Statement: Congratulations to Biden Administration
On the occasion of the Inauguration of President Biden and Vice President Harris, First Focus on Children President Bruce Lesley issued the following statement:
“Today is a day for celebration and congratulations to President Biden and Vice President Harris. All of us at First Focus on Children are grateful to have a team in the White House who understands the need to prioritize the well-being of our nation’s 74 million children.
President Biden and Vice President Harris already are making their dedication to children known. Their “America Rescue Plan” has the potential to cut child poverty in half in 2021 and could serve as a model for a more permanent solution going forward — a goal that my organization has pursued through several Congresses and administrations. Today, because of President Biden and Vice President Harris, that long-sought goal is finally within reach.”
The President also has pledged to sign by the end of the day several Executive Orders that safeguard the health and well-being of children. In particular, President Biden is expected to:
Initiate Family Reunification: Ordering agencies to develop plans for reuniting children and parents separated at our border will reverse a shameful policy of intentional cruelty and abuse. We must also provide families with legal protection and access to mental health services to repair the damage we inflicted, and, above all, the Administration should ensure that family separation is never again used as a weapon against families seeking safe haven in the United States.
Rejoin the Paris Climate Accord: Restoring our role in this international treaty to cut greenhouse gases and reduce global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius is a promise to help leave our children a more livable world.
In the coming days and weeks, First Focus on Children also looks forward to progress on President Biden’s legislative agenda, including bills on:
Child Poverty: The American Family Act, led by Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and then-Senator Harris and by Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA), would lift at least 4 million children out of poverty, and make significant inroads into deep child poverty. The AFA was included in the “American Rescue Plan” temporarily and should be made permanent in the long-term.
Health Care: After two decades of progress on reducing the uninsured rate for children, the last four years have witnessed a disturbing growth in the uninsured rate for children. The President is proposing an agenda to protect Medicaid and to expand and improve health coverage in this country.
Early Childhood and Child care: Various efforts are expected to guarantee universal pre-K, create a refundable child care tax credit of up to $8,000 per family, and offer increased child care subsidies, and paid family leave.
Education: President Biden supports significant increases in funding for our nation’s public schools with a commitment to reopen our schools safely in the near future, provide free community college for all, and offer student loan forgiveness.
Immigration: The President is expected to set forth a vision for an immigration system that is in the best interests of immigrant children and families by providing a path to citizenship for undocumented individuals, immediate green cards for DREAMers, reforming family-based immigration to allow families to be reunited in a timely manner, reinstating DACA, restoring the Central American Minors Program, expanding family case management, and providing legal representation for children.
Congratulations to President Biden and Vice President Harris. We look forward to working with their Administration to benefit all of America’s children.