From the first day in office and every day since, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken decisive action to restore and strengthen American democracy, from cracking down on corruption and promoting transparency to taking critical steps to ensure the federal government works for every American — no matter what they look like or where they live. This cause will be a guiding principle throughout the President’s time in office, and that includes prioritizing the fight to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to protect the sacred right to vote in free, fair, and secure elections.

Sustaining democracy is also a shared challenge and commitment for our allies and partners overseas. Against the backdrop of a rise in authoritarianism and increasing threats to democracy around the world, President Biden is convening world leaders for a Summit for Democracy to provide an opportunity to listen, learn, and share how governments and non-governmental actors can strengthen their commitment to democratic principles and practices, and their responsiveness to the people they serve.

As President Biden made clear in his first Address to the Joint Session of Congress on April 28, 2021, “We have to prove democracy still works — that our government still works and we can deliver for our people.” Demonstrating that democracy can deliver to improve people’s lives and address the greatest challenges of our time — and that we, the people, can work together to address the threats facing our democracy — is at the heart of the Biden-Harris Administration’s plan to Build Back Better.

Last month, after working across the aisle to negotiate with Members of Congress from both parties, President Biden signed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). This once-in-a-generation investment in America’s infrastructure and competitiveness will drive the creation of good-paying union jobs, grow the economy sustainably and equitably, and shows that democracy can deliver results for the American people. President Biden continues to work with Congress to enact the Build Back Better Act, historic legislation that will cut the cost of child care and elder care, invest in affordable housing, position the U.S. to tackle the climate crisis, make health care and prescription drugs more affordable, and much more — fully paid for by ensuring the wealthiest individuals and corporations pay their fair share. These transformational pieces of legislation also make critical investments in American democracy, including:

  • Delivering Broadband Access and Digital Literacy Skills. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $65 billion to help ensure that every American has access to reliable high-speed internet, close the digital divide, and fund digital literacy initiatives to provide individuals with the skills needed to critically evaluate information online. These investments will democratize access to information, services, and opportunity while promoting information awareness and education.
  • Foster Civic Engagement and a Culture of National Service. The Build Back Better Act will create a new Civilian Climate Corps (CCC), bringing together a diverse generation of over 300,000 Americans to work together in common purpose to conserve our public lands and waters, bolster community resilience, and address the changing climate. It will provide AmeriCorps with a historic $15 billion investment to expand service opportunities and increase the living allowance and education award for all AmeriCorps members, making national service a more accessible pathway to good-paying union jobs for more Americans of all backgrounds.
  • Investing in Civic Infrastructure. The Build Back Better Act contains $3 billion to create a new Community Restoration and Revitalization Fund, which will fund community-led civic infrastructure projects to create shared amenities that spark local economic activity, provide services, and strengthen communities’ civic fabric.
  • Supporting Local Journalism. The Build Back Better Act will provide tax credits for local newsrooms to hire journalists, helping to stabilize newsroom budgets in the face of unprecedented challenges and sustaining Americans’ access to the independent journalism that informs citizens and holds the powerful accountable.

The Biden-Harris Administration firmly believes that renewing democracy around the globe begins by working diligently and transparently to strengthen its foundations at home. The Administration is taking bold action across the Summit’s three broad themes: strengthening democracy and defending against authoritarianism; fighting corruption; and promoting respect for human rights.

Strengthening Democracy and Defending Against Authoritarianism

In addition to pressing for essential legislation to protect voting rights and strengthen our democracy, the Biden-Harris Administration is using available authorities and resources to defend the right to vote. The Administration has also advanced a broad range of actions to repair the fabric of our democracy, from bolstering workers’ rights and unions, an essential bulwark of democratic societies, to combating domestic violent extremism. This work includes:

  • Ensuring Compliance with Voting Rights Laws. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has taken a variety of steps to help protect the right to vote, including doubling the number of voting rights attorneys, taking steps to ensure compliance with voting rights statutes, and issuing guidance on (1) the civil and criminal statutes that apply to post-election audits, (2) methods of voting, including early voting and voting by mail, and (3) the vote-dilution protections that apply to all jurisdictions under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act as they engage in redistricting.
  • Making it Easier for Americans to Register to Vote. Federal agencies continue to robustly implement President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Access to Voting, including among many other things:
    • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will make it easier for consumers using to connect to voter registration services and receive assistance. CMS will also work with states on improving access to voter registration.
    • The Department of Veterans Affairs will provide materials and assistance in registering and voting for tens of thousands of inpatients and residents, including VA Medical Center inpatients and residents of VA nursing homes and treatment centers for homeless veterans.  The Department will also facilitate assistance in registering and voting for homebound veterans and their caregivers through VA’s home-based and telehealth teams. 
    • The U.S. Small Business Administration became the first federal agency to request designation as a voter registration agency pursuant to the National Voter Registration Act, committing to offer Americans seeking services at the agency’s District Field Offices the opportunity to register to vote.
  • Combating Misinformation and Disinformation. Today, the White House announced that an interagency Information Integrity Research and Development Working Group will develop and release a first-of-its-kind strategic plan concerning government-wide research and development to better understand the full information ecosystem; design strategies for preserving information integrity and mitigating the effects of information manipulation, including mis- and disinformation; support information awareness and education; and foster a multi-disciplinary and collaborative research environment.

Fighting Corruption

Since Day One, the administration has worked to earn and keep the trust of Americans by cracking down on corruption and promoting an accountable and transparent government that works for the people, from  requiring all appointees to take a stringent ethics pledge, to releasing the President’s and Vice-President’s taxes, to issuing policies to restore DOJ’s independence. In addition to the steps we’ve already taken, this week we will be highlighting actions including:

  • Developing a Strategy on Countering Corruption. The Biden-Harris Administration released the first-ever United States Strategy on Countering Corruption, outlining a whole-of-government approach to elevating the fight against corruption both at home and abroad. The Strategy includes the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) publishing proposed regulations requiring companies to identify to FinCEN the real people who own or control them, making it harder for criminals to launder illicit proceeds through shell companies. The Strategy also commits FinCEN to launching a regulatory process for potential new reporting and recordkeeping requirements to increase transparency in real estate transactions, diminishing the ability of corrupt actors to launder ill-gotten proceeds through real estate purchases.
  • Restoring Ethics, Transparency, and the Rule of Law. The Administration will continue working with Congress to restore democratic guardrails to prevent future abuses of presidential power and curtail corruption, with legislation that is consistent with our constitutional principles and that appropriately addresses the balance of powers between the three branches of our federal government. In doing so, the Administration will work to ensure that no branch is able to abuse its authority or undermine a co-equal branch’s constitutional prerogatives, no matter who is in power.

