In a show of unity, Republican women in the U.S. House of Representatives today joined together to form the Women's Policy Committee, a formal Congressional caucus with the goal of raising the profile of GOP women in their roles as lawmakers, highlighting their diverse achievements and providing a unique, unified voice on a wide range of critically important issues.
Today, 24 Republican women from 17 states serve in the House, with many of them holding key leadership positions on influential committees and in the Republican Conference.
Rep. Mary Bono Mack (CA-45), who first came to Congress in 1998, was elected Chairman of the Women's Policy Committee. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN-7) and Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25) were elected Vice Chairmen. As part of its organizational meeting, a 7-person steering committee was also chosen. It includes: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-5), Rep. Sandy Adams (FL-24), Rep. Diane Black (TN-6), Rep. Kay Granger (TX-12), Rep. Nan Hayworth (NY-19), Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-3), and Rep. Kristi Noem (SD).
Saying it would add a "new perspective" on issues facing the House, Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor have strongly embraced the formation of the new GOP women's caucus.
"Make no mistake, these aren't just leaders on so-called "women's issues,' these are women leaders on all issues," Speaker Boehner said. "I am confident the Women's Policy Committee will offer a fresh, new perspective on a vast array of challenges confronting Congress and be an important voice for the Republican Conference."
Majority Leader Cantor added, "Republican Women are leading the charge on issues that matter most to small businessmen and women and working families throughout the country. The newly-minted House Republican Women's Policy Committee will provide a much-needed forum for thoughtful deliberation as we work to address big challenges like tax reform, health care and our nation's debt. Through their varied backgrounds and personal experiences, the members of the House Republican Women's Policy Committee have a unique advantage in making the case for lower taxes, less government red tape and pro-growth policies to get people back to work."
"As mothers, grandmothers, daughters, wives and sisters, women often see things in a different context," Rep. Bono Mack explained. "Today, our nation is confronting historic challenges -- from a $15 trillion national debt to a sluggish economy that has suffered through 39 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent. As Republican women, we have some really unique ideas for moving our nation forward, and we're excited about working together to find solutions."
Congressman Black also echoed that sentiment.
"As a wife, mother and small business owner, I know firsthand about the importance of making a budget and living within one's means. This commonsense fiscal responsibility is sadly lost on the President and his party. Their fiscal and economic policies of bigger government, more debt and higher taxes have resulted in 39 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent. To ensure a robust economic recovery and a prosperous future, we must limit the size and scope of government," Congressman Diane Black. "As women, we are often the ones making the health care decisions for our families, the ones trying to stretch a dollar at the grocery store. We bring a perspective of kitchen table budgeting, that families face daily, to the national budget debate. I am proud to stand with the other women in this policy committee."
According to its mission statement, the Women's Policy Committee "is organized for the purpose of influencing, advancing, leading, and communicating the Republican agenda in the House of Representatives. The Women's Policy Committee is dedicated to the principles of job creation, less government, lower taxes, regulatory relief, personal responsibility, individual freedoms and a strong national defense."
The Women's Policy Committee will meet regularly and work to develop consensus positions, when possible, as well as to be a strong voice on everything from pocketbook issues to health care to homeland security.