Tammy Duckworth on Families & Children
After realizing that many airports fell short in providing breastfeeding mothers with privacy and comfort, Duckworth is now leading the fight for mom-friendly airports--recently introducing a bill, the Friendly Airports for Mothers (FAM) Act, that would require all major U.S. airports to provide private "lactation rooms."
"We made progress in recent years by requiring employers to provide new mothers a private place other than a bathroom for nursing. This is a crucial step, but what about the breast-pumping mother who travels?" Duckworth wrote in a recent op-ed.
The legislation also requires that the areas are accessible for moms with disabilities. If passed, the mandate gives airports two years to comply.
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.
Congressional Summary: Allows federal employees six administrative weeks of paid parental leave in connection with birth.
Supporters reasons for voting YEA: Rep. Maloney (D-NY): Since the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act in 1993, individuals and their families have benefited from up to 12 weeks of unpaid job protected leave to care for a new child, sick family member, or a loved one recovering from a serious health condition. This landmark law has been used 200 million times by men and women across the nation. FMLA provides unpaid leave, which means families must choose between foregoing a paycheck and caring for a loved one. Most families today no longer have a stay-at-home parent to care for a new child, and few can afford to go without pay for any length of time. This legislation that provides federal employees with 6 weeks of paid leave following the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child.
Opponents reasons for voting NAY: (Washington Post, Jan. 26, 2015): The Office of Management and Budget has said that creating six weeks of paid parental leave would cost $250 million annually, a cost it said would be covered within agency budgets for salaries and expenses and would fit within discretionary funding caps.
Opponents reasons for voting NAY: (Countable.us: "Argument Opposed"): Not all new parents that work for the federal government need 6 weeks of paid leave. This mandate would be costly and could reduce the productivity of federal organizations and congressional offices.
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Senate Votes (analysis)