Search for...
Follow @ontheissuesorg
OnTheIssuesLogo

Joseph Lieberman on Families & Children

Democratic Jr Senator (CT, retiring 2012), ran for V.P. with Gore, ran for president 2004


Parents are losing children to culture’s violence

Lieberman expressed dismay at “a culture of carnage” fostered by the industry. Parents feel “locked in a losing competition with the culture to raise our children.” The Columbine High School shootings in Colorado illustrates that the media violence children see “has become part of a toxic mix that has actually now turned some of them into killers.”
Source: AP Story, NY Times , Sep 13, 2000

With Bill Bennett, “Silver Sewer Awards” for immoral videos

In his 12 years in the Senate, Lieberman has acquired a reputation for steady habits, family values and faithfulness to his beliefs -- a moderate who carefully deliberates options, and often seems to be striking a balance between conservative and liberal instincts. While some of his colleagues have dubbed him the “conscience of the Senate,” he has also been criticized as something of a moralizer.

In 1998, Lieberman and the former secretary of education, William Bennett, began handing out “Silver Sewer Awards“ to draw attention to the producers of sexually explicit and violent films, music, television programs and video games. Critics were quick to note that Lieberman had stock in some of the organizations he had criticized.

He also pushed for electronic devices that permit the blocking of television programs that parents find offensive, has monitored a system of voluntary ratings to guide children’s television viewing and has denounced rap music with lyrics that celebrate violence & drug use.

Source: Robert McFadden, NY Times, p. A20 , Aug 8, 2000

Asks retailers to limit violent video games to kids

[Lieberman was one of] 10 Senators who sent a letter yesterday to seven video-game retailers. “We are seriously concerned about the accumulated impact that media violence is having on our children,” the senators wrote. “We are particularly concerned by what is happening in the video game marketplace. Most games contain little if any violence and are rated as perfectly appropriate for players of all ages. But there is a significant core of increasingly graphic, gruesome, and perverse games that despite being rated for adults are commonly played by children.“

The Senators noted that a prime reason kids have such easy access to ultraviolent games is that few leading retailers have policies restricting the sale of ”M“-rated games to minors. They praised Sears and Wards for deciding not to carry ”M“-rated games and asked the other companies to at least adopt standard policies to prevent children from buying potentially harmful games.

Source: Press Release, “Ultraviolent video games” , Jun 16, 2000

Outraged at paternal irresponsibility-enforce child support

[As Attorney General, one duty was] to collect child-support debts from delinquent fathers of children who were receiving state assistance. I became outraged at the paternal irresponsibility. I took my case to the legislature, which gave my office stronger collection laws. Then I beefed up my child-support division. The result was that we collected a lot more support money for the moms and kids of the state.
Source: Excerpt from “In Praise of Public Life”, p. 71-2 , May 2, 2000

Youth Violence Commission to investigate causes of violence

In light of the release of the video tapes made by the two teenage gunmen of the Columbine High School killings, Senators McCain and Lieberman resolved to pass a bill to create a commission to examine the causes of youth violence. “These tapes may be the most powerful evidence yet of just how complicated this problem is, of how difficult it is to discern exactly what is in this toxic mix that is turning kids into killers,” Lieberman said. “And they should remind us of just how critical it is to get past the politics and the safe assumptions and start a serious, thorough, and objective examination of these horrific massacres. The American people are desperate for answers, to understand what once seemed unthinkable.“

The Youth Violence Commission would be composed of religious leaders, and experts in education, family psychology, law enforcement and parenting. Its mandate would be to produce a comprehensive understanding of what forces are turning our children into killers.

Source: Press release, “Youth Violence” , Dec 14, 1999

Encourage media responsibility to stop juvenile violence

The juvenile justice bill includes a package of amendments sponsored by Senator Lieberman to help reduce the threat of media violence to children. One provision would encourage greater responsibility in the entertainment industry by making it easier for the different media to adopt and enforce comprehensive codes of conduct. Another would investigate the entertainment media’s marketing practices to determine to what extent they are targeting ultraviolent products to children.
Source: Press Release, “Omnibus juvenile justice bill” , May 20, 1999

Media: self-enforce ratings & no marketing violence to kids

Congress can subpoena marketing plans and internal memos to find out exactly which distributors are pushing violence to our kids. But the far more preferable option would be for each media industry to strengthen their existing codes of conduct to help us better protect our children. The entertainment industry [should] ban the targeting of adult-rated products to children, and restore the integrity to the ratings they themselves have adopted and implemented. We should also ask theater owners to uniformly enforce the R-rating prohibition for underage children, and ask video game retail and rental outlets to adopt a similar policy barring the sale or rental of adult-rated games to kids.

