Biden Bits: “Are Coming Back”…

Biden Tweets Logo. Image by Lenny Ghoul.

It’s Monday…

President Biden’s public schedule for 01/22/2024:

6:20 AMSupplemental Pool Call Time
Stakeout Location
9:00 AM
Presidential Daily Brief
The President receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
Closed Press
9:15 AMOut-of-Town Pool Call Time
Out-of-Town Pool
10:00 AMIn-Town Pool Call Time
In-Town Pool
10:15 AM
Left Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
The President departs Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Out-of-Town Pool
11:10 AMOfficial ScheduleThe President arrives at the White House
State Dining Room In-House Pool
*1:00 PM
Press Briefing
Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby, and Director of the White House Gender Policy Council Jennifer Klein
*2:15 PM
Convenes a Meeting
The President convenes a meeting of his Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access to mark the 51st anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision

*the last two scheduled items were copied from Forth.News*

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, John Kirby, and Jennifer Klein @1:00 p.m. D.C., time:


Student Debt Relief Tweet

From Friday…

From the Department of Education…

01/19/2024:

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Additional $4.9 Billion in Approved Student Debt Relief

The Biden-Harris Administration announced today the approval of $4.9 billion in additional student loan debt relief for 73,600 borrowers. These discharges are the result of fixes made by the Administration to income-driven repayment (IDR) forgiveness and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).

Today’s announcement brings the total loan forgiveness approved by the Biden-Harris Administration to $136.6 billion for more than 3.7 million Americans.

“The Biden-Harris Administration has worked relentlessly to fix our country’s broken student loan system and address the needless hurdles and administrative inaccuracies that, in the past, kept borrowers from getting the student debt forgiveness they deserved,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “The nearly $5 billion in additional debt relief announced today will go to teachers, social workers, and other public servants whose service to our communities have earned them Public Service Loan Forgiveness, as well as borrowers qualifying for income-driven repayment forgiveness because their payments are for the first time being accurately accounted for. Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, we’re approving this loan forgiveness while moving full speed ahead in our efforts to deliver even greater debt relief, and help more borrowers get on a faster track to loan forgiveness under our new, affordable SAVE repayment plan.”

The debt relief announced today is broken down into the following categories:

ED.gov. 01/19/2024.
  • $1.7 billion for 29,700 borrowers through administrative adjustments to IDR payment counts that have brought borrowers closer to forgiveness and address longstanding concerns with the misuse of forbearance by loan servicers. Including today’s announcement, the Biden-Harris Administration has now approved $45.7 billion in IDR relief for 930,500 borrowers.
  • $3.2 billion for 43,900 borrowers through PSLF. This includes borrowers who have benefitted from the Biden-Harris Administration’s limited PSLF waiver as well as regulatory improvements made to the program by the Administration. Total relief through PSLF is now $56.7 billion for 793,400 borrowers since October 2021. Prior to the Biden-Harris Administration’s fixes to PSLF, only about 7,000 borrowers had ever received forgiveness.

“Today we are helping borrowers who were promised help with their loans, planned their lives around those promises, and earned forgiveness through years of payments.” said U.S. Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal. “The Biden-Harris Administration is not going to stop until we’ve helped all of those harmed by the broken student loan system.”

ED.gov. 01/19/2024.

Continued debt relief for borrowers

The Biden-Harris Administration last week announced that the U.S. Department of Education (Department) is fast-tracking additional loan forgiveness through early implementation of the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan. Borrowers who originally took out $12,000 or less for college and are enrolled in the SAVE Plan will see forgiveness after as few as 10 years of payments. Those who are enrolled in SAVE and are eligible for early forgiveness will have their debts automatically cancelled starting next month, months ahead of schedule, with no action needed.

The Department began communications with borrowers who may be eligible but are not already enrolled in SAVE to encourage them to sign up. The Department is also working with its partners through the SAVE on Student Debt campaign to reach eligible borrowers and provide resources to sign up for SAVE.

