Issue Position: Families & Children
As a mother, I know that parents have an increasingly difficult job in today's world. The economic pressures, the time demands, the many outside influences that affect even the youngest childrenall of these, and more, make this an especially challenging time for America's families.
All parents want to protect their children and make sure they have the best chance possible to grow up to succeed in life. And American families today are facing new challenges. An ever-increasing number of families find themselves bearing the responsibility of caring for their aging parents at the same time they are trying to raise their children. Because of these dual responsibilities, they are known as the "sandwich generation."
Ultimately, our national well-being - our economic prosperity and our quality of life - depends on the strength of our families. It is a legitimate function of our government to support strong families and make sure parents have the tools they need to protect their children and do what's best for them.
As Minnesota's U.S. Senator, these are my priorities on behalf of our families and children:
* Provide needed tax relief for middle-class families. In my first months as Senator, I cosponsored the Middle Class Opportunity Act, which increases tax credits for child and dependent care, makes it easier for families to pay for higher education, protects middle-class families from unfair tax increases, and helps families provide for aging parents.
* Provide working families the flexibility they need to care for their children without losing their jobs. No parent should have to choose between a paycheck and being with their child at a critical time. I support the Family and Medical Leave Act and oppose the current Administration's efforts to weaken this important law.
* Assist families in caring for seniors. On the Joint Economic Committee, I have taken the lead on a critical issue facing families across America and Minnesota - how to care for our nation's aging population. Congress needs to address the financial impact and options that families have in caring for our nation's elderly. I am committed to easing the burdens facing family caregivers. I support a federal tax credit to assist with the costs of caring for an aging family member and the expansion of programs, like the National Family Caregivers Support Program, that provide education, guidance and support to people taking care of loved ones with long-term care needs.
* Protect children from unsafe products. Americans need to be able to trust that the products we buy every day are safe. Consumers deserve products that have been tested and meet strong health and safety standards. However, public concern has grown about the safety of many imported products from China - whether they are toys or charm bracelets, seafood or pet food, tires or toothpaste. As a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, I am fighting to make sure that the agencies charged with keeping Americans safe are being vigilant in doing their job to protect American consumers, young and old, from hazardous products.
* Keep our children safe from criminal predators. As a former prosecutor, I know there are criminals who are intent on victimizing children. Federal support is important to local law enforcement and the criminal justice system to make sure sex offenders can be tracked, because we know they are not afraid to move across state lines. That is why I supported the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Database Act, which establishes a publicly-available national database of sex offenders. I also support full funding of the COPS Program, which has a proven record of reducing crime by helping local police departments put more officers on the streets to protect our communities and families.
* Give parents more tools and information so they can protect their children in this new high-tech, multimedia world in which they're growing up. As the capabilities for high-tech communication grow, we must be vigilant about the new harms that may lurk for our children. I support the V-Chip, Internet filters and other new technology that give parents greater control over what their children see on TV and what they can do on the Internet. As a cosponsor of the KIDS Act of 2007, I am fighting for additional protections to safeguard children against online sexual predators.