Delivering his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress last night, President Barack Obama highlighted two critically important bills, the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Violence Against Women (VAWA) Act, both which have been cosponsored and championed by Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) since he was sworn into the 113th Congress.
"I am pleased that President Obama used his State of the Union address to highlight and embrace two crucial pieces of legislation I've cosponsored as a Member of Congress," said Congressman Kildee. "The Paycheck Fairness Act and Violence Against Women Act are two of my top priorities in Congress as both are vitally important to ensuring that women are protected and treated fairly in the workplace. It's my hope that Congress passes these bills immediately and sends them to President Obama right away for his signature."
Last week, Congressman Kildee spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives urging Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. He also held a roundtable discussion last month in Flint with local-area women leaders to discuss the importance of women receiving equal pay for equal work. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women in the Fifth Congressional District currently are paid on average only 74 cents for every dollar paid to men, which is 3 cents less than the national wage gap of 77 cents.
Yesterday, the Senate voted overwhelmingly to reauthorize VAWA on a bipartisan vote of 78-22. After the vote, Congressman Kildee called on Speaker of the House John Boehner to bring the Senate-passed bill to the House floor without delay. VAWA would significantly strengthen the ability of federal, state and local law enforcement to combat instances of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. It includes additional provisions to protect tribal members, immigrants, and members of the LGBT community from domestic violence.
From President Obama's remarks last night, as prepared for delivery:
"We know our economy is stronger when our wives, mothers, and daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace, and free from the fear of domestic violence. Today, the Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act that Joe Biden originally wrote almost 20 years ago. I urge the House to do the same. And I ask this Congress to declare that women should earn a living equal to their efforts, and finally pass the Paycheck Fairness Act this year."