Category

Legislative Updates

Democrats Playing Election-Year Politics with the Violence Against Women Act

By | Feminist / Women's Issues, Legislative Updates, News and Events | No Comments

CWA’s Vice President of Government Relation, Doreen Denny wrote the following Op-Ed about the Violence Against Women Act.

Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Dianne Feinstein (D-California) spent months collaborating on a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Their attempts to bring bipartisanship back to the process after the House majority rejected such collaboration were noble.  But their effort came to a “screeching halt” when Senate Democrats called a press conference to announce they were sponsoring the House bill instead.

“Once again, the Democrats are putting politics ahead of people and have decided to move forward on the House-passed VAWA bill,” Sen. Ernst announced.  This is a bill which Senate Democrats know full well is a non-starter for Senate approval.  Rejecting any history of bipartisanship or restraint, House Democrats loaded their reauthorization bill, H.R. 1585, with gun control, unemployment entitlements, and expansive ideological mandates.

Sen Ernst went on to explain how her good faith efforts with the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee were derailed as a political calculation. “Election-year politics are in full swing, and the grim reality is Democrats cannot afford to be seen giving Republicans a win. The far-left agenda of the House has hijacked the process.”

The politicization of something as significant as the Violence Against Women Act should have no place in the development of policy. Women victims of violence should be the last thing used as a pawn for political gain.  And yet that is exactly what the Democrats have done again this year.

This is not the first time VAWA has been held hostage in high-stakes partisan politics. It happened last year as VAWA was set to expire during the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (NTF) is a coalition of activist groups who guard the programs and funds for VAWA grantees. For years, they have worked in lock step with the Democrats to promote a progressively leftist agenda on VAWA and to demand that the same money go to the same providers. They are not fools in playing political games.

At the height of the Supreme Court battle, NTF sent a letter to Senate Republican leadership “to apprise you of our intention to disengage from negotiations over VAWA” to protest the handling of Christine Blasey Ford.

NTF laid out ground rules for how the Judiciary Committee should proceed with  Ford, concluding that, “Justice demands a fair process that treats Professor Ford far better than with the derision, scorn, and humiliation to which Professor Hill was subjected 27 years ago.”

Following their Kavanaugh defeat, the left cried foul at the “expiration of VAWA” and used it as a weapon against congressional Republicans in the 2018 election. Their prize: a House takeover, Speaker Pelosi, and a VAWA reauthorization bill showcasing their leftist policy agenda.

Considering how VAWA has been politicized over the last decade, it should come as no surprise that Sen. Ernst’s noble effort to work with the Democrats on an improved and modernized Violence Against Women Act broke down.  It didn’t surprise us. NTF is back on message demanding that the Senate pass the left’s wish list: unbounded unemployment benefits that could bankrupt states, gun confiscation orders that could disarm vulnerable women, and expansion of transgender rights giving biological men who claim to be women access to female domestic violence shelters and prisons, compromising the safety of women who have no other place of refuge or escape.

Meanwhile H.R. 1585’s partisan overreach falls short of important improvements that the Senate should correct. It overlooks meaningful protections for emerging threats to women in our country including female genital mutilation, honor killings, and forced marriages.  It deletes sex trafficking as a form of sexual assault against women and girls. It lets pimps off the hook and ignores the acceleration of threats from online predators.  It rejects full transparency and accountability in VAWA grant programs, including the hundreds of thousands of taxpayer funds that have gone every year to Planned Parenthood.

So long as Democrats choose to put election-year politics above safety, protection, and justice for women survivors, the effort to put a stronger VAWA on solid ground for the coming years will be futile. It’s time for Democrats to stop using VAWA to score political points and embrace a truly bipartisan reauthorization bill that can reach the President’s desk this year.

See Additional Pieces Written by Doreen Denny.

CWA Impeachment Run-Down and Prayer Guide

By | Legislative Updates, News and Events | No Comments

In case you’ve missed it, this week, the U.S. House of Representatives started public hearings in their impeachment inquiry into President Trump. If you have watched any of the impeachment proceedings, you have seen hostile partisan politics. The Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee carefully curated a list of people and conducted a closed-door selection process of witnesses. They passed a partisan impeachment resolution and have denied Republican witness requests, namely the whistleblower and Hunter Biden. The Committee televised the first public hearing on Wednesday, November 13, on the Democrat’s claim that President Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate the 2016 election by withholding aid. These impeachment proceedings are nothing like we have seen before, so we wanted to give you a who, what, when, and how to pray guide:

THIS WEEK: Focusing on U.S. officials who handled policy in Ukraine and back the whistleblower complaint.
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
WHO: William (Bill) Taylor, Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine
George Kent, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
Watch video of the first hearing here.

