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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

    Sponsored supporting No Name-Calling Week in schools.

    Wasserman Schultz co-sponsored Resolution on school bullying

    Congressional Summary:Expresses support for the goals and ideals of No Name-Calling Week (an annual week of educational activities to bring attention to name-calling and provide schools with tools to eliminate name-calling and bullying).

  8. WHEREAS 60 organizations have come together as No Name-Calling Week partner organizations since its inception in 2004;
  9. WHEREAS 30% of elementary students reported being bullied or called names at some point while in school;
  10. WHEREAS over 80% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGBT) middle and high school students were verbally harassed in the past year because of their sexual orientation;
  11. RESOLVED by that Congress encourages the people of the U.S. to observe No Name-Calling Week with appropriate ceremonies, programs, and activities.

    Opponent's argument against bill:(Izzy Kalman in Psychology Today, Jan. 26, 2012):

    No Name-Calling Week does no good in solving the problem of name-calling, and it can only make the problem worse by weakening children emotionally. Why are more kids than ever committing suicide because they can't handle being called names?

  12. After a week of being bombarded with the message that names can scar them forever, are kids going t
    Source: H.CON.RES.10 13-HCR10 on Jan 25, 2013

    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

    Sponsored recognition of National Foster Care Month.

    Wasserman Schultz co-sponsored Recognizing National Foster Care Month

    RESOLUTION recognizing National Foster Care Month as an opportunity to raise awareness about the challenges of children in the foster care system, and encouraging Congress to implement policy to improve the lives of children in the foster care system.

    Source: H.Res.577/S.Res.442 14_HRes577 on May 8, 2014

    Six weeks of paid parental leave for federal employees.

    Wasserman Schultz co-sponsored H.R.532

    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.

    Source: Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act 15_H532 on Jan 26, 2015

    Trump models disrespectful rhetoric & policies toward women.

    Wasserman Schultz signed the DWC letter to Pres. Trump

    Today, 50 members of the Democratic Women's Caucus (DWC) sent a letter to President Trump in response to his disrespectful rhetoric and policies toward women. The letter is sent on the heels of Secretary Pompeo disparaging a well-renowned journalist for doing her job, and President Trump validating this behavior by stating, "you did a good job on her."

    Excerpts from DWC letter:We are writing this letter in response to your continuing derogation of women in your rhetoric and policies. 'You did a good job on her. Take her out. Get rid of her. Lock her up. Send her back. Nasty woman. Disgusting. Low IQ. Whack job. Grab 'em by the pussy.' 'I can do whatever I want.'

    It is most shameful that the words young girls and boys hear directed at women from the upper echelons of power are dripping with disdain and disrespect. Beyond your public policy choices--stripping away women's access to health care, undermining protections for survivors of sexual assault, reversing equal pay efforts and more--your words demonstrate a contempt for women who dare to do their jobs or speak truth to power which reflects poorly on you. It is as if you relish the opportunity to publicly humiliate any woman who fights back, speaks up, or takes up space.

    This letter is of the greatest urgency because the message being sent to young girls and boys is that women don't matter and their equality is allowable only when convenient.

    Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, an esteemed career diplomat committed to anti-corruption reforms who you referred to as "the woman" who is "going to go through some things" in your July 25 call with President Zelensky, was yet another casualty. After imploring your associates to "take her out," you smeared her good name and career for your own personal benefit. 

    Mr. President, instead of being the biggest bully on the playground, why don't you set a moral example for our children?

    Source: Democratic Women's Caucus letter to President Trump 20-LTR-DWC on Jan 31, 2020

    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

    2017-18 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Families & Children: Debbie Wasserman Schultz on other issues:
    FL Gubernatorial:
    Adam Putnam
    Alexander Snitker
    Andrew Gillum
    Charlie Crist
    Gwen Graham
    Philip Levine
    Rick Scott
    Ron DeSantis
    Wayne Messam
    FL Senatorial:
    Alan Grayson
    Bill Nelson
    Carlos Lopez-Cantera
    Charlie Crist
    David Jolly
    Edward Janowski
    Marco Rubio
    Pam Keith
    Patrick Murphy
    Rick Scott
    Ron DeSantis

    Freshman class of 2019:
    "Freshman class" means "not in Congress in January 2017", with exceptions:
    * Special election, so sworn in other than Jan. 2019
    ** Served in Congress in a previous term
    *** Lost recount or general election
    Freshman class of January 2019 (Republicans):
    AZ-8*:Lesko
    CA-39***:Kim
    FL-6:Waltz ; FL-15:Spano ; FL-17:Steube
    GA-7:Woodall
    ID-1**:Fulcher
    IN-4:Baird
    IN-6:Pence
    KS-2:Watkins
    MN-1:Hagedorn ; MN-8:Stauber
    MS-3:Guest
    MT-0*:Gianforte
    NC-9***:Harris
    ND-a:Armstrong
    NM-2***:Herrell
    OH-12*:Balderson ; OH-16:Gonzalez
    OK-1:Hern
    PA-9:Meuser ; PA-11**:Smucker ; PA-12*:Keller ; PA-13:Joyce ; PA-14:Reschenthaler
    SC-4:Timmons
    SD-0:Johnson
    TN-2:Burchett ; TN-6:Rose ; TN-7:Green
    TX-2:Crenshaw ; TX-3:Taylor ; TX-5:Gooden ; TX-6:Wright ; TX-21:Roy ; TX-27*:Cloud
    VA-5:Riggleman ; VA-6:Cline
    WI-1:Steil
    WV-3:Miller
    Freshman class of January 2019 (Democrats):
    AZ-2**:Kirkpatrick ; AZ-9:Stanton
    CA-49:Levin ; CA-10:Harder ; CA-21:Cox ; CA-25:Hill ; CA-39:Cisneros ; CA-45:Porter ; CA-48:Rouda
    CO-2:Neguse ; CO-6:Crow
    CT-5:Hayes
    FL-26:Mucarsel-Powell ; FL-27:Shalala
    GA-6:McBath
    HI-1**:Case
    IA-1:Finkenauer ; IA-3:Axne
    IL-4:Garcia ; IL-6:Casten ; IL-14:Underwood
    KS-3:Davids
    KY-6***:McGrath
    MA-3:Trahan ; MA-7:Pressley
    MD-6:Trone
    ME-2:Golden
    MI-8:Slotkin ; MI-9:Levin ; MI-13:Tlaib ; MI-13*:Jones ; MI-11:Stevens
    MN-2:Craig ; MN-3:Phillips ; MN-5:Omar
    NC-9***:McCready
    NH-1:Pappas
    NJ-2:Van Drew ; NJ-3:Kim ; NJ-7:Malinowski ; NJ-11:Sherrill
    NM-1:Haaland ; NM-2:Torres Small
    NV-3:Lee ; NV-4**:Horsford
    NY-14:Ocasio-Cortez ; NY-11:Rose ; NY-19:Delgado ; NY-22:Brindisi ; NY-25:Morelle
    OK-5:Horn
    PA-4:Dean ; PA-5:Scanlon ; PA-6:Houlahan ; PA-7:Wild ; PA-17*:Lamb
    SC-1:Cunningham
    TX-7:Fletcher ; TX-16:Escobar ; TX-29:Garcia ; TX-32:Allred
    UT-4:McAdams
    VA-2:Luria ; VA-7:Spanberger ; VA-10:Wexton
    WA-8:Schrier
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    Page last updated: May 21, 2020