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Legislative Updates

Concerned Women for America Honors Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                       CONTACT: Toni DeLancey, Ph.D.
September 12, 2019                                                                            [email protected]       202-527-3434

Washington, D.C. – Concerned Women for America is pleased to honor Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) with our Statesman of the Year award at our 40th Anniversary Gala Dinner on Thursday, September 12. CWA awards Statesman of the Year to an elected leader who has demonstrated courage when representing traditional values and who has been a leader and a strong voice on the issues that define CWA’s mission.

“In the 116th Congress, Joni Ernst was selected by her peers to hold a leadership position as Vice-Chair of the Senate Republican Conference. She is also serving a key role on the Senate Judiciary Committee,” said Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America. “We honor Sen. Ernst tonight as Statesman of the Year for her strong voice of leadership on pro-life issues, for policies that protect women and families, and for confirming judges who will uphold our constitution. We are grateful for her commitment to conservative principles that protect life and liberty and the common sense values she represents. She is an inspiration to our CWA members and hero to our Young Women for America (YWA) presidents,” she continued.

Congratulations to Senator Joni Ernst. CWA is grateful for her leadership, integrity, and hard work as a U.S. Senator.

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Protecting Innocence in a Digital World

By | Family Issues, Legislative Updates, News and Events | No Comments

On Tuesday, July 9, 2019, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) monitored a hearing titled “Protecting Innocence in a Digital World.” The Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), heard from Mr. Duffie Stone (Solicitor Of the Fourteenth Judicial District, South Carolina), Professor Angela J. Campbell (Professor of Law), Mr. Christopher McKenna (Founder and CEO of Protect Young Eyes), Mr. John F. Clark (President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children), and Mr. Stephen Balkam (Founder and CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute). They shared their views on the problem of protecting children in a digital age, along with suggestions for a solution. They focused primarily on the targeting and grooming for sex trafficking and pornographic images through the use of social media for children along with the sensitive content that is exposed on media due to the lack of accountability in self-rated applications.

The first witness, Mr. Stone, explained how everyone equips their home and teaches their children safety precautions from outside dangers, and yet, through smartphone use, these dangers from predators we have so diligently taught our children to stay away from are infiltrating our children’s minds. Stone shared a study from the Pew Institute in 2018 stating that “95% of teens report having a smartphone that gives them access to the internet.” However hard we try, innocent children will be exposed to sensitive content. This is why parents must have the opportunity to protect their children, and the app stores must have the accountability to accurately rate their apps that contain a filtering system to minimize sensitive content from being leaked. Mr. Balkam stated it best saying that in this digital world, we must move our society from, “protection to empowerment, from blocking to monitoring and from restrictions to responsibility.” We will never have the ability to shut down social media or permanently protect children from being exposed to mature content; however, as Mr. Balkam shared, we do have the power to create a culture of responsibility. It is our responsibility to protect our children and ensure accountability from the media providers.

During the hearing, the witnesses shared multiple approaches for a solution yet came to the unanimous agreement on one common ground, unity. We must work together to expose sexual exploitation on the internet and together urge the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to “undertake more enforcement actions.”

Mr. McKenna, founder and CEO of Protect Young Eyes spoke about another important issue that must be addressed. The current app ratings system by which social media companies like Google accept and promote content for minors is virtually open to exploitation. Mr. McKenna stated that the current “app ratings process is broken, and that parental controls are overly complex.. Although Google has released a new app approval process, “kids will continue to be exploited in apps rated 12+,” he said.  Despite Google’s new requirements, we will still face “dishonest app ratings, over-generic app descriptions, and the lack of parental control on smart devices.”

CWALAC has been engaged in the battle to reform the app ratings system alongside other organizations like Protect Young Eyes. As part of the Fix App Ratings movement, we suggest an “independent, third party organization that establishes a unified app ratings framework along with the idea to enact better defaults based on the age provided during device and app setup.”  Through these solutions we can move towards accountability in the digital world and help protect our children better.

CWALAC would like to thank Sen. Graham for his leadership on this issue and for calling this hearing to contribute to the fight against child exploitation in order to protect the innocence of children. As this concern continues, we invite you to stay engaged with CWALAC for the latest updates on this issue and to make your voice heard to your elected representatives on the problems and challenges you face in your efforts to protect your children.