Promoting Respect for Human Rights

The Biden-Harris Administration has centered equity and the advancement of fundamental rights as a priority to ensure that all Americans are able to fully participate in our democracy and have a fair shot at the American dream. The Administration has worked to embed equity across many fronts, including taking concrete steps to advance gender equality; accelerate LGBTQI+ equality; expand access and inclusion for Americans with disabilities; support and respect Native communities; combat hate crimes; and reform our criminal justice system. In addition to all of the work that has happened over the past year, this week we are proud to highlight new announcements including:

  • Combating Human Trafficking. In a new National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, the Biden-Harris Administration is reaffirming its commitment to addressing this abhorrent crime, which disproportionately impacts some of the most vulnerable and underserved members of our society. The plan lays out foundational pillars of U.S. and global anti-trafficking efforts  prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships.
  • Closing the Racial Wealth Gap. The Biden-Harris Administration — the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world — recently announced new reforms to the federal procurement process that will increase equity, help close the racial wealth gap, and level the playing field for underserved small businesses. The President is delivering on his goal of increasing the share of federal procurement dollars to small disadvantaged businesses, which Black-owned, Latino-owned, and other minority-owned businesses are presumed to qualify, by 50 percent by 2025. This ambitious target will mean an additional $100 billion for underserved small businesses over the next five years.
  • Promoting Equality for Transgender and Gender Diverse Americans. Building on the State Department’s announcement that it will offer a third gender marker on U.S. passports, the White House is convening an interagency policy committee to advance a coordinated federal approach to expanding access to accurate and inclusive federal identity documents for transgender and gender diverse people.

Democracy is always a work-in-progress, a constant striving to build a more perfect union. Following the Summit, the Biden-Harris Administration and democracies across the globe will convene governmental, civil society, and private sector partners during a year of consultation, coordination, and action (“Year of Action”) to advance democracy, after which time President Biden intends to again gather world leaders to showcase our collective progress and forge a path forward. The Biden-Harris Administration will continue its steadfast work to strengthen democracy, with additional actions and commitments to be announced throughout the year to come.

The Biden-Harris Administration’s record of accomplishments and ongoing efforts to restore and reinvigorate American democracy includes:

Strengthening Democracy

Protecting the Sacred Right to Vote in Free, Fair, and Secure Elections. The Biden-Harris Administration will continue to prioritize the unrelenting fight for federal democracy reform legislation — including the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act — to establish national baselines for access to the ballot box, prevent discrimination in voting, curtail extreme partisan gerrymandering, secure our elections and ensure the will of the voters is upheld, reform our campaign finance system so that it is free from foreign interference and amplifies the voices of the people rather than powerful special interests, and establish Washington, D.C. as our Union’s 51st state. And President Biden will use every tool at his disposal to protect the fundamental right to vote, the right that protects all other rights.

  • Promoting Access to Voting. In March, the President issued an Executive Order on Promoting Access to Voting, launching a first-of-its-kind effort to expand access to voter registration and election information. Agencies across the federal government have announced initial steps they are taking to respond to the President’s call for a whole-of-government effort to enhance the ability of all eligible Americans to participate in our democracy. These steps will benefit all Americans, but will particularly increase access for a range of underserved communities, including voters who are younger and older, rural and urban; new citizens; servicemembers and veterans; Native Americans; voters with disabilities; voters with language access concerns; and voters in federal custody. The ongoing work to implement the Executive Order includes the following initial commitments:
  • The Department of Defense will support a comprehensive approach to information and voting awareness for servicemembers and civilian personnel voting at home, in addition to the structure currently assisting members of the military stationed away from home and citizens overseas. The Department will develop materials in additional languages and send nonpartisan information at regular intervals before federal elections to ensure that eligible servicemembers and their families — particularly first-time voters — have opportunities to register and vote if they wish.
    • The Department of Defense will support a comprehensive approach to information and voting awareness for servicemembers and civilian personnel voting at home, in addition to the structure currently assisting members of the military stationed away from home and citizens overseas. The Department will develop materials in additional languages and send nonpartisan information at regular intervals before federal elections to ensure that eligible servicemembers and their families — particularly first-time voters — have opportunities to register and vote if they wish.
    • The Department of Education will prepare a toolkit of resources and strategies for increasing civic engagement at the elementary school, secondary school, and higher education level, to help more than 67 million students — and their families — learn about civic opportunities and responsibilities. The Department will also remind educational institutions of their existing obligations and encourage institutions to identify further opportunities to assist eligible students with voter registration.
    • The General Services Administration will ensure is a user-friendly portal for Americans to find the information they need most to register and vote.  When available in over ten languages and in a format accessible for voters with disabilities, will make it easier for eligible users to register to vote or confirm their registration status.  Agencies across the federal government will link to to encourage Americans to participate in the electoral process. 
    • The Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living will launch a new voting access hub to connect older adults and people with disabilities to information, tools and resources to help them understand and exercise their right to vote. The Indian Health Service will offer its patients assistance with voter registration. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will make it easier for consumers using to connect to voter registration services and receive assistance. CMS will also work with states on improving access to voter registration.
    • The Department of Justice has created an online resource for the public that will provide links to state-specific information about registering and voting; detail the Department’s enforcement of federal voting rights laws and guidance it has issued to jurisdictions on the scope of those laws; and explain how to report potential violations. The Department will also provide information about voting to individuals in federal custody, facilitate voting by those who remain eligible to do so while in federal custody, and educate individuals before reentry about voting rules and voting rights in their states. And after the Census Bureau determines localities with specific responsibilities for language access, the Department will send letters to every covered jurisdiction and conduct outreach to each newly covered jurisdiction to facilitate compliance.
    • The Department of the Interior will disseminate information on registering and voting, including through on-site events, at schools operated by the Bureau of Indian Education and Tribal Colleges and Universities, serving about 30,000 students.  The Department will also, where possible, offer Tribal College and University campuses for designation by states as voter registration agencies under the National Voter Registration Act.
    • The Department of Labor will issue guidance encouraging states to designate the more than 2,400 American Job Centers, which provide employment, training, and career services to workers in every state, as voter registration agencies under the National Voter Registration Act. The Department of Labor will continue to require Job Corps centers to implement procedures for enrollees to vote, and where local law and leases permit, encourage Job Corps centers to serve as polling precincts.  The Department will also provide guidance that grantees can use federal workforce development funding, where consistent with program authority, to conduct nonpartisan voter registration efforts with participants.
    • The U.S. Small Business Administration became the first federal agency to request designation as a voter registration agency pursuant to the National Voter Registration Act, committing to offer Americans seeking services at the agency’s District Field Offices the opportunity to register to vote.
    • The Department of Veterans Affairs will provide materials and assistance in registering and voting for tens of thousands of inpatients and residents, including VA Medical Center inpatients and residents of VA nursing homes and treatment centers for homeless veterans. The Department will also facilitate assistance in registering and voting for homebound veterans and their caregivers through VA’s home-based and telehealth teams
  • Collaborating with and Listening to Voting Rights Stakeholders. Vice President Harris has brought together a broad coalition of voting rights stakeholders to listen and learn from one another on how to navigate attacks on voting rights and how to work toward passage of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Vice President Harris has held listening sessions in South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Virginia. She has brought together leaders from Black communities, Latino communities, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, Native American and Tribal communities, voters with disabilities, youth, poll workers and election officials, and democracy advocacy groups, among others.
  • Promoting Native American Voting Rights. President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Access to Voting also created a Native American Voting Rights Steering Group and directed the Steering Group to engage in meaningful and robust consultation with Tribal Nations and Native leaders to inform a report on the status of Native American voting rights. The Steering Group has held six consultations across the country with Tribal leaders and Tribal voting rights advocates, and an additional listening session with Native Hawaiians, to inform the drafting of a final report and recommendations. The Executive Order also directed that federal websites with voting information and opportunities to register be translated into Native American languages.
  • Protecting Election Workers. In July, DOJ announced the launch of a law enforcement task force that includes the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to combat the increase of threats against election officials and election workers. In addition to receiving and assessing allegations and reports of threats against election workers, the task force will equip election officials with guidance, training, and other resources to help them identify and report threats against themselves and their fellow election workers.
  • Ensuring Secure and Reliable Elections. Democracy thrives when the infrastructure of democracy is strong. The President’s FY22 Budget contains $100 million in Help America Vote Act (HAVA) grants to support the administration and security of our elections, the first time a president included funds for elections in a budget in over a decade. The Biden-Harris Administration will ensure transparency and clarity on the federal government’s roles and responsibilities in ensuring smooth elections, and strengthen efforts to provide state and local election officials with the support and resources they need.
  • Defending Against Foreign Interference. President Biden extended the national emergency with respect to foreign interference in or undermining confidence in United States elections, preserving the ability to impose sanctions on foreign actors who meddle in U.S. elections. The Administration also held Russian and Iranian actors accountable for attempting to interfere in the 2020 U.S. elections. The Department of Treasury sanctioned Russian and Iranian actors for attempting to interfere in the 2020 U.S. elections.

