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Biden promotes new ‘Build Back Better’ agenda, offers Haiti help

President Joe Biden speaks to a child as he tours a children's learning center at McHenry County College, Wednesday, July 7, 2021, in Crystal Lake, Ill. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Joe Biden speaks to a child as he tours a children's learning center at McHenry County College, Wednesday, July 7, 2021, in Crystal Lake, Ill. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden presented his new Build Back Better agenda, his proposals to invest in education and on helping families, on Wednesday in Crystal Lake, Illinois.

Biden and Sen. Tammy Duckworth visited the McHenry County College workforce development program’s metal lab and its childcare center.

“We’re going to reimagine what our economy and our future could be,” Biden said during his speech at the college.

President Joe Biden speaks to a child as he tours a children's learning center at McHenry County College, Wednesday, July 7, 2021, in Crystal Lake, Ill. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, R-Ill., left, and President of McHenry County College Clint Gabbard look on. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Biden wants the federal government to provide four additional years of public education to every student by increasing Pell Grants and investing in job training.

Biden also wants to make prekindergarten childcare more affordable by proving an up to $8,000 tax credit. He wants to institute 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave and extend the Child Tax Credit.

Related story: Biden: What’s good for families can also be good for economy

President of McHenry County College Clint Gabbard, listens as President Joe Biden speaks as he tours a manufacturing lab at McHenry County College during an event highlighting infrastructure spending, Wednesday, July 7, 2021, in Crystal Lake, Ill. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Biden also plans to invest in affordable housing by addressing supply and building or rehabilitating more than 2 million homes.

Biden’s new executive order also calls on the Federal Trade Commission to ban some occupational licensing requirements and limit occupational licensing.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on infrastructure spending at McHenry County College, Wednesday, July 7, 2021, in Crystal Lake, Ill. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters aboard Air Force One that Biden’s new Build Back Better agenda was a combination of the American Families Plan and the American Jobs Plan.

Psaki said the Department of Education released nearly $6 billion in American Rescue Plan funds to six states and Washington, D.C., to support the safe reopening of K-through-12 schools.

Watch the president’s speech

Here is a list of other issues Biden and Psaki commented on:

HAITI: The U.S. stands ready to assist the Haitian government after the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse and the attack on First Lady Martine Moïse threaten to cause more chaos.

“We need a lot more information, but it’s just — it’s very worrisome about the state of Haiti,” Biden said before his departure on Marine One Thursday morning.

Biden’s official statement: We are shocked and saddened to hear of the horrific assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and the attack on First Lady Martine Moïse of Haiti. We condemn this heinous act, and I am sending my sincere wishes for First Lady Moïse’s recovery. The United States offers condolences to the people of Haiti, and we stand ready to assist as we continue to work for a safe and secure Haiti.

Related story: U.S. lawmakers on Haiti: U.S. ready to help with security after Moïse’s assassination

PANDEMIC: Psaki said the death rate of COVID was reduced by 90%, as almost 70% of the adult population is vaccinated, and 50% of the new cases are attributed to the Delta variant.

The Biden administration’s work with local public health officials and volunteers had a positive impact in states like Florida and Mississippi, where there have been lower vaccination rates, Psaki said.

“There’s been actually an increase by over 4% in Florida, over the last month,” Psaki said.

The U.S. is sharing more doses with Latin America, including 1 million Johnson & Johnson doses to Bolivia and 1 million doses of Pfizer to Paraguay.

Related story: Biden warns more COVID vaccinations needed as Delta variant spreads

President Joe Biden arrives on Air Force One at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Wednesday, July 7, 2021. Biden is visiting Illinois to amplify his "Build Back Better" agenda. (AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

RANSOMWARE ATTACKS: On the new cyberattacks, Psaki said the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency are in touch with the Republican National Committee to determine attribution on the third-party vendor’s breach.

“We’re investigating. We’ll conclude the investigation and make an assessment,” Psaki said.

Related story: Latest hack to test Biden’s vow for consequences for Russia

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris met Wednesday morning with the national security team to address ransomware attacks, according to Psaki.

“Surge capacity — the importance of partnering but also encouraging the private sector to harden their own protections — that’s all part of it,” Psaki said.

Related story: In crosshairs of ransomware crooks, cyber insurers struggle

President Joe Biden greets Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, as he arrives at O'Hare International Airport, Wednesday, July 7, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

OPEC TALKS: While the U.S. is not a party of The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries diplomats are in touch with the key participants in the discussions, Psaki said.

AFGHANISTAN: Psaki said Biden supports continuing negotiations while providing humanitarian and security assistance since he doesn’t believe there is a military solution for the 20-year war.

Related story: Taliban take districts in NE Afghanistan from fleeing troops

“We intend to continue to have a diplomatic presence on the ground in Kabul, even after we bring the servicemen and women home at the end of August,” Psaki said.

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Torres contributed to this report from Miami.


About the Authors:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.

Ben Kennedy is an Emmy Award-winning Washington Bureau Chief for Local 10 News. He has more than a decade of reporting experience nationwide.