Borrowers can find additional resources at StudentAid.gov and sign up for the SAVE plan at StudentAid.gov/save.

ED.gov. 01/19/2024.

An unparalleled track record of borrower assistance

The Biden-Harris Administration has taken historic steps to reduce the burden of student debt and ensure that student loans are not a barrier to opportunity for students and families. The Administration secured the largest increase to Pell Grants in a decade and finalized new rules to protect borrowers from career programs that leave graduates with unaffordable debts or insufficient earnings. And, in the wake of the Supreme Court decision on the Administration’s original student debt relief plan, the Administration continues its work to pursue an alternative path to debt relief through negotiated rulemaking under the Higher Education Act.

Beyond the relief under IDR and PSLF, the Biden-Harris Administration has also approved:

ED.gov. 01/19/2024.
  • $11.7 billion for almost 513,000 borrowers with a total and permanent disability.
  • $22.5 billion for more than 1.3 million borrowers who were cheated by their schools, saw their institutions precipitously close, or are covered by related court settlements.

President Biden’s full statement:

Today, my Administration approved debt cancellation for another 74,000 student loan borrowers across the country, bringing the total number of people who have gotten their debt cancelled under my Administration to over 3.7 million Americans through various actions. 

Of the 74,000 borrowers approved for relief today, nearly 44,000 of them are teachers, nurses, firefighters and other individuals who earned forgiveness after 10 years of public service, and close to 30,000 of them are people who have been in repayment for at least 20 years but never got the relief they earned through income-driven repayment plans. My Administration is able to deliver relief to these borrowers – and millions more – because of fixes we made to broken student loan programs that were preventing borrowers from getting relief they were entitled to under the law.

Today’s announcement comes on top of all we’ve been able to achieve for students and student loan borrowers in the past few years.  This includes: achieving the largest increases in Pell Grants in over a decade to help families who earn less than roughly $60,000 a year; fixing the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program so that borrowers who go into public service get the debt relief they’re entitled to under the law; and creating the most generous Income-Driven Repayment plan in history – the SAVE plan.  Borrowers can go to studentaid.gov to apply. And, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision on our student debt relief plan, we are continuing to pursue an alternative path to deliver student debt relief to as many borrowers as possible as quickly as possible.

From Day One of my Administration, I vowed to improve the student loan system so that a higher education provides Americans with opportunity and prosperity – not unmanageable burdens of student loan debt.  I won’t back down from using every tool at our disposal to get student loan borrowers the relief they need to reach their dreams. 

White House.gov. 01/19/2024.

Overdraft Fees Tweet

From Friday…

From the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)…

01/17/2024:

From the White House…

01/17/2024:


Welcomes Mayors Tweets

From Friday…

The YouTube is 54 minutes and 53 seconds long. His full remarks can be found here.

Mayors get the job done.  And I’m not being fa- — I’m not just being solicitous.  Those of you who’ve known me for a long time know that’s been my view from the time I got here as a United States senator.

White House.gov. 01/19/2024.

Places like Allentown, once left behind, are now coming back.  I mean, for real.  The folks I met in your cities and towns — (applause) — the folks I met in your cities and towns are a big reason why I’ve never been more optimistic about our nation’s future. 

White House.gov. 01/19/2024.

Had a Call Tweet

From Friday…

Readout of President Joe Biden’s Call with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke this morning with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.  The President and Prime Minister discussed ongoing efforts to secure the release of all remaining hostages held by Hamas.  The President and the Prime Minister reviewed the situation in Gaza and the shift to targeted operations that will enable the flow of increasing amounts of humanitarian assistance while keeping the military pressure on Hamas and its leaders.  The President welcomed the decision from the Government of Israel to permit the shipment of flour for the Palestinian people directly through Ashdod port while our teams separately work on options for more direct maritime delivery of assistance into Gaza.  The President also discussed the recent progress in ensuring the Palestinian Authority’s revenues are available to pay salaries, including for the Palestinian Security Forces in the West Bank.  The President discussed Israel’s responsibility even as it maintains military pressure on Hamas and its leaders to reduce civilian harm and protect the innocent.  The President also discussed his vision for a more durable peace and security for Israel fully integrated within the region and a two state-solution with Israel’s security guaranteed. 

