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Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Families & Children

Democratic Representative (FL-20)


Voted YES on four weeks of paid parental leave for federal employees.

Congressional Summary:Allows federal employees to substitute any available paid leave for any leave without pay available for either the: (1) birth of a child; or (2) placement of a child with the employee for either adoption or foster care. Makes available for any of the 12 weeks of leave an employee is entitled to for such purposes: (1) four administrative weeks of paid parental leave in connection with the birth or placement involved; and (2) any accumulated annual or sick leave.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:

Rep. STEVE LYNCH (D, MA-9): This bill takes an important step toward improving the Federal Government's ability to recruit and retain a highly qualified workforce by providing paid parental leave to Federal and Congressional employees for the birth, adoption or placement of a child for foster care, which is a benefit that is extended to many in the private sector in other industrialized countries.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. DARRELL ISSA (R, CA-49): This bill sends the wrong message at the wrong time to working American taxpayers and families that are struggling in difficult times. Our economy is in crisis, and deficits are already soaring. This bill does not have one provision to say if you make $170,000 a year, why do we have to give you this benefit, because you have to choose between feeding your children and being with your children? Certainly not. There are no protections against, in fact, those who do not need this special benefit getting it. There are no safeguards at all. As a matter of fact, this bill envisions the $1 billion over 5 years, swelling to $4 billion over 10 years or more because, in fact, they believe it should be 8 weeks of special leave. Federal employees enjoy one of the highest levels of job security, without a doubt, anywhere in the United States. I would venture to say many of them the highest. More importantly, in good times and bad, they keep their jobs.

Reference: Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act; Bill H.R.626 ; vote number 2009-H310 on Jun 4, 2009

Permanent crime database for volunteers with kids.

Wasserman Schultz co-sponsored creating permanent crime database for volunteers with kids

A bill to amend the National Child Protection Act of 1993 to establish a permanent background check system. Congress finds the following:

  1. In 2006, a total of 16,500,000 adults volunteered their service to education or youth programs.
  2. An estimated 6.6% of individuals in the United States will serve time in prison for a crime during their lifetime. The Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System of the FBI maintains fingerprints and criminal histories on more than 47,000,000 individuals, many of whom have been arrested or convicted multiple times.
  3. Of individuals released from prison, an estimated 67.5% were rearrested for a felony or serious misdemeanor within 3 years.
  4. Given the large number of individuals with criminal records and the vulnerability of the population they work with, human service organizations that work with children need an effective and reliable means of obtaining a complete criminal history in order to determine the suitability of a potential volunteer or employee.
  5. The large majority of Americans (88%) favor granting youth-serving organizations access to conviction records for screening volunteers and 59% favored allowing youth-serving organizations to consider arrest records when screening volunteers.
  6. Even when accessible, the cost of a criminal background check can be prohibitively expensive, between $21 and $99 for each volunteer or employee.
  7. The Child Safety Pilot Program demonstrates that timely and affordable background checks are possible, as background checks under that program are completed within 3 to 5 business days at a cost of $18.
    Source: Child Protection Improvements Act (S.2756/H.R.5606) 08-S2756 on Jul 28, 2008

    Call for a White House Conference on Children and Youth.

    Wasserman Schultz co-sponsored calling for a White House Conference on Children and Youth

    The White House Conference on Children and Youth in 2010 Act - Directs the President to call a White House Conference on Children and Youth in 2010 to: (1) encourage improvements in each state and local child welfare system; and (2) develop recommendations for actions to implement express policy regarding federal, state, and local programs. The Congress finds the following:

    1. In 2005 there were over 3,000,000 reports of child abuse and neglect, and only 60% of the children from the substantiated reports received follow-up services and 20% were placed in foster care as a result of an investigation.
    2. Almost 500,000 children and youth were in foster care at the end of 2004 and nearly 800,000 spent at least some time in foster care throughout the year.
    3. There is an over-representation of certain populations, including Native Americans and African-Americans, in the child welfare system.
    4. The State courts make key decisions in the lives of children involved in the child welfare system, including decisions of whether children have been victims of child abuse, whether parental rights should be terminated, and whether children should be reunified with their families, adopted, or placed in other settings.
    Source: Conference on Children and Youth in 2010 Act (S2771/HR5461) 08-S2771 on Mar 13, 2008

    Sex Ed including both abstinence and contraception.

