Update from the WH Council on Women and Girls

WomenshcDear friends,

We hope this message finds you well.

It has been an exciting week here at the White House Council on Women and Girls! This week, Valerie Jarrett, Chair of the Council on Women and Girls and Senior Advisor to the President, announced the Administration’s #LeadOnLeave Tour — a nationwide project that will shine a spotlight on the issue of paid family leave and paid sick days, among other issues that impact families across America. Read on for how to follow this tour across the nation!

Continuing the focus on working families, President Obama gave his weekly address on protecting working families’ paychecks. In addition, the Air Force announced new initiatives to promote diversity and inclusivity, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality announced the start of open nominations for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Program.

Additionally, this week marks the fifth anniversary of West Wing Week, the White House’s weekly video guide to all that’s happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Check out the fifth anniversary edition here.

Read on for opportunities to engage, and don’t forget to follow Valerie Jarrett on Twitter at @vj44. You can also email us at cwg@who.eop.gov.

We look forward to continuing the conversation!

Best regards,

The White House Council on Women and Girls

Latest News and Administration Highlights

#LeadOnLeave: Empowering Working Families Across America
Building on President Obama’s State of the Union announcements supporting greater workplace flexibility for families, the White House and the Labor Department will travel to states across the country to meet with employers, workers, state and local officials, and others to highlight best practices and discuss how paid leave and other flexible workplace policies can help support families and businesses.

Watch Labor Secretary Tom Perez’s announcement and remarks on #LeadOnLeave here:

See more about Lead on Leave.

How can you follow the #LeadOnLeave nationwide tour?

Valerie Jarrett, Secretary Perez, and other Administration officials will be live-blogging throughout the tour to share updates from the Secretary’s meetings with local businesses, workers, and community leaders. The Secretary made his first stop this week in Seattle, where he met with small businesses and advocates to talk about the importance of paid family leave and paid sick days.

Follow Secretary Perez’s blog on the White House website!

Weekly Address: Protecting Working Americans’ Paychecks
In this week’s address, the President highlighted the progress made protecting American consumers since he signed Wall Street reform into law five years ago, including an important new step taken by the independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau earlier this week toward preventing abuses in payday lending.

The President emphasized his commitment to fighting to advance middle-class economics and ensure everybody who works hard can get ahead, while opposing attempts by Republicans both to weaken the CFPB and give large tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the middle class.

Watch the President’s Weekly Address here:

See the President's Weekly Address.

U.S. Air Force Diversity and Inclusiveness Initiatives
The Secretary of the Air Force, the Honorable Deborah Lee James, released her statements this week from the March 4 “Women and Leadership in National Security” conference. Her new initiatives are aimed, in part, at creating path to leadership and higher ranks within the Air Force Officer Corps for women. She also added the first steps for launching the Air Force Career Path Tool (CPT), a web-based mentoring solution to encourage more diversity within the ranks. These new initiatives are crucial to promoting inclusivity within the Air Force and are paving the way to equality and diversity throughout the entire U.S. military.

2015 Solicitation for Nominations for Members of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
In agency news, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is welcoming nominations for new Task Force members. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force is charged with enhancing the quality, appropriateness, and effectiveness of health care services and access to such services under Title IX of the Public Health Service Act.

To review the nomination process and nominate an individual for consideration, please see the nomination form here. Nominations must be received by May 15, 2015 to be considered for appointment with an anticipated start date of January 2016.

Stay Connected

~~ #ACA Laura C. is a two-time breast cancer survivor living in Texas ~~ #ACA

Planned Parenthood

Her name is Laura C., and she lives in Texas. When Obamacare opponents continue to try to block efforts to expand coverage — going so far as to shut down the government because of their opposition — it’s Laura’s future they’re threatening.

Laura shared her story with us this week. She is a two-time breast cancer survivor who was denied coverage by insurance companies for years due to her pre-existing condition. Now, thanks to Obamacare, she can finally get covered. This isn’t statistics, or politics, this is Laura’s life. And here’s what she says: “Obamacare gives me hope for my future.”

She’s not alone. As of October 1, millions of Americans now can enroll in more affordable health coverage, for the first time ever. Yet opponents of the law are still spreading misinformation. But you can do something! Here are two things you can do right now to make sure your friends and family are ready to get covered:

Get covered!
If you aren’t already insured, first click here to get the facts and find out how you can get covered under the health care law!
Spread the Word!
Make sure your friends and family know exactly what they need to get covered under new plans by sharing this image on Facebook:What you need to have ready to get covered:

Friends, the Affordable Care Act is the single biggest advancement for women’s health in a generation. Because people like you fought to make this law a reality and have stood up in support of this law against attack after attack, Obamacare will make affordable health care a reality for millions more Americans. That’s an amazing victory we can all be proud of.

It’s so important to speak out, spread the word, and make sure everyone you know can get enrolled in new plans, and take advantage of these new benefits. Today is proof of just how powerful we can be when we stand together.

Thank you for doing everything you can to protect every woman’s right to accessible, affordable health care, no matter what.

Cecile Richards, President
Planned Parenthood Federation of Americ

Super Typhoon Maysak Targets the Philippines; At Least 5 Killed in Micronesia ~ Please donate if you can

By Jon Erdman

Super Typhoon Maysak is moving off to the northwest on a path that will take it near or across the northern Philippines this weekend. As of the Wednesday evening advisory issued by the National Weather Service in Guam, winds have decreased to 150 mph. Additional slow weakening is forecast in the coming days.