White House.gov. 01/19/2024.

NBC News live updates on Israel:

  • Talks over the release of hostages in Gaza remain at an impasse over Hamas’ demand for a permanent cease-fire, a diplomat with knowledge of the talks told NBC News. The U.S., Qatar and Egypt continue to push for an agreement, with the White House’s Middle East envoy, Brett McGurk, traveling to the region this week.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today told hostages’ families that there was “no real proposal” from Hamas for a deal to secure the release of their loved ones. His comments came after a group of relatives stormed a parliamentary committee session at Israel’s Knesset to demand more action. Netanyahu is also facing pressure from members of his own war Cabinet to agree to a deal.

Earlier today they reported:

A group of relatives of hostages held by Hamas stormed a parliamentary committee session at Israel’s Knesset today and demanded that the government do more to secure the release of their loved ones.

Wearing shirts emblazoned with the words, “Bring them home now,” the group of around 20 people chanted and held posters of their loved ones after they entered the room where the finance committee was holding a discussion.

Others shouted angrily at the lawmakers in the meeting.

NBC News. 01/22/2024.

Dream Team Tweets

From Saturday…

The video clip is 2 minutes and 35 seconds long. It’s a highlight reel of the last 3 years.


Affordable Internet Tweet

From Saturday…

The video clip is 15 seconds long.

President Biden: Every American deserves access to high-speed internet. That’s why my investing in America agenda is bringing affordable, reliable, high-speed internet to everyone in America now.


Roe v. Wade Tweets

From Sunday…

The video clip is 1 minute and 40 seconds long.

President Biden: With the Dobbs decision, a 50-year constitutional right was totally erased by the Supreme Court, when it overturned Roe v. Wade.

Vice President Harris: With one decision, millions of women lost the fundamental freedom to make decision about their own health and their future.

President Biden: Our commitment to you then was that we’d never stop fighting for your reproductive rights.

Vice President Harris: And since then we have take action to protect safe, FDA-approved medication abortion. We have worked to make sure patients who have miscarriages receive the medical care they need. And we have strengthened privacy protections for patients and health care providers.

President Biden: This week, I’m proud to sign the third reproductive health care Executive Order, which strengthens access to affordable, high-quality contraception.

Vice President Harris: This Executive Order directs directs private health care plans, Medicaid, Medicare, and federally-funded health care centers to make it easier for Americans across the country to obtain the birth control they need.

President Biden: We’re also expanding family planning services and supplies across the Medicaid program. We’re ensuring robust coverage of contraception for service members, veterans, and federal employees. And we’re considering ways to improve access to affordable over-the-counter contraception.

Vice President Harris: Because access to contraception means that women can make the decisions about their own health, their lives, and their families.

President Biden: Contraception is an essential part of reproductive health care, and more important than ever as a woman’s health is under attack across the country–it’s needed.

Vice President Harris: Together, we will continue to fight to protect Americans’ reproductive freedom.

From Monday…

Statement from President Joe Biden on the 51st Anniversary of Roe v. Wade:

Fifty-one years ago today, the Supreme Court recognized a woman’s constitutional right to make deeply personal decisions with her doctor—free from the interference of politicians. Then, a year and a half ago, the Court made the extreme decision to overturn Roe and take away a constitutional right. As a result, tens of millions of women now live in states with extreme and dangerous abortion bans. Because of Republican elected officials, women’s health and lives are at risk. In states across the country, women are being turned away from emergency rooms, forced to go to court to seek permission for the medical attention they need, and made to travel hundreds of miles for health care.

Even as Americans—from Ohio to Kentucky to Michigan to Kansas to California—have resoundingly rejected attempts to limit reproductive freedom, Republican elected officials continue to push for a national ban and devastating new restrictions across the country. 

