Rep. Chu honoring local Women of Distinction
When women succeed, we all succeed. That is why I am fighting so that women who do the same work as men earn equal pay. Taking care of a sick child or going through pregnancy should not mean having to lose out on badly needed funds. And healthcare choices should be made by women, not their employers.
In recent years, numerous state legislatures took action to impede a woman’s constitutional right to access safe, legal abortions. Between 2011 and 2013, more state abortion restrictions were enacted than in the entire previous decade. In 2013 alone, 22 states enacted 70 provisions seeking to restrict access to abortion services. Many of these restrictions have nothing to do with women’s health or safety, instead they prescribe specific size requirements for buildings or require admitting privileges at hospitals for physicians performing abortions at outpatient clinics. Its no surprise that the number of states that are hostile to women’s rights grew to 27 states compared to the 13 states in 2000. As a result, women in states like Texas must travel 300 miles back and forth to obtain abortion services, and some doctors there are reporting that desperate women are performing self-induced abortions due to lack of access.
That is why I introduced H.R. 3471, the Women’s Health Protection Act. This bill creates federal protections against state laws that fail to protect women’s health and that intrude upon personal decision-making. It prohibits medically unwarranted restrictions that single out abortion services or the facilities that provide them. In doing so, women will have access to safe, legal abortion services, and this constitutional right will no longer hinge upon the state in which they reside.
Helping Women Victims of Violence
The terrible circumstances in which a woman finds herself as the victim of domestic violence should not be exacerbated by a lack of resources for those who are trying to help her. Recent events in the news have reinvigorated discussion not only about why someone stayed, but also about what was available when they left. This is one of the reasons why I fought to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The new law authorizes $659 million a year over five years for programs that strengthen the criminal justice system’s response to crimes against women and some men, such as transitional housing, legal assistance, law enforcement training and hotlines. And because many immigrant women are afraid to report their abusers because they are afraid of being deported, I fought to make sure immigrant victims of violence would be protected by a special U visa program.
Supporting Women-Owned Small Businesses
As a member of the Small Business Committee, I am constantly thinking about how we can get more women-owned small businesses to benefit from the federal government, which is one of the largest contractors in the nation. In 2013, the federal government bought goods and services worth over $460 billion. However, due to the sheer complexity of the system, it is often difficult for small businesses, and especially women-owned businesses, to gain a foot-hold in the federal procurement system.
The federal government has a goal to award 5 percent of the contracts to women-owned businesses. I find this to be shockingly low, but I'm disappointed that the federal government has not ever achieved that goal. In fact, women-owned businesses only received 4.3 percent or $15.4 billion of all federal contracts. And, when you consider women make up more than half of the U.S. population and a third of all businesses nationwide, we can do better.
So this year, I fought to help increase the number of government contracts awarded to women-owned small businesses. I offered an amendment that would raise the goal of federal contracts awarded to women-owned small business from 5 percent to 6 percent.
While the amendment failed on a party-line vote in Committee, I will continue to fight to improve this situation because it is imperative that the government opens up its doors to women-owned small businesses.
Working for a Women's Economic Agenda
I am pushing for a Women’s Economic Agenda, which would bring today's policies on minimum wage, child care and paid leave into the modern age. The fact is that today, women still earn just 77 cents for every dollar their men earn. This must change since women make up nearly two-thirds of all minimum wage workers and with wages at historic lows.
We must also improve access to affordable childcare. Too many women have to choose between a paycheck and making sure that their children are properly cared for. Nearly two-thirds of women in the workforce today have pre-school aged children. The average cost of child care – for just one child – ranges from $4,000 to $12,000. For a single mother bringing home about $15,000 a year in a minimum wage job, this is simply out of reach.
I also believe that it’s time for the U.S. to join the 145 other countries who offer workers paid sick days. Our country is one of four countries that don't offer paid leave to new mothers. I am pushing for policies that would make paid sick leave, and paid family and medical leave the standard in this country.
If we could tackle these issues, if we could improve the economic situation for 50% of Americans, we could improve the economy of this whole country. Said another way, “If Women Succeed, America succeeds.”
More on Women's Rights
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives Judy Chu (CA-27), Louise Slaughter (NY-25), Diana DeGette (CO-01), and Frank Pallone (NJ-06) today led nearly 160 of their colleagues in demanding that Speaker Ryan stop Republicans’ unprecedented assault on women’s health care. Despite their promise to focus on jobs and the economy, Republican leaders have made attacking women’s health care their top priority during the 115th Congress.
Washington, DC – Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) has released the following statement on the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court:
Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) joined 168 members of the U.S. House, led by Rep. David N. Cicilline (RI-01), in sending a letter asking President-elect Donald Trump to rescind 'alt-right' leader Steve Bannon’s appointment as White House Chief Strategist. Rep. Chu released the following statement:
Accomplishments During the 114th Congress (2014-2016)
Bringing more federal resources to the San Gabriel Valley is one of my top priorities. This is why I partner with federal agencies to ensure that we have access to federal programs and funding that could benefit our region. I am proud to have worked with these agencies and the President’s Administration on the following initiatives.
In their suits and pearls, members of Congress stood on the House floor and staged a public reading for a full hour Wednesday night. Their material was the viral letter penned by Anonymous, the woman who was sexually assaulted on the Stanford University campus last year. She had read the same letter to her attacker, Brock Turner, in court — describing what that night, the ensuing legal battle, and the fact that he was sentenced to only six months in prison, had done to her.