National Review recently obtained internal documents by the Health and Human Services (HHS) headed by secretary Xavier Becerra, showing an effort to implement new standards for “equity” and “gender-inclusive correspondence.”
Every April HHS releases a Plain Writing Act Compliance Report, which “details the agency’s efforts to train employees in ‘clear Government communication that the public can understand and use’ in its ‘letters, publications, forms, notices and instructions,’ as outlined by the Plain Writing Act of 2010” reports National Review.
April of 2021’s report introduced “a New Focus section on Promoting Equity.” It was designed to support the first executive order that President Biden signed in office for a “whole-of-government equity agenda” which promises to “embed equity principles, policies, and approaches across the Federal Government.”
The report aims to advance racial equity and support for underserved communities through the Federal Government by using “plainly written and culturally sensitive, unbiased information.” National Review reports:
The new standard on gender-inclusive correspondence instructs HHS employees to “use gender-neutral salutations and forms of address only.” That includes omitting “gendered courtesy titles (Mr., Mrs., Ms.)” in address blocks and in salutations. (“Instead, write ‘Dear,’ followed by the individual’s name, followed by a colon,” the document suggests.)
It goes further, advising against gendered pronouns and other terms when in doubt — and even suggesting using the so-called “singular ‘they’” instead:
When writing to an individual whose name is unknown, avoid using gendered salutations (e.g., Dear Sir/Madam). Refer to the context of the communication to identify a suitable, gender-neutral alternative (e.g., Dear colleague, Dear recipient). Similarly, when addressing a group, avoid gendered language (e.g. Dear Sirs/Madams), opting instead for collective salutations that are gender neutral.
In the body of the letter, avoid using masculine or feminine pronouns (he, she) to refer to individuals whose gender or preferred pronouns are unknown. Instead, consider using the individual’s preferred name; using the singular “they,” “them,” and “theirs” pronouns; or using sentence constructions that avoid the use of pronouns.
The new equity section, meanwhile, mandates that department memos, such as those on a rule, “include noteworthy elements about equity and describe how the action will promote equity for individuals belonging to groups that have been historically underserved, marginalized, or subject to discrimination or systemic disadvantage,
including those referenced in EO 13985.” (As an example, the guide’s template for a regulation decision memo to the secretary includes a new section titled “Noteworthy Elements about Equity.” The sample section prompts the author to explain how the discussed regulation will affect “individuals belonging to groups that have been historically underserved, marginalized, or subject to discrimination or systemic disadvantage.”)
House Republicans Subpoena DOJ for Records of Biden’s Interview with Special Counsel
Special Counsel Robert Hur determined that President Joe Biden not only mishandled classified documents, but he also declined to press charges against him because his advanced age and declining memory would influence a potential jury.
“Mr. Biden will likely present himself to the jury, as he did during his interview with our office, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” Hur wrote.
House Republicans have subpoenaed the Department of Justice (DOJ) for the interview transcripts, audio, notes and video files from Hur’s interview with Biden which transpired during the investigation.
“The Committees further seek to understand whether the White House or President Biden’s personal attorneys placed any limitations or scoping restrictions during the interviews with Special Counsel Hur or Mr. Mark Zwonitzer precluding or addressing any potential statements directly linking President Biden to troublesome foreign payments,” the lawmakers said in a subpoena cover letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland.
“Special Counsel Hur’s report outlined that classified documents Joe Biden stashed for years relate to countries where his family cashed in on the Biden brand. We owe it to the American people to provide transparency and accountability about the extent of Joe Biden retaining sensitive materials and the concerns raised about his current mental state and fitness to be President of the United States,” Comer said in a statement. Comer, Jordan and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R., Mo.) are leading the impeachment inquiry.
“Special Counsel Robert Hur’s investigation into President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents made two things clear: there’s a double standard of justice in this country and Joe Biden isn’t fit for office. The transcripts and materials from his investigation are critical to our oversight work,” Jordan stated.
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