Senate Actions on Education Bills

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Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) is targeting support on education legislation towards the Student Empowerment Act, S. 157 and the Equal Campus Access Act, S. 1168. CWALAC is ensuring that your voice is heard so that families have the flexibility to spend money they’ve saved for their children’s education to best fit their children’s individual needs and to make sure religious groups don’t have to worry about losing First Amendment rights when they step onto a college campus. Currently, we are working on getting more cosponsors in the Senate for both bills.

The Student Empowerment Act, H.R. 621, enables parents to spend the money they have set aside for their children’s education in a way that best meets the individual needs of each child. It allows the money to be spent on K-12 educational expenses like educational therapies for children with disabilities, tutoring, testing fees, book, tuition, and more, to be paid from a 529 savings account, regardless of if that child is in public, private, religious, or homeschool institutions.

The Student Empowerment Act was initially included in the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement, or the Secure Act, and unanimously approved by the House Ways and Means Committee. But the Student Empowerment Act was taken out of the base bill by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the request of the teachers’ unions. Despite Pelosi’s action on the bill, members on both sides of the aisle, as demonstrated by the Ways and Means Committee, understand parents know their child best and deserve the flexibility to tailor services to their child’s unique specifications. The bill, introduced by Senator Cruz (R-Texas), is currently with the Senate Finance Committee. We have sent a letter of support to the Senate Finance Committee, as well as a request for cosponsors to the entire Senate. Currently, our efforts are focused on getting more cosponsors.

The Equal Campus Access Act, introduced by Senator Blunt (R-Missouri), ensures that faith-based student groups have the same rights and protections as other student organizations at public colleges and universities. This bill protects First Amendment liberties for the students who have lost access to rights, benefits, and privileges for their clubs. Thirty-one states have known incidences where religious student organizations lost those rights”. Public universities do not have the power to repress the First Amendment rights of its students. This bill also affirms the right of faith-based organizations to require a leader to adhere to their club’s beliefs. This allows those organizations to have a faith-based leader without repercussions.

The Supreme Court affirmed the Equal Access Act as constitutional in 1984 in the 8-1 decision Mergens v. Board of Education. The decision stated public schools cannot discriminate against religious extracurricular clubs. The Equal Campus Access Act is merely an expansion from public high schools to college campuses. This is not the promotion of religion by public universities; it is the First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion. Public universities must only treat religious students and clubs equally to other students and clubs—no more, no less. The latest action regarding this bill is that it has been referred to the committee on Health, Labor and Pensions, otherwise known as the HELP Committee. We are lobbying Senators to cosponsor this bill and partnering with coalition organizations to demonstrate a multi-faith front of support to the Senate.

These actions taken by Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee aim to protect the children of every parent and help ensure First Amendment rights. We need you and your voice to be heard to make sure these bills pass. Please encourage your senators to cosponsor both the Student Empowerment Act (S. 157) and the Campus Equal Access Act (S. 1168).

 

House Minority Forcing Members to go on Record on Anti-Semitism

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Support for Israel has been a point of bi-partisan agreement and cooperation, but Democrats in the House are making what normally are straightforward votes difficult. As a result, House Republicans are using procedural maneuvers to get members on the record on legislation combatting the anti-Semitic BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions), since the Majority won’t bring it up for a vote.

BDS stands for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions. The movement’s goal is the economic isolation of Israel by encouraging individuals, colleges, private companies, and even countries to stop investing in, trading or doing business with Israel and Israeli corporations or products. The BDS Movement opposes the very existence of Israel.

Last week Republicans in the House used a procedural tactic called a Motion to Recommit (MTR) to attempt to add anti-BDS language to a retirement enhancement act. The MTR is one of the only means for the minority party in the House to force members to vote on an issue—in this case, BDS.

The MTR was narrowly defeated in the U.S. House with a vote of 200 to 222. Though bipartisan, the vote was largely along party lines with only 12 Democrats joining Republicans in support.

Meanwhile, House Republicans are trying to force a vote on more complete anti-BDS legislation by filing a discharge petition on the Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East (SASME) Act of 2019.

One of the four components of this bill is the Combatting BDS Act of 2019. This enables states to choose not to do business with entities participating in the anti-Semitic BDS Movement. The BDS movement continues to spread internationally as anti-Semitism is also on the rise across the globe.

Despite the bipartisan support of this legislation in the Senate, Speaker Pelosi has refused to bring the identical House bill, to the floor for a vote. Since the Speaker has blocked this bill for four months, House Republicans are using a procedural tool, called a discharge petition, in hopes of forcing a vote on the SASME Act, H.R. 336.

A discharge petition is a means to get a vote on a bill if a majority of the House, at least 218 members, signs on to the petition.

