During the 111th Congress, I continued to pay close attention to ensure that women have access to the proper resources and opportunities they need in order to thrive. As a husband, father, and grandfather, I will not waiver my conviction to be a strong advocate for the women in my family and women nationwide.
Women in the Workplace:
* Combat paycheck discrimination - Voted for the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to restore the rights of women and other workers to challenge fair pay, including helping close the wage gap where women earn 78 cents for every $1 a man earns in America. (Signed into Law)
* Fought for equal wages for women - Supported the passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act to increase the enforcement of equal payment of wages nationwide and bars retaliation against workers who disclose their wages. (Passed in the House of Representatives--H.R.12)
* Creation of Jobs, Aid to Small Business and Workers - Small businesses need tools and resources to thrive, create jobs and drive economic growth. Workers need training and education initiatives to excel. Fully supported these through increase funding for Pell Grants, Head Start, and the Job Creation through Entrepreneurship Act. (H.R.2352/H.R.2997)
Honoring Women Trailblazers:
* Alice Paul Congressional Gold Medal - Actively worked to raise awareness of the historic contributions made by Alice Paul to give all women the right to vote. Without the efforts of Alice Paul, current leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would not be where they are today. (H.R.406)
* U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor - Fully supported her confirmation as the third female ever to serve on the highest court of the United States. Justice Sotomayor is an example of dedication, hard work and perseverance.
Healthcare for Women:
* Breast cancer and effects in younger women - Younger women are more prone to aggressive breast cancer, in part due to the lack of tools, tests and information available about the disease in younger women. I fully supported increasing research on the unique implications young women go through as breast cancer patients and survivors. (H.R.1740)
* Breast Cancer Patient Protection - Supported legislation to require group and individual health plans to include breast cancer treatment for inpatient and outpatients; and to prohibit plans from restricting benefits for less than 48 hours in connection with mastectomy. (H.R.1691)
* Breast Cancer Screening Recommendations - Advocated for patient rights by supporting letters and legislative efforts to reiterate the need for regular breast cancer screenings protocols and prevent the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force scaled back protocols from leading to additional cuts to breast cancer health screenings and their healthcare coverage. (H.Res.971, passed the House)
* Ensured that all group and individual health plans include coverage for mammographies for patients over 40, and prohibits the denial by these plans solely on the basis of patient needing these services. (H.R.995)
* Postpartum Depression and Psychosis - Supported legislation to help mothers who suffer from postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis. (H.R.20)
* Combating Arthritis - Increased research is needed for arthritis prevention, management, and for different age populations for this debilitating disease. (H.R.1210)
* Treatment and Education for Heart Disease - Supported legislation calling for more research on the disparities in treatment between males and females, and better access to heart care education and quality of services. (H.R.1032)
Family and Children:
* Fought for children's health insurance - Supported passage of healthcare for 11 million children, including 30,000 in the 43rd Congressional District, whose parents earn too little to purchase individual insurance, but too much to qualify for Medicaid. (Signed into Law)
* Food Stamps, WIC and Nutrition Programs - Voted for a $61.35 billion in SNAP funding and hosted training sessions in the District to educate community leaders on the revised food stamp program. Supported directing $7.5 billion to provide proper nutrition to mothers and their children through the WIC program, and $180 million to the Commodity Supplemental Food Program to provide nutritious food to over half a million low-income women, children, and elderly. (H.R.2997/S.1406)
* Lifeline Grants to School Districts - Supported an increase of $14.5 billion in Title I grants to school districts, helping 20 million disadvantaged children across the nation. (H.R.3293)
* California Child Welfare System -- I supported efforts to ask the Health and Human Services Department to scale back harmful program instructions to California's Kinship Guardian Assistance Payment (Kin-GAP) program, which places foster children with relatives and assists those relatives with meeting the child's needs Harmful instructions may lead cuts for assistance for current Kin-GAP children in California.
* Justice for Survivors of Sexual Assault - Supported legislation to address the problems surrounding forensic evidence collection in cases of sexual assault, including rape kit backlogs, reimbursement for or free provision of rape kits, and the availability of trained health professionals to administer rape kit examinations. (H.R.4114)
American Recovery & Reinvestment Act:
* Work Pay Tax Credit - Gives a refundable tax credit up to $400 per worker, distributed to over 129 million families, including millions of working women and their families.
* Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit - Cuts taxes for the families of over 16 million children, by expanding child tax credits. Increases the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for families with three or more children and reduces the marriage penalty.
* Assistance with Childcare and Child Support - Helps mothers with modest incomes and military families obtain needed childcare through low-income support and military facilities improvement projects. Restores funding for child support enforcement programs. In 2007, these programs collected $4.58 in child support for every dollar spent.
* Strengthening Violence Against Women Act Programs - Increases funding for the adequate training of police, prosecutors, and court officials. This will improve the response of the criminal justice system for and on behalf of victims of domestic violence.
* Unemployment Assistance - Increases the weekly amount of unemployment benefits by $25, pushes back cut off date of extended unemployment benefits from March 2009 to December 2009, and suspends taxation of first $2,400 in unemployment benefits a person receives for 2009. This will help the 5.4 million unemployed women in America.
* COBRA Subsidy and Healthcare - Provides a 65% federal assistance to pay for healthcare coverage under COBRA up to 9 months for individuals involuntarily laid off from their jobs from the period between 9-1-08 to 12-31-09. COBRA allows workers to continue healthcare coverage, but typically at very high costs to workers.
* Nutrition Assistance - Directs a $19.9 billion increase in food stamps benefits to offset rising food costs, and $150 million for food banks to refill their shelves; allowing them to help hundreds of thousands of low-income women and children who rely on food banks. Gives an additional $500 million to the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.