ENSURING FAIR PAY
Although women make up a nearly half of the American workforce, women in Indiana still earn only about 75 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. Because this issue of discrimination affects women and families, I support the Paycheck Fairness Act.
I also support the Equal Employment Opportunity Restoration Act which would ensure fairness for the millions of women across the country facing workplace discrimination by providing victims of employment discrimination access to challenge inequitable treatment.
Each of these bills would serve as an important step towards complete pay equity. However, there is still significant work to be done to ensure workplace equality. I remain dedicated to the passage of legislation that further protects the workplace for all Americans, regardless of gender.
An estimated one million women each year are diagnosed with breast cancer and an additional 20,000 will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Despite improving treatments and innovative research, over 500,000 women die from these illnesses and other female specific cancers annually.
Providing everyone with access to affordable health care continues to be a top priority for me. I supported passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to do just that. Instead of waiting to get sick, women and their families now have access to cancer screenings, wellness visits and educational information so that they can be proactive in prevention. With coverage of individuals suffering from pre-existing conditions and bans on lifetime limits by insurers, women in Indiana who find themselves sick will have access to treatment.
Along with my efforts to increase prevention, I am a strong advocate for research. Over the last few years, I have fought for funding for research at the National Institutes of Health to ensure that our nation’s best minds are exploring causes, treatments and cures for illnesses affecting our families. In addition, I support The Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act, legislation to advocate for efficient collaboration among researchers to eradicate this devastating disease that affects so many American families.
Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress continue to advocate for repeal of the benefits of the ACA while also voting to defund Title X family planning services. These services are essential to providing access to quality health care for women and families. I will continue to fight against these cuts.
PREVENTING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Domestic violence is a serious matter. Since the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was first passed to increase awareness and provide transitional support services for victims of domestic violence, reporting of incidents have increased 51 percent. This means that more victims are able to find assistance in their time of need. I strongly support legislation that would reauthorize VAWA and provide increased protections for the most vulnerable groups. I am committed to continuing investments in these programs, which includes opposing proposals to eliminate the Office of Violence Against Women.
As a former law enforcement officer, I have seen firsthand the devastating impacts that domestic violence has on women and their families. Throughout my time in Congress, I have made funding for important programs at the Department of Justice a priority. I supported expanding the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program and have advocated for funding of several other important programs that benefit our community, including the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County. I will continue to support the good work being done in our community to address domestic violence.
PROMOTING FAMILY LEAVE
I believe that our families are the backbones of our communities. Unfortunately, most women do not have the job flexibility necessary to take time off from work for the birth of a child or to care for a sick family member. To better assist these working parents, I have continuously supported improvements to family medical leave. I cosponsored the legislation to ensure all women are able to take appropriate leave from work to care for their children or dependent loved ones. In addition, I support legislation that would allow working women and men to take leave under the Family Medical Leave Act even if they are only working part time—as long as they have been with their employers for at least twelve months. This is important as many families depend on two working caretakers to provide their basic needs. I am also a cosponsor of the Healthy Families Act which allow employees to earn at least one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked and to use that time flexibly to address the medical needs of themselves and their families.
As I continue to work hard to put more people back to work, we must ensure that we continue to look after and improve the health and well-being of our Indianapolis community.