Ironically, those 12 Democrats who voted on the MTR in support of the anti-BDS resolution, have yet to sign the discharge petition to get the SASME Act, which includes the Combatting BDS Act of 2019, to the House Floor (as of this writing).

Dr. Shea Garrison, CWA’s Vice President of International Affairs, encapsulated this inconsistency well when addressing the media:

At a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise all around the world, it is a travesty that the U.S. House is unable to unite to support Israel, our most critical ally in the Middle East … It is in America’s national interest to stand strong against anti-Semitic BDS. Support for Israel should be a non-partisan issue with complete bi-partisan cooperation.

Contact your Representative and ask them to stand strong against anti-Semitism and the BDS Movement.

House Votes on (In)Equality Act and Rejects Efforts to Save Women’s Sports

By | Blog, Defense of Family, Feminist / Women's Issues, Legislative Updates, News and Events, Social / Cultural Issues | No Comments

Last week, the House passed H.R. 5, the deceptively-named “Equality Act” by a vote of 236-173.  By redefining the term sex to include “sexual orientation and gender identity” in civil rights law, this bill elevates “gender identity” over the protected class of sex as male and female, giving any person the right to claim “gender identity” as the opposite sex at any time.  This sounds absurd, but the bill strips women from any protection from men who would identify as women in bathrooms, locker rooms, women’s shelters, sports competition, and more.

Before final passage, Republicans attempted to expose the threats to female athletes with a “motion to recommit with instructions.” A motion to recommit (MTR) is a procedural vote that would send the bill back to the relevant House committee with instructions on changes that should be made.  If an MTR is successful, a vote on final passage would be delayed until the committee fixes the bill and sends it back to the whole House for consideration.

The so-called Equality Act effectively erases women’s sports by opening up any competition to biological men who identify as women. The MTR for H.R. 5 was very narrowly tailored to amend the bill to ensure that nothing may be construed to weaken any protections under Title IX to ensure female athletes have equal opportunity.  This would have at least safeguarded the integrity of girls’ and women’s sports. Negating Title IX in the so-called “Equality Act” is a deep flaw in the bill, acknowledged by people across the political spectrum.  Unfortunately, the MTR was rejected along party lines by a vote of 181-228.

The need to protect female sports is not a hypothetical situation; the unfair playing field is happening already because of similar state and local laws. Selina Soule, a high school track athlete in Connecticut, lost her chance to compete in the New England championship this year after two biological males took first and second place in the 55-meter dash. This week, CeCe Telfer, who previously competed as a male, has stolen an opportunity for a female athlete to compete in the 100 and 400-meter hurdles in the NCAA Division II Women’s Track and Field Championships.

The so-called Equality Act’s unverifiable and unscientific attempt to address discrimination by elevating protections for certain groups on the basis of a new definition of sex is a direct threat against every woman in America.  Its effects are nothing less than extreme, far-reaching, and uncontainable and the gutting of Title IX is just one of these effects. Supporters have no way of defending the “Equality Act” against these threats to women even though basic common sense makes it obvious to most people. It’s a shame 228 House members blindly jumped on the bandwagon.

At this time, the Senate has no plans to take up the bill. However, 46 Senators, almost half the Senate, are cosponsors of the identical Senate bill. It remains a threat that must be opposed.

Senate Dems Deny the Facts About the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

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On Monday, February 25, the U.S. Senate failed to advance S. 311, the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, sponsored by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska). The bill needed 60 votes and failed by a vote of 53-44, with three senators not voting: Sens. Cramer (R-North Dakota), Scott (R-South Carolina), and Murkowski (R-Alaska). Sens. Cramer and Scott’s offices informed CWA they were unable to attend the vote due to weather delays. They are both original cosponsors of the bill and would have voted “yes. Sen. Tim Scott spoke at length on the Senate floor the day after the vote, declaring: “This is common sense; this is human decency. This is not an issue of being pro-life or pro-choice. This is being pro-child.” For information on how your senator voted, click here. 

