Biden Bits: Likes It or Not…

Biden Tweets Logo. Image by Lenny Ghoul.

It’s Tuesday.

President Biden’s public schedule for Tuesday 03/21/2023:

9:00 AMThe President receives the President’s Daily Briefing
Closed Press
10:00 AMIn-Town Pool Call Time
In-Town Pool
1:15 PMThe President departs the White House en route to the White House Conservation in Action Summit
South Grounds In-Town Travel Pool
1:45 PM Remarks
The President delivers remarks at the White House Conservation in Action Summit
Pooled for TV and Pre-Credentialed Media
3:00 PM Press BriefingPress Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
4:30 PM
Arts and Humanities Award Ceremony
The President and The First Lady host an Arts and Humanities Award Ceremony; The Vice President and The Second Gentleman attend
East Room Pooled for TV and Pre-Credentialed Media

Press briefing is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. D.C., time.


On Monday, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH.gov) released the following statement:

President Joseph R. Biden will present the 2021 National Humanities Medals, in conjunction with the National Medals of Arts, tomorrow, Tuesday, March 21, 2023, at 4:30 p.m. in an East Room ceremony at the White House. The 12 distinguished medal recipients include writers, historians, educators, and activists. First Lady Dr. Jill Biden will attend the medals award ceremony, which will be livestreamed at: www.whitehouse.gov/live

“The National Humanities Medal recipients have enriched our world through writing that moves and inspires us; scholarship that enlarges our understanding of the past; and through their dedication to educating, informing, and giving voice to communities and histories often overlooked,” said NEH Chair Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo). “I am proud to join President Biden in recognizing these distinguished leaders for their outstanding contributions to our nation’s cultural life.” 

The National Humanities Medal honors an individual or organization whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the human experience, broadened citizens’ engagement with history or literature, or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to cultural resources.

Here are the 12 recipients of the 2021 National Humanities Medal, with their White House citations:

NEH.gov. 03/20/2023.
  • Richard Blanco: An award-winningpoet and author, professor and public speaker, and son of Cuban immigrants, Richard Blanco’s powerful storytelling challenges the boundaries of culture, gender, and class while celebrating the promise of our Nation’s highest ideals. (Read profile.)
  • Johnnetta Betsch Cole: A scholar, anthropologist, and academic pace-setter, Johnnetta Betsch Cole’s pioneering work about the on-going contributions of Afro-Latin, Caribbean, and African communities have advanced American understanding of Black culture and the necessity and power of racial inclusion in our Nation. (Read profile.)
  • Walter Isaacson: Through the stories of our Nation’s remarkable citizens, Walter Isaacson’s work, words, and wisdom bridge divides between science and the humanities and between opposing philosophies, elevating discourse and our understanding of who we are as a Nation. (Read profile.)
  • Earl Lewis: As a social historian and academic leader, Earl Lewis has made vital contributions to the field of Black history, educating generations of students, while also being a leading voice for greater diversity in academia and our Nation. (Read profile.)
  • Henrietta Mann:The pioneering efforts of Henrietta, Ho’oesto’oona’e, Mann, led to programs and institutions across the country devoted to the study of Native American history and culture, honoring ancestors that came before and benefiting generations that follow. (Read profile.)
  • Ann Patchett: With her best-selling novels and essays, and her bookstore, readers from around the world see themselves in the pages of Ann Patchett’s books that take people to places of the heart and feed the imagination of our Nation. (Read profile.)
  • Bryan Stevenson: An advocate fighting tirelessly for the poor, incarcerated, and condemned, Bryan Stevenson follows the Book of Micah’s instruction to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly as he chronicles the legacy of lynching and racism in America, shining a light on what has been and all that we can be as a Nation. (Read profile.)
  • Amy Tan: By bravely exploring experiences of immigrant families, heritage, memories, and poignant struggles, Amy Tan’s writing makes sense of the present through the past and adds ground-breaking narrative to the diverse sweep of American life and literature. (Read profile.)
  • Tara Westover: Tara Westover’s memoirs of family, religion, and the transformative power of education, has moved millions of readers and served as a powerful example of how the humanities can set people—and a Nation—free. (Read profile.)
  • Colson Whitehead: With genre-defying craftsmanship and creativity, Colson Whitehead’s celebrated novels make real the African American journey through our Nation’s continued reckoning with the original sin of slavery and our ongoing march toward a more perfect Union. (Read profile.)
  • Native America Calling: Through its interactive shows on the radio and online,Native America Calling educates the American public about Indigenous issues while preserving Indigenous history and culture to honor their contributions that strengthen the sacred Nation-to-Nation relationship. (Read profile.)
  • Sir Elton John*: An enduring icon and advocate with absolute courage, who found purpose to challenge convention, shatter stigma, and advance the simple truth that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. (Read profile.)
     (*medal awarded separately in September 2022, during a White House event, “A Night When Hope and History Rhyme.”)