Today, Friday, November 15, 2019
Time: 9:00 a.m. ET
WHO: Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine

NEXT WEEK:
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
WHO: Jennifer Williams, aide to Vice President Mike Pence
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, National Security Council director for Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, the Caucuses, and Belarus
Kurt Volker, former Special Envoy to Ukraine
Tim Morrison, former National Security Council adviser

Wednesday, November 20, 2019
WHO: Gordon Sondland, US Ambassador to the European Union
Laura Cooper, Defense Department official
David Hale, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs

Thursday, November 21, 2019
WHO: Fiona Hill, Former National Security Council Russia Adviser

How to Pray: Pray for truth and justice to prevail and for unity in our nation.
Pray for wisdom and conviction for all leaders.
Pray for President Trump and his advisors.
Pray for House Intelligence Committee Leaders, Members, and staff – Republican and Democrat
Pray for the witnesses who will be testifying
Pray for the media to be accurate and truthful in their reporting, to not perpetuate a false narrative.

How to Watch: https://www.c-span.org/

CWA resources:
Our General Counsel, Mario Diaz, Esq – The Impeachment’s Partisan Stench
CWA’s “Use Your Voice” Podcast launching next week will focus on Impeachment.
Join us Live Tweeting during each hearing over the next week on our Twitter.
Check our Social Media platforms for daily updates- Facebook and Instagram.
www.concernedwomen.org

Trump Administration to Reverse Obama-era Regs that Sidelined Faith-Based Adoption and Foster Care Agencies

By | Legislative Updates, News and Events, Religious Liberty | No Comments

Last Friday the Trump Administration announced its intention to reverse Obama-era regulations that have sidelined faith-based adoption and foster care agencies. CWA has been working with Congress and the Administration on this change for nearly two years!

President Obama added categories to nondiscrimination laws that require grant recipients to accept ideological views on gender and sexuality. Such government discrimination has been weaponized against faith-based providers – several are facing lawsuits; others have discontinued operations. The Administration’s effort to restore religious freedom and enable all qualified child welfare providers to be eligible for placing children in loving homes is especially important as the need for loving families is on the rise.

As with other proposed rules that represent major changes, like the Protect Life rule and the Conscience Care Rule, supportive comments of the new rules will be crucial! The timeline to comment will only be 30 days. We will need your help to get the word out. We are awaiting publication in the Federal Register this week before we are able to submit comments, and we will alert you as soon as the comment period begins!

Impeachment Masquerade

By | Legislative Updates, News and Events | No Comments

On Halloween, the House of Representatives voted largely along party lines on a resolution that presumably would unmask the secrecy of the ongoing behind-closed-doors investigation of President Trump.  Two Democrats, Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-New Jersey) and Rep. Colin Peterson (D-Minnesota), joined with the entire Republican caucus to vote against the resolution.

The House resolution was described as “formalizing” the process – one that has yet to be officially started, even though it has consumed much of the business of the House for weeks out of public view.  The resolution itself acknowledges this as it directs six committees “to continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry.” [emphasis added]

Never in the history of the United States has the impeachment of a President been formalized after it was underway. The usual process begins with a vote on a resolution to start the inquiry, part of which includes the rules and parameters for the inquiry itself. This means there were no rules set until the House was in the middle of issuing subpoenas and demanding hours of testimony from everyone but the alleged whistleblower.  Speaker Pelosi unilaterally declared an impeachment inquiry without a vote even before receiving the transcript of the President’s call with Ukrainian President Zelensky.

Voters do not like how this is being handled.  A recent poll shows, roughly half of voters disapprove of how Democrats have conducted this investigation.

Apart from the procedural issues at hand, there is the matter of what the Constitution dictates as the threshold for impeachment.  Article II, Section 4 reads, “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”  The Constitution sets a high bar for impeachment. The answer must be more than something people dislike or disapprove of; it must meet the threshold of a high crime and misdemeanor.

Every American has the right to due process, including the President of the United States. That’s our Fifth Amendment right.  The impeachment process should be based on facts, and those at the center of the process should retain their right to due process.  It is profoundly damaging to ignore the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and sacred tenets of American jurisprudence including the burden of proof being on the accuser rather than the accused and innocent until proven guilty.

Starting with a legitimate vote to begin an inquiry enables the President to engage in the process and have the ability to defend himself.  It also gives all members of the House access to review the evidence and form their own conclusions. For the first time, this has not happened.

In Federalist 65, Alexander Hamilton details the impeachment process and the rationale behind it. Writing as Publius, Hamilton interrupts his impassioned defense of the Constitution to issue a warning:

In many cases [impeachment] will connect itself with pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by real demonstrations of innocence or guilt. [emphasis added]

In a time of heightened passions, tensions, and polarization, it is our duty to steward the laws and institutions that protect our liberties.  While not perfect, our constitutional order is the most effective system we have to preserve our freedom in a fallen world.

Party before country destroys both country and party. In a world of 30-second talking points and 140-character verdicts, let us take the time to thoughtfully examine issues as informed citizens. Only then may we continue to keep our Republic.

 

 

Concerned Women for America LAC Supports Graham Resolution on Impeachment

By | Legislative Updates, News and Events, Politics/National Sovereignty, Press Releases, Social / Cultural Issues | No Comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 25, 2019
Contact: Toni DeLancey
Direct Line: (202) 266-4816 | Mobile: (202) 527-3434
STATEMENT by CWA CEO & President Penny Nance

“The blatant partisan impeachment effort underway in the U.S. House of Representatives is not happening in a vacuum. It is not an organic response to impartial concerns for the country. It appears to be the latest, politically-motivated effort in an unending list of attempts to delegitimize a duly-elected president and to erase the results of the 2016 election. Impeachment hopes were articulated within hours of the election and multiple attempts have followed, leading to this dubious attempt today.

“Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) applauds Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) for introducing S. Res. 378, urging the House of Representatives to vote to open a formal impeachment inquiry, providing the president with the fundamental due process protections afforded by the Constitution.

“It is that type of transparent process, consistent with long-standing tradition and precedent, that the country desperately needs at such a crucial time in our history when division and political pettiness seem to rule the day in the nation’s capital.

“CWALAC calls on all members of Congress to move beyond radical political partisanship and act in the country’s best interest. Sen. Graham’s resolution is a crucial first step towards that goal.”

It’s Time for Congress to Get the Debbie Smith Act to the President’s Desk

By | Feminist / Women's Issues, Legislative Updates, News and Events, Press Releases | No Comments

 

Strengthening Debbie Smith Act Essential
for Victims of Sexual Assault

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Today the U.S. House of Representatives is voting to reauthorize the Debbie Smith Act, a vital program first enacted in 2004 to help states and localities end the backlog of untested DNA evidence, specifically sexual assault kits. Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee issued the following statement in response:

“Sexual assault is a horrific offense that turns a victim’s body into a crime scene. No woman who bravely agrees to undergo the hours-long process for obtaining a sexual assault kit should have that evidence go to waste.  

“After 15 years of the Debbie Smith Act and nearly $1 billion spent, most states still don’t know how many rape kits remain untested. We must do better. Victims of sexual assault deserve to know that every kit is accounted for and every last one is processed, because every rape kit represents a brave woman waiting for justice.

“During my testimony last summer before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the Debbie Smith Act, I advocated for greater priority for testing rape kits and greater accountability to end the backlog. The first priority for these funds should be for the victims of sexual assault who have been waiting for justice, often while enduring significant physical and psychological trauma. Let’s not forget that they are up against the clock due to statutes of limitations in some states. 

Concerned Women for America applauds the Senate for passing these important improvements to the Debbie Smith Act. Today the House is taking the next step. We owe it to victims to get this right, and we call on Congress to get the job done.”

Legal Victory Confirms Need for Equal Campus Access Act

By | Legislately, Legislative Updates, News and Events | No Comments

Great news for First Amendment rights at public universities! InterVarsity at the University of Iowa won big at a federal district court, the same that heard the Business Leaders in Christ case. This decision reaffirms the need for Congress to enact the Equal Campus Access Act.

Congress should see this decision on its merits and pass the Equal Campus Access Act to bring the clarity and force of law to this issue. The Equal Campus Access Act is a bill that adds one sentence of language to law, ensuring students don’t lose their first amendment rights on public college campuses—specifically pertaining to faith-based clubs.

The decision by the court not only upholds InterVarsity’s ability to require leaders to adhere to its core Christian mission, but also goes a step further to find, for the first time, that university officials can be held personally liable. This is a change from the norm of the university paying damages if university officials are found to have knowingly acted unconstitutionally or unlawfully.

In this instance, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa found that specific officials at the University of Iowa should have known they were acting unlawfully in no longer recognizing InterVarsity as an official club on campus due to its leadership requirements.

Enacting the Equal Campus Access Act into law will alleviate any confusion public universities may have regarding the rights of religious clubs and faith-based organizations on campus. It would make clear that faith-based clubs cannot be discriminated against for following their sincerely held beliefs.

Congress must act. No longer should this be an issue left for the courts to untangle.  As this decision demonstrates, it should already be clear in the light of the Constitution.

In the Senate, the Equal Campus Access Act is S. 1168 and has 27 cosponsors. The identical bill is in the U.S. House as bill H.R 3243 and has four cosponsors.

CWALAC and our field leaders recently lobbied on this bill on our lobby day resulting in an additional four cosponsors on the Senate bill. Your voice makes the difference. Please make your views on this bill heard by using our action center to ask your senators and representative to cosponsor this bill, if they have not already done so.

 

 

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

By | Legislative Updates, News and Events | No Comments

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 Senator 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.

###

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

By | Education, Legislative Updates, News and Events, Senate Legislative Updates | No Comments

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

By | House Legislative Updates, LAC Hot Topics/Alerts, Legislative Updates, News and Events | No Comments

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

By | Blog, Legislative Updates, News and Events, Planned Parenthood, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

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

By | Blog, House Legislative Updates, Legislative Updates, News and Events, Senate Legislative Updates, Sexual Exploitation | No Comments

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

By | Blog, Defense of Family, Legislative Updates, News and Events, Religious Liberty | No Comments

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?

By | Blog, House Legislative Updates, Legislative Updates | No Comments

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

By | Blog, House Legislative Updates, Legislative Updates, News and Events, Press Releases, Uncategorized | No Comments

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

By | Blog, Legislative Updates, News and Events, Senate Legislative Updates, Uncategorized | No Comments

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

By | Legislative Updates, News and Events, Press Releases, Sanctity of Life | No Comments

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