Democrat Sens. Manchin (D-West Virginia), Jones (D-Alabama), and Casey (D-Pennsylvania) joined the 53vote majority, while every other Senate Democrat opposed Born Alive. Their excuses for defending infanticide on the Senate floor were straight from the talking points of Planned Parenthood and NARAL. Many of them claimed this does not happen. Wrong. Documented statistics by the Center for Disease Control say otherwise. Only six states require reporting cases of infants born alive after an attempted abortion, so we don’t know just how frequently this happens, but there is no question that it does. Abortion survivors like Melissa Ohden and Gianna Jessen have testified before Congress detailing their personal stories and asking for protections for babies who survive abortion 

Democrats also claimed the bill is unnecessary, because killing a child born alive is already illegal. While Congress did pass, and President George W. Bush signed into law, the Born Alive Infants Protection Act in 2002, it only defined a “person,” “human being,” “child,” or “individual” as including every infant born alive for the purposes of federal law. But the law did not contain any penalty provisions or requirements. This is the issue the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act seeks to correct. It would give law enforcement the legal tools to bring criminal penalties against a health care professional who fails to provide care for a child who is born alive. Some states do impose penalties, but New York repealed their born alive law, and Vermont is close to doing so. Federal law must address this. 

Here are the facts about the Born Alive Act: It is NOT about private medical decisions between woman and her doctor and does not change abortion laws. It is not about first, second, or thirdtrimester abortions; it is about infanticide. The bill only addresses failed abortions and would not substitute Congress’ judgment for standard medical practice in heartbreaking cases when a child is born but is not viable. It mandates the same degree of care be granted to children who survive abortions that would be given to a child born in other circumstances at the same gestational age, including hospitalizationIt also shields birth mothers from prosecution and grants them the right to take civil action against health care professional who fails to provide this care.   

The Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is not an extreme “anti-choice” bill. 82% of Americans oppose removing medical care for a viable child after birth, including 77% of pro-choice Americans. Undeniably, Americans widely support this bill. It is now up to the House to correct the failure of the Senate. Speaker Pelosi is standing in the way by denying daily requests to bring this bill to the House floor.  Next month, House Republicans will attempt to force the bill on the floor for a vote through a discharge petition. Please call your congressman today and ask him/her to cosponsor H.R. 962, the House version of S. 311, and sign the discharge petition when it is ready for consideration.  

 

Another Hard-fought Victory This Week – Sex Trafficking

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This week the House passed a sex trafficking bill (H.R. 1865) that would allow state attorneys general and victims to sue websites that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking. This bill was created to target sites like Backpage.com, which is currently under Senate investigation because of the hosting of ads that promoted the trafficking of minors. The legislation passed changes Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which the first circuit ruled shields websites from lawsuits over user-generated content.

This bill was a fight from the very beginning. Fortunately, human trafficking is a big issue nationally, and generally, everyone agrees it is a horrid practice that must be stopped. However, this issue has a lot of money surrounding it, and that means there are a lot of anti-sex trafficking groups with a lot of opinions about how this type of legislation should be handled. This issue also touched the bipartisan golden child of Congress: the tech industry. Democrat and Republican leadership are both heavily funded by the tech industry, and, unfortunately, they hated this bill when it was originally introduced, so we had our work cut out for us.

CWA worked with Rep. Ann Wagner’s (R-Missouri) office almost weekly for a year, meeting and strategizing how to get people in D.C. on board with something for which states were asking. The original bill was altered several times to appease not only the trafficking groups, but also was altered per DOJ’s request. When it passed, it was supported by all 50 state attorneys general. The final bill is a reflection of what should happen in Washington. Everyone: groups, congressional Democrats and Republicans, and the administration, worked together (eventually, not everyone was on board initially) to make a stronger and better piece of legislation.

We were not happy with the Senate counterpart for the House bill. It is what I would refer to as a “pat ourselves on the back” bill; it seems like it is accomplishing something, and it sounds really good, but ultimately it was not as strong as the House bill, and we had major concerns. Unfortunately, we were one of the few who did have major concerns with only the Senate language, and many sex trafficking groups loved the Senate language, but we vocalized those concerns and worked with Rep. Wagner’s office to educate members and leadership on why the House bill is better.

H.R. 1865 passed the U.S. House by a vote of 388-25.   The Senate will take up the House-passed bill the week of March 12.  Congratulations to Rep. Wagner who led the charge on the passage of this bill.  CWA worked long and hard on this legislation.  We look forward to seeing it through to passage in the Senate, also.

 

CWA Attends Announcement of New HHS Division: Conscience and Religious Freedom

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This week, members of the CWA staff were invited to a special event at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announcing a new division on Conscience and Religious Freedom in HHS’s Office of Civil Rights.  Caroline Aderholt, CWA’s Chief of Staff, was the only non-speaker who was invited behind the scenes to join the speakers and influencers, including the acting Secretary of HHS, Members of Congress and Senators.

