National Partnership for Women & Families

Testimony of Debra L. Ness For House Education and Labor Committee

Subcommittee on Workforce Protections Hearing on the Healthy Families Act and the FIRST Act
Washington, D.C. — June 11, 2009 —
Good morning, Chairwoman Woolsey, Ranking Member Price, members of the Subcommittee and my distinguished fellow panelists. Thank you for inviting us to talk about the policies this nation’s workers urgently need.

I am Debra Ness, President of the National Partnership for Women & Families, a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care, and policies that help workers meet the dual demands of work and family. I am here to testify in support of the Healthy Families Act and the FIRST Act, groundbreaking pieces of legislation that are tremendously important to working people across the nation. Congress should waste no time in passing these bills, especially at a time when working families are overwhelmed by personal economic crises caused by the recession.

The historic pace at which our economy is shedding jobs is devastating millions of working families — shaking the financial ground beneath their feet. Last week, the unemployment rate rose to 9.4 percent — the highest level since 1983. The unemployment rate for African Americans and Hispanics is even higher.

That means millions of families that once relied on two incomes are struggling to manage on one income, or no income at all. Access to employer-provided health insurance has declined, and family wealth is disappearing at a record pace. More »

Contact

Cindy Romero (202) 986-2600 cromero@nationalpartnership.org

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.

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