National Partnership for Women & Families

Women's Leader Praises Obama's Call for Secure Middle Class, Anti-Discrimination Measures, Pathways Out of Poverty

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
Washington, D.C. — February 12, 2013 —
In his powerful State of the Union address tonight, President Obama laid out a smart, fair and wise plan to strengthen the economy and the middle class, create a durable ladder to jobs and opportunity for all, reduce poverty, and protect the safety net we all may need.

We are especially pleased that the president explicitly urged Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which is long overdue. Just today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data showing that women are paid significantly less, on average, than men for doing the same jobs. We need the Paycheck Fairness Act to help address the punitive gender discrimination that pervades our job market and costs women and their families so terribly. In addition to congressional action, we urge the administration to issue executive orders to promote fair pay and family friendly policies among federal contractors. A week after the nation celebrated the 20-year anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act, it’s time to take another step.

We strongly support the president’s call to get the nation’s fiscal house in order while protecting the most vulnerable among us and the programs they rely on. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other critical safety net programs must remain secure. He is right that we must begin paying for the quality, not the quantity, of health care. The path forward requires delivery system and payment reform that change the way health care services are delivered, improve quality and lower costs.

The values that underlie the speech President Obama gave tonight are America’s values: fairness, opportunity, equity and compassion. The path forward he laid out is right for the nation, and that is why it has overwhelming public support. We urge lawmakers to keep those values and priorities in mind as they tackle the tough issues that lie just ahead. The nation needs a strong middle class, real opportunity for every person, workplaces that are family friendly and fair, and a health care system that provides quality, affordable care for all.”

Contact

Sadie Kliner (202) 986-2600 skliner@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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