Tesla CEO Elon Musk set President Joe Biden straight on his new executive order on diversity and inclusion. Musk said of the latest Biden debacle:
“This would be a major restructuring of the Federal government, which requires an act of Congress. An executive order is not sufficient.” Biden’s executive order says:
“By advancing equity, the Federal Government can support and empower all Americans, including the many communities in America that have been underserved, discriminated against, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality. We can also deliver resources and benefits equitably to the people of the United States and rebuild trust in Government.
Over the past 2 years, Executive departments and agencies have engaged in historic work assessing how their policies and programs perpetuate barriers for underserved communities and developing strategies for removing those barriers.
They have made important progress incorporating an evidence-based approach to equitable policymaking and implementation, and they have crafted new action plans to advance equity.
In short, my Administration has embedded a focus on equity into the fabric of Federal policymaking and service delivery.
Our work to transform the way the Federal Government serves the American people has been complemented by Executive Order 14035 of June 25, 2021 (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce), which continues to help ensure that my Administration — the most diverse in our Nation’s history — reflects the growing diversity of the communities we serve.
My Administration is also implementing the first-ever National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality to ensure that all people, regardless of gender, have the opportunity to realize their full potential.
These transformative achievements have advanced the work of building a more equitable Nation. Yet, members of underserved communities — many of whom have endured generations of discrimination and disinvestment — still confront significant barriers to realizing the full promise of our great Nation, and the Federal Government has a responsibility to remove these barriers.
It is imperative to reject the narrow, cramped view of American opportunity as a zero-sum game. When any person or community is denied freedom, dignity, and prosperity, our entire Nation is held back.
The would be a major restructuring of the Federal government, which requires an act of Congress. An executive order is not sufficient.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 22, 2023
But when we lift each other up, we are all lifted up. Therefore, my Administration must take additional action across the Federal Government — in collaboration with civil society, the private sector, and State and local government — to continue the work begun with Executive Order 13985 to combat discrimination and advance equal opportunity, including by redressing unfair disparities and removing barriers to Government programs and services. Achieving racial equity and support for underserved communities is not a one-time project.
It must be a multi-generational commitment, and it must remain the responsibility of agencies across the Federal Government. It therefore continues to be the policy of my Administration to advance an ambitious, whole-of-government approach to racial equity and support for underserved communities and to continuously embed equity into all aspects of Federal decision-making.
Sec. 2. Establishing Equity-Focused Leadership Across the Federal Government. (a) Establishment of Agency Equity Teams. The Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of Education, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration, the Commissioner of Social Security, the Administrator of General Services, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Director of the National Science Foundation, and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (agency heads) shall, within 30 days of the date of this order, ensure that they have in place an Agency Equity Team within their respective agencies to coordinate the implementation of equity initiatives and ensure that their respective agencies are delivering equitable outcomes for the American people.
(i) Each Agency Equity Team shall be led by a designated senior official (senior designee) charged with implementing my Administration’s equity initiatives, and shall include senior officials from the office of the agency head and the agency’s program, policy, civil rights, regulatory, science, technology, service delivery, financial assistance and grants, data, budget, procurement, public engagement, legal, and evaluation offices, as well as the agency’s Chief Diversity Officer, to the extent applicable. Agency Equity Teams shall include a combination of competitive service employees, as defined by 5 U.S.C. 2102(a), and appointees, as defined in Executive Order 13989 of January 20, 2021 (Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel), and, to the extent practicable, shall build upon and coordinate with the agency’s existing structures and processes, including with the agency’s environmental justice officer designated pursuant to Executive Order 14008 of January 27, 2021 (Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad), and with the senior agency official designated to coordinate with the Gender Policy Council pursuant to Executive Order 14020 of March 8, 2021 (Establishment of the White House Gender Policy Council).
(ii) The senior designee at each agency shall be responsible for delivering equitable outcomes, to the extent consistent with applicable law, and shall report to the agency head.
(iii) Each Agency Equity Team shall support continued equity training and equity leadership development for staff across all levels of the agency’s workforce.
(iv) Each agency’s senior designee shall coordinate with the agency head, agency budget officials, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to ensure that the Agency Equity Team has sufficient resources, including staffing and data collection capacity, to advance the agency’s equity goals. Agency heads shall ensure that their respective Agency Equity Teams serve in an advisory and coordination role on priority agency actions.
