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."
The new Vice Chairs of the Women's Policy Committee also echoed that sentiment.
"When I am back home visiting with women in my district, the number one concern I hear is that the uncertainty in Washington about regulation, litigation and taxation is hindering their ability to innovate and create jobs," said Rep. Blackburn. "The Women's Policy Committee was formed with the idea of better educating Members on the issues that impact women on a daily basis, whether they be mothers, daughters, or small business owners. I am honored to have been selected as a Vice Chair of this distinguished group of Republican women and look forward to our work ahead."
Rep. Buerkle added, "In homes across the country, women work, raise their children, pay the bills, take care of their homes, pay taxes and contribute in countless ways to the well-being of their communities. These women inspire me, and I take seriously the importance of advocating for them. I am grateful to be their voice in Washington. I am certain that the Women's Policy Committee will further enhance our ability to serve women everywhere by educating Members on the issues that impact women. It is an honor to have been selected as Vice Chair of this group of women, and I look forward to working on these important issues with them."
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.