This new division will specialize in enforcement and compliance with laws that protect conscience and the free exercise of religion and that prohibit coercion and discrimination. Specifically, this division will deal with conscience objections of healthcare workers who are forced to perform or participate in an abortion in violation with their deeply held beliefs. Additionally, this new division will also focus on the increasing issue of protecting the conscience rights of healthcare workers who object to participating in the gender reassignment process.

This was the result of hard work from so many behind the scenes to emphasize the importance of conscience protection. Thanks to the hard work of our team and the pro-life coalition, the Trump Administration has taken this unprecedented step to protect those who just want to follow their conscience.

What’s the latest on tax reform?

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This week, the Republicans finished up their plan to overhaul the tax code. There is always a lot of work behind the scenes on big issues like this, and CWA has been working with the Senate, the House and the Administration to advocate for a pro-family tax code. Families are the foundation of civil society, and tax reform that is pro-family is an investment in our future.

A huge part of our work surrounds the Child Tax Credit (CTC). Concerned Women for America was an original advocator for the CTC, and we are continuing the legacy of our founder, Mrs. Beverly LaHaye, by continuing to work toward a tax system that does not penalize families. Not only are we working to increase the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 annually to $2,500 annually, we are also working to remove the cap on the number of children for which the credit applies; we are pushing to have this credit apply against payroll taxes, and we are working to get rid of the marriage penalty.

As a whole, this tax reform package must provide a net gain for families, because as any parent knows, having a child is expensive. The Department of Agriculture estimates that for a middle-income family to raise a child born in 2016 until he/she is 17, it will cost $233,610. The national average of the annual cost of childcare is 31% of the median household income, and in 33 states, the cost of infant care is higher than paying for college tuition. Increasing the CTC allows for more take home pay and, therefore, more financial flexibility raising children. For a family with four children, $4,000 annually may not make a huge impact, but $10,000 annually with the expanded CTC may allow a mother to work part time instead of full time and, therefore, spend more time at home with her children.

Ivanka Trump’s office has been leading the charge on this issue from the early days of the Trump Campaign and Penny and CWA’s legislative team (Caroline Aderholt, Ashley Traficant, and Jaime Ballew) have all met with Ivanka personally about modernizing our tax code so that it helps families. Additionally, Ashley and Jaime have been meeting with key Senate and House staff as well as senators and members of Congress to reiterate to the authors of this legislation that the tax code must help families.

Now that the tax reform package has been revealed, we will continue working with the administration, House and Senate leadership as well as with other groups to get the expansion of the CTC and tax reform, as a whole, accomplished.

House Republicans unveil tax reform

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Washington D.C. – Today the House Ways and Means Committee unveiled the Republican tax reform bill, the Tax Cuts and Job Act.  Among many changes, it was revealed that a typical family of four earning $59,000 (median household income) will receive a $1,182 tax cut. The child tax credit will be raised to $1,600 per child from the previous $1,000 per child while providing a credit of $300 for each parent and non-child dependent to help all families with their everyday expenses.

Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America had this to say:

“Thank you House Republicans for working to provide tax reforms that will directly impact the American family. Our nation has not seen an overhaul of our tax system since 1986 – we recognize that this was no easy task.

“I am encouraged by the pro-family focus of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which will better support American families who are struggling to keep up. An investment in American families is an investment in the future of America, and I hope that continues to be the focus as this bill moves to the Senate.

“Both the increase in the child tax credit and the preservation of the Child & Dependent Care Tax Credit are a step in the right direction. Americans should never be forced to choose between earning a paycheck and taking care of their children or parents.

“Reforming the tax system is not easy, but it is vital, and every step needs to be taken to ensure that money is being given back to hard-working American families. And so I look forward to seeing the Senate take this even further, specifically in the area of the child tax credit. CWA has been working with Ivanka Trump and the Trump Administration on increasing the Child Tax Credit in this tax reform package to $2500 per child. These reforms demonstrate the fact that America’s economy is not only business-driven but fueled by the family.”

CWA on the front lines of pro-family tax reform

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Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) is encouraged by the tax reform proposals set forth by the Trump Administration. As the framework continues to be filled out, CWALAC is working tirelessly to more than double the Child Tax Credit. We believe tax reform should be pro-family, in addition to pro-growth.

We are working closely with Ivanka Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), as well as other organizations from varying backgrounds — all united in the belief that pro-family tax reform is an investment in America’s future.

Linked is a joint statement CWALAC signed outlining specifics for enhancing the Child Tax Credit.

