Biden to sign executive order boosting economic opportunities for military spouses

President Biden on Friday will announce executive actions intended to aid military spouses as he and first lady Jill Biden meet with service members at Fort Liberty in North Carolina, which is home to the largest military spouse population among U.S. military installations.

The executive actions aim to bolster economic opportunities and family care, as well as boost retention for military spouses in the federal workforce.

“We can’t ask our service members to choose between their love of country and their love of family, and that’s why supporting families and the executive order Joe will sign are matters of national security,” the first lady said on a call with reporters previewing the action.

The first lady said the the measures being announced Friday are a product of two years of speaking with military spouses across the country “about what they need to be able to find a job keep a job and support their families.”

The executive order Biden will sign includes nearly 20 separate actions, the White House said.

Among the actions are directing a government-wide strategic plan on hiring and retaining military and veteran spouses, as well as caregivers and survivors within 180 days. 

The order will aim to increase federal job postings for military spouses, create government-wide standards to improve telework for military spouses, improve access to child care for military families by implementing Dependent Care Flexible Saving Accounts for service members, and developing tailored resources for military and veteran spouse entrepreneurs through the Small Business Administration.

Assistance for military spouses is an issue close to the Biden family. The Bidens’ late son, Beau Biden, served in the Delaware Army National Guard.

The White House noted that military spouses face particular challenges joining and staying in the workforce. That group has a 21 percent unemployment rate, a number that has remained fairly steady over the past decade.

First lady Jill Biden has been especially focused on assisting military spouses and families through her Joining Forces initiative, which she has led since taking office in 2021.

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