Galvanizing Civic Engagement.  President Biden believes that there is not a single thing “We the People” cannot accomplish when we work together. Yet toxic polarization is increasing across society and Americans’ trust in institutions and in one another is decreasing. The Biden-Harris Administration is taking action to support Americans’ ability to fully participate in civic life, foster a shared sense of community, and empower people to strengthen our democracy from the ground up.

  • Supporting National Service and Volunteerism. The Administration is investing in national service and volunteer programs to bring together people from different backgrounds to serve their communities and country in common purpose, harnessing the power of civic engagement to tackle some of our nation’s most pressing challenges. The President’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) provided $1 billion to make service opportunities more accessible to all Americans.
  • Supported by an additional $400 million in ARP funds, the Administration launched Public Health AmeriCorps in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This new program will develop a new generation of public health leaders who are ready to respond to the needs of the nation by providing public health service, particularly within underserved communities.
  • The President issued an Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad that directed the creation of a new Civilian Climate Corps (CCC) to mobilize Americans to address climate change adaptation, resiliency, and mitigation. As highlighted above, the Build Back Better Act will provide a historic $15 billion to fund the creation of the CCC and expand service opportunities and increase the living allowance and education award for all AmeriCorps members.
  • Promoting Civics Education. President Biden believes that all Americans should be afforded the opportunity to learn our nation’s rich history — including both our triumphs and the times at which we have failed to live up to our founding ideals — and build the skills required to fully participate in civic life and engage in the democratic process. In March, the Educating for American Democracy initiative, a diverse and cross-ideological collaboration of scholars and educators supported by an award from Department of Education and National Endowment for Humanities (NEH), released a roadmap for educators’ use in teaching history and civics and provided guidance regarding funding available to support these efforts. The Department has committed to releasing additional resources for improving civics education and fostering civic engagement at the K–12 and higher education levels. Moreover, throughout the Year of Action, the National Endowment for Humanities’ More Perfect Union project will provide funding to support civics programming in all 56 states and jurisdictions.

Strengthening Democracy by Advancing Workers’ Rights to Organize and Bargain Collectively. As President Biden said in his September 8, 2021, Labor Day Address, “[w]orkers who join unions gain power — power over the decisions and the decision-makers that affect their lives. Workers’ voices are heard and heeded. In a simple word, a union means there is democracy. Democracy. Organizing, joining a union — that’s democracy in action.”  Independent and democratically responsive unions are an essential bulwark of democracies: They are multi-racial organizations that build solidarity around their members’ shared interests and elect leadership from their own ranks to give workers a voice in their workplaces, their communities, and their nation’s political debates, serving as counter-weights to the economic and political power of Wall Street and large corporations.

  • Restoring and Expanding the Effective Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively. President Biden has consistently called on Congress to pass the Richard L. Trumka Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act and the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act. These bills would ensure more private-sector workers and many more public-sector workers nationwide have a genuine right to organize and bargain collectively. President Biden has endorsed several proposals to expand labor rights to more workers, especially workers of color, women, and immigrants. These include guaranteeing labor rights to farmworkers and domestic workers—two segments of the labor force excluded from the protections of the National Labor Relations Act. For example, the National Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, which Vice President Harris championed in the Senate and the President has endorsed, would expand federal labor law to domestic workers and create a new wage and standards board for regulating working conditions in the sector.
  • Identifying Executive Actions to Increase Worker Organizing and Empowerment. In April, President Biden issued an Executive Order establishing the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment, led by Vice President Harris and Secretary of Labor Walsh. This first-of-its-kind government-wide initiative will issue recommendations to mobilize the federal government’s policies, programs, and practices to empower workers to organize and successfully bargain with their employers, including removing barriers to union organizing in the federal workplace and with respect to federal contractors. And in October, consistent with the Executive Order and a recommendation of the Task Force, the Office of Personnel Management issued two pieces of guidance highlighting bargaining unit employee rights for federal workers.
  • Restoring Federal Employees’ Organizing and Bargaining Rights. On January 22, the President signed an Executive Order repealing the prior administration’s harmful actions on workplace protections, restoring the collective bargaining power of federal employee unions and protections for career civil servants and contractors.