The Award Ceremony is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. D.C., time.


President Biden has tweeted…

It’s 1 tweet so far for Tuesday…

White House fact-sheet from 02/27/2023:

Over 16 million households now saving $500 million per month, thanks to the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
 
Vice President announces over $175 million for Minority Serving institutions to connect more young Americans with affordable, high-speed internet
 

High-speed internet has become an essential tool to access education, healthcare, and work. Still, too many are left without high-speed internet because of lacking infrastructure, costs or the lack of skills to utilize the technology. This is particularly notable in communities of color, rural communities and among older Americans where the lack of affordable, reliable high-speed internet is compounding economic, health and other disparities.
 
That’s why President Biden and Vice President Harris worked with Democrats, Republicans, and Independents to include a record $65 billion in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to expand “Internet for All” — so that everyone in America has access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet. The Administration also secured critical funding for affordable high-speed internet in the American Rescue Plan and general appropriations laws. The Administration’s efforts are centered around three principles—access, affordability and equity.  Across the laws, Internet for All programs will build high-speed internet infrastructure, teach digital skills, and provide necessary technology to ensure that everyone in America has the access and skills they need to fully participate in today’s society. 
 
Today in South Carolina, Vice President Harris is highlighting the impact of these investments to date, while announcing new milestones in the effort to increase access to affordable, reliable, high-speed internet and close the digital divide including:

White House.gov. 02/27/2023.
  • The Affordable Connectivity Program’s (ACP) enrollment is now up 40% since President Biden and Vice President Harris launched GetInternet.gov;
  • Consumers are now saving over $500M per month as a result of the ACP;
  • The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is announcing more than $175 million to 61 Minority Serving Institutions for internet access, equipment, and training; and,
  • NTIA is committing to an intentional HBCU engagement strategy to ensure these institutions find applicable resources to connect their campuses and communities.

Lowering Costs

Approximately 1 in 5 Americans who do not use the internet cite cost as the key factor.  These consumers are more likely to have school aged kids, make under $25,000 per year and identify as a person of color.  Since so much of our society has moved online, this discrepancy can continue to exacerbate other inequalities. The Affordable Connectivity Program is designed to help close this divide.
 
The Affordable Connectivity Program, authorized by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, is a key part of the Administration’s Internet for All initiative and the largest internet affordability program in our nation’s history. Experts estimate that as many as 48 million households—or nearly 40% of households in the country—qualify for the ACP.
 
The Affordable Connectivity Program, administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), provides eligible households up to $30/month (or $75/month on qualifying Tribal lands) off internet bills, as well as a one-time discount of up to $100 off a laptop, desktop computer or tablet. To further lower costs, in May 2022, President Biden and Vice President Harris announced commitments from internet service providers across the country to offer high-speed plans that are fully covered by the Affordable Connectivity Program—meaning millions of working families can now get high-speed internet without paying a dime. They simultaneously launched GetInternet.gov—a one-stop shop to check eligibility and sign up.
 
In July 2022, the Vice President made a call to action to states and federal agencies to help spread the word about the Affordable Connectivity Program.  This call to action led to tens of millions of text messages, emails, letters and flyers sent directly to consumers to inform them about this opportunity.  
 
Today, Vice President Harris is announcing another milestone in this program.  The Affordable Connectivity Program is now reaching over 16 million households, saving Americans over half-a-billion dollars per month.  This is a 40% increase since the announcement of GetInternet.gov.
 

Centering Equity in Access
 
For consumers who do not cite affordability as an impediment to access there could be other factors such as, a shortage of modern infrastructure in their area, unavailability of devices or a lack of support to gain digital skills.  That’s why the Biden-Harris Administration’s “Internet for All” initiative is taking a holistic approach to closing the digital divide.
 
The Biden-Harris Administration believes that a strong economy is an equitable economy and today’s economy is online. Closing the digital divide will allow Americans to access the resources they need and strengthen the U.S. economy to compete in the 21st Century.