On this day and every day, Vice President Harris and I are fighting to protect women’s reproductive freedom against Republicans officials’ dangerous, extreme, and out-of-touch agenda. We stand with the vast majority of Americans who support a woman’s right to choose, and continue to call on Congress to restore the protections of Roe in federal law once and for all.

White House.gov. 01/22/2024.

FACT SHEET: White House Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access Announces New Actions and Marks the 51st Anniversary of Roe v. Wade:

Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Actions to Help Strengthen Access to Contraception, Protect Access to Medication Abortion, and Ensure Patients Receive Emergency Medical Care

Today, on what would have been the 51st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, women’s health and lives hang in the balance due to extreme state abortion bans. These dangerous state laws have caused chaos and confusion, as women are being turned away from emergency rooms, forced to travel hundreds of miles, or required to go to court to seek permission for the health care they need. In the face of the continued threats to reproductive freedom, President Biden will convene the fourth meeting of the Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access, where agencies will announce new actions to protect access to reproductive health care. The Task Force will also hear directly from physicians who are on the frontlines of the fallout from the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Also today, the Vice President is launching her nationwide Fight for Reproductive Freedoms tour to continue fighting back against extreme attacks throughout America.

During the Task Force meeting, members will report on ongoing implementation of the President’s three Executive Orders and a Presidential Memorandum on access to reproductive health care and announce new steps to:

White House.gov. 01/22/2024.
  • Strengthen Contraception Access and Affordability for Women with Private Health Insurance. The Administration is committed to ensuring that women have access to contraception—an essential component of reproductive health care that has only become more important in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade—and reducing barriers that women face in accessing contraception prescribed by their provider. The Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services (HHS) are issuing new guidance to clarify standards and support expanded coverage of a broader range of FDA-approved contraceptives at no cost under the Affordable Care Act. This action builds on the progress already made by the Affordable Care Act to expand access to affordable contraception for millions of women nationwide.
    • In addition, the Office of Personnel Management will strengthen access to contraception for federal workers, retirees, and family members by issuing guidance to insurers participating in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program that incorporates the Departments’ guidance. OPM will also newly require insurers that participate in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program to take additional steps to educate enrollees about their contraception benefits.
  • Reinforce Obligations to Cover Affordable Contraception. The Secretary of HHS is issuing a letter to private health insurers, state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs, and Medicare plans about their obligations to cover contraception for those they serve. The letter targets a wide range of payers to advance compliance with existing standards and underscore the Administration’s commitment to ensuring that women across the country can access affordable contraception. The letter also highlights recent HHS action to expand coverage and improve payment for contraceptives for Medicare beneficiaries, improving access for women with disabilities.
  • Educate Patients and Health Care Providers on Their Rights and Obligations for Emergency Medical Care. The Administration is committed to helping ensure all patients, including women who are experiencing pregnancy loss and other pregnancy-related emergencies, have access to emergency medical care required under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). The Administration has long taken the position that the required emergency care can, in some circumstances, include abortion care. The Department of Justice (DOJ) is defending that interpretation of the law before the Supreme Court, which is expected to rule by June. 
    • To increase awareness of EMTALA and improve the procedures for ensuring that patients facing all types of medical emergencies receive the care to which they are entitled, HHS is announcing today a comprehensive plan to educate all patients about their rights and to help ensure hospitals meet their obligations under federal law. This effort will include the launch of new accessible and understandable resources about rights and protections for patients under EMTALA and the process for submitting a complaint. HHS will also disseminate training materials for health care providers and establish a dedicated team of experts who will increase the Department’s capacity to support hospitals and providers across the country in complying with federal requirements—to help ensure that every patient receives the emergency medical care required under federal law.
  • Protect Access to Safe and Legal Medication Abortion. One year ago today, President Biden issued a Presidential Memorandum directing further efforts to support patients, providers, and pharmacies who wish to legally access, prescribe, or provide medication abortion—including by taking steps to safeguard their safety and security. Today, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security will report on their implementation of this Presidential Memorandum, including the resources they have disseminated to health care providers, including pharmacies, to support safe access to legal medication abortion.

