By a vote of 223-202, the House passed financial reform legislation, which would create a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency responsible for a broad range of oversight, including enforcement of the Credit CARD Act of 2009.
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.
President Obama issued a memorandum requiring that the partners of gay federal employees be extended more benefits, adding to the list that the president had already conferred last year.
The Washington Post reports that a review conducted by the Office of Personnel Management and the Justice Department found that more changes could legally be made without Congress' action. So some agencies will soon begin to "permit credit union and gym memberships and access to counseling services, adoption counseling, and agency events or outings." Meanwhile, "a limited number of intelligence and financial regulatory agencies… will be able to provide reimbursements for health-insurance premiums, dental and vision insurance, business travel accident insurance and tax reimbursements for gym memberships, physical exams and homeowners' insurance."
By ALINA SELYUKH
While the stimulus has allocated extra funding for Head Start, it may not be sufficient if the relationship between elementary and secondary education is not better coordinated, said William Gormley, Georgetown Public Policy Institute dean, speaking on the GPPI conference education panel at the Cannon House Office Building. The effects of participation in early education persist or fade over time depending on what school the student attends later, so addressing school assignment and teacher assessment practices should closely follow Head Start and early learning re-evaluation, in Gormley's view.
Head Start has a budget of approximately $7 billion and serves about 900,000 children -- only about 40 percent of eligible children, according to the National Head Start Association. At this point, Gormley said, state pre-K programs serve more four-year-olds than Head Start.
Obama told the National Academy of Sciences that he wants to dedicate more than 3 percent of the gross domestic product (about $420 billion) to funding scientific research and development.
The Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rule a rule that will put into place the renewable fuels target of 36 billion gallons by 2022 that Congress mandated in 2007.
The standard falls short on the other part of this promise: to increase this mandate to at least 60 billion gallons of advanced fuels like cellulosic ethanol by 2030. In the finalized rule, EPA said it expects the biofuels industry to produce 6.5 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol in 2010, falling far short of the 100 million gallons Congress anticipated in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
In presenting his new education plan, Obama vowed to "treat teachers like the professionals they are while holding them more accountable." As part of this process, he said, "new teachers will be mentored by experienced ones."
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.
Obama's $75 billion Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan includes a provision allowing bankruptcy judges to adjust a mortgage's value. Speaking in Phoenix, Obama said his plan would "allow judges to reduce home mortgages on primary residences to their fair market value -- as long as borrowers pay their debts under a court-ordered plan." He held "ordinary homeowners" separate from "homebuyers who knowingly borrowed too much from lenders."