Promoting Information Integrity and Democratic Values in Technology. Our democracy depends on the free flow of ideas, informed public discourse, and trust in institutions.The digital revolution has the potential to foster these elements of democracy, but without sustained care and commitment to shared standards, emerging technologies can be used to spread disinformation, sow mistrust, and undermine and repress fundamental rights and freedoms. The Biden-Harris Administration is working to mitigate threats that mis- and disinformation pose to public safety and national security while upholding the constitutional right to freedom of expression, and it is committed to fostering a technological ecosystem that promotes transparency and accountability and reflects democratic values.

  • Delivering Broadband Access and Digital Literacy Skills. As highlighted above, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $65 billion to help ensure that every American has access to reliable high-speed internet, close the digital divide, and fund digital literacy initiatives to provide individuals with the skills needed to critically evaluate information online. These investments will democratize access to information, services, and opportunity while promoting information awareness and education.
  • Accelerating Information Integrity Research. As highlighted above, the Administration has organized an interagency working group to prepare a strategic plan for research and development regarding information integrity across the federal government, and to promote coordination and foster multi-disciplinary collaboration. In September, the National Science Foundation’s novel Convergence Accelerator initiative awarded $9 million to facilitate research on practices that help improve individual and community resistance to mis- and disinformation. In September, the Department of Education launched a Digital Literacy Accelerator to identify promising school-based programs that help increase students’ digital literacy and combat misinformation.
  • Addressing Health Misinformation. In July, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an Advisory to warn the American public about the urgent threat of health misinformation, calling for a whole-of-society approach to address it. In November, the Surgeon General followed up with a toolkit for community members to discuss and address health misinformation.
  • Implementing Safeguards for New Technology. The U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy outlined the Biden-Harris Administration’s intent to create a Bill of Rights for an Automated Society that aims to clarify existing rights and protections for people affected by emerging technologies, inform strategic enforcement of these rights, and advance the development and use of democratic rights-affirming technology use. To create this bill of rights for an automated society, the Office will lead a broad stakeholder engagement process which began with the issuance of a request for information on public and private use of biometric technologies and a series of public panels on issues from employment to health care.
  • Protecting Americans’ Data. The President issued an Executive Order directing Cabinet-level assessments and recommendations to protect against risks from foreign adversaries’ access to Americans’ sensitive data and continuing evaluation of transactions involving software applications that threaten U.S. national security. Additionally, the Executive Order warned that the United States may impose consequences on those who use connected software applications that engage in serious human rights abuses. The President’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition also encouraged the FTC to establish rules on tech platforms’ surveillance and accumulation of data to protect Americans’ sensitive personal information.
  • Deploying Privacy-Enhancing Technologies for Better Governance. The United States realizes the importance of privacy-enhancing technologies and their role in facilitating and reinforcing democratic norms. The U.S. Census Bureau will launch a series of pilots to deploy privacy-enhancing technologies over the Year of Action. The Bureau will collaborate with both other U.S. federal agencies and the United Nations to build a platform that will enable secure multi-party computation, encryption technologies, and differential privacy to promote better data sharing both domestically and abroad.

Combating Domestic Violent Extremism. Domestic terrorism poses a direct challenge to America’s national security, our democracy, and our national unity. Acts of domestic terrorism often deliberately and viciously target communities on the basis of hatred and bigotry, or, as demonstrated by the attack on January 6, 2021, they are often committed by those opposing government institutions. President Biden is taking aggressive, comprehensive, and responsible action to counter this threat while safeguarding bedrock American civil rights and civil liberties.

  • Developing a National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism. On his first day in office, President Biden ordered the creation of the first-ever National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism to improve the federal response to this challenge, while embracing the protections of civil rights and civil liberties. In June, the Administration announced the government-wide effort to prevent, disrupt, and deter unlawful domestic terrorist violence and confront the long-term contributors to domestic terrorism.
  • Addressing Extremism within Government. In January, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III ordered a DOD-wide stand down to discuss the problem of violent extremism in the ranks, and in April he established a countering violent extremism working group, directing DOD officials to review and update the military’s definition of extremism, and calling on the services to update transition instructions to help prevent those leaving the military from being recruited by violent extremist groups. In March, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released the unclassified executive summary of the comprehensive assessment acknowledging that enduring domestic violent extremism motivations stem from biases against minority populations. In addition, DOJ and DHS have each ordered an internal review to prevent violent extremism within the federal workforce.

Supporting and Defending Independent Media. Independent media that informs citizens and holds the powerful accountable is essential to building prosperous, resilient, and free societies. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to protecting press freedom, and to promoting Americans’ access to independent journalism in the face of unprecedented challenges that confront the industry.

  • Protecting Journalists’ Rights. The Department of Justice changed long-standing policy by instituting new guidance from the Attorney General restricting prosecutors from using compulsory legal process to obtain information from or records of members of the news media acting within the scope of newsgathering activities. The Department is undertaking a review to further explain, develop, and codify the new policy.
  • Supporting Local Journalism. A highlighted above, the Build Back Better Act will provide tax credits for local newsrooms to hire journalists, helping to stabilize newsroom budgets in the face of unprecedented challenges and sustaining Americans’ access to the independent journalism that informs citizens and holds the powerful accountable.

Proving that Democracy Delivers. President Biden is committed to restoring people’s faith in democracy to deliver tangible results. The Biden-Harris Administration took swift action to address the COVID-19 pandemic and corresponding economic crisis, getting at least one vaccine dose to more than 83% of the adult population and lowering unemployment to 4.2%—the lowest level since before the pandemic. President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to deliver immediate relief to families and workers and build a lasting bridge to an equitable economic recovery, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and provide shared prosperity. President Biden is committed to passing the Build Back Better Act, a once-in-a-generation investment in American families. Americans can see it and feel it in their own lives that democracy is opening doors of opportunity, guaranteeing more fairness and justice.

