Bernie Sanders on Families & Children
Democratic primry challenger; Socialist Senator; previously Representative (VT-At-Large)
When a mother cannot spend time with her newborn child during the first weeks and months of that baby's life, and is forced back to work because her employer doesn't offer paid family leave and she can't afford not to work, that is not a family value. That is an attack on everything that a family is supposed to stand for.
When a husband cannot get time off from work to care for his cancer stricken wife or gravely ill child, that is not a family value. That is an attack on everything that a family is supposed to stand for. And it should be an embarrassment to anyone who claims to speak for family values in this country.
Today, largely because of the collapse of our middle class and declining wages, Americans are working longer hours than the people of any other major developed country in the G-7, which includes Japan, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy.
That is why I have introduced legislation to require employers to provide at least ten days of paid vacation to workers in this country every year. This is not a radical idea. It is already being done in almost every country in the world, and it is one more way to demonstrate our commitment to family values.
SANDERS: When Secretary Clinton says, "I'm not going raise taxes on the middle class," let me tell you what she is saying. She is disagreeing with FDR on Social Security, LBJ on Medicare and with the vast majority of progressive Democrats in the House and the Senate, who today are fighting to end the disgrace of the United States being the only major country on Earth that doesn't provide paid family and medical leave. What the legislation [costs] is $1.61 a week. Now, you can say that's a tax on the middle class. It will provide three months paid family and medical leave for the working families of this country. I think, Secretary Clinton, $1.61 a week is a pretty good investment.
CLINTON: Senator, I have been fighting for paid family leave for a very long time. I have a way to pay for it that actually makes the wealthiest pay for it, not everybody else.
SANDERS: I think if you're looking about guaranteeing paid family and medical leave, which virtually every other major country has, so that when a mom gives birth, she doesn't have to go back to work in two weeks, or there's an illness in a family, dad or mom can stay home with the kids. That will require a small increase in the payroll tax. According to Senator Gillibrand's legislation and we can accomplish that with just a small increase in the payroll tax.
Q: That's going to hit everybody.
SANDERS: Yes, it would. But it would mean that we would join the rest of the industrialized world. We are behind many other countries in protecting the middle class and working families.
CLINTON: I know we can afford it, because we're going to make the wealthy pay for it. That is the way to get it done.
SANDERS: Here's the point: Every other major country on Earth, every one, including some small countries, say that when a mother has a baby, she should stay home with that baby. We are the only major country. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. That's not what the American people want.
In 1972 and 1976, when Bernie first ran for office in Vermont, he was an outspoken ally of the LGBTQ community; as a plank of his platform, he proposed the abolishment of all discriminatory laws pertaining to sexuality. In 1983, after he was elected to be mayor of Burlington, Vt., Bernie backed the city's first-ever pride march.
Throughout his decades of public service, Bernie has voted against measures that impede the LGBTQ community's rights and has supported those that protect them from discrimination.
LGBTQ Values Are Family Values: Bernie was an early supporter and continue to be a committed advocate for LGBTQ families. He has regularly fought for them to have the same rights as families formed by heterosexual couples, publicly equating family values with LGBTQ values.
In 2012, Bernie co-sponsored the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, a bill that included additional provisions to protect LGBT victims, expand access to justice for victims on Native American reservations, and extend protection for immigrants.
After the renewal of the VAWA, Bernie said: "While we are reducing the incidence of domestic violence, much more has to be done. Too many girls and women are still suffering from domestic violence and sexual abuse and that must end."
Men are victims of domestic violence, and Bernie supports all victims of domestic violence. Although the title of this Act states that it is for women, the operative text is gender-neutral and applies to men and women, including transgender people.
When a wife is diagnosed with cancer and a husband cannot get time off of work to take care of her, that is not a family value.
When a mother is forced to send her sick child to school because she cannot afford to stay home with her that is not a family value.
Those are attacks on everything that a family is supposed to stand for. It is time to join the rest of the industrialized world by showing the people of this country that we are not just a nation that talks about family values, but that we are a nation that is prepared to live up to these ideals by making sure that workers in this country have access to paid family leave, paid sick time and paid vacations just like workers in every other wealthy country on earth.
SANDERS: Look, this is a piece of fiction that I wrote in 1972. That was 43 years ago. It was very poorly written. And if you read it, what it was dealing with gender stereotypes, why some men like to oppress women, why other women like to be submissive. You know, something like "50 Shades of Gray," very poorly written 43 years ago. What I'm focusing on right now are the issues impacting the American people today. And that's what I will continue to focus on. And what I think the American people want to hear.
Will my kids earn less income? Will my kids not have the education I have? Will my kids not have the opportunity to travel and learn and grow as I have done? Are the best days of America behind us? That is really the question. I don't think that has to be the case.
But if we are going to change the national priorities in this country, if we are going to start devoting our energy and our attention to the needs of working families and the middle class, we have to defeat this [Obama-Republican tax] proposal and we have to defeat similar types of proposals which come down the pike.
The Christian Coalition was founded in 1989 by Dr. Pat Robertson to give Christians a voice in government. We represent millions of people of faith and enable them to have a strong, unified voice in the conversation we call democracy.
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: A bill to direct the Consumer Product Safety Commission to classify certain children's products containing lead to be banned hazardous substances.
SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. OBAMA: The unfortunate reality for many children--particularly in low-income and minority households--is the continued presence of high blood lead levels. Lead is a highly toxic substance that can produce a range of health problems in young children, including IQ deficiencies, hyperactivity, and damage to the kidneys, brain and bone marrow.
We know that lead poisoning is completely preventable. As the Nation has increased efforts to reduce environmental lead exposure, the number of children with high blood levels has steadily dropped. Restricting lead in gasoline and paint represent two major accomplishments in this regard. But much work remains to be done.
Disturbingly, lead is present in a number of toys and other frequently used objects by young children. About half of tested lunch boxes have unsafe levels of lead. In 2004, there were 3 recalls of nearly 150 million pieces of toy jewelry because of toxic levels of lead. And the Consumer Product Safety Commission has dragged its feet in aggressively addressing the problem of lead in toys.
It's a national disgrace that toys that could pose a serious and significant danger to children are readily available in our department stores and markets. The Lead Free Toys Act of 2005 will help us keep our children safe and healthy, and contribute to national efforts to reduce lead exposure.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; never came to a vote.
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.
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