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Anna McClure, Fellow

Anna McClure is a fellow for Family Economic Security at the National Women's Law Center. Anna is a graduate of The George Washington University and Georgetown University Law Center. At Georgetown, Anna served on the boards of the school's chapters of Law Students for Reproductive Justice, Women's Legal Alliance, and the Equal Justice Foundation. During law school, she focused on civil rights issues at various organizations, including the Institute for Public Representation, National Women's Law Center, AARP Foundation Litigation, Advancement Project, and the National Association of the Deaf. Anna is a Washington, D.C. native and loves dogs.

My Take

My Supreme Court Field Trip: The Court Hears Arguments on the Self-Care Provision of the FMLA

Posted by Anna McClure, Fellow | Posted on: January 12, 2012 at 11:03 am

I was lucky enough to take a field trip from work yesterday to watch oral arguments at the Supreme Court. That would be enjoyable for me under any circumstances, but yesterday it was particularly exciting because the case I saw argued has very serious implications for women.

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House Bill Defies Common Sense by Slashing UI Benefits

Posted by Anna McClure, Fellow | Posted on: December 13, 2011 at 04:04 pm

For weeks now, we have been asking Congress to pass a bill to fully extend federal unemployment insurance (UI) benefits before they expire at the end of the year. Instead, last Friday, Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) introduced a bill (H.R. 3630) that would drastically reduce the number of weeks of federal UI available and would hit hardest in states with the highest unemployment (Michigan, ironically, being one of them). The bill also includes several other troubling proposals, including some changes to the overall structure of the UI program – but more on those in other posts.

The unemployment rate is currently at 8.6 percent, long-term unemployment is at record levels, and the jobs outlook is very grim (remember when some Senators voted to block several jobs bills rather than raise taxes on millionaires by even one cent?). It is shocking, then, that Rep. Camp not only proposes to cut critical federal UI benefits at all, but proposes to cut them by more than half:

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Looking for Jobs that Don’t Exist Is Hard Work

Posted by Anna McClure, Fellow | Posted on: December 08, 2011 at 05:02 pm

The deadline to extend federal unemployment benefits (UI) is rapidly approaching, but it is still not clear when Congress will get around to addressing this extremely critical issue. Meanwhile, some Members of Congress have indicated that they would vote against a bill to extend UI unless it changes the funding structure to let states use more money on non-benefit spending , meaning that money that should be dedicated to paying benefits can be used for paying back deficits, cutting employer taxes, and for other purposes.

That’s bad enough, but the justification offered for seeking this change in the UI funding structure is even more frustrating: The current structure, in the words of Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), “[is] discouraging people who can go back to work from going to work … [T]he program needs to be reformed to encourage people to get off it instead of encouraging them to stay on it.” It doesn’t take much to get what Senator DeMint is implying – that UI recipients are lazy, unmotivated, and would rather depend on government benefits for as long as possible than go back to work. As Senator Franken (D-MN) put it at today’s Senate hearing on long-term unemployment, this characterization is “offensive.”

Recent research has shown that claims that unemployment benefits discourage recipients from seeking jobs are exaggerated and that UI recipients are more proactive than non-recipients in looking for work. If that isn’t enough to debunk claims like Senator DeMint’s, the testimony at today’s hearing of Donna Stebbins, a long-term unemployed worker from Phoenix, really puts the lie to the notion that recipients of unemployment benefits are unmotivated:

Donna began her working life at age fourteen, when she began working summer jobs to earn spending money. Since that time, she and her husband Rick have done everything right. They paid their mortgage, put money away for retirement in a 401(k), and provided for their daughters. In April 2010 Donna was laid off and has been unable to find work.

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“No Christmas for Congress” Unless UI is Extended

Posted by Anna McClure, Fellow | Posted on: December 01, 2011 at 03:06 pm

As we mentioned earlier this week, Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) hosted a press conference yesterday highlighting the stories of the workers who depend on federal unemployment insurance benefits (UI) and calling for passage of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act. Even though it seems obvious to me that extending UI is, as Rep. Levin put it, “not a subject for horse-trading,” some Members of Congress seem willing to play a game of chicken with these critical benefits. One wonders if these Members have ever listened to the stories of the women and men who depend on UI, like I was honored to yesterday:

Jill, from Pennsylvania, was a teacher for 16 years until June, when, like so many other women in public sector jobs, she was laid off because of state budget cuts. Jill has three young children at home and a husband who is also an educator. Jill was the first in her family to go to college, and she went on to receive a master’s degree, but even with her education and years of experience, she has struggled to find a job that provides enough wages or benefits to support her family. Jill has even gone back to school to get an administrative certificate in the hopes that she can find a job that pays a sufficient salary. During this time of uncertainty, UI has helped keep her family afloat, but now she fears what will happen to them if her federal UI benefits are cut off next year.

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New Report Details Importance of Social Security to Communities of Color

Posted by Anna McClure, Fellow | Posted on: October 19, 2011 at 03:15 pm

We’ve highlighted some key facts about the importance of Social Security to women, including women of color and their families. But a new report from the Commission to Modernize Social Security goes into more depth about the particular importance of Social Security for people of color and options for reform. As the report explains, people of color tend to have higher poverty rates, hold lower wage jobs, have more and longer periods of unemployment, are more likely to become disabled, and work in jobs offering few or no retirement benefits, all of which leads to increased reliance on Social Security despite lower benefits. Women, in particular, spend longer periods of time out of the workforce caring for family. The report also highlights the special reliance of children of color on Social Security, with four times as many African-American children as white children being lifted out of poverty by the programs’ life and disability insurance benefits.

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