White House launches diversity action plan for government

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on administration efforts to strengthen national supply chains and increase the number of truck drivers, at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 4, 2022. REUTERS/Leah Millis

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WASHINGTON, April 14 (Reuters) – The White House released an action plan on Thursday aimed at advancing racial and gender equity across the federal government to improve diversity.

The strategy is aimed at working to ensure the federal government is a model for diversity and equity and preventing discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, the White House said.

Each agency across the government is taking steps to improve equity by implementing new rules, a senior administration official told reporters.

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The U.S. Treasury Department said it would create a new Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility to develop and drive a cohesive strategy across the department and its bureaus.

The office will be led by a senior career leader within Treasury, supporting employees of color, women, people with disabilities, military members and veterans, and members of the LGBTQ+ community, Treasury said.

The Defense Department is leveraging federal contracting to narrow wealth gaps, the White House said in a fact sheet.

The Environmental Protection Agency is stepping up a focus on environmental justice for disadvantaged communities, and the Health and Human Services Department is working to expand Medicaid postpartum coverage and tackle maternal mortality, it said.

“This is unprecedented. We are in the guts of government trying to advance equity using all the tools we have,” the senior administration official said.

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Reporting by Steve Holland and Andrea Shalal; Editing by Alison Williams

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