We are proud to be at the tip of the spear promoting pro-family tax reform.

 

CWALAC Celebrates Passage of Historic Vote in the House of Representatives

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, as we mark two years since the conviction of abortionist Kermit Gosnell for murder, we celebrate the House of Representatives’ historic passage of the Pain-Capable Unborn Children Protection Act by a vote of 242-184,Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee CEO and President, Penny Nance,  made the following remarks Read More

Legislative Update for April 11, 2014

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House

Debbie Smith Reauthorization: CWALAC is pleased the House reauthorized the Debbie Smith Act. The Debbie Smith Act provides funds to state and local law enforcement agencies to perform DNA testing on rape kits. Testing rape kits is crucial to taking dangerous criminals off the streets and bringing justice and closure to rape victims. The bill is now awaiting action in the Senate.

National Women’s History Museum (NWHM): The Natural Resources Committee marked up and passed the NWHM his week. CWALAC worked with Committee staffers to determine its consideration in Committee. We heard from our friends that House leadership wanted to see this legislation passed quickly through Committee. CWALAC wanted to prevent good Members of Congress from having to go on the record during a Committee vote and agreed with Committee staff this should move as part of a unanimous consent package where a couple of representatives would submit their stated opposition to the legislation. In addition to their statements of opposition, these representatives met with Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) to express their disapproval and ask that this legislation not be placed on the suspension calendar. CWALAC met with 14 offices this week to oppose the NWHM. Act Now: Call your representative and ask him/her to oppose the NWHM. Click here to find your representative. Also, call Leader Cantor at 202-225-2815 and ask him not to bring this to a vote until it has proper safeguards.

Budget: The House voted on several budgets this week. Republicans brought up the president’s budget, which over the past several years has not received a single vote. This year, the president’s budget received two Democrat votes. The House also considered other Democrat budgets from the Progressive and Congressional Black Caucuses. CWALAC supported both the Ryan (which passed) and Republican Study Committee (which failed) budgets.

Senate

Paycheck Fairness: After circulation of an opposition letter written by our CWALAC team, the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 2199) did not receive the needed 60 votes to advance in the Senate. This is a great victory for CWALAC and all women hoping to continue to cultivate a culture of proper “work/life balance” and foster more freedom in the workforce.

National Women’s History Museum (NWHM): The CWALAC team continues to track the progress and movement of the National Women’s History Museum Commission Act. With Majority Leader Reid ready to push this through on a “fast track,” CWALAC will continue to do all it can both on and off the Hill to ensure that this bill does not come up for a vote on the Senate floor anytime soon! To see why CWALAC strongly opposes this new museum, click here. Take Action: Contact your senator now and tell them you OPPOSE the NWHM.

Legislative Update for April 4, 2014

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House

Abstinence Day on the Hill: On April 3, Shari Rendall joined National Abstinence Education Association and Family Research Council to host a Hill briefing for 45 staffers on abstinence education.  The briefing highlighted the importance of sexual risk avoidance.  In addition, we were joined by Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Illinois).  He and Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Illinois) are the cosponsors of the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act, which gives money for sexual risk avoidance from an ObamaCare comprehensive sex education fund.  Please call Rep. Hultgren at 202-225-2976 and Rep. Lipinski at 202-225-5701 and thank them for introducing the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act, H.R. 718.  Call your representative and ask him/her to cosponsor H.R.718.  Click here to find your representative.

Religious Freedom in the Military: CWALAC and the Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition sent a letter to Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson, superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy, questioning her about a recent incident where a Bible verse was removed from a cadet’s white board. This was done despite official academy policy, which permits the use of white boards for personal messages.

In the letter, the Coalition asked for a meeting with Lt. Gen. Johnson to discuss what this incident means for religious liberty in the Air Force.

ObamaCare: The House voted on H.R. 2575, the Save American Workers Act, sponsored by Rep. Todd Young (R-Indiana), to protect hardworking Americans from losing wages as a direct result of Obamacare’s 30-hour rule.  ObamaCare has incentivized employers to cut employees’ hours.

Budget Act: The House voted on Rep. Tom Price’s (R-Georgia) Pro-Growth Budgeting Act, H.R. 1874.  This requires the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to provide detailed information on the economic impact of major legislation as a supplement to the CBO cost estimates.

Senate

Sexual Risk Avoidance: On Monday, March 31, the Senate passed (64-35) the “Doc Fix” Medicare Compensation legislation.  This measure includes language that will allow for the continuing of Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) funding.  This is a small, yet strategic victory that promotes abstinence as opposed to mere Sexual Risk Reduction (SRR) or “comprehensive sex education.”

