Despite having come a long way since the 19th Amendment was adopted, women continue to struggle for equal rights and equal access to opportunities. I have used my time in Congress to continue to advocate for the unique needs of women, fight for equality, and combat discrimination, violence, and sexual harassment.
Society has made great advancements in equal rights for all communities, but women continue to face obstacles and barriers to equality. Sex discrimination continues to be an unfortunate occurrence that remains prevalent in the workplace, as evidenced by the wage gap between men and women. Women make approximately 78 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earn, with the pay gap for female minorities being even greater. Hispanic women earn 53 cents on the dollar and black women earn 61 cents. I have cosponsored several pieces of legislation aimed at increasing rights for women:
- H.J.Res.38, would remove the deadline for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.
- H.J.Res.35, would amend the Constitution by declaring that women shall have equal rights in the United States and prohibits from denying these rights based on sex.
- H.R. 7, the Paycheck Fairness Act, as passed by the House, would require employers to demonstrate that pay disparities are based on legitimate, work-related factors, prohibit retaliation for wage comparison, and institute a program for negotiation and skills training.
Women have unique health care needs and are often tasked with making important health care decisions for their families. Women’s health care has increasingly come under attack as attempts to limit a women’s agency in her own reproductive health care choices has come under judicial review, even by the U.S. Supreme Court. I believe a woman has the right to act her own best interest when it comes to her personal health care decisions and will continue to protect that right in Congress. I am a avid supporter of the Title X program, which provides essential reproductive health services to women, particularly those from low-income communities. Below are just a few of the bills I have cosponsored to strengthen and protect women’s health care:
- H.R. 2975, the Women’s Health Protection Act, would prohibit states from imposing onerous restrictions on abortion.
- H.R. 1692, the EACH Woman Act, would repeal the Hyde Amendment and ensure that women who receive coverage from government sponsored plans have access to abortion.
- H.R. 1581, the Reproductive Rights are Human Rights Act of 2019, would direct the State Department to include reproductive rights in its annual reports on human rights in countries receiving U.S. aid.
Violence Against Women
The World Health Organization estimates that 1 in 3 women have experienced either physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, with a majority of this violence committed by an intimate partner. I believe that every individual has the right to live free from the threat of violence which is why I have cosponsored several bills that seek to combat the epidemic of violence and harassment targeting women and girls:
- H.R. 1585, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019, as passed by the House, reauthorizes the Violence Against Women Act for five years and strengthens VAWA services and programs.
- H.R. 3867, the Violence Against Women Veterans Act, would improve services at the VA for veterans who are victims of domestic violence or sexual assault.
- H.R. 36, the Combatting Sexual Harassment in Science Act of 2019, as passed by the House, would expand research in to sexual harassment in the STEM fields in efforts to prevent harassment.
More on Women
This week in Washington, I cosponsored a resolution mandating anti-sexual harassment training in the House, attended a Transportation and Infrastructure markup on bills related to disaster recovery and combating human trafficking, met with a former Venezuelan mayor, and met with members of JP Morgan Chase. I also cosponsored a resolution to retain the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction.
While in Washington this week, I urged Speaker Ryan to reauthorize CHIP, cosponsored legislation to protect victims of domestic violence, and sent letters to the Administration asking them to restore policies that facilitate access to affordable contraception. I also voted on the fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget and an Iran sanctions bill in addition to holding a number of meetings.
While in Washington this week, I participated in a number of hearings and markups reviewing bipartisan legislation and met with various groups to discuss issues important to residents of the 8th District.
Over the last month there have been peaceful protest demonstrations around the nation and I have received numerous messages from constituents expressing concern and outrage over actions carried out in the first four weeks of the Trump Administration. I share these concerns and am strongly opposed to recent decisions that put our national security at risk and are fundamentally opposed to the core values we hold as Americans. Here is an update on the recent actions I have taken.
This week in Washington, I had an interview with students from my alma mater, received input from several constituent groups, and voted on transportation funding.
During my time in Washington this week, I questioned federal officials regarding the tragic Amtrak derailment, met with groups from New Jersey, and voted on several measures affecting the 8th District.
This week in New Jersey, I presented a replacement Purple Heart award to one of my constituents, and in Washington, reflected on the President’s State of the Union address, voted on several critical bills, and was renamed to several Subcommittees in the 114th Congress.