Biden administration outlines how it wants to help Utah families, roads and airports

In a phone call with Utahns, representatives from the President Joe Biden administration also discussed their Cancer Moonshot initiative, a goal to cut cancer cases in half.

(Doug Mills | The New York Times) President Joe Biden addresses a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022.

The White House Office of Public Engagement on Tuesday held a 40-minute call with Utah stakeholders about the Biden administration’s plans to support families with young children, cancer patients and Beehive State infrastructure.

State Rep. Karen Kwan, D-Taylorsville, said the Child Tax Credit, included in Biden’s American Rescue Plan, benefitted approximately 491,000 Utah families, including more than 850,000 children, this year. The state lawmaker also said the expanded Earned Income Tax Credit will serve about 138,000 Utah workers without dependent children.

Amy Lea, the director of the Small Business Administration’s Wyoming district, said Utah can also expect to receive $2.6 billion in funding for highways and bridges over the next five years under the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Biden signed into law last year. An additional $181 million will go towards updating Utah airports, according to Lea.

Earlier this year, President Biden announced he was relaunching an ambitious goal to end cancer by reducing cancer death rates in half over the next 25 years. Cornelia Ulrich, executive director of the University of Utah Huntsman Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center, noted that in 2016 then-Vice President Biden visited the facility when his Cancer Moonshot initiative began.

“We’re very grateful to President Biden for his long-standing attention to conquering cancer,” Ulrich said. “We have seen firsthand the added burden for rural patients and their family caregivers to navigate transportation, increasing gas prices, winter storms and time away from work to receive cancer treatment. This also has contributed to significant financial distress for nearly half of our patients in these rural communities.”

During the call, which was open to the public, Utah resident Jennifer Plumb asked Josh Dickson, a White House Office of Public Engagement senior advisor, about the administration’s plans to protect transgender youth. The Utah Legislature this month voted to pass a last-minute measure that would ban transgender girls from participating in school sports that aligned with their gender identities. Cox vowed to veto the legislation.

“This is something that we’ve been tracking in states around the country,” Dickson said. “A couple of weeks ago, we rolled out some new guidance from [Health and Human Services] Secretary [Xavier] Becerra and the president from actions that we’re gonna be taking to support LGBTQIA+ youth.”

The Biden administration’s guidance came as a response to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s order to investigate parents who provide gender-affirming medical care to their transgender children for child abuse. The White House guidance includes “clarifying that, despite the Texas government’s threat, health care providers are not required to disclose private patient information related to gender-affirming care.”

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