Amy On The Issues
Supporting South Jersey Women
America has made enormous progress in expanding opportunity for women in recent decades. Yet our economy remains unequal. Our support for working women and women-owned businesses remains inadequate. And women’s access to health care remains under attack. Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these inequities, causing more women than men to lose their jobs and devastating industries like education, health care, retail, and hospitality where women workers predominate.
In Congress, I will be a champion for women and their families, fighting to support and empower them and to build an economy that values the many contributions women workers and entrepreneurs make every day.
Realize Equal Pay for Equal Work
The Equal Pay Act became law more than 50 years ago. Yet for every dollar a man makes in New Jersey, a woman still earns just 79 cents, and the gap is far higher for women of color. We need to strengthen the Equal Pay Act, hold employers accountable for pay discrimination, and bar them from retaliating against women who discuss their pay. We also need to increase the minimum-wage, because more than two-thirds of low-wage workers are women.
In Congress, I will fight to enact the Paycheck Fairness Act and to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. I will also co-sponsor Raise the Wage Act, which will increase the incomes of more than 33 million Americans. By raising wages and making it easier for women to enter high-paying careers, we can finally realize the right to equal pay for equal work.
Protect Access to Reproductive Care
I fully support a woman’s right to choose. Decisions about whether to adopt, end a pregnancy, or raise a child are best left to patients. I will always work to protect Roe v. Wade and oppose any effort to undermine safe, legal abortion access.
In Congress, I will also work to ensure all people have access to preventative reproductive care. I will protect and strengthen the ACA, which provided more than 60 million women access to preventative care without co-pays. I will fight efforts to allow employers to flout the ACA’s contraceptive coverage requirements. And I will work to protect Title X so that low-income women have equitable access preventative reproductive services.
Reduce Infant and Maternal Mortality
Atlantic City has by far the highest infant mortality rate in the state: a child born to an Atlantic City family is nearly twice as likely as a child born in Newark to die before her first birthday. And while we have made progress under Governor Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy’s leadership, South Jersey remains one of the highest-risk places in the country for pregnant women.
In Congress, I will fight for the investments we need to ensure all women have early access to local, high-quality pre- and postnatal care. In particular I will work to expand Medicaid coverage for new and expectant moms, including to one-year postpartum. Because Medicaid covers nearly half of all births, expanding coverage is the most important thing we can do to improve infant and maternal health. I will also fight to increase funding for clinical training and maternal care provider networks, especially in rural and other underserved areas where access remains limited.
Support Working Families
Working families have been falling behind for decades because of stagnating wages, growing inequality, and the skyrocketing cost of health and childcare. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these trends, devastating millions of women. We need bold solutions to help working families get ahead and recover.
In Congress, I will fight to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. These important programs put more money in the pockets of middle-class and low-income families, making sure that parents can keep up with the rising cost of basic necessities. They are also proven to increase employment and reduce poverty and inequality.
I also believe that every parent should be able to care for a newborn child or sick family member. Yet more than 100 million Americans do not have access to paid family leave through their jobs. It is far past time for the United States to guarantee paid, family medical leave to every worker. No one should have to choose between their paycheck, their loved ones, and their wellbeing.
Make Childcare Affordable
We have a childcare crisis in New Jersey. Childcare costs more than $10,000 a year on average, and across the country, COVID-19 has brought our fragile childcare system to the brink of collapse. Making childcare affordable and accessible is also critical to helping New Jerseyans return to work as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
While parents can already get a tax credit if they spend money on childcare, the credit is capped too low and doesn’t benefit lower-income families. In Congress, I will push to give all working families a refundable childcare tax credit that actually offsets the cost of childcare. I will also support efforts to increase the federal investment in state childcare programs. And I will fight to make free preschool available to every child in America.
Invest in Women-Owned Businesses
Women entrepreneurs play a critical role in our economy, opening new businesses whose innovation and dynamism strengthens our business sector as a whole. Yet while the number and size of women-owned businesses has grown dramatically in recent years, New Jersey lags behind. The economic clout of our 280,000 women-owned businesses ranked 41st in the country in 2018 and 44th in terms of the number of new jobs created. And the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated businesses of all types, including many smaller and women-owned businesses in our district.
In Congress, I will fight to foster a small business-led recovery, one that creates and protects jobs and opportunity across South Jersey—and invests in women entrepreneurs to help their businesses survive and thrive for years to come. That includes making direct grants and loans to women- and minority-owned smalls businesses as part of any future COVID-19 recovery efforts. That also includes reforming and investing to expand women-owned businesses’ access to credit and capital, which remains highly unequal. And it includes efforts to ensure that women-owned businesses receive their fair share of government procurement dollars.
End Violence Against Women
For more than 25 years, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has created and funded programs to help communities prevent and respond to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The legislation and the programs it supports have always been bipartisan, but last year, Congressional Republicans decided to block VAWA’s reauthorization. The resulting lapse has caused enormous uncertainty for providers who work with and protect survivors and has prevented important new housing and economic protections from taking effect. It is long past time for Congress to come together to reauthorize and strengthen VAWA—and to continue supporting programs that end violence against women and make our communities safer for all.