  • Passing and Implementing the American Rescue Plan (ARP). This landmark legislation invests in an equitable recovery for underserved communities, including addressing food insecurity, health equity, unemployment benefits, and housing insecurity. The ARP provided billions of dollars to states for Medicaid funding for home- and community-based services, and direct support for students, toddlers, and infants with disabilities. The ARP provided $130 billion to help schools serve all students and is reducing the childhood poverty rate by more than 50%. The Administration is also committed to working with the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) and agency Inspector Generals to strengthen payment integrity and minimize the risk of waste, fraud, and abuse; and improving the overall award and administration of financial assistance programs with an increased focus on human-centered program and service design to achieve more equitable results.
  • Delivering the Transformational Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This historic legislation will rebuild America’s roads, bridges, and rails; expand access to clean drinking water; ensure every American has access to high-speed internet; tackle the climate crisis; advance environmental justice; and invest in communities that have too often been left behind. The legislation will help ease inflationary pressures and strengthen supply chains by making long overdue improvements for our nation’s ports, airports, rail, and roads. It will drive the creation of good-paying union jobs and grow the economy sustainably and equitably so that everyone gets ahead for decades to come. Combined with the President’s Build Back Better Framework, it will add on average 1.5 million jobs per year for the next 10 years.
  • Promoting Competition and Limiting Abuse of Corporate Power. Lack of competition threatens basic economic liberties, democratic accountability, and the welfare of American families, workers, and small businesses. Constraining the power of giant corporations and promoting competition is essential to building an economy that works for everybody and ensuring a healthy democracy. President Biden issued an historic Executive Order establishing a whole-of-government effort to promote competition, including 72 initiatives by more than a dozen federal agencies to promptly tackle some of the most pressing competition problems across our economy. These initiatives range from calling on the leading antitrust agencies to revise merger guidelines to encouraging the Federal Trade Commission to address non-compete agreements that limit workers from moving to better jobs with higher wages.
  • Improving the Federal Government’s Delivery of Services. In November, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), with the President’s Management Council (PMC), issued the Biden-Harris Management Agenda Vision, outlining the Administration’s roadmap for ensuring an equitable, effective, and accountable federal government that delivers results for all. The Administration reinforced its commitment to incorporating feedback from its customers to better respond to Americans’ needs and restore their trust in government. Agencies will review how administrative burdens may cause inequity in access and outcomes, and design, build, and manage service delivery for key life experiences that cut across federal agencies.

Fighting Corruption

Prioritizing Anticorruption and Bringing Transparency to the Financial System. The global scourge of corruption corrodes public trust; hobbles effective governance; distorts markets and equitable access to services; undercuts development efforts; and contributes to national fragility, extremism, and migration. The Biden-Harris Administration is determined to hold corrupt actors accountable, both at home and abroad, and to prevent authoritarians and kleptocrats from parking their ill-gotten wealth in the United States, bringing additional transparency to the U.S. and international financial systems.

  • Developing a National Strategy. In response to President Biden’s National Security Study Memorandum establishing the fight against corruption as a core U.S. national security interest and a priority across the federal government, the Biden-Harris Administration released the first-ever United States Strategy on Countering Corruption. This strategy outlines how U.S. and its allies can curb illicit finance, effectively hold corrupt actors accountable, build stronger international partnerships, and improve foreign assistance.
  • Reducing the Ability of Corrupt Actors to Launder their Ill-gotten Gains via Shell Companies. Right now, criminals and kleptocrats can use opaque corporate structures to launder their criminal proceeds while keeping their identities hidden. The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) will shine a light on these bad actors by finalizing requirements to make companies report who their true (“beneficial”) owners are. Companies will need to report this information at two key points: when new entities are formed (or, for non-U.S. companies, when they register with a state to do business in the U.S.), and when they change beneficial owners. FinCEN is also developing a new beneficial ownership database for this critical information so that law enforcement, among others, can use it to assist in investigations into corruption, money laundering, and other illicit finance transactions.
  • Supporting Enforcement. In June, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued the first government-wide priorities for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) policy. The Priorities, which identify corruption as a significant threat, will guide institutions’ allocation of compliance resources and inform the promulgation of regulations.

Ensuring an Accountable and Transparent Government that Works for the People. A core mission of the Biden-Harris Administration is to earn and keep the trust of the American people. To that end, the Biden-Harris Administration has made significant strides in restoring ethics, the rule of law, and democratic norms. President Biden is also pushing for legislation to reform our campaign finance system so that it is free from foreign interference and amplifies the voices of the people, not powerful special interests.

  • Restoring Ethics in Government. On Day One, the President signed an Executive Order requiring administration officials to take a stringent ethics pledge, which extends lobbying bans, limits shadow lobbying, and makes ethics waivers more transparent. This Executive Order closes the “revolving door” of registered lobbyists or those registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act coming and going from government service to work for special interests.
  • Restoring DOJ’s Independence. The independence of the Justice Department is essential to its ability to carry out its mission to “ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.” The President issued an Executive Order on Day One requiring administration officials to commit to preserving DOJ’s independence. The White House and DOJ have each issued strong policies restricting contacts between the White House and DOJ to prevent improper political interference in investigations and cases.
  • Reinstating a White House Visitor Log Policy. President Biden reinstated a policy to voluntarily disclose White House visitor logs, ensuring that the American public knows whom the President, the Vice President, and their staffs meet with at the White House. The Biden-Harris Administration will be the first to post visitor logs from its first full year in office.
  • Releasing the President’s and Vice President’s Taxes. Restoring a longstanding norm, the President and Vice President released their 2020 federal income tax returns, as well as their financial disclosure reports. With this release, the President has shared a total of 23 years of tax returns with the American public, and both he and the Vice President will continue to release their tax returns and financial disclosure reports every year they are in office.
  • Adding Transparency to Federal Contracting. To maintain the public’s trust, government must be open and transparent about the entities that receive taxpayer dollars. The Biden-Harris Administration is implementing a requirement that all companies receiving federal contracts in excess of $500,000 publicly disclose their true owners.
  • Supporting Whistleblowers. Whistleblowers are essential to holding institutions and government accountable. In June, President Biden signed the bipartisan CFTC Fund Management Act, to preserve a whistleblower program that provides rewards to individuals who help root out waste, fraud and abuse. The SEC has also ramped up its whistleblower program: The SEC paid out a record $564 million to whistleblowers in FY2021 — more than the last 10 years combined — and it has taken enforcement action against employers for impeding whistleblowers from reporting misconduct to the Commission. In August, Chair Gensler directed staff to provide recommendations to the Commission to examine whether and how the whistleblower program could be further strengthened.
  • Protecting Scientific Integrity. The Administration launched a 50-member Scientific Integrity Task Force to restore public trust in government data and safeguard evidence-based policy making. The Task Force’s mandate includes a sweeping review across government and making recommendations to prevent improper political interference with research or the distortion of data. Upon completion of the review, policies supporting the highest standards in scientific integrity will be implemented across government.
  • Safeguarding the Census. On his first day in office, President Biden issued an Executive Order to restore the ability of the Census Bureau to deliver a national statistical portrait including every American. President Biden also provided career scientists with the time and independence to deliver results preserving the privacy and accuracy of the count.
  • Reinvigorating U.S. Participation in the Open Government Partnership. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to reengaging in OGP as a mechanism for driving innovative policies promote transparency, prevent corruption, and support civic participation. That commitment begins with renewing active collaboration with civil society during the Year of Action as the United States prepares its fifth National Action Plan.
  • Reinforcing a Commitment to Achieving Results and Evidence-Based Policy Making. Within the first two months, the Administration showed its commitment to effective government for all Americans by directing its agencies to develop measurable goals and track progress that improve the delivery of government services in key priority areas.  Furthermore, in June, OMB directed agencies to use evidence whenever possible to further mission through operations, and to commit to build evidence where it is lacking.  Agencies are required to establish Learning Agendas and Agency Evaluation Plans. The Administration will be clear about our goals, show the public our plans to get there, and then will be transparent about our results as a way to continue building trust with the American public.