White House.gov. 02/27/2023.
  • American Rescue Plan: For over 20 years, now we have had a digital divide in this country – and the pandemic further accentuated the problem. President Biden responded with the American Rescue Plan to provide the immediate support communities needed to increase access during the pandemic. Nationally, the American Rescue Plan has provided more than $25 billion for high-speed internet infrastructure and adoption. 
  • Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: Last summer, every state and territory signed-on to the “Internet for All” initiative, agreeing to participate in the Digital Equity and Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) programs funded through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and implemented by the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). NTIA is on track to announce allocations for the BEAD program by June 30th 2023. This program is the largest single tranche of funding and will provide nearly $42 billion nationwide.

To ensure funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is utilized to connect those who need it most, the Biden-Harris Administration recently announced funding for $53 million in state planning funds for digital equity.  With this investment, every state, DC and Puerto Rico will produce a digital equity plan to enhance adoption and use of the internet across covered populations in their state.  These plans are intended to support the creation of community-centric solutions, including partnerships with community organizations and anchor institutions.
 
Today’s announcement helps kick-off this work, providing over $175 million to 61 Minority Serving Institutions.  These grants funded through the Department of Commerce’s Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program will help schools fund enhancements to high-speed internet infrastructure, purchase equipment, devices and software, and provide digital skills training and upskilling for IT staff. Minority Serving Institutions serve as centers of academic excellence all across the country and serve as a catalyst to develop leaders for our nation.  Today’s, announcement is an investment in those students.  
 
To ensure that HBCU’s are fully included and utilized in the process to expand affordable high-speed internet across the country, the Biden-Harris Administration is committing to an intentional HBCU engagement strategy. This strategy recognizes that while these institutions are critical anchors that deliver outsized impacts, they often reside in communities that have long faced a disproportionate lack of access.  This commitment will provide each HBCU with direct contact to a Federal Program Officer within their state that will help these institutions find applicable resources to execute their own programs, participate in the state-wide high-speed internet and digital equity planning programs, and help facilitate the promotion of the ACP on campus and within their communities.
 
The Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All Initiative will ensure that every American has access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet. For more information about how the Biden-Harris Administration is working to connect everyone in America please visit www.internetforall.gov.  To sign-up for the Affordable Connectivity Program, please visit www.getinternet.gov.

White House.gov. 02/27/2023.

When the post was posted for Monday, President Biden had tweeted 1 time. He added 10 tweets giving him a Monday Tweeting Total of 11 tweets and 0 retweets.

The video snip is 21 seconds long.

President Biden: I just signed this veto because the legislation passed by the Congress would put at risk the retirement savings of individuals across the country. They couldn’t take into consideration investments that would be impacted by climate, impacted by overpaying executives. And that’s why I decided to veto it. It makes sense to veto it.

The White House posted the following Message to the House of Representatives — President’s Veto of H.J. Res 30:

TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

     I am returning herewith without my approval H.J. Res. 30, a resolution that would disapprove of the Department of Labor’s final rule titled “Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights.”

     The Department of Labor’s final rule protects the hard‑earned life savings and pensions of tens of millions of workers and retirees across the country.  It allows retirement plan fiduciaries to make fully informed investment decisions by considering all relevant factors that might impact a prospective investment, while ensuring that investment decisions made by retirement plan fiduciaries maximize financial returns for retirees.

     There is extensive evidence showing that environmental, social, and governance factors can have a material impact on markets, industries, and businesses.  But the Republican-led resolution would force retirement managers to ignore these relevant risk factors, disregarding the principles of free markets and jeopardizing the life savings of working families and retirees.  In fact, this resolution would prevent retirement plan fiduciaries from taking into account factors, such as the physical risks of climate change and poor corporate governance, that could affect investment returns. 

     Retirement plan fiduciaries should be able to consider any factor that maximizes financial returns for retirees across the country.  That is not controversial — that is common sense.

     Therefore, I am vetoing this resolution.

White House.gov. 03/20/2023.

From Congress.gov:

H.J.Res.30Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to “Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights”. summary:

This joint resolution nullifies a Department of Labor rule concerning the fiduciary duties with respect to employee benefit plans.

Under the rule issued on December 1, 2022, plan fiduciaries may consider climate change and other environmental, social, and governance factors when they make investment decisions and when they exercise shareholder rights, including voting on shareholder resolutions and board nominations.

Congress.gov. 02/07/2023.

Actions:

DateActions Overview
03/20/2023Vetoed by President.
03/09/2023Presented to President.
03/01/2023Passed/agreed to in Senate: Passed Senate without amendment by Yea-Nay Vote. 50 – 46. Record Vote Number: 35.
02/28/2023Passed/agreed to in House: On passage Passed by the Yeas and Nays: 216 – 204 (Roll no. 124).(text: CR H932)
02/07/2023Introduced in House

Federal Register.gov posted the following summary on the “Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights”:

The Department of Labor (Department) is adopting amendments to the Investment Duties regulation under Title I of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA). The amendments clarify the application of ERISA’s fiduciary duties of prudence and loyalty to selecting investments and investment courses of action, including selecting qualified default investment alternatives, exercising shareholder rights, such as proxy voting, and the use of written proxy voting policies and guidelines. The amendments reverse and modify certain amendments to the Investment Duties regulation adopted in 2020.