Today’s announcements build on the Administration’s strong record of taking action since the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. These ongoing efforts to defend reproductive rights include:

White House.gov. 01/22/2024.

Protecting Access to Abortion, including Medication Abortion

  • Defend FDA Approval of Medication Abortion in Court.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and DOJ are defending access to mifepristone—a safe and effective drug used in medication abortion that FDA first approved more than twenty years ago—and FDA’s independent, expert judgment in court, including in a lawsuit before the Supreme Court that attempts to curtail access nationwide. The Administration will continue to stand by FDA’s decades-old approval and regulation of the medication and by FDA’s ability to review, approve, and regulate a wide range of prescription medications. Efforts to impose outdated restrictions on mifepristone would limit access to reproductive health care in every state in the country.
  • Protect Access to Safe and Legal Medication Abortion.  On what would have been the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, President Biden issued a Presidential Memorandum directing agencies to consider further efforts to protect access to medication abortion. This Presidential Memorandum was issued in the face of attacks by state officials to prevent women from accessing mifepristone and discourage pharmacies from becoming certified to dispense the medication. These attacks followed independent, evidence-based action taken by FDA to allow mifepristone to continue to be prescribed by telehealth and sent by mail as well as to enable interested pharmacies to become certified.
  • Partner with State Leaders on the Frontlines of Abortion Access.  The White House continues to partner with leaders on the frontlines of protecting access to abortion—both those fighting extreme state legislation and those advancing proactive policies to protect access to reproductive health care, including for patients who are forced to travel out of state for care. The Vice President has led these efforts, traveling to 20 states and meeting with more than 250 state legislators, health care providers, and advocates in the past year. Today, she is kicking off her nationwide Fight for Reproductive Freedoms tour in Wisconsin.
  • Ensure Access to Emergency Medical Care.  Republican elected officials in states across the country have put women’s lives at risk by banning abortion even when her doctor determines that an abortion is necessary to prevent serious health consequences. The Administration is committed to ensuring all patients, including women who are experiencing pregnancy loss and other pregnancy-related emergencies, have access to the full rights and protections for emergency medical care afforded under federal law—including abortion care when that is the stabilizing treatment required. HHS issued guidance and Secretary Becerra sent letters to providers affirming the Administration’s view that EMTALA preempts conflicting state law restricting access to abortion in emergency situations. The Department of Justice has taken action defend and enforce these protections in court, including in a case currently before the Supreme Court.
  • Provide Access to Reproductive Health Care for Veterans.  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued an interim final rule to allow VA to provide abortion counseling and, in certain circumstances, abortion care to veterans and VA beneficiaries. VA provides abortion services when the health or life of the patient would be endangered if the pregnancy were carried to term or when the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest. When working within the scope of their federal employment, VA employees may provide abortion services as authorized by federal law regardless of state restrictions. DOJ will support and provide representation to any VA providers whom states attempt to prosecute for violations of state abortion laws where those providers were appropriately carrying out their duties under VA’s interim final rule. 
  • Support Access to Care for Service Members.  The Department of Defense (DoD) has taken action to ensure that Service members and their families can access reproductive health care and that DoD health care providers can operate effectively. DoD has released policies to support Service members and their families’ ability to travel for lawful non-covered reproductive health care and to bolster Service members’ privacy and afford them the time and space needed to make personal health care decisions.
  • Defend Reproductive Rights in Court. DOJ created a Reproductive Rights Task Force, which monitors and evaluates state and local actions that threaten to infringe on federal protections relating to the provision or pursuit of reproductive health care, impair women’s ability to seek abortion care where it is legal, impair individuals’ ability to inform and counsel each other about the care that is available in other states, ban mifepristone based on disagreement with FDA’s expert judgment about its safety and efficacy, or impose criminal or civil liability on federal employees who provide legal reproductive health services in a manner authorized by federal law.

