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Celebrating the Wins So Far in the Biden Era

Sam Chavez
Sam Chavez

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Iโ€™m not going to lie, Iโ€™ve been a bit defeated lately. Biden rolled into office with grand plans to fix the major issues that our country faces, but with an increasingly authoritarian GOP and the lack of self-awareness of our moderate friends in the Senate, it is easy to feel like nothing is ever going to get done. But there are some silver linings that we already can talk about.

In honor of the upcoming July 4th holiday, Iโ€™m choosing positivity this week. Yes, there are many unaddressed issues. The Republicans this week are crying about a โ€œpartisan select committeeโ€ to investigate the January 6th Insurrection after voting against a bipartisan, outside commission (apparently theyโ€™ve never heard of the partisan GOP Benghazi commission). The Miami condo collapse and the โ€œheat domeโ€ (sounds normal) over the Pacific Northwest are more wake-up calls to addressing the climate crisis and our countryโ€™s infrastructure.

There is still much to applaud of Bidenโ€™s first five months in office. Letโ€™s break down some of the underreported accomplishments. So you can tell your conservative uncle when youโ€™re sitting around the BBQ drinking a Coors Light (or a White Claw, I donโ€™t judge).

Cutting Child Poverty in Half

Wedged into the American Rescue Plan that was passed in March thanks to new Georgia Senators, Jon Ossoff & Raphael Warnock, was an important expansion of the Child Tax Credit.

The Child Tax Credit gives lower-income families the ability to receive monthly payments to support the rising costs of raising a family of up to $300 per child.

  • Families receive a maximum of $3,000 per child or $3,6000 for children under 6 annually
  • Allows families who did not make enough money (through no fault of their own) to file taxes to receive the credit as well
  • Starting July 15th, families will begin to receive their first checks

Based on initial estimates, it will reduce the number of American children living in poverty by 45%. This is extremely important as America tries to regain its footing as a dominant power in the world. As much as our politicians talk about families, we are behind most industrialized countries in combating poverty and family programs like child care.

And weโ€™ve already begun hearing from families on how much this money is needed. In a heart-wrenching USA Today article, families explain how they are going to use the support for their car payments that are needed to get to work, groceries, the exorbitant cost of child care, among other reasons. These checks could have a major impact on the most vulnerable in our community and help to reduce the income inequality gap.

Combatting China While Increasing US Innovation

During a time of major press coverage lamenting the Senateโ€™s ability to get anything down, the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act quietly passed on June 7th. Since the bill didnโ€™t fit in the mediaโ€™s narrative of the end of bipartisanship, it got little press coverage. But wow itโ€™s a pretty good bill that should be getting more attention!

The bill is framed as a way to combat China, but it does so much more than that and is actually very much solving domestic issues.

  • Committed $250 billion in funding to scientific research
  • Provides subsidies for chipmakers and robot makers (with a global chip shortage & lack of US investment, this is correcting a wrong that is long overdue)
  • Expands the production of lithium batteries (a key element to electrifying our transportation)
  • An overhaul of the National Science Foundation
  • Establishes a Directorate for Technology and Innovation

This bill puts the US back in the game of global innovation. China and other countries have used the last few decades to gain ground and get ahead of the US in many ways. Not to mention that the adoption of Chinese technology could be a major national security and privacy risk for other countries. Itโ€™s crucial that the US invest in its innovation so that we can win in the economy of the 21st century.

โ€œEnactment of these investments would help strengthen Americaโ€™s economy, national security, technology leadership, and global competitiveness for years to come.โ€ - John Neuffer, CEO of the SIA

Movement on Voting Rights

This last one might be more hopeful than a concrete bill, but after some foot-dragging, we are beginning to see the Biden Administration take seriously the threat of voter suppression to our democracy.

Last week, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the Justice Department was suing Georgia over its restrictive voting law as it was specifically designed to deny Black people the right to vote.

In his speech, he also said that he will be doubling the staff at the departmentโ€™s Civil Rights Division to better combat the state-level laws being enacted in swing states like Arizona, Florida, and Georgia (Texas may be coming soon too). Although the Justice Department has more limited authority after the gutting of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by the Supreme court in 2013, it is an important step.

โ€œThere are many things that are open to debate in America, but the right of all eligible citizens to vote is not one of them. The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, the right from which all other rights ultimately flow.โ€ - Merrick Garland

While this action is necessary, the only real way to solve the unprecedented assault on voting rights is federal voting rights legislation. We must pass the For The People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Bill. Take action now.

I will leave you with a quote from The Last Black Man in San Francisco. I love this country enough to recognize that we have flaws. I love this country enough to fight to rectify those flaws. I will be celebrating the United States of America this weekend with a full heart for the future of our country. I hope everyone has an incredible 4th of July ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐ŸŒญ๐Ÿบ!

๐Ÿ—ผ๐Ÿ—ž: Newsletter

Sam Chavez

Sam is a writer, strategist, and curious human. She founded the roots of change agency in 2020. Sam is a queer, white, LatinX activist whoโ€™s passionate about a livable planet & equitable societies.

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