The new health care law establishes an Office of Women’s Health to target goals for improving prevention and treatment efforts on issues related to women’s health. Various provisions provide support for pregnant and parenting teens and women and establishes a pregnancy assistance fund. Part V of the bill pledges to conduct a national, evidence-based education campaign to increase awareness of breast cancer, conduct prevention Research Activities, and award grants to organizations and institutions that provide health information and assistance to young women diagnosed with breast-related diseases.
The bill also establishes a National Women's Health Information Center to facilitate the exchange of and access to health-related information for women, including preventive health services, and research advances.
Peter Orszag, director of the Office of Management and Budget, ordered every federal agency to create transparency sites with “high-value” data on the Internet, carrying out Obama’s Open Government Directive. But by March, 27 of 64 independent agencies have yet to do so, according to ProPublica. The initial deadline for agencies to set up sites for public disclosure was Feb. 6, and then it was extended to March 8, allowing the OMB time to create a plan agencies can utilize to increase transparency.
Obama tapped Rajiv Shah, 36, to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development, taking a step toward filling a post that has lacked a permanent administrator for 10 months. The vacancy has drawn the ire of the aid community.
The EPA issued final rules requiring large power plants, oil refineries and manufacturers to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. The so-called tailoring regulation, which most industry officials oppose, would not kick in until early next year.
Under these regulations, only large sources that emit more than 75,000 tons or more of greenhouse gases will be required to obtain a Clean Air Act permit. EPA air chief Gina McCarthy said the regulations will not target smaller emitters like apartment complexes or commercial buildings until at least 2016, when the agency finishes an impact study.
Of the Department of Justice's 350 civil rights lawyers, 236 left between 2003 and 2007, according to an Obama transition report obtained by the New York Times. The report described the turnover as a "brain drain" that laid the groundwork for more conservative replacements. To remedy the problem, the Times reports, "the Obama White House has also proposed a hiring spree that would swell the ranks... with more than 50 additional lawyers, a significant increase for a relatively small but powerful division of the government." The administration is also considering putting hiring decisions in the hands of panels of career employees, instead of political appointees.
The federal government stepped up its crackdown on companies that employ illegal immigrants, announcing it would audit about 1,000 companies.
Commissioner Doug Shulman said an IRS study of possible joint audits with other countries is in the works. The agency is working with counterparts across the world to establish "protocols" for the audits, which would likely be administered through the Joint International Tax Shelter Information Center.
Obama’s FY2011 budget proposal requests $385 million for weatherization and energy efficiency grants for states, a 43 percent increase over the previous year.
Fifteen historically African-American land-grant educational institutions were selected to receive $1.5 million in grants from the Department of Agriculture. "These funds help provide entrepreneurship training and benefits to rural youth," Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a press release. "Using these funds, students will learn to take advantage of existing economic development opportunities in their communities -- such as renewable energy resources -- as well as the vast business knowledge and connections that these schools and their faculty members have." USDA hopes the grants will help spur economic development in rural communities.