Craig Richer 22, Jun 2 mins
2 mins
The Ritz Herald
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On Child Tax Credit Awareness Day, a 50-state report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation argues for a permanent expansion

As the federal government launched a new website and other resources for parents and caregivers eligible for an expanded child tax credit, the Annie E. Casey Foundation released a 50-state data report that argues for making the expansion permanent.

The Foundation’s analysis comes from the 2021 KIDS COUNT Data Book, a report released annually with state rankings to present a comprehensive picture of child well-being — an assessment that indicates nearly a decade of progress after the Great Recession could be erased by the COVID-19 pandemic unless policymakers act boldly to sustain the beginnings of a recovery.

The Foundation identified challenges faced by kids and families during the crisis, from food and housing insecurity to health concerns — and urged immediate action from Congress — in a December report. Since then, the federal child tax credit has been increased as well as restructured to provide advance monthly payments to most families of $250 to $300 per child.

“The COVID-19 crisis has brought many families to the breaking point, especially parents and caregivers who have lost jobs and income,” said Lisa Hamilton, president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. “Making the expanded child tax credit permanent will continue providing critical financial support for families who are struggling to make ends meet and help reduce long-standing disparities that affect millions of families of color.”

In 2019, the latest year for which the national estimate is available, 12 million kids (17%) lived in poverty. Some 4.4 million children (6%) lacked health insurance, reflecting the first rate increase in a decade, and that was before the pandemic hit. Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Minnesota placed first, second…






Target Announces Bold New Sustainability Strategy: Target Forward
Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) today unveiled Target Forward, the company’s new sustainability strategy that puts
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Homebuying Demand Lets Up a Bit as Prices Soar
Fierce competition continues to drive home prices up, but home tours, offers and pending sales
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New Texas Law Simplifies Access to SNAP for Vulnerable Populations, Aims to Reduce Senior Hunger
The Ritz Herald

SB 224, authored by Texas State Senator Charles Perry and sponsored by Rep. Armando Walle, became law yesterday after being signed by Governor Greg Abbott.

The legislation creates a simplified certification and recertification process for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants who are senior citizens and/or people with disabilities living…

Following Weekend of Mass Shootings, Mayors Send Letter to President Biden Demanding Gun Violence Prevention Be Made a Priority
The Ritz Herald

With gun violence again on the rise, including four mass shootings in a six-hour period last weekend alone, the U.S. Conference of Mayors is calling on President Biden to prioritize action on gun violence prevention. The U.S. Conference of Mayors applauded President Biden in March of this year when…

Joint Statement on the Eighth U.S.-UAE Economic Policy Dialogue
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The Eighth U.S.-UAE Economic Policy Dialogue on June 8 was co-chaired by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation’s Assistant Minister for Economic and Trade Affairs HE Abdulnasser Alshaali and Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs Peter Haas to further develop bilateral ties…

U.S. Army General Mark A. Milley Says Fiscal Year 2022 Defense Budget Request Balances Readiness, Modernization
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President Joe Biden’s fiscal year 2022 defense budget request strikes a balance between readiness today and future modernization, Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday.

The $715 billion request preserves present readiness, the general said, but it’s also…

Borough President of Brooklyn Eric Adams Runs for New York City Mayor
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Sir Gary Sze Kong, the chairman of the board for the Global Hero Foundation, businessman and founder of The Invisible Mask, Classic New York Beer, and The 1 Wine,…

5 mins
The Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Louisiana transits the Hood Canal in Puget Sound, Wash., Oct. 15, 2017, as it returns to its homeport following a strategic deterrent patrol. © Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Smith
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Nuclear deterrence remains the Defense Department's highest priority mission, the acting assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans and capabilities said, adding that more is needed to confront these growing, multifaceted threats

China is rapidly becoming more capable and assertive and concerns regarding its nuclear modernization and expansion are increasing. Russia’s comprehensive modernization of its nuclear capabilities, over 80% complete, includes the addition of new dual-capable systems that threaten the United States and its allies and partners, the acting assistant secretary of defense for strategy, plans and capabilities said.

Melissa Dalton spoke yesterday at a House Armed Services Committee’s Strategic Forces Subcommittee hearing on “FY22 Budget Request for Nuclear Forces and Atomic Energy Defense Activities.”

