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Women

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.

Equal Rights

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.

Health Care

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

Oct 17, 2013
I am relieved that Congress has finally broken through the gridlock that initiated the government shutdown. Although 16 days is far too long for this stalemate to have occurred, thousands of American families woke up today knowing that not only can they pay their bills, but the United States of America can continue paying its bills.
Jun 21, 2013
This week, Congress debated critical policies that would deeply affect American’s across the nation. The House voted on legislation that would restrict women’s rights and legislation that would have cut food aid for nearly two million Americans, mostly working families and seniors. Furthermore, the 113th Congress has been in session for 170 days, and House leadership has yet to bring a jobs bill or a budget agreement before the House of Representatives. This week, however, I was able to join my colleagues on the Congressional Hispanic Caucus for a meeting with Speaker John Boehner to discuss immigration reform, and I was also proud to introduce new legislation that would greatly benefit our communities. Lastly, I wrote an editorial piece to inform the public about the dangerous situation in North Korea, and the growing unity in Congress to establish solutions. I encourage you to continue reading my Washington Review for detailed updates.

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