Biden Administration Lays Out Plans For Programs For Women and Families

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Mar. 14 2024, Published 1:57 p.m. ET

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In a White House briefing about gender equity and equality held March 14, Biden administration officials discussed themes from the president’s State of the Union Address (SOTU) and efforts designed to “put women first.”

Jennifer Klein, assistant to the president and director of the Gender Policy Council, and Nani Coloretti, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget shared details from Biden’s Fiscal Year 2025 Budget that are focused on access to healthcare, child support and economic support for women.

National Paid Family And Medical Leave Program

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Proposed in the budget is a plan to establish a national comprehensive paid family and medical leave program administered by the Social Security Administration to ensure all eligible workers can take up to 12 weeks to care for a new baby, care for a seriously ill loved one or heal from their own serious illness, Coloretti said. Eligible workers could also take time off to address circumstances arriving from a loved one’s military deployment and find safety from domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking.

A new program has also been created under the budget: working families with incomes up to $200,000 per year would be guaranteed affordable, high-quality childcare from birth until kindergarten, with most families paying no more than $10 per day and the lowest income families paying nothing.

“The President issued an executive order which included the most comprehensive set of actions that has ever been taken to support access to care,” Klein said. “We know that in order for women to fully participate in the workforce they need to have access to affordable, high-quality childcare.”

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Addressing Reproductive Healthcare

In the briefing, Klein reiterated Biden’s SOTU call on Congress to pass a federal law restoring the protections of Roe v. Wade. Klein referenced the website for the Center for Reproductive Rights, which was established after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and provides timely and accurate information on your right to receive and access reproductive health care, including contraception, abortion care and emergency medical care.

“That’s the only way to assure and secure abortion access for all women in every state,” she said. “In the meantime, the administration will continue to do what we can through executive action to protect access to reproductive care, from helping to ensure that women receive the care they need in an emergency to protecting access to safe and effective medication abortion to strengthening access to contraception.”

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Funding For Women’s Health Research

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Source: Pexels

Klein also discussed efforts to increase representation for women in health research, citing the newly launched White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research, which is designed to fund women’s health research in the United States and ensure women are better informed when it comes to healthcare. In the SOTU, Biden called on Congress to invest $12 billion in women’s health research.

“Even though women make up more than half of the population, women have been long understudied, and underrepresented in health research, which really limits our ability to prevent, diagnose and treat a wide range of health conditions in women from cardiovascular disease to autoimmune diseases to menopause-related conditions,” Klein said.

Economic Investments In Women

On the economic side, Coloretti discussed specific investments in women that will be made as part of the FY25 budget, including increased funding for family planning and preventative health services, and access to emergency care services for obstetric emergencies in maternity care deserts. The budget also includes $13.7 billion for women veterans’ health care.

“These investments support comprehensive specialty medical and surgical services, improved maternal health outcomes and infertility counseling, among other things,” Coloretti said.

The budget also includes nearly $60 million to support underserved and tribal communities, including $10 million for a new special initiative addressing missing and murdered indigenous people.

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By: Gillian Smith

Gillian Smith is a professional communicator by day and night, leveraging more than a decade in the news industry to share stories that have a positive impact on society. Gillian believes everyone has a story worth telling, and she has made it her professional mission to tell those stories in a responsible way. Gillian received a BA in journalism from Ithaca College and a Master's in Journalism Innovation from Syracuse University. She is currently the director of external communication and media relations at Suffolk University.

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