Advancing Human Rights

Advancing Racial Justice and Equity. Equal opportunity is the bedrock of American democracy, and our diversity is one of our country’s greatest strengths. The Biden-Harris Administration has centered racial justice and equity as a priority since Day One to ensure all Americans are able to fully participate in and enjoy the benefits of our democracy and have a fair shot at the American dream. This includes a commitment to a federal government that looks like America, with a historically diverse Cabinet and a historically diverse roster of federal judicial nominations.

  • Launching a Historic Whole-of-Government Initiative to Advance Racial Justice and Equity. On Day One, President Biden signed an Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, an unprecedented effort to advance equity and redress systemic racism in policies, laws, and programs. The EO directs agencies to review barriers to accessing their policies and programs, creates an Equitable Data Working Group to inform the promotion of equity through more robust information and increased accountability, and directs OMB to identify opportunities to promote equity in the budget and throughout federal resources. Under President Biden, certain federal agencies are also now working to ensure that projects proposed for federal funding are reviewed for disparate impacts before they are awarded.
  • Narrowing the Racial Wealth Gap and Ensuring Opportunity for All. The Administration is expanding access to wealth-creators — home ownership and small business ownership — in communities of color and disadvantaged communities. Following President Biden’s Presidential Memorandum directing his Administration to address racial discrimination in the housing market, HUD published an interim regulation in the Federal Register that requires HUD funding recipients to complete an assessment of fair housing concerns, identify fair housing priorities and goals, and then commit to meaningful actions to meet those goals and remedy identified issues. In June, President Biden directed the launch of a first-of-its-kind interagency effort to address inequity in home appraisals and conduct rulemaking to aggressively combat housing discrimination. Recognizing that the federal government spends more than $650 billion each year on purchasing goods and services, President Biden has directed agencies to use federal purchasing power to grow by 50% federal contracting with small disadvantaged businesses, including Black and Brown-owned businesses, translating to an additional $100 billion over five years, and helping more Americans realize their entrepreneurial dreams.
  • Embedding Equity into the Federal Workforce. In June, President Biden established a government-wide initiative to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) in all parts of the federal workforce. This Executive Order reaffirms that the United States is at its strongest and most effective when our Nation’s public servants and decision-makers reflect the full diversity of the American people. As part of this effort, President Biden charged federal agencies with taking an ambitious, systematic approach to embedding DEIA in federal hiring and employment practices by reviewing whether members of underserved communities face barriers at the recruitment, retention and promotion stage of employment, or professional development, as well as advancing pay equity, promoting safe workplaces free from harassment, and expanding inclusive training.
  • Ensuring Equity in Transformational Infrastructure Investment. President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law, baking equity explicitly into our federal infrastructure. The Act encompasses several provisions designed to mitigate historic inequities for minority and other underserved communities, including enhanced funding for reconnecting communities split by transportation projects, enhanced funding to discourage the use of racial profiling in traffic safety stops, and set-asides, subsidies, and priorities for disadvantaged businesses, disadvantaged or distressed communities, and low-income communities and households.
  • Promoting Inclusion, Belonging, and Opportunity for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. In May,President Biden re-instated and expanded the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AA and NHPIs) and expanded the Initiative’s mandate to coordinate a whole-of-government agenda to combat anti-Asian bias and to promote inclusion, belonging, and opportunity for AA and NHPIs.  For the first time in the history of the Initiative, Native Hawaiians are explicitly named and recognized. AA and NHPI communities together constitute the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States and make invaluable contributions to our society, our economy, and our culture. Yet for far too long, systemic barriers to equity, justice, and opportunity have put the American dream out of reach for many AA and NHPI communities, and racism, nativism, and xenophobia against AA and NHPI communities continues to threaten safety and dignity of AA and NHPI families. The President also created a new White House Senior Liaison charged with advancing the President’s priorities and ensuring that the Administration’s policies are inclusive of AA and NHPI communities.

Advancing Gender Equity and Equality. In a strong and sustainable democracy, all people, regardless of gender, must have the opportunity to reach their full potential and women and girls must be fully represented at the tables at which decisions are made.

  • Establishing the Gender Policy Council. In March 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order creating the White House Gender Policy Council to advance gender equity and equality in both domestic and foreign policy.  The existence of the Council reflects the commitment of the Biden-Harris Administration to a government-wide approach to gender equity and equality.
  • National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality. In October 2021, as required by the President’s Executive Order, the Administration issued our country’s first-ever National Strategy for Gender Equity and Equality, making the United States one of only a handful of nations to do so. The strategy outlines a whole-of-government effort to improve gender equity and equality through both domestic and foreign policy, uniting our efforts to close gender gaps at home and abroad—and reinforcing our country’s commitment to this issue.
  • Addressing Gender-Based Online Harassment and Abuse. In the National Strategy for Gender Equity and Equality, the Administration committed to convene a U.S. government task force to address online abuse and harassment—including against women politicians, journalists, and activists, which undermines political and civic participation and the health of democracies. To address this issue globally, the U.S. will also lead a Global Partnership for Action on Gender-Based Online Harassment and Abuse, in partnership with Denmark’s Tech for Democracy Initiative, to bring together a core set of partner countries to jointly commit to a Year of Action—in consultation with government partners, international organizations, academics, civil society, and the private sector—to improve the response to technology-facilitated gender-based violence and promote effective prevention strategies.

Promoting LGBTQI+ Equality. To accelerate the march toward full LGBTQI+ equality, the Administration has taken historic actions beginning with one of the most comprehensive executive orders in history on LGBTQI+ rights.