Education: This week, CWALAC worked diligently to gather much needed signatures for Sen. Grassley’s (R-Iowa) “Dear Colleague” Letter.  This circulated letter demands that the FY 2015 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bills include provisions that increase parental control and foster greater accountability.  Most importantly, Sen. Grassley’s letter clarifies that all funds appropriated will not be used to develop or implement the Common Core state standards!

Paycheck Fairness Act: On April 1, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee held a hearing on the Paycheck Fairness Act.  Understanding that this bill places undue burdens and regulations on employers, discourages flexible working arrangements, and in the end does not help women, CWALAC is working hard on the Hill to halt this dangerous piece of legislation.

Legislative Update for March 21, 2014

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Both the House and Senate were out of session this week.

Highlights while members were back in the district:

House

After being pushed to vote on the National Women’s History Museum, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) has agreed to hold a vote on this legislation (H.R. 863) sometime this year.  While the idea of celebrating women is admirable, we are concerned that the content of such a museum would be slanted to represent feminist ideology and would not provide an accurate portrayal of American women. Already, we have a clear indication about the types of women that would be highlighted.  The website attached to this proposed museum references Margaret Sanger nine times and Victoria Woodhull over 20, while referencing Phyllis Schlafly once and not mentioning Beverly LaHaye at all.  It also highlights Sandra Fluke, while ignoring Jeane Kirkpatrick, Kay Cole James, Alveda King, and Star Parker.  The Public Lands Subcommittee will hold a hearing about this legislation next Tuesday.

Act Now:  Please call Majority Leader Cantor at 202-225-4000 and ask him not to bring this legislation up for a vote in the House unless the diversity of opinion among American women about our own history is affirmatively addressed and safeguarded by Congress.

Senate

One year ago, on March 18, Kermit Gosnell and his “House of Horrors” became national news.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) had this to say:

“It was one year ago this week that Americans across the country first learned the name of a Philadelphia abortionist named Kermit Gosnell. The Gosnell trial shocked the conscience of the nation and awakened many to the dangerous conditions that can exist at abortion clinics nationwide. It prompted a renewed commitment to ensuring that health and safety standards at these clinics are actually enforced, and it led to the humane effort to ensure that late-term babies who have developed to the point that they are capable of feeling pain are protected from rogue doctors and lax regulators alike. At the federal level, this effort resulted in the Pain-Capable Abortion Act, which passed the House last summer in a historic pro-life vote. Senator Lindsey Graham has sponsored a companion bill in the Senate, and I am proud to stand with the Pro-Life Women’s Caucus in Congress and a clear majority of women nationwide in support of this common-sense legislation. It is time for America to join the ranks of most other developed nations around the world and restrict abortion at least at the point at which science tells us that unborn babies are capable of feeling pain. On this anniversary of the Gosnell trial, let’s show the world that we remember those who have been victimized by people like Kermit Gosnell and unite in this positive and life-affirming effort to safeguard the most vulnerable among us. Let’s take up this important pro-life legislation and send it to the President.”

Action: Click here to see if your senator supports the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. If not, call your senators and urge them to support S. 1670.

 

Legislative Update for March 14, 2014

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House

Ukraine: Last Friday, the House passed a bill to provide the Administration with the authority to extend loan guarantees to the government in Ukraine.  This week, the House passed a bill that expressed support for the people of Ukraine and their territorial integrity.  Both bills passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Executive Overreach:  This week the House passed a couple of bills that would try to rein in the Administration.  The first requires the Administration to report to Congress when it decides not to execute the laws of the land.  The second gives Congress a way to sue the Executive branch for failure to faithfully execute the laws.  Although President Obama has issued a veto threat, it is unlikely that these bills will reach his desk because Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) is not likely to bring them up for a vote in the Senate.

Air Force: This week, the Air Force Academy forced a cadet to remove a Bible verse posted on a cadet’s whiteboard after receiving a complaint from Mikey Weinstein at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.  The whiteboards are for personal as well as business purposes.  At a House Armed Services Committee hearing that was supposed to focus on budget issues, Reps. John Fleming (R-Louisiana), Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado), Michael Turner (R-Ohio), Mike McIntyre (D-North Carolina), Randy Forbes (R-Virginia), and Michael Conaway (R-Texas)  expressed concerns and questioned Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James and Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Walsh about the incident.