We are not seeking censorship but better citizenship. We are appealing to the industry’s conscience, to recognize that you are part of the national community that is endangered by the virus of youth violence, and to work with us to do whatever we can to prevent another Littleton.

Source: Senate testimony, “Marketing of Violence to Children” , May 4, 1999

Lewinsky affair is part of anything-goes culture

The president apparently had extramarital relations with an employee half his age and did so in the workplace. Such behavior is not just inappropriate. It is immoral. And it is harmful, for it sends a message of what is acceptable behavior to the larger American family -- particularly to our children -- which is as influential as the negative messages communicated by the entertainment culture.

If you doubt that, just ask America’s parents about the intimate and frequently unseemly sexual questions their young children have been asking them and discussing since the president’s relationship with Ms. Lewinsky became public seven months ago. I cannot watch the news on television with my 10-year-old daughter anymore.

This, unfortunately, is all-too-familiar territory for America’s families in today’s anything-goes culture, where sexual promiscuity is too often treated as just another lifestyle choice with little risk of adverse consequences.

Source: Statement on Senate floor , Sep 3, 1998

Voted NO on killing restrictions on violent videos to minors.

Vote to kill an amendment that would prohibit the distribution of violent video programming to the public during hours when children are reasonably likely to comprise a substantial portion of the audience. Voting YES would kill the amendment proposing the new restrictions. Voting NO would suport the amendment proposing the new restrictions.
Reference: Bill S.254 ; vote number 1999-114 on May 13, 1999

Give parents tools to balance work and family.

Lieberman signed the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":

Strengthen America’s Families
While the steady reduction in the number of two-parent families of the last 40 years has slowed, more than one-third of our children still live in one- or no-parent families. There is a high correlation between a childhood spent with inadequate parental support and an adulthood spent in poverty or in prison.

To strengthen families, we must redouble efforts to reduce out-of-wedlock pregnancies, make work pay, eliminate tax policies that inadvertently penalize marriage, and require absent fathers to pay child support while offering them new opportunities to find work. Because every child needs the attention of at least one caring and competent adult, we should create an “extended family” of adult volunteer mentors.

Family breakdown is not the only challenge we face. As two-worker families have become the norm, harried parents have less time to spend on their most important job: raising their children. Moreover, parents and schools often find themselves contending with sex- and violence-saturated messages coming from an all-pervasive mass entertainment media.

We should continue public efforts to give parents tools to balance work and family and shield their children from harmful outside influences. For example, we should encourage employers to adopt family-friendly policies and practices such as parental leave, flex-time, and telecommuting. Public officials should speak out about violence in our culture and should press the entertainment media to adopt self-policing codes aimed at protecting children.

Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC4 on Aug 1, 2000

Small Business loans for child care businesses.

Lieberman co-sponsored the Child Care Lending Pilot Act

A bill to create a 3-year pilot program that makes small, non-profit child care businesses eligible for SBA 504 loans. Amends the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 to allow the proceeds of loans made through the Small Business Administration (SBA) to local development companies for plant acquisition, construction, or expansion to be used to assist small, nonprofit child care businesses, provided that: (1) the loan will be used for a sound business purpose approved by the SBA; and (2) each business receiving the assistance meets eligibility requirements applicable to for-profit businesses.

Source: Bill sponsored by 17 Senators 03-S822 on Apr 8, 2003

Rated 0% by the Christian Coalition: an anti-Family-Value voting record.

Lieberman scores 0% by the Christian Coalition on family issues

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.

    Our Five-Fold Mission:
  1. Represent the pro-family point of view before local councils, school boards, state legislatures, and Congress
  2. Speak out in the public arena and in the media
  3. Train leaders for effective social and political action
  4. Inform pro-family voters about timely issues and legislation
  5. Protest anti-Christian bigotry and defend the rights of people of faith.
Our ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Source: CC website 03n-CC on Dec 31, 2003

Disallow renting violent-rated video games to children.

Lieberman co-sponsored disallowing violent-rated video game rentals to children

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. CLINTON: I rise today to introduce a bill to help parents protect their children against violent and sexual media. I stand with the parents and children of the Nation, all of whom are being victimized by a culture of violence.

As parents, we monitor the kind of people who interact with our children. If somebody is exposing our children to material we find inappropriate, we remove our children from that person. Yet our children spend more time consuming media than doing anything else but sleeping and attending school. Media culture is like having a stranger in your house, and it exerts a major influence over your children.

This bill would take an important step towards helping parents protect their children against influences they often find to be inappropriate--violent and sexually explicit video games. Quite simply, the bill would put teeth into the video game industry's rating system, which specifies which video games are inappropriate for young people under 17. By fining retailers who do not abide by the ratings system, this bill sends a message that the ratings system is to be taken seriously.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; never came to a vote.