  • The President issued a Day One Executive Order establishing that it is the official policy of the Administration to prevent and combat discrimination against LGBTQI+ individuals, and to fully enforce civil rights laws to prevent discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. As a result of this Executive Order, agencies have taken historic steps to advance non-discrimination protections for LGBTQI+ people in housing, healthcare, lending and credit services, and education. These steps include:
  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it will interpret and enforce Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act and Title IX to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • To address the pervasive discrimination LGBTQI+ families continue to face in housing, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced it will interpret the Fair Housing Act to prevent discrimination in housing and rental assistance against LGBTQI+ people. HUD will require state and local jurisdictions who receive funding through its Fair Housing Assistance Program to apply the same protections.
  • In response to the continuing discrimination many LGBTQI+ individuals face in credit and lending services, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it will enforce against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in credit and lending services.
  • The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued new guidance to agencies clarifying that Title IX sex discrimination protection includes protection on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics.
  • To ensure that LGBTQI+ Veterans are treated with dignity and respect, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has undertaken an agency-wide review of its policies and practices to remove barriers that transgender veterans and their families face.
  • Welcoming Transgender Servicemembers. In his first week in office, President Biden signed an Executive Order reversing the ban on openly transgender servicemembers serving in the Armed Forces, enabling all qualified Americans to serve their country in uniform. President Biden believes that America’s strength is found in its diversity, and an inclusive military strengthens our national security. As a result of his Executive Order, the Department of Defense issued new policies which prohibit discrimination against transgender servicemembers, provide a path for transgender servicemembers to access gender-affirming medical care, and require that all transgender servicemembers are treated with dignity and respect. Patriotic transgender servicemembers are once again able to openly and proudly serve our Nation in uniform.
  • Promoting LGBTQI+ Rights at Home and Abroad. President Biden signed a Presidential Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Persons Around the World which directed all agencies engaged abroad to ensure that United States diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons. His Memorandum establishes that it “shall be the policy of the United States to pursue an end to violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics, and to lead by the power of our example in the cause of advancing the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons around the world.”

Expanding Access and Inclusion for Disabled Americans. The Administration has taken significant steps to achieve a more inclusive, accessible, and equitable country for people with disabilities.

  • Helping People with Disabilities During Economic Recovery. President Biden’s American Rescue Plan included explicit provisions for people with disabilities:
  • The American Rescue Plan provided states with an additional $11.4 billion in Medicaid funding for home- and community-based services (HCBS) for one year. The additional Medicaid funding will help expand access to home and community-based services for people with disabilities as well as older adults, and ensure that caregivers are fairly compensated for their work.
  • The American Rescue Plan also provided direct support to students with disabilities and infants and toddlers with disabilities through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. On July 1, the Department of Education released $2.58 billion to elementary and secondary education students with disabilities, $200 million for preschool students with disabilities, and $250 million for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.
  • Ensuring Equitable Access to Transportation. President Biden fought for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which provides several programs to help ensure equitable access to transportation, including enhanced funding to eliminate transit barriers to access for seniors and individuals with disabilities.
  • Expanding Access to Competitive Integrated Employment. The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and the Social Security Administration released a fact sheet on funding opportunities to expand access to competitive integrated employment for youth and adults with disabilities.
  • Expanding Opportunities for Accessible, Affordable Housing. The Departments of Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development announced a partnership in July to increase access to accessible, integrated, affordable housing and the services that support community living for people with disabilities. One focus of the collaboration is working with states participating in the Money Follows the Person program and public housing authorities with available housing choice vouchers targeted to people leaving or at risk of entering nursing homes and other institutions, which can include people experiencing homelessness.

Historic Support for Native Americans. The Biden-Harris Administration has taken swift and bold action to support and respect Native communities.

  • Investing in Indian Country. President Biden’s ARP is the most significant funding legislation for Indian Country in the long history of our Nation. The ARP includes $31.2 billion for Tribal communities and Native people, $20 billion of which is going directly to Tribal governments as emergency funding to combat the crisis. The funding also includes $900 million for Bureau of Indian Affairs programs, in addition to funding for the Indian Health Service and Tribal & Native Hawaiian housing programs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, described in further detail below. These new resources will open the way for Tribal Nations to create sustainable economies and redress severe deficiencies, equipping tribes to be more resilient in facing future pandemics and disasters. Additionally, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act follows through on our commitments to Tribal Nations. The Act designates significant funding specifically to underserved Tribal communities across the country, for essential improvements in transportation, water, sanitation, broadband, and climate resilience.
  • Honoring Indigenous People. On October 8, President Biden became the first President to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day, celebrating Indigenous peoples’ resilience and strength as well as the immeasurable positive impact that they have made on every aspect of American society.
  • Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships. On January 26, only six days into office, the President issued a memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships, stating that it is the Administration’s policy to respect Tribal sovereignty and self-governance and committing to regular, meaningful, and robust consultation with Tribal Nations. The White House held meetings with representatives at all federal agencies to provide expectations and training on implementing the Presidential Memorandum; agencies conducted almost 90 consultation sessions in February, March and April; and more than 80 federal agencies so far have created and revised their Tribal consultation plans, ensuring strong communication and constructive relationships.
  • Advancing Native American Education. President Biden issued an Executive Order in October establishing the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Native Americans and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities.
  • Improving Public Safety and Criminal Justice for Native Americans and Addressing the Crisis of Missing or Murdered Indigenous People. In November, President Biden signed an Executive Order directing the Departments of Justice, Interior, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services to create a strategy to improve public safety and justice for Native Americans and to address the crisis of missing or murdered Indigenous peoples. Pursuant to the Executive Order, DOJ, DOI, and DHS will coordinate to address specific law enforcement issues, as well as providing support for Tribal Nations to implement Tribally-centered responses. The Executive Order also directs HHS to develop a plan for prevention and survivor support initiatives.

Combating Hate Crimes and Hate Incidents. Hate has no place in a democratic society, but all too often throughout our history, acts of hate and violence have been directed at marginalized communities. The Biden-Harris Administration has taken action to help prevent and improve the response to hate crimes and incidents.

  • New Hate Crimes Law and Hate Incidents. In May, the President signed into law the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act. This bipartisan legislation addresses the unacceptable and un-American increase in hate crimes and violence against Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders during the COVID-19 pandemic. This critical new law strengthens the federal coordination and response to hate crime incidents by appointing a designated official at the DOJ to facilitate the expedited review of hate crimes related to COVID-19, and provides, among other things, that the Attorney General will issue guidance to state, local, and tribal agencies to establish online reporting of hate crime or incidents that is equally effective for people with disabilities and that is available in multiple languages. It also includes the Jabara-Heyer NO HATE Act, which seeks to improve hate crimes reporting to the federal government by funding and supporting law enforcement prevention, training, and education on hate crimes and establishing hate crime victim support and assistance services like hate crime reporting hotlines.
  • Reinvigorating Our Response to Hate Crimes. On March 30, 2021, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland’s first directive to the Department of Justice was a 30-day expedited internal review to determine how the department could deploy all the tools at its disposal to counter the rise in hate crimes and hate incidents. Informed by that review, and with new tools provided by the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act and Jabara-Heyer No Hate Act, on May 27, Attorney General Garland issued a comprehensive memorandum on improving the Department’s efforts to combat hate crimes and hate incidents.
  • Addressing Racism and Intolerance Against Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders. In his first week in office, the President issued a Presidential Memorandum condemning racism, xenophobia, and intolerance against the AA and NHPI community, stating that the government should combat racism, xenophobia, and intolerance against AA and NHPIs and should work to ensure that all members of AA and NHPI communities — no matter their background, the language they speak, or their religious beliefs — are treated with dignity and equity. The President has directed all departments and agencies to ensure that their official actions — especially in responding to COVID-19 — mitigate anti-Asian bias and xenophobia.