Supporting Women’s Ability to Travel for Medical Care

  • Defend the Right to Travel.  On the day of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, President Biden reaffirmed the Attorney General’s statement that women must remain free to travel safely to another state to seek the care they need. In November 2023, DOJ filed a statement of interest in two lawsuits challenging the Alabama Attorney General’s threat to prosecute people who provide assistance to women seeking lawful out-of-state abortions. DOJ explained that the threatened Alabama prosecutions infringe the constitutional right to travel and made clear that states may not punish third parties for assisting women in exercising that right. DOJ continues to monitor states’ efforts to restrict the constitutional right to travel across state lines to receive lawful health care.
  • Support Patients Traveling Out of State for Medical Care.  HHS issued a letter to U.S. governors inviting them to apply for Section 1115 waivers to expand access to care under the Medicaid program for women traveling from a state where reproductive rights are under attack and women may be denied medical care. HHS continues to encourage state leaders to consider and develop new waiver proposals that would support access to reproductive health care services.

Safeguarding Access to Contraception

  • Strengthen Access to Affordable, High-Quality Contraception.  Ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the President issued an Executive Order directing agencies to consider actions to improve access and affordability for women with private health insurance; promote increased access to over-the-counter contraception; support access to affordable contraception through Medicaid and Medicare; ensure Service members, veterans, and Federal employees are able to access contraception; bolster contraception access across Federal health programs; and support access for college students and employees. These are just some of the recent actions taken by the Biden-Harris Administration to implement this Executive Order:
    • Following FDA’s approval of the first daily oral contraceptive in the United States without a prescription, the Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and HHS issued a Request for Information to solicit public input on how to best ensure coverage and access to over-the-counter preventive services, including contraception, at no cost and without a prescription from a health care provider.
    • Vice President Harris and the Department of Education convened representatives from 68 college and university leaders in 32 states to hear promising strategies from leaders of postsecondary institutions for protecting and expanding access to contraception for their students and on campus.
    • The Gender Policy Council, Domestic Policy Council, and leaders from the Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and HHS convened private sector leaders to stress the need to continue to build on the significant progress already made under the Affordable Care Act in expanding access to contraception and call on participants to take robust additional actions to improve access.
    • The Health Resources and Services Administration proposed new data measures for federally funded health centers that, once finalized, will help ensure that patients are screened for contraception needs. Screening and data measures will help enhance the overall delivery of voluntary family planning and related services, which is a required primary health care service under federal law.
    • The Office of Personnel Management launched a public education campaign to highlight contraception benefits available to federal employees and their family members.
    • HHS is continuing its public-private partnership to expand access to contraception with Upstream, a national nonprofit organization that provides health centers with free patient-centered, evidence-based training and technical assistance to eliminate provider-level barriers to offering the full range of contraceptive options. To date, HHS has connected Upstream to nearly 100 health care clinics, resulting in partnerships that will help Upstream accelerate their national expansion to reach 5 million women of reproductive age every year.
  • Clarify Protections for Women with Private Health Insurance. Under the Affordable Care Act, most private health plans must provide coverage for contraception and family planning counseling with no out-of-pocket costs. The Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and HHS convened a meeting with health insurers and employee benefit plans. These agencies called on the industry to meet their obligations to cover contraception as required under the law. Following this conversation, these agencies issued guidance to clarify protections for contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Expand Access Under the Affordable Care Act.  The Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and HHS proposed a rule to strengthen access to contraception under the Affordable Care Act so all women with private health coverage who need and want contraception can obtain it without cost sharing. Millions of women have already benefited from this coverage, which has helped them save billions of dollars on contraception.
  • Support Title X Clinics.  Last year, HHS provided $263 million to over 4,000 Title X clinics across the country to provide a wide range of voluntary, client-centered family planning and related preventive services. The Title X Family Planning Program remains a critical part of the nation’s safety net, providing free or low-cost services for 2.6 million clients in 2022.
  • Promote Access to Contraception for Service Members and Their Families and Certain Dependents of Veterans.  To improve access to contraception at military hospitals and clinics, DoD expanded walk-in contraceptive care services for active-duty Service members and other Military Health System beneficiaries, and eliminated TRICARE copays for certain contraceptive services. And VA proposed a rule to eliminate out-of-pocket costs for certain types of contraception through the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Promoting Safety and Security of Patients, Providers, and Clinics