    Wasserman Schultz signed H.R.1551&S.611

    Authorizes grants to states for sex education programs, including education on abstinence and contraception, to prevent teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Expresses the sense of Congress that states are encouraged, although not required, to provide matching funds to receive such grants.

    Requires the Secretary to provide for a national evaluation of a representative sample of such programs for effectiveness in delaying the initiation of sexual intercourse and other high-risk behaviors, preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease, and increasing contraceptive knowledge and behavior. Requires states receiving such grants to provide for an individual evaluation of the state's program by an external, independent entity.

    Source: Responsible Education About Life Act 09-HR1551 on Mar 17, 2009

    More funding & services for victims of domestic violence.

    Wasserman Schultz co-sponsored Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act

    Introduction by co-sponsor Sen. Kay Hagan (D,NC):
    We have a serious responsibility to ensure that women and families are protected. The rates of violence and abuse in our country are astounding and totally unacceptable: domestic violence affects more than 12 million people each year. In my home state, 73 women and children are killed on average every year because of domestic violence.

    Since 1994, the STOP Program has provided grants for services, training, officers, and prosecutors, and has transformed our criminal justice system and victim support services. And this bill includes the bipartisan SAFER Act, which helps fund audits of untested DNA evidence and reduces this backlog of rape kits. I ask you: What other victims in America have to identify the attacker before authorities will take action? None.Introduction by Sen. Chuck Grassley(R,IA):
    I urge my Republican colleagues, as I will do, to support the motion to proceed. There has long been bipartisan support for the Violence Against Women Act. Too many women are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence. There is overwhelming bipartisan support for 98% of what is contained in S. 47. [Since our negative vote last session], controversial provisions have been removed. The key stumbling block to enacting a bill at this time is the provision concerning Indian tribal courts. Negotiations are continuing, and compromises would allow the bill to pass with overwhelming bipartisan support. Introduction by Sen. Pat Leahy (D,VT):
    Our bill will allow services to get to those in the LGBT community who have had trouble accessing services in the past. The rates of domestic and sexual violence in these communities are equal to or greater than those of the general population. We also have key improvements for immigrant victims of domestic and sexual violence.

    Source: S.47/H.R.11 13-HR0011 on Jan 22, 2013

    Teach teens about both abstinence & contraception.

    Wasserman Schultz signed Responsible Education About Life Act

      To provide for the reduction of adolescent pregnancy, HIV rates, and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), Congress finds as follows:
    1. Leading public health organizations stress the need for sexuality education that includes messages about abstinence and contraception.
    2. A 2005 statement [to Congress] urged that 'Sexuality education should be non-judgmental & support parent-child communication & should not impose religious or ideological viewpoints upon students.'
    3. [A Congressionally-sponsored] 2006 position paper that 'Efforts to promote abstinence should include information about concepts of healthy sexuality, sexual orientation & tolerance, personal responsibility, risks of HIV, access to reproductive health care, and benefits & risks of condoms & other contraceptive methods.'
    4. 8 in 10 Americans believe that sex education should promote abstinence and provide information about the effectiveness & benefits of contraception.
    5. There is strong evidence that more comprehensive sex education can effectively help young people delay sexual initiation, even as it increases contraceptive use among sexually active youth.
    6. There is no evidence that federally funded abstinence-only-until-marriage programs are effective in stopping or delaying teen sex.
    7. Most young people have sex for the first time at about age 17, but do not marry until their late 20s. Hence young adults are at risk of unwanted pregnancy & STDs for nearly a decade.