(b) Establishment of the White House Steering Committee on Equity. There is hereby established a White House Steering Committee on Equity (Steering Committee), which shall be chaired by the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy. The Steering Committee shall include senior officials representing policy councils and offices within the Executive Office of the President, as appropriate. The Steering Committee shall:
(i) coordinate Government-wide efforts to advance equity;
(ii) coordinate an annual process to consult with agency heads on their respective agencies’ Equity Action Plans, established in section 3(a) of this order;
(iii) coordinate with the leadership of the White House Initiatives created by Executive Order 14031 of May 28, 2021 (Advancing Equity, Justice, and Opportunity for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders); Executive Order 14041 of September 3, 2021 (White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity Through Historically Black Colleges and Universities); Executive Order 14045 of September 13, 2021 (White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Hispanics); Executive Order 14049 of October 11, 2021 (White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Native Americans and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities); and Executive Order 14050 of October 19, 2021 (White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Black Americans);
(iv) coordinate with the White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council to ensure that equity and environmental justice efforts are consistent and mutually reinforcing;
(v) coordinate with the White House Gender Policy Council to align efforts to advance gender equity with broader equity efforts; and
(vi) monitor agencies’ activities and promote accountability to ensure that agencies undertake ambitious and measurable steps to deliver equitable outcomes for the American people.
Sec. 3. Delivering Equitable Outcomes Through Government Policies, Programs, and Activities. Each agency head shall support ongoing implementation of a comprehensive equity strategy that uses the agency’s policy, budgetary, programmatic, service-delivery, procurement, data-collection processes, grantmaking, public engagement, research and evaluation, and regulatory functions to enable the agency’s mission and service delivery to yield equitable outcomes for all Americans, including underserved communities.
(a) In September 2023, and on an annual basis thereafter, concurrent with the agencies’ submission to OMB for the President’s Budget, agency heads shall submit an Equity Action Plan to the Steering Committee. The Equity Action Plan shall include actions to advance equity, including under Executive Order 13985, Executive Order 13988 of January 20, 2021 (Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation), Executive Order 14008, and Executive Order 14020.
(b) Each Equity Action Plan, which shall be made public, shall include:
(i) an update on the progress made by the agency on the actions, performance measures, and milestones highlighted in the preceding year’s Equity Action Plan, as well as the agency’s performance on the annual Environmental Justice Scorecard established pursuant to section 223 of Executive Order 14008, as applicable;
(ii) potential barriers that underserved communities may face in accessing and benefitting from the agency’s policies, programs, and activities, including procurement, contracting, and grant opportunities;
(iii) strategies, including new or revised policies and programs, to address the barriers described in subsection (b)(ii) of this section and to ensure equitable access and opportunity for underserved communities; and
(iv) a description of how the agency intends to meaningfully engage with underserved communities, including through accessible, culturally and linguistically appropriate outreach, and the incorporation of the perspectives of those with lived experiences into agency policies, programs, and activities.
(c) Starting with formulation of the Fiscal Year 2025 Budget and for each subsequent year, the Director of OMB shall consider how the President’s Budget can support the Equity Action Plans described in subsection (a) of this section in order to reinforce agency efforts to meaningfully engage with and invest in underserved communities and advance equitable outcomes.
(d) To ensure effective implementation of Equity Action Plans, and to strengthen the Federal Government’s equitable delivery of resources and benefits to all, agency heads shall:
(i) prioritize and incorporate strategies to advance equity — including by pursuing evidence-based approaches, reducing administrative burdens, increasing access to technical assistance, and implementing equitable data practices, consistent with applicable law, into their respective:
(A) agency strategic plans developed pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 306(a);
(B) agency performance plans developed pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 1115 and 1116;
(C) portions of performance plans relating to human and capital resource requirements to achieve performance goals pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 1115(b)(5)(A);
(D) agency priority goals developed pursuant to 31 U.S.C. 1120;
(E) evaluation and evidence-building activities pursuant to the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-435) and section 5 of the Presidential Memorandum of January 27, 2021 (Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking);
(F) customer experience capacity assessments and action plans pursuant to section 280 of OMB Circular A-11 and Executive Order 14058 of December 13, 2021 (Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government);
(G) selection of items for their respective regulatory agendas and plans pursuant to sections 4(b) and (c) of Executive Order 12866 of September 30, 1993 (Regulatory Planning and Review), as amended;
(H) individual performance plans for senior executives consistent with 5 U.S.C. 4312, and for other senior employees consistent with 5 U.S.C. 4302; and
(I) as permitted by law, activities, acquisitions, and strategies that the Director of OMB determines to be appropriate to further the implementation of this order;
(ii) identify opportunities, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, to incorporate into new regulations and to modify their respective agencies’ regulations, internal- and public-facing guidance, and other policies to include advancing equity as part of their respective agencies’ missions; and
(iii) promote coordination within and among their respective agencies concerning the elements of their respective Equity Action Plans and the recommendations of the Interagency Working Group on Equitable Data established in Executive Order 13985.
