Live politics updates: Biden starts process to reverse DeVos, Trump on Title IX; COVID relief heads to House

Happy International Women’s Day! The international holiday, a focal point of the women’s rights movement globally, will be celebrated by various groups around Washington advocating the expansion of women’s rights, an issue that has seen renewed urgency amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will speak about women’s rights in the afternoon during remarks with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. The president will endorse the nominations of two female generals to elite four-star general command posts.

The president and VP will also tour a medical center with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dennis McDonough to see progress on COVID-19 vaccine distribution to veterans.

Biden will also sign two executive orders related to gender equity and Title IX protections on Monday.

On Capitol Hill, Congressional Democrats will be putting the final touches on a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package. The bill, which was passed by the Senate on Saturday with some deviations from the version originally passed in the House of Representatives, will now return to the lower chamber to be reconciled before it is sent to Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

“The bottom line is this: This plan puts us on the path to beating this virus,” Biden said in Saturday remarks about the bill being passed.

“This plan gives those families that are struggling the most the help and the breathing room they need to get through this moment. This plan gives small businesses in this country a fighting chance to survive,” Biden said, calling the bill “historic.”

– Matthew Brown

Biden to sign two executive orders on gender equity

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden is set to mark International Women’s Day Monday by signing two executive orders creating a Gender Policy Council and reviewing Trump-era changes to Title IX, the federal law prohibiting sex-based discrimination in education, according to administration officials.

The first order establishes the White House Gender Policy Council to work with other policy councils to advance gender equality in domestic and foreign policy development, combat systemic bias and discrimination, including sexual harassment, and focus on increasing female participation in the labor force and decreasing wage and wealth gaps, the officials said.

The council will also focus on transgender rights and supporting care workers, predominantly women of color.

The president will sign a second order directing the Department of Education to review all of its existing regulations, orders and guidance to ensure they are consistent with the administration’s promise that all students are guaranteed education free from sexual violence, administration officials said.

The order explicitly directs the department to evaluate Title IX changes by former President Donald Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy Devos, who dismantled Obama era rules on sexual discrimination and harassment in federally funded education programs. She implemented regulations that altered the handling of sexual assault allegations on college campuses, giving schools more latitude in deciding whether to report accusations to the Title IX office.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona will consider suspending, revising or rescinding his predecessor’s actions if they are determined to be inconsistent with the Biden administration’s policies, according to an administration official.

– Courtney Subramanian

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