Early this week, Super Typhoon Maysak rapidly intensified into the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph. According to Weather Underground’s Dr. Jeff Masters, Maysak is only the third super typhoon in reliable records dating to the 1940s with estimated winds that strong prior to April.

Maysak is also only the fifth super typhoon of record prior to April 1, according to senior digital meteorologist, Nick Wiltgen. A western Pacific tropical cyclone is named a “super typhoon” when maximum sustained winds reach 150 mph. The last such pre-April super typhoon was Super Typhoon Mitag in March 2002.

Prior to becoming a super typhoon, Maysak caused significant damage and killed at least five people in the Chuuk state of Micronesia, according to The Associated Press. Maysak’s eye passed just north of Yap Island on Wednesday, local time. Winds gusted up to 48 mph at Yap International Airport.

Infrared Satellite: Maysak

Infrared Satellite: Maysak

It’s too early to tell how heavily Maysak will impact the northern Philippines at this time. The latest forecast indicates that Maysak will be much weaker by that point, possibly impacting Luzon Island in the northern Philippines as the equivalent of a Category 1 or Category 2 hurricane.

Even though Maysak will be weaker by that point, significant impacts are still possible, including strong winds, flooding and mudslides.

(FORECAST: Manila | Tacloban)

(INTERACTIVE: Current Satellite Loop of Maysak)

Maysak Forecast Path

Maysak Forecast Path

Forecast path and peak sustained winds of Maysak over the next five days. Circles denote uncertainty in the position of the center at each forecast point.  (Weather Underground)

Typhoon Maysak first impacted Chuuk State, a group of Micronesian islands about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) southeast of Guam. Winds gusted as high as 71 mph Chuuk International Airport on Weno Island in the Chuuk State of Micronesian on Sunday, local time. (Chuuk is 14 hours ahead of eastern daylight time.)

Guampdn.com reported about 95 percent of tin houses were destroyed in Chuuk state. Communications were down in the islands Saturday, but were restored Sunday. Kane Faylim, airport manager for the Chuuk state government told the Associated Press airport employees had clear rocks deposited by large waves from the runway of Chuuk’s airstrip Tuesday, which has now been reopened.

Maysak became the third typhoon of 2015, a record active early start to the year in the western Pacific, according to Weather Underground’s director of meteorology, Dr. Jeff Masters.

Western Pacific Ocean tropical cyclones, called typhoons, can occur any time of the year, but typically hit a relative minimum in February and early March.

The name Maysak is Cambodian for a kind of tree.

Earlier in March, Tropical Cyclone Pam made a direct hit on the southern islands of Vanuatu in the south Pacific.

(PAM: Before/After Imagery | How You Can Help | Four Tropical Cyclones At Once)

MORE ON WEATHER.COM: Cyclone Pam’s Devastation (Mar. 2015)

Samuel (L) and his father Phillip search through the ruins of their family home on March 16, 2015 in Port Vila, Vanuatu. (Dave Hunt-Pool/Getty Images)

A Deal with Iran


United States And Other World Powers Reach Historic Understanding With Iran

After extending the self-imposed deadline by two days, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry yesterday announced that the United States and five other allies and partners has reached an agreement with Iran on the framework for a deal over its nuclear program. The issue has been at the center of several recent controversies, including Speaker Boehner’s decision to break longstanding protocol by inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress weeks before Israel’s elections, and the the choice by 47 GOP Senators to put partisanship over patriotism by writing a letter to Iran undermining the sensitive negotiations. Despite these actions, the decision reached yesterday represents an historic achievement for American diplomacy that makes the world safer by cutting off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon.

Key details are set to be finalized over the coming months, but the outline of the agreement includes the following points:

  • The deal includes the most robust and intrusive inspections and transparency regime ever negotiated for any nuclear program in history. International inspectors will have unprecedented access not only to Iranian nuclear facilities, but to the entire supply chain that supports Iran’s nuclear program.
  • This will be a long-term deal that addresses each path to a potential Iranian nuclear bomb. There are strict limits on Iran’s nuclear program for a decade, and additional restrictions on building new facilities or stockpiling materials will last for 15 years. And as a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran will never be permitted to develop a nuclear weapon.
  • In return for Iran’s actions, the international community has agreed to provide Iran with relief from certain sanctions. But this relief will be phased in only as Iran takes meaningful states to adhere to the deal. Any violations mean sanctions will return as they were before.

This agreement has received wide praise, including from some unlikely sources. After hearing about the tentative deal, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly offered his opinion that “you give it a shot” because “you don’t want a war with Iran.”

Meanwhile, rather than trying to undercut any negotiations, Republicans in Congress should recognize that the legislative branch has an important role to play as the enforcer of the agreement. Congress should establish a mechanism to ensure that Iranian backsliding on a deal would snap sanctions back in place, as legislation from Senators Barbary Boxer (D-CA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) would do. What Congress should not do is act as a cynical spoiler, impeding any chance for a meaningful deal to score political points.

BOTTOM LINE: This historic agreement of a framework over Iran’s nuclear program, agreed to not just by the United States but also other major world powers like Russia and China, deserves a chance. Any attempt to derail it is is not just a political attack: it is an intentional attempt to disrupt international diplomacy, exacerbate conflict with Iran, and weaken America’s standing in the international community.

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