“We are confronted with multifaceted deterrence challenges across domains from both competitors, which add increased escalation risks, all making deterrence more challenging. Strategic risks, emanating from both North Korea and Iran, add significant complications to the strategic threat picture,” she said.

For these reasons, nuclear deterrence remains the department’s highest priority mission, Dalton noted, adding that more is needed to confront these growing, multifaceted threats.

The National Defense Strategy review will focus on integrated deterrence, she said, meaning an effort to address threats and opportunities across conventional, cyber, space, hybrid, information and nuclear domains, she said.

Two long-range ground-based interceptor missiles are launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., March…

3 mins
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testify before the Senate Appropriations Committee regarding the fiscal 2022 Defense Budget Request, Washington, D.C., June 17, 2021. © Chad J. McNeeley, DOD
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Past fiscal defense budgets had to favor current readiness over long-term modernization. The fiscal 2022 president's defense request begins the shift of monies to the future with record research and development spending in cutting edge technologies

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III told the committee — which is the committee that has jurisdiction over all discretionary spending legislation in the Senate — that the pacing challenge posed by China requires the United States to invest in research and fielding of new technologies or new ways of using existing technologies.

Austin and Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the $715 billion request will allow DOD to deliver modernization to service members and provide security to American citizens.

“There’s always a balance,” Milley told the senators. “Previous budgets biased … to the present. This budget starts leaning into the future. And it’s now that we need to pivot because the future — believe it or not — is going to get here someday. And about 10 to 15 years from now, we will be in a world of hurt in the national security geostrategic world, unless we invest in the modernization of the United States military.”

The fiscal 2022 request fully funds the department’s top priority of nuclear modernization. It also provides significant funds for artificial intelligence, hypersonics, long-range fires, microelectronics, cyber defense and attack and 5G computer technologies. Additionally, it…

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III: ‘No One Should Have to Hide Who They Love to Serve the Country They Love’
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Speaking to an audience that included the department’s senior-most leadership, the secretary said as DOD reflects on the progress it’s made in making sure that everyone who wants to serve and is qualified, can do so with dignity and respect.

“We know we have more work to do, but thanks…

Efforts to Curb Voter Access and Alter Election Oversight Pose a Dire Threat to Democracy
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As Congress considers expanding voting rights legislation and some Republican-led states restrict access to voting, a group of faculty from institutions around the country is calling for national election standards.

In an open letter on the New America website, a growing list of signatories — more…

U.S. Leaders See NATO Summit as Means to Strengthen Trans-Atlantic Ties
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President Joe Biden and Austin will attend the meeting of the North Atlantic Alliance stressing America’s commitment to collective defense and the need to shape the most successful alliance in history for the needs of the future.

This goes to the core of the Biden administration’s push to repair America’s…

University of Notre Dame Political Science Professors Sign Statement Warning of Threats to American Democracy
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Five University of Notre Dame professors who specialize in different areas of democracy studies recently signed a strong statement of concern issued by the think tank New America warning of the serious threats to democracy in the U.S. Notre Dame is a longtime leader in…

Alarming Rising Trends in Suicide by Firearms in Young Americans
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Deaths from suicide are rising in the United States. These rising trends are especially alarming because global trends in suicide are on a downward trajectory. Moreover, in the U.S., the major mode of suicide among young Americans is by firearms.

Researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt…

4 mins
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Two-thirds of New Jerseyans support using Affordable Housing Trust Fund solely as intended; Residents want statewide rent control, increase in rental assistance
By / Newsroom Editor

Almost nine in 10 New Jerseyans consider the cost of housing to be a “very serious” (55 percent) or “somewhat serious” (32 percent) problem, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll in collaboration with the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. Similarly, eight in 10 feel it is “very” (49 percent) or “somewhat” (32 percent) difficult to find an affordable place to rent in New Jersey based on what they have experienced or heard.

Just 16 percent say their monthly housing costs are “very” affordable, while 41 percent say “somewhat”; four in 10, on the other hand, feel their costs are either “not very affordable” (26 percent) or “not affordable at all” (13 percent).

Fifty-eight percent say that the coronavirus pandemic did not impact their household’s ability to make monthly rent or mortgage payments; 31 percent say that the pandemic made it more difficult, and just 7 percent said less difficult.

