U.S. President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order establishing a White House Council on Women and Girls to provide a coordinated Federal response to the challenges confronted by women and girls and to ensure that all Cabinet and Cabinet-level agencies consider how their policies and programs impact women and families.
The President signed the Affordable Care Act, which gives all Americans better health security, with a particular focus on women specific needs:
- In 2014, the new law makes it illegal for insurance companies to deny any woman coverage because of a pre-existing condition or charge more because of health status or gender.
- Up to 15 million women who now are unin¬sured could gain subsidized coverage under the law and 14.5 million insured women will benefit from provisions that improve coverage or reduce premiums.
- Access to care is also expanded, including guaranteeing choice of a primary care provider within a plan’s network, including OB-GYNs and pediatricians.
The President signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which included a number of provisions of particular concern to women:
- To help working mothers and fathers obtain quality child care, the Act includes an additional $2 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, $1 billion for Head Start, and $1.1 billion for Early Head Start.
- The Act boosts family incomes by expanding the Child Tax Credit to cover an additional 10 million children in working families and creating a new Make Work Pay tax credit.
- The Act includes unemployment insurance reforms that will particularly benefit women, such as incentives for states to cover part-time workers and those who recently reentered the workforce.
- The Act puts $225 million toward addressing violence against women in communities across the country, creating 5,000 jobs in the process.
- The Act put thousands more police officers on the street, funded mentoring programs for at-risk youth in hundreds of communities and bolstered law enforcement efforts in cases of Internet Crimes Against Children and child exploitation.
The President signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, restoring basic protections against pay discrimination for women and other workers.
- The President created the National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force (pdf) to bolster enforcement of pay discrimination laws, making sure women get equal pay for an equal day's work.
- The President has called on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which will stop retaliation against employees who share or seek wage information and close a loophole that some employers use to avoid paying women equal wages.
The President cut taxes 16 times for small businesses:
The President signed the Small Business Jobs Act, which includes 8 of these new tax cuts that went into effect immediately:
- Zero Capital Gains Taxes on Key Investments in Small Businesses
- The Highest Small Business Expensing Limit Ever– Up to $500,000
- An Extension of 50% Bonus Depreciation
- A New Deduction for Health Care Expenses for the Self-Employed
- Tax Relief and Simplification for Cell Phone Deductions
- An Increase in The Deduction for Entrepreneurs’ Start-Up Expenses
- A Five-Year Carryback Of General Business Credits
- Limitations on Penalties for Errors in Tax Reporting That Disproportionately Affect Small Business
As part of the Recovery Act and subsequent legislation in 2009 and 2010, which put the following eight small business tax cuts into law:
- A New Small Business Health Care Tax Credit
- A New Tax Credit for Hiring Unemployed Workers
- Bonus Depreciation Tax Incentives to Support New Investment
- 75% Exclusion of Small Business Capital Gains
- Expansion of Limits on Small Business Expensing
- Five-Year Carry back of Net Operating Losses
- Reduction of the Built-In Gains Holding Period for Small Businesses from 10 to 7 Years to Allow Small Business Greater Flexibility in Their Investments
- Temporary Small Business Estimated Tax Payment Relief to Allow Small Businesses to Keep Needed Cash on Hand
The President signed into law the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, which puts in place the strongest consumer financial protections in history, including the creation of a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau led by Elizabeth Warren.
The President proposed doubling the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit for middle-class families making under $85,000 a year, builds on historic increases in Head Start and child care provided in the Recovery Act, and helps states provide paid family leave to workers.
The President is delivering comprehensive primary care for women Veterans at all VA facilities by 2013, placing full-time Women Veterans Program Managers at 144 health systems and expanding outreach to women Veterans in communities across the country.
The President signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, which promotes workplace flexibility and work-family balance.
Ensure Economic Security
Our society has made tremendous progress in eradicating barriers to women’s success. Women make up a growing share of our workforce, and more women are corporate executives and business owners than ever before. Today, women are serving at the highest levels of all branches of our Government.
Despite this progress, certain inequalities persist. The income for the typical American woman is still only about 78 cents for every dollar of the median income for the typical man, and women are still significantly underrepresented in the science, engineering, and technology fields.
President Obama believes that women have a right to receive equal pay for equal work.
Promote Work-family Balance
Millions of women and men face the challenge of trying to balance the demands of their jobs and the needs of their families. Too often, caring for a child or an aging parent puts a strain on a career or even leads to job loss. President Obama believes we need flexible work policies, such as paid sick leave, so that working women and men do not have to choose between their jobs and meeting the needs of their families.
Support Reproductive Choice
President Obama has been a consistent champion of reproductive choice and believes in preserving women’s rights under Roe v. Wade. At the same time, he respects those who disagree with him. The President believes we must all come together to help reduce unintended pregnancies and the need for abortion.
Prevent Violence Against Women
Violence against women and girls remains a global epidemic. The Violence Against Women Act, originally authored by Vice President Biden, plays a key role in helping communities and law enforcement combat domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. At home and abroad, President Obama will work to promote policies that seek to eradicate violence against women.
Source: The White House