“The FY2015 budget President Obama released today funds key priorities for America’s women and families. We are pleased the administration is proposing much-needed funding to help build a more healthy, fair and family friendly country.
We are thrilled the administration is prioritizing access to family and medical leave. By increasing Department of Labor (DOL) funding to better enforce workers’ access to unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, proposing a $5 million fund to assist states that want to develop paid leave programs, and proposing an additional $100 million to support that effort, the administration has shown a strong commitment to ensuring more people can take the time they need when serious illness strikes or babies are born or adopted.
The president’s budget also demonstrates a commitment to fairness in our nation’s workplaces. In addition to proposing increased DOL funds to support enforcement of wage and overtime laws, the administration is proposing $1.1 million to strengthen efforts to combat gender-based pay discrimination among federal contractors through DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. This is a welcome step toward keeping taxpayer dollars from being used to perpetuate pay discrimination. It is unfortunate, however, that increases to DOL’s enforcement efforts come at the expense of the Women’s Bureau, the only federal government unit dedicated exclusively to improving the status of job-holding women. We urge the administration and Congress to restore Women’s Bureau funding.
We applaud the administration for rejecting the harmful ban that prevents the District of Columbia from using its own funds to provide access to abortion care, and we are heartened that the president has taken the step to expand abortion coverage for Peace Corps volunteers in cases when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, or when a woman’s life is in danger. This represents a move in the right direction, but many harmful bans on abortion coverage remain in place, and we look forward to continuing to work with the administration to improve access to abortion coverage for all women.
We also will continue to work for an increase in funding for the Title X family planning program, which provides contraceptive services, preventive health screenings and sexually transmitted infection prevention and testing to nearly five million low-income women and men nationwide. While we are disappointed that funding for Title X was not increased, we are delighted that the budget would not fund abstinence-only-until-marriage programs for the first time since FY2010. This is a huge step forward in our fight for comprehensive sex education to improve the health and well-being of our nation’s young people.
We also praise the administration for continuing to fund implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which promises to make quality, affordable health coverage available to many more women and families. We applaud the administration’s investments to improve care quality and coordination, and preserve access to primary care for low-income women and families.
Congress should use the president’s budget proposal as a basis for the FY2015 budget. We look forward to working with the administration and Congress to ensure progress on the issues that matter most to women and families.”
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.