Please call these representatives and thank them for their efforts to protect religious freedom in our military. Also, please watch for upcoming alerts on this issue.

John Fleming: 202-225-2777

Doug Lamborn: 202-225-4422

Michael Turner: 202-225-6465

Mike McIntyre: 202-225-2731

Randy Forbes: 202-225-6365

Michael Conaway: 202-225-3605
 
 

Senate

Senate focus this week was on a bill to extend aid to the Ukraine. During the bill’s markup in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, there were talks of adding provisions that would have, if passed, saved First Amendment rights for groups who are in danger of the administration’s proposed International Revenue Service (IRS) rule.

Click here for more information on the proposed IRS rule.

Despite the IRS provision being non-germane, or non-relevant to the topic of the bill, conservatives tried to negotiate one of their top priorities in exchange for Democrats offering one of their priorities, International Monetary Fund (IMF) provisions.

As of Friday, the IRS protections were not added, but the IMF provisions were advancing. Those opposed to the provisions highlight concerns with national sovereignty, while Secretary of State John Kerry urged Congress to approve reforms to the IMF.

Currently, the decision to add IMF is slowing down any effort of congressional assistance to the Ukraine during this crucial time with Russia. The Senate is expected to vote on an aid bill as soon as it returns from recess.

Action needed: Get our message out by becoming active on Twitter. To read how, click here.

Next week the Senate will be out of session.

 

 

 

Legislative Update for February 21, 2014

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Both the Senate and the House of Representatives were out-of-session this week.

House

While Members of Congress were in their districts, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) continued to meet with House staff on the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act of 2014, H.R. 3865.  Since this legislation was only reported out of the Ways and Means Committee the week before, many staffers were unaware of the legislation.  We highlighted the importance of prohibiting the IRS from finalizing its proposed regulation that would restrict first amendment rights of free speech for 501(c)(4) organizations.  During several of these meetings, we had the opportunity to see the power of prayer.  In one office, a staffer shared how his mother was a good friend of Linda LaHaye Murphy, who led her to the Lord on a trip to the Grand Canyon.  Another office shared how they had a preacher on staff and started each morning in their Congressional office with prayer and a devotional.

Act: Please call your representative and ask him to support H.R. 3865.  Click here to find your representative.  And please continue to pray for your elected officials and their staff.  Prayer changes things.

Legislative Update for February 14, 2014

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House

Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act (H.R. 3865): The Ways and Means Committee favorably reported Rep. Dave Camp’s bill on Tuesday, February 11, along a party-line vote.  This bill would prevent the IRS from finalizing a rule that would restrict 501(c)(4) organizations (like Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee) and silence our voices, in violation of our First Amendment rights.  We expect this bill to be voted on by the entire House at the end of February.

Click here to read the letter we sent to the House.

Please call your representative today and urge him/her to support H.R. 3865. To find your representative, click here.

Marriage Week:  This week is National Marriage Week.  On February 11, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) organized a special order to promote the importance for families of marriage between one man and one woman.  The following representatives spoke on the floor: Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota), Bradley Byrne (R-Alabama), Scott Garrett (R-New Jersey), Doug LaMalfa (R-California), Randy Weber (R-Texas), and Ted Yoho (R-Florida).

Senate

State Marriage Defense: Wednesday, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced the State Marriage Defense Act (S.2024).  This bill counters the announced policy regarding marriage made by the Department of Justice (DOJ) which states that the U.S. federal government will recognize all same-sex unions, even in states that declare marriage as being between one man and one woman.

This decision by the DOJ violates states’ rights by taking the opinion from United States vs. Windsor made by the Supreme Court and extending it to states whose laws uphold traditional marriage.

To read CWALAC’s support letter, click here.

Action: Please call your senators at 202-224-3121 and urge them to cosponsor the State Marriage Defense Act, S. 2024.  To find your senators, click here.

IRS Proposed Rule: Tuesday, Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) and Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) introduced the Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act, S.2011, along with 37 additional senators; those offering their support include: Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota), and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

This bill, like the one introduced in the House, seeks to prevent the IRS from enacting regulations that would silence Americans’ First Amendment rights.

To read CWALAC’s support letter, click here.

Debt Ceiling Increase:  The Senate passed a debt ceiling increase this week, sending the measure to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

Many conservatives are disappointed with the way the debt ceiling talks have concluded. Currently, conservatives in both chambers, who have been fighting for cuts and accountability on spending, are finding their hands tied.  The only real chance at addressing our growing 17-trillion-dollar debt is during the mid-term elections.