Sec. 4. Embedding Equity into Government-wide Processes. (a) The Director of OMB shall consider opportunities to review and update internal processes, directives, and Government-wide guidance (such as OMB Circulars and Memoranda) to support equitable decision-making, promote equitable deployment of financial and technical assistance, and assist agencies in advancing equity, as appropriate and wherever possible.
(b) When designing, developing, acquiring, and using artificial intelligence and automated systems in the Federal Government, agencies shall do so, consistent with applicable law, in a manner that advances equity.
Sec. 5. Delivering Equitable Outcomes in Partnership with Underserved Communities. Underserved communities often face significant barriers and legacy exclusions in engaging with agencies and providing input on Federal policies and programs that affect them. Agencies must increase engagement with underserved communities by identifying and applying innovative approaches to improve the quality, frequency, and accessibility of engagement. Agencies shall, consistent with applicable law:
(a) conduct proactive engagement, as appropriate, with members of underserved communities — for example, through culturally and linguistically appropriate listening sessions, outreach events, or requests for information — during development and implementation of agencies’ respective annual Equity Action Plans, annual budget submissions, grants and funding opportunities, and other actions, including those outlined in section 3(d) of this order;
(b) collaborate with OMB, as appropriate, to identify and develop tools and methods for engagement with underserved communities, including those related to agency budget development and rulemaking;
(c) create more flexibilities, incentives, and guidelines for recipients of Federal funding and permits to proactively engage with underserved communities as projects are designed and implemented;
(d) identify funding opportunities for community- and faith-based organizations working in and with underserved communities to improve access to benefits and services for members of underserved communities; and
(e) identify and address barriers for individuals with disabilities, as well as older adults, to participate in the engagement process, including barriers to the accessibility of physical spaces, virtual platforms, presentations, systems, training, and documents.
Sec. 6. Creating Economic Opportunity in Rural America and Advancing Urban Equitable Development. (a) Agencies shall undertake efforts, to the extent consistent with applicable law, to help rural communities identify and access Federal resources in order to create equitable economic opportunity and advance projects that build community wealth, including by providing or supporting technical assistance; incentivizing the creation of good, high-paying union jobs in rural areas; conducting outreach to and soliciting input from rural community leaders; and contributing new resources and support to interagency programs such as the Rural Partners Network.
(b) Agencies shall undertake efforts, to the extent consistent with applicable law, to strengthen urban equitable development policies and practices, such as advancing community wealth building projects; preventing physical and economic displacement as the result of Federal investments; facilitating equitable flows of private capital, including to underserved communities; and incorporating outcome-based metrics focused on urban equitable development in the design and deployment of Federal programs and policies. To support these efforts, the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy shall issue a policy memorandum on actions agencies can take to advance urban equitable development.
(c) Executive Order 13946 of August 24, 2020 (Targeting Opportunity Zones and Other Distressed Communities for Federal Site Locations), including the amendments it made to Executive Order 12072 of August 16, 1978 (Federal Space Management), and to Executive Order 13006 of May 21, 1996 (Locating Federal Facilities on Historic Properties in Our Nation’s Central Cities), is revoked. Executive Orders 12072 and 13006 are reinstated as they were prior to issuance of Executive Order 13946. Executive Order 13853 of December 12, 2018 (Establishing the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council), is also revoked. All agencies shall, consistent with applicable law, including the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 551 et seq.), consider taking prompt action to revoke any rules, regulations, guidelines, or policies implementing these Presidential actions that are inconsistent with the provisions of this order. Further, agencies shall ensure that planning for new Federal facilities or new leases includes consideration of neighborhoods and locations that are near existing employment centers and are accessible to a broad range of the region’s workforce and population by public transit (where it exists), consistent with Executive Order 12072. Agencies shall identify displacement risks associated with Federal facility siting and development and shall engage with any community that may be affected, along with appropriate regional and local officials, to mitigate those displacement risks.
