The Biden-Harris administration is a consistent partner in the AFT’s efforts to make the lives of our members better and improve the communities we serve. While there is still much work to do, this administration’s record is remarkable and unprecedented, giving us a staging point from which to build a more perfect union.
Watch President Biden addressing union members on June 17, 2023.
Strengthening the Economy and Creating Jobs
Created more than 12 million jobs, growing the economy at nearly 6 percent—the fastest rate since 1984—resulting in an unemployment rate at a 50-year low.
Passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which had funding to rebuild our outdated public structures, including funds to rebuild roads, bridges, and water and sewer systems and to expand our broadband capabilities—especially in rural areas.
Signed the CHIPS and Science Act, dedicating nearly $300 billion to manufacturing investments, including workforce development and expansion of access to STEM education to revitalize the hardest-hit sectors of our economy, such as rural areas.
Investing in Public Education
Made historic investments in education, including community schools, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, early education, Pell Grants, and career and technical education.
Signed the American Rescue Plan, providing more than $120 billion to help schools reopen safely, recruit and retain educators and school personnel, and support students, including addressing students’ mental health and learning needs.
Career and technical education
Signed the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act to increase investments in science, technology, engineering and math education and experiential learning so more students have access to career and technical education.
Supporting Healthcare Workers and Quality Healthcare
Signed the Health Care Provider Protection Act, reducing mental health crises, burnout and behavioral health conditions among healthcare professionals, and increased workforce funding to address nationwide shortages in nursing and clinical staff.
Lowered health insurance costs for 13 million people by an average of $800 per year, with many qualifying for plans costing $10 or less per month; prevented insurance premium spikes; and increased the number of people with health insurance to the highest level ever, with the uninsured rate at a historically low 8 percent.
Required Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and capped out-of-pocket spending on prescriptions, including limiting the cost of insulin to $35 a month.
Making Higher Education More Accessible
Public Service Loan Forgiveness program
Repaired the PSLF program, securing loan forgiveness for more than 370,000 borrowers, including frontline workers and others who have dedicated their lives to public service.
Provided historic student debt relief for middle- and working-class families by forgiving $10,000 in student loan debt for millions of borrowers and $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients.
HBCUs and MSIs
Provided increased funding for historically Black colleges and universities, minority-serving institutions, and tribal colleges and universities to strengthen their academic capabilities through the creation or expansion of offerings and programming in high-demand fields.
Backing Workers’ Voices
Signed an executive order enabling federal workers to collectively bargain, and called for passage of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act to make it easier to join a union.
The Office of Personnel Management directed federal agencies to engage with unions and reopen Trump-administration contracts that include anti-worker provisions for renegotiation.
National Labor Relations Board
Established a pro-worker majority on the National Labor Relations Board, and created the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment.
Standing Up for Retirees
Provided funding to the Central States Pension Fund, securing the pensions of more than 350,000 workers and protecting retirees from 60 percent cuts.
Quality of Life
Signed the American Rescue Plan’s Older Americans Act to release more than $1 billion in funding to expand access to home-delivery meal systems and home- and community-based services.
Expanded access to technical assistance and training services offered to staff in nursing home facilities to improve both quality of life and safety for residents.
Assisting Working Families
Secured $24 billion to provide financial relief to child care providers to defray unexpected business costs associated with the pandemic and to help child care providers stay open and continue to provide care so essential employees could continue to work.
Issued 171 million stimulus checks to help working families put food on the table, keep a roof over their heads and afford their prescriptions, and delivered a middle-class tax cut to working families—35 million households received child tax credits, which led to what experts estimate was the lowest child-poverty rate on record.
Signed the American Rescue Plan, which provided $350 billion in additional funding for state and local governments to replace lost revenue, offset pandemic expenditures and provide up to $25,000 in premium pay to eligible workers.
Reducing Gun Violence
Invested in community-based violence interruption programs and community schools that provide wraparound services.
Passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, narrowing the “boyfriend loophole” to keep guns out of the hands of convicted dating partners.
Delivered an unprecedented $122 billion in funding with guidance to prioritize spending on our students’ mental health, their learning needs and school staffing shortages.
Reinforcing Democracy and Civil Rights
Appointed Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court, the first Black woman and first public defender to serve on the nation’s highest court, and appointed a record number of women and racial and ethnic minorities to federal courts.
Instructed federal agencies to promote voting access and registration.
Equity in governance
Issued day-one executive orders on advancing equity and racial justice and a separate executive order to expand diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility across the federal government.
Promoting Social Justice & Equality
Signed executive orders to protect access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion, contraception and patient privacy.
Reversed the Trump administration’s position, thereby ensuring Title IX doesn’t discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Respect for Marriage Act
Signed historic legislation extending federal protections for marriage between same-sex and interracial couples.
Advancing Environmental Justice
Took executive action and signed legislation to reduce pollution endangering overburdened communities, lower energy costs for families and create well-paying jobs.
Protected more lands and waters in the first year in office than any president in six decades.
Signed legislation to transition to clean and zero-emission school buses, remove lead in drinking water at schools and child care centers, and invest in broadband so families can access affordable, high-speed internet.