“Overall, there is widespread concern about housing costs in New Jersey, but there are stark demographic differences when it comes to who is personally affected,” said Ashley Koning, an assistant research professor and director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP) at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “Notable disparities emerge in perceptions of renting difficulties and reported affordability of personal monthly housing costs by race, ethnicity, and whether someone owns or rents.”

Black residents (56 percent) and Hispanic residents (51 percent) are slightly more likely than white residents (45 percent) to say it is “very difficult” to find…


Though ‘Unsurprising’ U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Obamacare a Relief for Many
The United States Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable
Johns Hopkins Drug Commercialization Expert Looks at Controversy Over Alzheimer’s Treatment
Advocates for patients, such as the Alzheimer’s Association, applauded the
Post-Election Survey of U.S. Election Officials Finds Funding Shortages, Partisan Pressure, and Disinformation Campaigns as Key Concerns at the Local Level
The Ritz Herald

Protect Our Election, a non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to strengthening democratic institutions at the state and local level, today released the results of its 2020 Local Election Official Research Survey. The survey is the first public study of county-level election administrators’ opinions conducted after the events of the 2020…

New Coalition to Help Coordinate Emergency Relief Funding to Advance Student Success
The Ritz Herald

Twelve leading education organizations announced a new effort to help ensure all students receive the equitable educational opportunities they deserve. The newly formed Coalition to Advance Future Student Success is a recognition that the historic injection of federal emergency relief funds presents a transformative opportunity for America’s public K-12…

U.S. Army Budget Request Targets Personnel, Readiness, Modernization Efforts
The Ritz Herald

The Army released its $173 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2022 Friday, with a deliberate decision to fund people initiatives, readiness goals, and modernization efforts with a $3.6 billion reduction from last year’s enacted budget.

“The Army’s budget supports all the requirements asked of the Army in the Interim…

4 mins
U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, Oct. 26, 2020. © Bloomberg / Getty Images
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It is crucial to understand that the ACA has reshaped the healthcare landscape in the United States

The United States Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, should not come as a total surprise despite the conservative efforts to invalidate the law, according to West Virginia University policy and legal experts.

Christopher Plein, of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, is a health policy expert, and Valarie Blake, of the College of Law, has studied the ACA and intersections between health care delivery and ethics.

“The Supreme Court’s decision should be somewhat unsurprising to those who study the Affordable Care Act, but likely of great relief to many who have come to rely on provisions of the ACA to provide and protect health insurance coverage. Those who are sighing relief include not only individuals and families, but many healthcare providers and state governments that have come to rely on various provisions of the ACA.

“The ACA is distinct in how it continues to be a topic of partisan debate years after its passage and implementation. Arguably, opposition is more symbolic than substantive. This is not surprising in our hyper-partisan…



Johns Hopkins Drug Commercialization Expert Looks at Controversy Over Alzheimer’s Treatment

Di Angelis / RH
Advocates for patients, such as the Alzheimer’s Association, applauded the FDA’s green light for the drug (though the group later decried the high price tag set by U.S. manufacturer Biogen).
Lobbying for the New Economy: Digital Economy Alliance to Help Boost the Quality of Economic Growth in the U.S.
The Ritz Herald

Digital Economy Alliance announced its initiative to help boost the quality of economic growth in America. The Digital Economy Alliance will support innovative solutions that positively impact society, creating social value and social profit.

“Wealth inequality is one of the most important social-economic issues of our time,” said Tayde Aburto,…

Social Justice as Part of the Remedy for What Ails Us
The Ritz Herald

Eliminating racial inequity demands empathy and compassion, but also social justice.

The newest center within the T. Denny Sanford Institute for Empathy and Compassion at UC San Diego will have that focus, created to identify, understand and resolve social justice issues in health care that primarily…

Dollars to Donuts: What Will It Take to Get More of the U.S. Vaccinated Against COVID-19?
The Ritz Herald

Free donuts. A shot and a beer. Shopping discounts. Baseball tickets. Days off from work. A free chance to win a million dollars, a dream vacation or a full college scholarship.

All of a sudden, Americans find themselves bombarded with prizes, rewards, incentives and potentially huge payoffs for getting vaccinated…