Skip to contentNational Women's Law Center

House of Representatives

The House's Spending Plan Will Harm Millions

On June 24, the House Appropriations Committee approved the Fiscal Year 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services funding bill, announcing that the proposed “[l]egislation will rein in damaging regulatory overreach, roll back harmful ObamaCare provisions, cut wasteful spending, and target investments to proven national programs.”

Well, not really.

The bill would cut spending for the Departments of Labor, Education, Health and Human Services by about $15 billion (9%), compared to the President’s proposed budget.

According to the Office of Management and Budget, cuts to these so-called “wasteful” programs and “harmful” provisions would: Read more »

Now There's Really No Excuse: Pass the PWFA!

Today is not just any old Wednesday. In fact, let’s rename it “Bipartisan Wednesday.” Or, “We All Stand for Pregnant Workers Wednesday.” Or, “The Day the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Gained a Republican Sponsor in the House (So There’s Really No Excuse Not to Pass It) Wednesday.”

What’s the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act? Read more »

Déjà Vu: House Tries Again to Make Reproductive Decisions a Fireable Offense

A couple of months ago, the House of Representatives passed a bill to undo a D.C. law, the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act (RHNDAA), that protects women from workplace discrimination based on their reproductive health decisions. Fortunately for D.C. residents, because the Senate did not take up the bill to undo D.C.’s law within the allowed time frame, the law took effect on May 2.

The D.C. law is quite simple really. It says that employees shouldn’t be fired for choosing if, when, and how to start a family. Why we would need this law in 2015 is more than troubling; but, unfortunately—even today—some bosses think that the personal reproductive health decisions we make are fair game for retaliation at work.

Now back to the House of Representatives. Never one to miss an opportunity to attack women’s health, the House has decided once again to try to stop the D.C. law. This time it is using its spending power to deny D.C. the ability to use its own local funds to implement this local law. Read more »

It Won’t Surprise You, But the House Wants to Allow Bosses to Fire Women for Their Personal Reproductive Health Decisions

We all know that the majority in the House of the Representatives doesn’t look too kindly on women’s constitutional right to privacy, which includes the right to use birth control and to have an abortion. Already four months into the new Congress, the majority has voted to permanently ban any federal insurance or health program from covering abortion except in very limited circumstances. It tried to pass an unconstitutional bill that would ban abortions after twenty-weeks but only failed to do so because of an internal disagreement about whether rape survivors must report their rape to get their abortions covered.

Why do these House members want to ban insurance coverage of reproductive health care and ban some abortions? Because they want to impose their own personal beliefs about birth control and abortion on the clear majority of the American population who does not hold similar views. They want to legislate women’s bodies and interfere in women’s reproductive health decisions. Read more »

Mayhem in the House of Representatives

Who knew a fight over a reporting requirement for rape survivors could take down a horrible bill that would impose a nationwide abortion ban on later pregnancies? But that’s exactly what happened last night. Just as I was about to get on a treadmill to work out the stresses of the day, I learned that the House Rules Committee was hastily convening at 9 pm to replace the 20 week ban bill with a totally different anti-abortion bill.

You can’t make this stuff up when it comes to abortion politics. Read more »

New Legislation Aims to Stop Harassment Before It Starts

On Monday, California Congresswoman Jackie Speier introduced a bill that would require all members of the U.S House of Representatives to complete mandatory sexual harassment training. The training would include “practical examples aimed at prevention of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation presented by expert trainers.”

This is a commonsense solution to an all-too-common problem. Employers have a legal obligation to prevent and remedy harassment, and it makes good business sense. Yet 25 percent of women and 10 percent of men still report harassment in the workplace today.

All employers—including the House—should adopt policies that explain what sexual harassment is, and make it unmistakably clear that it is prohibited in the workplace. A policy should also set out a procedure for filing and investigating complaints. Then, employers should train employees, supervisors, and managers not to harass and what to do if harassment occurs. Read more »

Take Action Against the Shutdown

It’s time to end the government shutdown and make sure America pays its bills. That’s why we are joining forces with organizations across the country to turn the pressure up – one phone call at a time – and send a clear message to the House of Representatives.

Call 888.659.9562 and urge your Member of Congress to end the shutdown, no strings attached! It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Call 888.659.9562 and listen to the recording which will review the message you can deliver to your Member of Congress.
  2. Enter your zip code.
  3. When connected urge your Representative to act NOW to end the government shutdown and prevent the economic catastrophe of a government default, without conditions. Tell them next to restore funding for all of the services that families count on and to protect Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and food stamps.
Read more »

House Singles Out Women’s Health As a Bargaining Chip in the Debate Over the Government Shutdown

While the rest of us were watching the season premiere of Saturday Night Live this weekend, the House passed a bill that holds women’s health hostage as a bargaining chip in the debate over shutting down the government.

It is such a typical move by the far-right politicians in the House that it almost plays out like a skit on SNL. They have become caricatures of themselves.

Specifically, late Saturday night, the House passed a continuing resolution that would exempt bosses from complying with the ACA’s Women’s Health Amendment if they oppose it for “religious or moral” reasons. This means that bosses could impose their religious beliefs on their employees, or even block their employees’ access to needed women’s health care for vague and undefined “moral” reasons. Female employees and dependents – just like men – are capable of making their own health decisions and must be allowed to do so without interference from their bosses. Read more »

A $40 billion SNAP cut isn’t belt-tightening. It’s life-threatening.

Tighten our belts? You have to be kidding.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is expected to introduce a bill that could come to a vote this week, which would cut SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) benefits for 4 to 6 million struggling Americans. SNAP provides critical assistance to millions of people, mostly women and children, to stave off hunger. In 2011, SNAP lifted the incomes of almost 3.9 million people above the poverty line (including 1.1 million women and 1.7 million children). And in a nation where nearly 50 million Americans suffer from food insecurity annually – including 15.8 million children – SNAP benefits are tangible, direct, and life-saving. But they’re already modest, averaging less than $1.40 per person per meal.

And now they’re on the chopping block. Read more »

Last Week, Chained CPI—This Week, Raising the Retirement Age and More

It’s August in Washington, DC and Congress is out of town—but the House Ways and Means Committee wants to know what you think about additional ways to cut Social Security benefits.

Through last week, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) invited comments on adopting the chained CPI: a proposal that would reduce annual cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security and cut the value of benefits more and more every year. Seven thousand of you joined us to tell the Committee that the chained CPI is especially harmful to women. Now the Committee is asking for comments by August 29 on other proposed benefit cuts, including raising the retirement age and changing the benefit formula to reduce benefits.

Raising the retirement age is really just another way to cut benefits. It reduces benefits no matter when an individual claims benefits. Increasing the retirement age from 67 (the current retirement age for people born in 1960 or later) to 69 would reduce benefits by about 13 percent, whether an individual claims benefits at 65, 67, 69—or even 70. Read more »