Source: Family Entertainment Protection Act (S.2126) 05-S2126 on Dec 16, 2005

Other candidates on Families & Children: Joseph Lieberman on other issues:
CT Gubernatorial:
Dan Malloy
David Walker
Tom Foley
CT Senatorial:
Chris Murphy
Richard Blumenthal

CT politicians
CT Archives

Retiring in 2014 election:
GA:Chambliss(R)
IA:Harkin(D)
MI:Levin(D)
MT:Baucus(D)
NE:Johanns(R)
SD:Johnson(D)
WV:Rockefeller(D)

Retired as of Jan. 2013:
AZ:Kyl(R)
CT:Lieberman(D)
HI:Akaka(D)
ME:Snowe(R)
ND:Conrad(D)
NE:Nelson(D)
NM:Bingaman(D)
TX:Hutchison(R)
VA:Webb(D)
WI:Kohl(D)
Senate Retirements 2014:
GA:Chambliss(R)
IA:Harkin(D)
MI:Levin(D)
MT:Baucus(D)
NE:Johanns(R)
OK:Coburn(R)
SD:Johnson(D)
WV:Rockefeller(D)

Senate races Nov. 2014:
AK: Begich(D) vs.Miller(R) vs.Treadwell(R) vs.Sullivan(R)
AL: Sessions(R,unopposed)
AR: Pryor(D) vs.Cotton(R)
CO: Udall(D) vs.Gardner(R) vs.Baumgardner(R) vs.Buck(R) vs.Hill(R) vs.Stephens(R)
DE: Coons(D) vs.O`Donnell(R)
GA: Nunn(D) vs.Perdue(R) vs.Kingston(R) vs.Gingrey(R) vs.Handel(R) vs.Broun(R)
HI: Schatz(D) vs.Hanabusa(D) vs.Cavasso(R)
IA: Braley(D) vs.Ernst(R) vs.Whitaker(R) vs.Clovis(R)
ID: Risch(R) vs.Mitchell(D)
IL: Durbin(D) vs.Oberweis(R) vs.Hansen(L) vs.Truax(R)
KS: Roberts(R) vs.Tiahrt(R) vs.Wolf(R) vs.Taylor(D) vs.Orman(I)
KY: McConnell(R) vs.Bevin(R) vs.Grimes(D)
LA: Landrieu(D) vs.Cassidy(R) vs.Maness(R)
MA: Markey(D) vs.Herr(R) vs.Skarin(I) vs.Gomez(R)
ME: Collins(R) vs.D`Amboise(R) vs.Bellows(D)
MI: Land(R) vs.Peters(D) vs.Wiedenhoeft(R)
MN: Franken(D) vs.McFadden(R) vs.Abeler(R) vs.Ortman(R)
MS: Cochran(R) vs.Childers(D) vs.McDaniel(R)
MT: Walsh(D) vs.Daines(R) vs.Edmunds(R) vs.Bohlinger(D)
NC: Hagan(D) vs.Tillis(R)
NE: Sasse(R) vs.Domina(D) vs.Haugh(L) vs.Osborn(R)
NH: Shaheen(D) vs.Brown(R) vs.Smith(R) vs.Rubens(R) vs.Testerman(R) vs.Martin(R)
NJ: Booker(D) vs.Bell(R) vs.Sabrin(R)
NM: Udall(D) vs.Weh(R) vs.Clements(R)
OK-2: Lankford(R) vs.Johnson(D) vs.Shannon(R)
OK-6: Inhofe(R) vs.Silverstein(D)
OR: Merkley(D) vs.Wehby(R) vs.Conger(R)
RI: Reed(D) vs.Zaccaria(R)
SC-2: Scott(R) vs.Dickerson(D) vs.Wade(D)
SC-6: Graham(R) vs.Hutto(D) vs.Ravenel(I) vs.Stamper(D) vs.Mace(R) vs.Bright(R)
SD: Rounds(R) vs.Weiland(D) vs.Pressler(I)
TN: Alexander(R) vs.Carr(R) vs.Adams(D)
TX: Cornyn(R) vs.Alameel(D) vs.Roland(L) vs.Stockman(R)
VA: Warner(D) vs.Gillespie(R) vs.Sarvis(L)
WV: Capito(R) vs.Tennant(D) vs.Raese(R) vs.McGeehan(R)
WY: Enzi(R) vs.Cheney(R) vs.Hardy(D)
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Jobs
Principles
Social Security
Tax Reform
Technology
War/Peace
Welfare

Other Senators
Senate Votes (analysis)
Bill Sponsorships
Affiliations
Policy Reports
Group Ratings

Contact info:
Email Contact Form
Phone number:
(202) 224-4041

Page last updated: Aug 08, 2014