Sec. 7. Advancing Equitable Procurement. (a) The Government-wide goal for Federal procurement dollars awarded to small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals (SDBs) shall be 15 percent in Fiscal Year 2025. In furtherance of this goal, OMB shall set a Government-wide SDB goal for Fiscal Year 2024. The Small Business Administration shall, on an annual basis, work with each agency to establish an agency-specific goal that, in aggregate, supports the Government-wide goal. Further, agencies shall undertake efforts to increase contracting opportunities for all other small business concerns as described in the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. ch. 14A).
(b) Agencies shall expand procurement opportunities for SDBs through Federal financial assistance, consistent with applicable law, under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, and other Federal financial assistance programs.
Sec. 8. Affirmatively Advancing Civil Rights. Agencies shall comprehensively use their respective civil rights authorities and offices to prevent and address discrimination and advance equity for all, including to increase the effects of civil rights enforcement and to increase public awareness of civil rights principles, consistent with applicable law. Agencies shall consider opportunities to:
(a) further elevate their respective civil rights offices, including by directing that their most senior civil rights officer report to the agency head;
(b) ensure that their respective civil rights offices are consulted on decisions regarding the design, development, acquisition, and use of artificial intelligence and automated systems;
(c) increase coordination, communication, and engagement with community-based organizations and civil rights organizations;
(d) increase the capacity, including staffing capacity, of their respective civil rights offices, in coordination with OMB;
(e) improve accessibility for people with disabilities and improve language access services to ensure that all communities can engage with agencies’ respective civil rights offices, including by fully implementing Executive Order 13166 of August 11, 2000 (Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency); and
(f) prevent and remedy discrimination, including by protecting the public from algorithmic discrimination.
Sec. 9. Further Advancing Equitable Data Practices. The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee on Equitable Data shall, to the extent consistent with applicable law, coordinate the implementation of relevant recommendations of the Interagency Working Group on Equitable Data established in Executive Order 13985. The Director of OSTP shall provide a report on the Subcommittee’s progress to the Steering Committee every January and July.
Sec. 10. Definitions. For purposes of this order:
(a) The term “equity” means the consistent and systematic treatment of all individuals in a fair, just, and impartial manner, including individuals who belong to communities that often have been denied such treatment, such as Black, Latino, Indigenous and Native American, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander persons and other persons of color; members of religious minorities; women and girls; LGBTQI+ persons; persons with disabilities; persons who live in rural areas; persons who live in United States Territories; persons otherwise adversely affected by persistent poverty or inequality; and individuals who belong to multiple such communities.
(b) The term “underserved communities” refers to those populations as well as geographic communities that have been systematically denied the opportunity to participate fully in aspects of economic, social, and civic life, as defined in Executive Orders 13985 and 14020.
(c) The term “equitable development” refers to a positive development approach that employs processes, policies, and programs that aim to meet the needs of all communities and community members, with a particular focus on underserved communities and populations.
(d) The term “community wealth building” refers to an approach to economic development that strengthens the capacities of underserved communities by ensuring institutions and local economies have ownership models with greater community participation and control. This results in upgrading skills, growing entrepreneurs, increasing incomes, expanding net asset ownership, and fostering social well-being.
(e) The term “equitable data” refers to data that allow for rigorous assessment of the extent to which Government programs and policies yield consistently fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals.
(f) The term “algorithmic discrimination” refers to instances when automated systems contribute to unjustified different treatment or impacts disfavoring people based on their actual or perceived race, color, ethnicity, sex (including based on pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions; gender identity; intersex status; and sexual orientation), religion, age, national origin, limited English proficiency, disability, veteran status, genetic information, or any other classification protected by law.
Sec. 11. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) Agencies not covered by section 2(a) of this order, including independent agencies, are strongly encouraged to comply with the provisions of this order.
(d) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
Biden’s full order can be found here.
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