Protecting Religious Freedom. The Biden-Harris Administration is safeguarding the bedrock principles of religious freedom and tolerance as enshrined in the United States Constitution.

  • Ending the Muslim Ban. On his first day in office, President Biden rescinded the prior administration’s discriminatory travel ban that prevented individuals from primarily Muslim and African countries from entering the United States.
  • Reestablishing the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Within weeks of taking office, President Biden reestablished the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which was originally established by President George W. Bush and continued by the Obama-Biden administration. The mission of the office is to serve people in need by working with religious and secular organizations. The Office also helps to ensure that the voices of religious and community leaders are heard throughout the administration.

Combating Human Trafficking. As highlighted above, the Biden-Harris Administration reaffirmed its commitment to responding to this abhorrent crime that disproportionately impacts some of the most vulnerable and underserved members of our society by releasing a new National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. The plan lays out the foundational pillars of U.S. and global anti-trafficking efforts — prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships.

Taking Strong Action to Reform Our Criminal Justice System and Ensuring Equal Justice for All. In a healthy democracy, citizens must be afforded equal justice under the law and be free from state violence. From enhancing police accountability, to reforming law enforcement and investing in complementary community-based public strategies, to improving prosecution and incarceration practices, to supporting reentry, the Biden-Harris Administration has taken concrete action to reform the criminal justice system and begin to root out racial disparities.

  • Moratorium on Capital Punishment. The Justice Department imposed a moratorium on federal executions and is reviewing practices and procedures related to capital punishment. 
  • Ensuring Constitutional Policing. The Department of Justice (DOJ) rescinded guidance issued in the previous Administration that curtailed the use of consent decrees, including within investigations into patterns or practices of discrimination and misconduct by police departments. Pattern and practice investigations and consent decrees are critical tools to promote constitutional policing in jurisdictions where reform is warranted. 
  • Reforming Federal Law Enforcement Practices. In September, the Department of Justice announced a ban on use of chokeholds and carotid restraints except where deadly force is necessary, and new restrictions on no-knock warrants—implementing reforms administratively that the President had called on Congress to enact through the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. The Department also implemented a new policy requiring federal agents to wear body cameras when executing search warrants and pre-planned arrests. Also in September, the Department of Homeland Security announced the formation of the Law Enforcement Coordination Council (LECC) — the Department’s first unified law enforcement coordination body, chaired by the Secretary — to comprehensively review and revise its policies and training on use of force, compliance with civil rights and privacy interests, and other matters. In July, the Department of the Interior created a task force to study and recommend reforms for the its law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Park Police. 
  • Improving Prosecutorial Guidance to Prevent Unduly Harsh Charging. The Department of Justice (DOJ) withdrew guidance issued in the previous Administration that required prosecutors to always charge cases in a way that generated the harshest sentences, replacing it with guidance that restored discretion to make decisions about charging, plea agreements, and advocacy at sentencing based on an individualized assessment of relevant facts.
  • Supporting Legislation to Reform Racial Disparities in Sentencing. President Biden endorsed the EQUAL Act, and the Department of Justice also advocated its support for the bill, which would eliminate the racist crack-powder cocaine sentencing disparity once and for all and make the change fully retroactive.
  • Limiting Use of Private Prisons. President Biden directed DOJ not to renew contracts for privately operated detention facilities, covering the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and U.S. Marshals Service (USMS). When completed, this will result in at least 14,000 people in BOP custody and 10,000 people in USMS custody being moved out of private prisons.
  • Support for Community Violence Intervention (CVI) Programs. Black boys and young men ages 15–34 make up 2% of the population but are 37% of homicide victims, and homicide is the leading cause of death for Black men under the age of 45. Until this Administration, however, CVI programs like violence interrupters and hospital-based programs, which are demonstrated to reduce violence by up to 60%, have been badly underfunded. Under President Biden, the Department of the Treasury and Department of Education issued guidance stating that CVI programs are eligible uses of American Rescue Plan funds—both the $350 billion in aid to state, Tribal, and local governments and the $122 billion to school districts. The Administration pivoted 26 existing grant programs across five agencies to support CVI. And the administration continues to seek $5 billion in dedicated funding for CVI programs through the Build Back Better legislation. These historic funds would help end the epidemic of gun violence that hits Black and brown communities hardest.
  • Supporting Reentry of Returning Citizens. In February, President Biden expanded access to Paycheck Protection Program loans by removing restrictions for entrepreneurs with certain past criminal records, bringing long overdue help to small businesses previously unable to access these funds. In June, the Department of Labor awarded $85.5 million to help formerly incarcerated adults and young people in 28 communities transition out of the criminal justice system and connect with quality jobs. The President issued an executive order directing the Office of Personnel Management to evaluate the expansion of federal employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated persons. The Department of Justice posted an application for a formerly incarcerated individual to work at DOJ as a Second Chance Act visiting fellow. The Labor and Treasury Departments announced they would produce resources to help employers leverage tax credits to incentivize the hiring of formerly incarcerated persons. And HUD clarified that returning citizens are eligible for the 70,000 emergency housing vouchers created by the American Rescue Plan. The Build Back Better Act contains $1.5 billion to support employment for justice-involved adults and adolescents.
  • Implementing Expedited Clemency Review for Nonviolent Drug Offenders on Home Confinement. To ensure that individuals serving federal sentences who were sent to home confinement by the Bureau of Prisons—in light of the risks they faced in institutional settings due to the COVID-19 pandemic—are not unnecessarily returned to prison at the end of the pandemic, the President directed the BOP and Office of the Pardon Attorney to implement an expedited clemency screening program for drug offenders with less than 4 years left on their sentences.
  • Expanding Access to Justice. To expand the promise of equal justice under law, the President directed the Attorney General to consider expanding the Department of Justice’s access to justice work. In October, the Attorney General announced the reestablishment of the Office for Access to Justice as a standalone component within the Justice Department dedicated to improving the federal government’s understanding of and capacity to address the most urgent legal needs of communities across America. The President also reinvigorated the White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable to prioritize and expand access to legal services and federal programs, including in the areas of criminal indigent defense, civil legal aid, and pro bono services.


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