Women Working Together to ‘Rebuild America’

By Molly Kordas on
April 4, 2012

Last week, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced the Rebuild America Act which would expand opportunities and economic growth for women and families. The Act, praised by the National Partnership for Women and Families as “an ambitious, comprehensive bill that addresses the real issues facing America’s families,” covers many issues that EMILY’s List women have been fighting for throughout their careers.

EMILY’s List women, the National Partnership for Women and Families and the National Women’s Law Center all support the Rebuild America Act in their common goal to rebuild the middle class and restore an economy that works for American women and families. The Act, in contrast to Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget that would hurt women and end Medicare as we know it, would provide access to affordable and quality child care, provide paid sick time for workers, and create a more equitable tax system and close the carried interest loophole, preventing investors like Mitt Romney from manipulating the tax code.

The cost of child care is one of the largest expenses a family has today. Middle class families are already struggling in this economy and the rising cost of child care is an added burden. Current and former EMILY’s List candidates Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Cheri Bustos have been fierce advocates for improved access to child care for middle class Americans. Rep. Maloney introduced a bill last year that called for 12 weeks of paid benefits to new parents while Sen. Gillibrand has worked to get more federal funding for child care through the Right Start Child Care and Education Act and the Family Work Flexibility Act. Cheri Bustos has also fought for higher quality child care throughout her career, serving on the board of directors for Skip-A-Long Child Development Services, Illinois’ largest downstate child care organization.

The Rebuild America Act would also grant up to seven days paid sick time every year to workers so that Americans are no longer forced to choose between their jobs and their own health or the health of their families. EMILY’s List hero Rep. Carolyn Maloney has spent her entire career fighting for the ability of workers to take paid sick leave for themselves or take care of a sick child, aged parent or other family member. Rep. Maloney said, “There couldn’t be a worse time than during an economic downturn to ask parents to choose between a paycheck and their new child or sick family member. Tough times call for strong supports for working families, like paid family and medical leave.”

Another component of the Act seeks to institute the Buffett Rule, working to close the enormous gap between the rich and the middle class. The Act would raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, ensuring that millionaires and billionaires pay at the very least the same taxes as middle class families. Rep. Tammy Baldwin and Sen. Barbara Boxer understand the need to level the playing field for middle class families and have championed the Buffet Rule, introducing it earlier this year in both the Senate and House.

Right now, hedge fund managers and other investors are able to manipulate the tax code to pay a lower and unfair rate on their earnings through the carried interest loophole. The Rebuild America Act would close this loophole to create a more equitable tax system, a staple of EMILY’s List senate candidate Susan Bysiewicz’s economic plan. A strong candidate for Senate in Connecticut, Bysiewicz supports a no-nonsense approach to improving the lives of working families and women.

The Rebuild America Act is a long-awaited response to the inequalities and hardships plaguing American women and middle class families. With strong support from Democrats in Congress and groups that fight for women and families like the National Women’s Law Center and the National Partnership for Women and Families, it is clear that EMILY’s List women and the women’s community are working together to get Americans back to work and lay the groundwork for future growth.

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