Biden touts military readiness, clean energy effort



(The Center Square) – Hiring, job retention for military spouses and child care options are included in an executive order signed by President Joe Biden on Friday in a two-stop North Carolina visit.

Aboard Fort Liberty, the Army base long known as Fort Bragg just outside Fayetteville, the 80-year-old Democrat signed a document in response to nearly 1 in 5 families citing challenges with spousal employment as a reason to leave active-duty service. The president also visited Nash Community College outside of Rocky Mount, touting his Roadmap to Support Good Jobs, “a collaborative agency effort to align on guideposts to build the workforce.”

The president’s touch down at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro in the morning tipped off a roughly 36-hour period when he, former President Donald Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis all were scheduled for North Carolina appearances and speeches. Each is a candidate for the 2024 presidency; the three Republicans are speakers at the state’s annual GOP convention.

The federal government is the job home of more than 16,000 military spouses. Biden is hopeful the directive will enable the agencies to better handle administrative leave, telework and changing duty locations. It’s an initiative, Joining Forces, with beginnings in the Obama administration and recently given emphasis by the current president’s wife, Jill.

White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Olivia Dalton, aboard Air Force One en route to Seymour Johnson, said more than a dozen actions in the executive order “will strengthen support systems for military spouses who are looking for employment.”

“This new executive order establishes the most comprehensive set of administrative actions in our nation’s history to support the economic security of military families, veterans, spouses, caregivers and survivors,” Biden said while aboard Fort Liberty. “The actions are boiled down into three main goals: more flexibility, more support, and more resources.”

Military legal assistance offices can help spouses, Biden said of the order. Also, among other actions, it will establish new training in human resources, and it accelerates implementation of the dependant care flexibility spending account.

“It matters,” Biden said. “It matters to our military recruitment and retention, matters to our troops’ readiness and resilience, and it matters to our nation’s safety and security. Supporting our military and veterans’ families is not just a moral imperative, it’s a national security imperative.”

Biden’s first stop was in the home county of Gov. Roy Cooper, the second-term Democrat with about 19 months to go in Raleigh. In Biden’s $1.9 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Nash Community College got $23.7 million to train students for clean energy jobs.

Biden referenced a visit in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to Rocky Mount. It’s a visit, chronicled by the state’s Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, in which the host family was left stigmatized in poverty after being asked to keep their children barefooted and put laundry on a clothesline.

“Back in 1964, President Lyndon Baines Johnson came to Rocky Mount and spoke,” Biden said. “He said the time has come for us to see that every American gets a decent break and a fair chance to make good. That’s exactly what we’re going to achieve.

“I’m so sick and tired of my whole career of what they used to call trickle-down economics. I never saw any of that economic benefit trickle down to my dad’s kitchen table. We’re going to build this economy from the middle out and the ground up. When that happens, everybody does well.”



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