POLICY AND PUBLIC INTEREST
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…

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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
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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
The Ritz Herald

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…

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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.

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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
The Ritz Herald
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…

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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.

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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.

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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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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…

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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
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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…

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