Joint Center Updates

Biden Administration Releases American Rescue Plan Equity Report, Republicans Plan to Block Domestic Terror Bill & More: May 26 Roundup

As you may have read in yesterday’s note from Joint Center President Spencer Overton, this Joint Center roundup will be our last. 

We published our first weekly roundup March 30, 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when there was a great deal of misinformation affecting Black communities and policies were quickly moving in Washington, DC. We informed you of news, convenings, and policies to help Black communities nationwide stay up-to-date and most effectively participate in policy debates.  

We are incredibly proud of the allies, appointees, and developments relevant to Black communities that the roundup magnified, and all of the work that the Joint Center team invested into the publication. At the same time, we’re always pressing ourselves on ways to most effectively communicate the Joint Center’s work as well as policy developments, appointments, and research relevant to Black communities.   

As the sun sets on our weekly roundup email, we are looking forward to rolling out new publications that lift up Black communities, research, and policy solutions.


Biden Administration

White House issues American Rescue Plan Equity Report: The White House announced the release of the American Rescue Plan Implementation Team and the Domestic Policy Council’s “Advancing Equity Through the American Rescue Plan” report. This document touts the nation’s most equitable economic recovery. Specifically, the report claims that “2021 featured the fastest calendar year of decline in the number of unemployed Black workers on record and the largest calendar year drop in the unemployment rate (2.9 percentage points) since 1983 — now down to 5.9 percent in April, below pre-pandemic levels — instead of taking over six years to recover as it did after the Great Recession.”

The report also highlights the Child Tax Credit’s impact and the state of small businesses, both of which the Joint Center has researched.

Biden administration holds Justice40 Week of Action to support environmental justice efforts in underserved communities: President Biden announced that his administration’s Justice40 Initiative will “ensure that federal agencies deliver 40 percent of the overall benefits of climate, clean energy, affordable and sustainable housing, clean water, and other investments to disadvantaged communities.” The Justice40 Week of Action intends to bring awareness to the marginalized communities, who primarily bear the brunt of the contemporary climate crisis. The new initiative will allocate over $29 billion in funding to disadvantaged communities in an effort to achieve more equitable environmental justice efforts.


The Hill 

Republicans intend to block domestic terror bill in the Senate: Following the mass shooting in Buffalo, NY, the Senate will vote on a bill “that would authorize special offices within the government to investigate and monitor domestic terrorism,” according to The Hill. However, Republican Senators have already announced their vehement opposition to this bill, which was already passed in the House by a vote of 222-203. Senate Republicans believe that if the bill passes, the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice will stifle the American right to freedom of speech.

As the nation mourns the 21 lives lost in the recent Uvalde, TXexas shooting, conversations on gun violence, gun control, and domestic terrorism may become a priority for Congress.

 

lauren underwood

House Democrats issue letter advocating for robust financial assistance before Obamacare premium costs increase: House Democrats, primarily in competitive districts, organized a letter to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to address the impending rise in healthcare premium costs for Americans through Obamacare. This letter, led by Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (D-IL), urges House leadership to include “provisions to permanently lower the cost of healthcare in upcoming reconciliation legislation.”

Upcoming congressional hearings include: Hearings to examine opportunities and challenges facing farmers, families, and rural communities (Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, May 26); The Congressional Budget Office’s Budget and Economic Outlook (House Budget Committee, May 26); Examining the Policies and Priorities of the U.S. Department of Education (House Education and Labor, May 26); Legislative Hearing to Protect Consumers and Strengthen the Economy (House Energy and Commerce, May 26).


Movement Building

U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo convened a roundtable of tax equity policy experts to discuss ways to modernize and ensure a more equitable tax administration. The Joint Center was one of the organizations at the table for this conversation.

Black Futures Lab endorsed the following candidates: State Representative Park Cannon of Georgia for Georgia’s 58th District and, Congresswoman Nikema Williams of Georgia for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, who won in Tuesday’s primary, and Dr. Shirley Weber for Secretary of State in California. According to Black Futures Lab, these “three visionary leaders [are] dedicated to representing our communities across the nation. We need Black and pro-Black elected officials who represent our values and transform those values into policies that lift us all.”

Black man votes

 

Black Voters Matter, in collaboration with other civil rights organizations, urges candidates to sign a contract affirming their support for voters’ rights. According to Cliff Albright and LaTosha Brown, co-founders of Black Voters Matter, “[d]espite nearly two years of Capitol Hill protests, White House demonstrations, letters, petitions, and acts of civil disobedience from voters and activists demanding passage of comprehensive voting rights legislation, voters still do not have free and fair access to the ballot box as we continue to see voter suppression tactics on the rise this election season … With our democracy still on the line, voters should know who they are voting for and hold them accountable.”

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights issued a statement following the release of the Post Enumeration Survey, which highlights the need for expanded broadband access throughout the nation. According to Meeta Anand, Leadership Conference senior director of census and data equity, “Census data shape the future of our communities. While the Post Enumeration Survey results released today reveal statistically significant over and undercounts in certain states, more data and demographic detail are needed for a full understanding of our communities and who does — or does not — have access to critical resources. Moving forward, Congress must provide universal, affordable broadband for households and communities to ensure all people can fully participate in and benefit from our democracy.”

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, alongside the National Consumer Law Center, issued a statement in response to a lawsuit the organizations filed against U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and the Department of Education on behalf of former Westwood College students who have not been awarded student loan relief. “The Department of Education’s failure to act disproportionately–and unjustifiably–abandons low-income Black and Latinx borrowers who are particularly burdened by unaffordable and unfair debt after generations of discriminatory and government-sanctioned policies that strip wealth from communities of color,” said Genevieve Bonadies Torres, associate director of the Educational Opportunities Project with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “By neglecting its legal obligations to defrauded students who are entitled to relief, the Department’s inaction exacerbates existing racial disparities in educational outcomes and economic opportunity.”


Events

Joint Center Workforce Policy Director Dr. Alex Camardelle will join the next installment of Associated Black Charities’ Equity First speaker series, June 1.

Joint Center Senior Researcher Dr. LaShonda Brenson will join a panel discussion on “how diversity in golf and politics leads to better outcomes on the green and in our communities,” June 1.

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 29th Annual Mervyn L. & Stephanie Tubbs Jones Memorial Scholarship Classic will be at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Golf Resort, Spa, and Marina in Cambridge, MD, June 26-29.

The 113th NAACP National Convention will be in Atlantic City, NJ, July 14-20.

The National Urban League Annual Conference 2022 will be in Washington, DC, July 20-23.


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