Biden takes executive action to help military families achieve economic security

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This image provided by The White House via Twitter shows President Joe Biden at Camp David, Md., Saturday, Feb. 12, 2022. Biden on Saturday again called on President Vladimir Putin to pull back more than 100,000 Russian troops massed near Ukraine’s borders and warned that the U.S. and its allies would “respond decisively and impose swift and severe costs” if Russia invades, according to the White House.

President Joe Biden is expected to sign an executive order today to help military and veteran spouses get jobs and ensure their economic security.

The focus of the EO will be about increasing job opportunities that are flexible and portable.

It outlines about 20 actions, such as expanding use of the Military Spouse Noncompetitive Appointment Authority, which makes it easier for military spouses to get federal jobs, and directing the Small Business Administration to develop resources to help military spouses with relocating a business following a military move.

“Military spouses have chosen a life that isn’t easy,” said First Lady Jill Biden.

Through her initiative Joining Forces, which is aimed at helping military families, the First Lady said she’d heard countless stories from spouses who are proud that their husband or wife is serving their country, but who experience difficulty staying employed and developing a career as the family moves every few years to a different base in the country or around the world.

She said she brought what the Joining Forces team heard from spouses about “what they need to be able to find a job, keep a job and support their families” to the president. The administration said the EO has been in the works for over a year.

Jill Biden will be with President Biden as he signs the executive order at Fort Liberty (formerly known as Fort Bragg) in North Carolina.

Ultimately, she said it’s about making it easier for spouses employed by the government to telework, move offices or take administrative leave, as well as creating resources to support spouses who are entrepreneurs when they move. The order would also help federal agencies and companies retain military spouses through telework when they move.

“This will help so many families,” the First Lady said.

The EO will also cover veteran spouses, caregivers and survivors.

There are approximately 16,000 military spouses that work for the federal government. 

Colorado has taken steps of its own in recent years to expand opportunities for military spouses, including issuing temporary professional licenses without requiring them to get officially recertified when they move to the state. The state also lets military spouses pay in-state tuition at community colleges, even if they haven’t established residency yet.

Other actions include bolstering child care for military families through Dependent Care Flexible Saving Accounts and providing more opportunities for military spouses to provide home-based child care on military installations; expanding training for companies and HR departments about the details of employing military spouses; and supporting military spouses as they transition from active duty to veteran spouse status.