding to stabilize the sector||Children are safe||The American Rescue Plan includes block grants for child care, child care stabilization measures, subsidized meals during school closings, and Head Start.|
|Help small business meet payroll, pay rent and other expenses||Provide grants and loans to small businesses;|
prioritize women- and people-of-color-owned businesses
|Businesses stay open||Grants, loans, and loan forgiveness provisions are part of The American Rescue Plan Act.|
|Impose rigorous oversight on big corporations seeking assistance||Federal dollars keep workers on payroll||CEOs and shareholders are not enriched||The American Rescue Plan Act includes oversight funds for USDA, Veterans Affairs, and for Consumer protection from potentially dangerous products.|
A five-member bipartisan Congressional committee is set up to oversee funding similar to that set up for TARP oversight.
|Protect health of workers||Enact robust paid sick leave protections;|
enforce effective infectious disease workplace safety standards
|No one needs to choose between protecting their health and earning a living.||The American Rescue Plan Act includes credits for employers that pay sick leave. Funding is also provided for mental health services for health care providers.|
The American Rescue Plan Act provides funding for infection control at nursing homes.
|Provide everyone access to the internet||Prevent states from blocking broadband networks;|
increase federal support for municipal broadband;
increase public investment in rural, urban, and Tribal broadband infrastructure;
offer low-income Americans subsidies
|Children and families can fully participate in school, work, and life from their homes.||The American Rescue Plan Act provides homeowner assistance. Internet and broadband fees are included. |
The American Rescue Plan includes internet-only publishers in the Employment protection elements.
Biden signed The Infrastruction Investment and Jobs Act will go into effect in March 2022. $65 billion will go toward expanding broadband.
Whew! That was a lot of work. And quite enlightening for me. Next up….The Economy
I think it’ll be interesting to hear what the State of the Union highlights. A lot of the “We Will..” got accomplished. I think the jury is still out on the “So That…” So far, we’ve avoided a depression. I’m sure we’ve saved lives, even though a lot of people are still dying. These are pretty lofty goals.