  • Promote Safety and Security of Patients, Providers and Clinics. DOJ continues to robustly enforce the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which protects the right to access and provide reproductive health services.

Safeguarding Privacy and Sensitive Health Information

  • Strengthen Reproductive Health Privacy under HIPAA.  HHS issued a proposed rule to strengthen privacy protections under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). As proposed, this rule would prevent an individual’s information from being disclosed to investigate, sue, or prosecute an individual, a health care provider, or a loved one simply because that person sought, obtained, provided, or facilitated legal reproductive health care, including abortion. By safeguarding sensitive information related to reproductive health care, the rule will strengthen patient-provider confidentiality and help health care providers give complete and accurate information to patients. Prior to the proposed ruleHHS issued guidance reaffirming HIPAA’s existing protections for the privacy of individuals’ protected health information.
  • Take Action Against Illegal Use and Sharing of Sensitive Health Information.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has committed to enforcing the law against illegal use and sharing of highly sensitive data, including information related to reproductive health care. Consistent with this commitment, the FTC has taken several enforcement actions against companies for disclosing consumers’ personal health information, including highly sensitive reproductive health data, without permission.
  • Help Consumers Protect Their Personal Data.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched a new guide for consumers on best practices for protecting their personal data, including geolocation data, on mobile phones. The guide follows a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued by FCC that would strengthen data breach rules to provide greater protections to personal data. Separately, HHS issued a how-to guide for consumers on steps they can take to better protect their data on personal cell phones or tablets and when using mobile health apps, like period trackers, which are generally not protected by HIPAA.
  • Protect Students’ Health Information.  ED issued guidance to over 20,000 school officials to remind them of their obligations to protect student privacy under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The guidance helps ensure that school officials—at federally funded school districts, colleges, and universities—know that, with certain exceptions, they must obtain written consent from eligible students or parents before disclosing personally identifiable information from students’ educational records, which may include student health information. The guidance encourages school officials to consider the importance of student privacy, including health privacy, with respect to disclosing student records. ED also issued a know-your-rights resource to help students understand their privacy rights for health records at school. 
  • Safeguard Patients’ Electronic Health Information.  HHS issued guidance affirming that doctors and other medical providers can take steps to protect patients’ electronic health information, including their information related to reproductive health care. HHS makes clear that patients have the right to ask that their electronic health information generally not be disclosed by a physician, hospital, or other health care provider. The guidance also reminds health care providers that HIPAA’s privacy protections apply to patients’ electronic health information.

Reinforcing Nondiscrimination Protections under Federal Law

  • Protect Students from Discrimination Based on Pregnancy.  The Department of Education (ED) released a resource for universities reiterating their responsibilities not to discriminate on the basis of pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions, including termination of pregnancy. This guidance reminds schools of their existing and long-standing obligations under Title IX.
  • Strengthen Nondiscrimination in Healthcare.  HHS issued a proposed rule to strengthen nondiscrimination in health care. The proposed rule would implement Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act and affirms protections consistent with President Biden’s Executive Orders on nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Providing Access to Accurate Information and Legal Resources

  • Ensure Easy Access to Reliable Information.  HHS launched and maintains ReproductiveRights.gov, which provides timely and accurate information on people’s right to access reproductive health care, including contraception, abortion services, and health insurance coverage, as well as how to file a patient privacy or nondiscrimination complaint. DOJ also launched justice.gov/reproductive-rights, a webpage that provides a centralized online resource on the Department’s ongoing work to protect access to reproductive health care services under federal law.
  • Hosted a Convening of Lawyers in Defense of Reproductive Rights.  DOJ and the Office of White House Counsel convened more than 200 lawyers and advocates from private firms, bar associations, legal aid organizations, reproductive rights groups, and law schools across the country for a convening of pro-bono attorneys, as directed in the first Executive Order. Following this convening, reproductive rights organizations launched the Abortion Defense Network to offer abortion-related legal defense services, including legal advice and representation.