    Source: S.611&HR1551 2009-S611 on Mar 17, 2009

    2012 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Families & Children: Debbie Wasserman Schultz on other issues:
    FL Gubernatorial:
    Jeb Bush
    Marco Rubio
    Rick Scott
    FL Senatorial:
    Bill Nelson
    Marco Rubio



    Lame-duck session 2012:
    KY-4: Thomas Massie(R)
    MI-11:Dave Curson(D)
    NJ-9: Donald Payne Jr.(D)
    WA-1: Suzan DelBene(D)

    Re-seated Former Reps:
    AZ-1: Ann Kirkpatrick(D)
    AZ-5: Matt Salmon(R)
    FL-8: Alan Grayson(D)
    IL-11:Bill Foster(D)
    NH-1: Carol Shea-Porter(D)
    NV-3: Dina Titus(D)
    NY-24:Dan Maffei(D)
    TX-36:Steve Stockman(R)

    2013 Resignations and Replacements:
    AL-1:Jo Bonner(R,resigned)
    IL-2:Jesse Louis Jackson(D,resigned)
    IL-2:Robin Kelly(D)
    MA-5:Ed Markey(D,to Senate)
    MA-8:Stephen Lynch(D)
    MO-8:Jo Ann Emerson(R,resigned)
    MO-8:Jason Smith(R,elected June 2013)
    SC-1:Tim Scott(R,resigned)
    SC-1:Mark Sanford(R)
    SC-1:Elizabeth Colbert-Busch(D)
    Newly-elected Democrats:
    AZ-9: Kyrsten Sinema
    CA-2: Jared Huffman
    CA-7: Ami Bera
    CA-15:Eric Swalwell
    CA-24:Julia Brownley
    CA-29:Tony Cardenas
    CA-35:Gloria Negrete McLeod
    CA-36:Raul Ruiz
    CA-41:Mark Takano
    CA-47:Alan Lowenthal
    CA-51:Juan Vargas
    CA-52:Scott Peters
    CT-5: Elizabeth Esty
    FL-18:Patrick Murphy
    FL-22:Lois Frankel
    FL-26:Joe Garcia
    HI-2: Tulsi Gabbard
    IL-8: Tammy Duckworth
    IL-10:Brad Schneider
    IL-12:Bill Enyart
    IL-17:Cheri Bustos
    MD-6: John Delaney
    MA-4: Joe Kennedy III
    MI-5: Dan Kildee
    MN-8: Rick Nolan
    NV-4: Steven Horsford
    NH-2: Annie Kuster
    NM-1: Michelle Lujan-Grisham
    NY-5: Grace Meng
    NY-10:Hakeem Jeffries
    NY-18:Sean Maloney
    OH-10:Joyce Beatty
    PA-17:Matt Cartwright
    TX-16:Beto O`Rourke
    TX-20:Joaquin Castro
    TX-23:Pete Gallego
    TX-33:Marc Veasey
    TX-34:Filemon Vela
    WA-6: Derek Kilmer
    WA-10:Denny Heck
    WI-2: Mark Pocan
    Newly-elected Republicans:
    AR-4: Tom Cotton
    CA-1: Doug LaMalfa
    CA-21:David Valadao
    CA-41:Paul Cook
    FL-3: Ted Yoho
    FL-6: Ron DeSantis
    FL-19:Trey Radel
    GA-9: Doug Collins
    IL-15:Rodney Davis
    IN-2: Jackie Walorski
    IN-5: Susan Brooks
    IN-6: Luke Messer
    KY-6: Andy Barr
    MI-11:Kerry Bentivolio
    MO-2: Ann Wagner
    MT-0: Steve Daines
    NY-26:Chris Collins
    NC-8: Richard Hudson
    NC-9: Robert Pittenger
    NC-11:Mark Meadows
    NC-13:George Holding
    ND-0: Kevin Cramer
    OH-2: Brad Wenstrup
    OH-14:Dave Joyce
    OK-1: Jim Bridenstine
    OK-2: Markwayne Mullin
    PA-4: Scott Perry
    PA-12:Keith Rothfus
    SC-7: Tom Rice
    TX-14:Randy Weber
    TX-25:Roger Williams
    UT-2: Chris Stewart
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    Page last updated: Jun 16, 2013