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Public Statements

Issue Position: Issues Significant To Women

Issue Position

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"In the last century, women have been a part of every major social and political movement, often leading in innovative and unconventional ways. From Elizabeth Cady Stanton fighting for the right to vote to Rosa Parks refusing to yield to racial discrimination, there have been brave women challenging unjust laws and policies. We have made great progress but we still have a long way to go and we have to make sure that our past victories are not lost by Bush and his conservative allies." -Yvette Clarke

Equal Pay for Women

Clarke supports equal rights for women and is a co-sponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act to help eliminate the gender wage gap. The wage gap affects women of all ages, of all races, and of all education levels. This legislation works to eliminate gender-based wage discrimination, requires that employees be educated about wage discrimination, and permits women to seek recourse under the Equal Pay Act.

Another major injustice faced by women in the workplace is the wage gap between men and women that persists in this country 40 years after passage of the Equal Pay Act. Working white women receive only 73 cents, African American women average 63 cents, and Latina women average 53 cents for every dollar made by white men in similar positions. I will work to ensure that no company will receive a government contract unless the company can meet living wage standards and affirmatively demonstrate that women and men receive comparable pay for comparable work.

The right to reproductive choice guaranteed in Roe v. Wade must be defended

Clarke believes in a woman's right to choose her reproductive options as guaranteed in Roe v. Wade. We must do all we can in 2008 to elected a pro-choice Democratic president to ensure the Supreme Court does not overturn a women's reproductive right to choose.

Clarke opposed attempts to bar the FDA from using funds for testing, developing, approving, or manufacturing RU-486. Clarke also supports the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), legislation that would once again ensure a woman's right to choose, as well as protect the health of the mother in all laws affecting reproductive choice.

Clarke supports repealing a current law that prohibits military personnel and their dependents from obtaining privately funded abortions at overseas military hospitals.

Clarke has consistently supported increased family planning. In particular she opposes the gag rule, which denies U.S. family planning assistance to any organization operating overseas that uses its own private funds to provide abortion services or influence a country's abortion policy. She also supports increased funding to Title X and domestic family planning programs.

Women are equal contributors to the workforce, and they should be financially compensated at the same rate as men

Today, while women are taking the lead in many arenas, they are fighting a major battle over pay issues. As of 2003, Women earn 76 cents to the dollar for the same work done by a male counterpart. Unfair pay affects all of us; a study by the Institute for Women's Policy Research found that unfair pay costs American families an estimated $200 billion annually. If married women were paid the same as men, their family incomes would rise nearly six percent. For these reasons, Clarke supports the Paycheck Fairness Act, introduced by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, which toughens the remedies of the Equal Pay Act, includes non-retaliation provisions, provides employer training, and recognizes model employers.

Clarke supports H.J. Res. 37 to amend the Constitution to state that equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex (also known as the Equal Rights Amendment).

Yvette Clarke has been an advocate for domestic violence programs and family violence awareness programs

Clarke is an advocate for the prevention and addressing of our nation's domestic violence problem. For too long, domestic violence has been pushed aside as a private family issue. Clarke believes that it is critical that legislators continue to fight for strong domestic violence laws and proper funding for programs

Because women's bodies and men's bodies respond differently to some illnesses and treatments, Clarke is committed to funding research specifically related to women's health initiatives.

Clarke will work to end genetic discrimination in insurance policies. She also supports increased research into women's health issues, and has co-sponsored legislation that will increase funding for education, prevention, treatments and research on birth defects, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Osteoporosis and many other health conditions and diseases that disproportionately or solely affect women. Specifically, she supports the Prevention, Awareness, and Research of Autoimmune Diseases (PARAiD) Act. This legislation will help the 14 to 22 million Americans, mostly women, who suffer from an autoimmune disease such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, and Type I Diabetes.

Unfortunately, heart disease is the number one killer of American women. Clarke will support legislation to improve and increase research of heart disease and stroke in women.

Internationally, women continue to suffer from severe health disparities, discrimination in constitutions and laws, and other severe inequities in education, rights and opportunities.

Yvette Clarke recognizes the importance of women's rights both at home and abroad. The harsh reality remains that nearly half a billion women are stunted from malnutrition. 700,000 people each year, mainly women and children, are trafficked across international borders. Clarke supports programs at the Department of State that promote international human rights for women, including the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act that passed into law, requiring the Secretary of State to address the international trafficking of women.

With recent events, our nation has learned more about the plight of women in Afghanistan under the Taliban's rule. Females in Afghanistan suffered horribly under that oppressive regime, as they were forbidden to work or attend school, prohibited from going outside without a close male relative and denied basic health care. Clarke wants to increase funding of international educational and exchange programs, and supports intergovernmental policies that will end the oppressive discrimination against women.

We must expand support to aid primary family caregivers

As more and more women work outside the home, and as Americans live longer and healthier lives, the role of family caregivers, particularly among women, has greatly increased. Congressman Clarke is proud to advocate for recognition of this issue. In our society, women are often the primary caregivers for our children. In 2000, 65% of women with children fewer than 6 years of age, 72% of women with children aged 3 to 5, and 61% with children under age 3 were in the work force, with most working full-time. Approximately 55% of working women are responsible for half or more of their household's income, with almost 20% the sole family provider. Clarke supports expanding the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to provide tax relief to those who, in order to work, pay for the care of a child under 13 or for a disabled dependent or spouse, and supports making the credit refundable for nearly two million working parents. She supports increased funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant which is the primary federal subsidy program to help low-income working families pay for child care, enabling low-income parents to go to work.

Clarke also recognizes that women are often the primary caregivers for aging parents. Over five million Americans have significant limitations due to illness or disability and thus require long-term care. Clarke supports efforts to assist families with long-term care needs through a $3,000 tax credit. Also, she supports the National Caregiver Support Program, which assists those who care for elderly relatives to have a network of support services, information and counseling.