Promote Research and Data Collection

  • Use Data to Track Impacts on Access to Care.  HHS convened leading experts to discuss the state of existing reproductive health research and what the data tells us about the impact of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, as well as the future of research on reproductive health care access. These convenings helped identify research gaps, opportunities for collaboration, and ways to bolster research efforts for both Federal agencies and external partners.

Vice President Harris Delivers Remarks to Kick Off her “Fight for Reproductive Freedoms” Tour @1:15 p.m. D.C., time:


President Biden Convenes a Meeting of his Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access @2:15 p.m. D.C., time:


Remembering Those Lost during Lunar New Year Tweets

From Sunday…

Statement from President Joe Biden Marking One Year Since Shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay:

One year ago today, during Lunar New Year celebrations in Monterey Park, California, 11 innocent people were killed in a heinous act of gun violence that struck at the heart and soul of one of the largest Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities in our nation. In mere moments, friends and families gathering together in joy and hope were devastated by a senseless, horrific mass shooting. Two days later, this tragedy was compounded by another. As we mourned with the community of Monterey Park, we learned a gunman killed seven people in Half Moon Bay, California. Jill and I continue to pray for the families of the victims and many others traumatized by these attacks.

These shootings shocked the conscience of our nation. In the weeks that followed at my State of the Union address, Jill and I were honored to host Brandon Tsay, who heroically disarmed the Monterey Park shooter and prevented further bloodshed. I also traveled to Monterey Park, where I spent hours meeting with families who lost loved ones, and announced an Executive Order containing new actions to crack down on the epidemic of gun violence tearing our country apart. We launched the first-ever White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, and my administration is implementing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act—the most meaningful gun safety legislation in nearly 30 years—which strengthens background checks, expands the use of red flag laws, improves access to mental health services for students dealing with the trauma of gun violence, and more. 

In the wake of the tragic shootings in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay, California has also taken action, passing more than 20 new gun safety laws and investing in proven solutions like gun violence intervention programs. Other states should follow their lead.

Importantly, we also need Congress to do its part. It’s long past time we banned assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, ended immunity from liability for gun manufacturers, passed a national red flag law, enacted universal background checks, and required safe storage of guns. We cannot tackle the gun violence epidemic in America while Republicans in Congress sit on their hands. 

White House.gov. 01/21/2024.

“New” from the White House…

01/19/2024:

01/20/2024:

01/22/2024:

We regret to announce that after a 10-day exhaustive search, our two missing U.S. Navy SEALs have not been located and their status has been changed to deceased. The search and rescue operation for the two Navy SEALs reported missing during the boarding of an illicit dhow carrying Iranian advanced conventional weapons Jan. 11 concluded and we are now conducting recovery operations.

During this expansive search operation, airborne and naval platforms from the U.S., Japan, and Spain continuously searched more than 21,000 square miles to locate our missing teammates. Search assistance was also provided by Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center, the U.S. Coast Guard Atlantic Area Command, University of San Diego – Scripts Institute of Oceanography, and the Office of Naval Research – Oceanographic Support. Out of respect for the families, no further information will be released at this time.

“We mourn the loss of our two Naval Special Warfare warriors, and we will forever honor their sacrifice and example. Our prayers are with the SEALs’ families, friends, the U.S. Navy, and the entire Special Operations community during this time,” said General Michael Erik Kurilla, USCENTCOM Commander.

CENTCOM.Mil. 01/21/2024.

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About Tiff 2550 Articles
Member of the Free Press who is politically homeless and a political junkie.