“These issues should be at the top of our national agenda.” That was the message Senator Cory Booker (D – N.J.) delivered to a crowd of nearly 120 congressional staff members and advocates at the National Partnership’s annual congressional briefing last week. He was referring to the policies we work to advance every day, such as quality, affordable health care, paid sick days, paid family and medical leave, fair pay, comprehensive reproductive health services, including abortion care, and more.
I proudly kicked off the event by stressing the need for Congress to advance common sense public policies that address the real challenges facing women and their families – from meeting the dual demands of job and family to getting access to high-quality, patient- and family-centered health care. The event was truly inspiring, and it ended with a detailed discussion and question-and-answer session with our policy experts, who outlined our key priorities for the year.
We also released our new legislative agenda, Standing Up for Women & Families in 2016. It is a guide and a call to action for members of Congress to support proposals that promote families’ health and economic security, like the Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act, the EACH Woman Act, the Women’s Health Protection Act, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act, the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act and the Healthy Families Act.
As Senator Booker said: “It is an assault on common sense in our country that we’re not advancing these issues… What are we doing to our families? … What does that say about us as a society? … What it says to me is just unacceptable.”
We couldn’t agree more. These policies are popular with people no matter where they live or their political affiliation, and a growing body of evidence shows they are good for businesses, our economy and the well-being of the country.
“This is [about] creating a fair playing field for everyone,” Senator Booker continued. “But more importantly, it’s [about] investing in our country’s greatest natural resource, which is its people, its children. And as the data shows around the globe, investing in women and the things they need for their health [and] their economic security actually produces dividends for society.” He ended by emphasizing the urgent need for action and his appreciation for those in the room.
It’s time for all members of Congress to follow the lead of Senator Booker and the other lawmakers who are committed to standing up for women and families in 2016. At the National Partnership, we will continue to build on our progress toward a healthy, fair and family friendly America – and the growing support and momentum around these policies nationwide. We are committed to making this a year of advances for women and families.