Healthcare for Infants and Post-Partum Mothers

One of the many failings of our healthcare and social service system is that post-partum mothers are often discharged from a hospital or clinic within 24 hours after delivery, not allowing time for social service and educational intervention (such as breast-feeding training). Many new mothers are not visited by health-care professionals in their homes after the birth of their infant, and hospitals and other healthcare providers turn away the uninsured, even those who need critical care, or infants who are eligible, but have not yet been issued Medicaid cards. In Congress Yvette Clarke will work hard to rectify these failures, and to increase funding and expand the scope of services provided by the 39 free Child Health Clinics located in the city.

Bush's War Against Women

"In President Bush's budget for fiscal year 2007, President Bush slashes funding or eliminates several vital programs, proving that this Administration's budget priorities do not address the needs of American women. Specifically, the President would eliminate social security survivor benefits for women and children, eliminate women apprenticeships and opportunities for non-traditional employment, and his budget would eliminate the Women in Equality Act which has helped expose women to careers in math and science." - Yvette Clarke

Bush's budget . . .

Fails to make health care affordable for women and their families. More than 20 million women do not have health insurance, and millions more can barely afford to pay their premiums. Yet the President's plan to expand Health Savings Accounts would undermine employer-based health care coverage and make most Americans worse off. Expanding HSAs gives employers an enormous incentive to drop or reduce the health benefits that they provide now - thereby undermining employer-based health care coverage. For women, who typically need and use more health care than men, HSAs can lead to high out-of-pocket costs that will discourage necessary health care use.

The GOP budget-cutting bill (S. 1932) that the President just signed into law includes cuts in Medicare payments to health care providers of $22 billion over 10 years. Now, the Bush budget is calling for extensive new cuts in Medicare payments to providers - slashing Medicare by $36 billion over five years and $105 billion over 10 years. This drastic cut in Medicare would have a particularly damaging impact on women, as women account for over 56 percent of adult Medicare beneficiaries.

Includes gross Medicaid cuts, including both legislative and regulatory cuts, of $17 billion over five years and $42 billion over 10 years. The Bush budget is calling for $42 billion in additional Medicaid cuts, on top of the deep Medicaid cuts that Congress enacted in 2005. Medicaid beneficiaries, the majority of whom are women and girls, will be adversely affected by these additional Medicaid cuts. Medicaid cuts of this magnitude cannot be found by simply closing loopholes - the pain will be felt somewhere, either by shifting costs to the states or making women and their families pay even more for their care, or cutting payments to providers that can undermine their ability to provide care to the uninsured.

Cuts funding for food stamps and eliminates nutritional food program for women and their families. Single mothers and their children and elderly women living alone disproportionately rely on federal nutrition assistance - nearly 70 percent of adult food stamp recipients are women. Yet changes to eligibility in the food stamp program could cause 300,000 Americans to lose their food stamp benefits. In addition, the President's budget eliminates the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which provides nutritious food packages to low-income seniors and pregnant women, infants and children. These cuts to food assistance programs will leave many of the country's most vulnerable groups without the resources to meet the basic needs of their families.

Eliminates Social Security survivor benefits for women and children. Social Security helps the millions of families of workers who suffer an early death by providing monthly survivor benefits to widows and orphans. Survivor benefits are particularly vital to women who are far more likely than men to receive Social Security benefits if their spouse dies or becomes disabled before retirement. The President's budget cuts $6.3 billion in Social Security benefits over ten years by eliminating this critical safety net for women and children.

Eliminates funding for programs that increase women's opportunities in non-traditional employment. Under the President's budget, the Women in Apprenticeships and Nontraditional Occupations Act (WANTO) are eliminated. The WANTO program awards grants to employers to help them recruit, train, and retain women in non-traditional high-wage jobs. Women who have access to WANTO-funded projects are 47 percent more likely to enter a higher-paying technical occupation.

Eliminates the Women's Educational Equity Act (WEEA). The Bush budget completely eliminates WEEA, an initiative that has funded hundreds of programs to expose girls to careers from which they have traditionally been excluded; develop teaching strategies for math and science; and clarify school obligations with regard to sexual harassment.

Freezes the maximum Pell Grant for the fifth year in a row. Women at all levels of education still face significant disadvantages in financing a college education and disproportionately rely on Pell Grants. Despite these challenges, the Administration refuses to increase the size of the maximum Pell Grant, making these disadvantages harder to overcome.

Freezes funding for Head Start. Access to early childhood education is vital to women's economic well-being and the ability of their children to succeed in school. Yet once again, the Bush budget freezes Head Start funding at this year's level, meaning that 19,000 children will have to be cut from Head Start next year.

Eliminates funding for Even Start. The Bush budget completely eliminates Even Start, a program that supports family literacy services for parents with low literacy skills or who have limited English proficiency and their children -- by helping parents improve their literacy and basic educational skills.

Slashes funding for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). The Bush budget makes significant cuts in the Community Development Block Grant, a program that helps women, especially single mothers and elderly women, find shelter in a difficult housing market. The CDBG program plays a critical role in providing housing to our country's most vulnerable, including victims of domestic violence and Hurricane Katrina survivors.

Increases child care waiting lists by hundreds of thousands. The Child Care and Development Block Grant program provides child care assistance for low-income families and early education services to our country's most disadvantaged children. The President's budget freezes funding for this program for the fifth consecutive year and cuts child care assistance by 400,000 children by 2011.

Cuts overall funding for Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs. When all Violence Against Women programs are taken into account, the budget cuts funding by $19.5 million - cutting programs aimed at preventing domestic violence and providing essential services to victims of domestic violence.

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