Federal Register.gov. 12/01/2022.

The YouTube is 33 minutes and 30 seconds long. Their full remarks can be found here.

President Biden: It’s a celebration that’s been a millennium in the making, observed by millions of people around the world this very day, and the roots in anci- — in ancie- — in ancient Persia.  You know, one that was carried on by people and in the gardens of Shiraz, the mountains of Kabul and Erbil, in the shores of Baku and beyond, most of which I’ve got a chance to visit — but I got to — get to come home too.  (Laughter.)  And one that has always been honored anew by diverse diaspora in communities across the United States, including all of you. You know, folks, it’s the start of a new year that reminds us of hope and what that lies ahead from these darkest times so many have been through.

President Biden: Good afternoon, everyone.  As we celebrate new beginnings, Jill and I, along with Kamala and Doug, are honored to host a new national tradition — and I say a “new national tradition” — the first Nowruz reception on this scale ever held in the White House.  And you’re evidence of it.  (Applause.)


Check out:

Bipartisan Infrastructure Act.
Inflation Reduction Act.
CHIPS and Science Act.
White House.gov/The Record.
The 184 searchable PDF Budget.


The cast of Ted Lasso visited the White House today to speak with the President and First Lady on the importance of mental health. Before meeting with the President and First Lady the cast joined Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre during her White House press briefing.

Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso):

Yeah, I didn’t — I truly did not know it was going to be this when — on the way here — (laughter) — until we were out here.  And so, thank you for taking an interest.

And I know you’re here for bigger reasons than us, but I just want to say that on behalf of myself, everyone here with me today and the numerous other folks that — that it takes to make our show, “Ted Lasso,” it is sincerely an honor to visit the White House and to have the opportunity to speak to the President and to the First Lady about the importance of mental health.
 
So, like, no matter who you are, no matter where you live, no matter who you voted for, we all — probably, I assume — we all know someone who has — or have been that someone ourselves, actually — that’s struggled, that’s felt isolated, that’s felt anxious, that has felt alone.  Right?
 
And it’s actually one of the many things that, believe it or not, that we all have in common as human beings, right?
 
And so, that means that we — it’s something that we can all, you know, and should talk about with one another when we’re feeling that way or when we recognize that in someone feeling that way. 
 
So, please, you know, we encourage everyone — and it’s a big theme of the show — is, like, to check in with your — you know, your neighbor, your coworker, your friends, your family, and ask how they’re doing and listen sincerely.  You know?  I mean, you all ask questions for a living, but you also listen for a living.  So, you know, who am I preaching to?  The choir, that is.  Okay?  (Laughter.) 
 
And look — and while — look, while it’s easier said than done, I — we also have to know that we shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help ourselves.  And that does take a lot, especially when it’s something that has such a negative stigma to it, such as mental health.  And it doesn’t need to be that way.
 
And if you can ask for that help from a professional, fantastic.  If it needs to be a loved one, equally as good in a lot of ways, because it’s — sometimes you just need to let that pressure — that pressure valve release.
 
The President is working on, and his — and his own team — although his team is real; our team is make-believe.  (Laughter.)  Don’t think I don’t know that.  Despite what the people that FIFA and EA will tell you, we are actually a make-believe team.  (Laughter.) 
 
But, you know, they’re working very hard to make sure that the — that — you know, that option is available to as many Americans as possible.
 
Now, look, I know in this town a lot of folks don’t always agree — right? — and don’t always feel heard, seen, listened to.  Yes?  But I truly believe that we should all do our best to help take care of each other.  That’s my own personal belief.  I think that’s something that everybody up here on stage believes in.  That’s things we talk about in the writers’ room and we talk about in the editing room and everything in between.
 
And just like — you know, you just want to emulate, you know, these make-believe folks that we all play at AFC Richmond and the way they take care of one another.  That is the wish fulfillment of the show, aside from me playing coach and these guys being professional footballers.  You know, that’s like — you know, that’s — that’s — that’s a big part of the show.  (Laughter.)
 
Now, I — I can’t help but take this opportunity to take at least one question.  So, please, yeah.

White House.gov. 03/20/2023.

The question came from Trent Crimm fake journalist:


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