Washington Update (October 25, 2013)
This week, the White House invited AAUW to attend an event with President Obama and Vice President Biden and asked AAUW to have a representative on the stage with the President and Vice President. Why? Because YOUR actions demanding immigration reform have been noticed here in Washington, D.C.
Since AAUW members voted in June to add to our public policy priorities support for “the civil and human rights of all immigrants, including a fair and just path to legal status,” AAUW activists have sent messages to representatives from almost every congressional district, demanding immigration reform now. In addition, the AAUW Action Fund Lobby Corps has delivered this message to over 200 Senate and House offices.
An AAUW intern who is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) student was chosen for the honor of representing all of us. After graduating with honors from high school in June, she is now in her first year in the honors college at Montgomery College in Takoma Park, MD. She’s taking general education courses now and hopes to one day to become a marine biologist.
I hope we can count on you to keep up the pressure to pass immigration reform before the end of the year. As President Obama said, “Let’s do it now, let’s not delay, let’s get this done and let’s do it in a bipartisan fashion.”
Spread the word to your friends and families to join AAUW Action Network and help us make this reform happen for “DREAMers” like our AAUW intern, and many more, this year!
AAUW Associate Director of Government Relations
ONE THING YOU MUST DO
Did you know it’s legal for many financial advisers to give you false or misleading advice? Even worse, the House of Representatives will soon vote on a bill that would delay a new rule to ensure you are receiving the most accurate investment advice for your retirement savings. Tell your representative to make sure Americans get all the information they need to save for retirement.
BUT BECAUSE YOU WANT TO DO MORE
Share this retirement security action alert on Twitter (we promise it will take you even less time than it took to write your representative about the issue!)
Psst! AAUW is working on an empowering new video that shows girls they can pursue any career path they can think of. But we don’t want to miss anything! So help us out – do you have a “uniform” that AAUW has helped you prepare for? Suits? Sweats? Something else? Tell us on AAUW’s Facebook page!
AAUW’s newest advocacy how-to guide – How to Get the Whole World to Sign Your Petition – discusses best practices for writing an effective petition and collecting signatures. Petitions are great for generating attention and momentum around an issue, growing your list of advocates, and pressuring lawmakers to act.
The Department of Labor is hosting several webinars over the next few weeks to explain its new home care worker rule, for which AAUW persistently advocated. Sign up for a webinar today so you can learn about how the rule affects workers in your home and community.
Delayed September Job Numbers Continue to Show Weak Progress
After a nearly three-week delay due to the government shutdown, the September jobs numbers were released Tuesday – and it’s not pretty. The report shows the U.S. economy added 148,000 jobs in September (economists had predicted an increase of 185,000). However, the numbers released Tuesday reflect the pre-shutdown economy: October’s numbers are expected to be worse, with an estimated 120,000 jobs lost because of the shutdown.
CBO: Raising the Medicare Eligibility Age Won’t Save Much
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a new report Thursday revising the projected cost savings of raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 years old. The new report asserts that increasing the eligibility age would only save $19 billion in the first decade, as opposed to the original estimate of $113 billion, thus placing holes in the oft-repeated argument that Medicare eligibility should be restricted to lower the program’s costs and reduce the budget deficit.
House Passes Bipartisan Bill Protecting Students from Predators
On Tuesday, the House passed the Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act (H.R. 2083). The act requires public schools to conduct comprehensive background checks for employees or applicants with unsupervised access to children and prohibits school districts from hiring anyone convicted of violent crimes such as rape, sexual assault, or child pornography. Currently, legislation on background checks and hiring practices is inconsistent across states; H.R. 2083 seeks to make the process more uniform nationwide.
- AAUW supports policies which create safe learning environments. In addition to policies protecting students from teachers who have violent criminal backgrounds, we also need policies to protect students from peer-to-peer bullying and sexual harassment, as detailed in AAUW’s report Crossing the Line (2011).
States May See More Female Governors After 2014
Women appear poised to crack the state executive branch glass ceiling in 2014, with 36 states holding gubernatorial elections that year. So far, 27 female candidates have filed in a governor’s race, and 10 of those candidates are running for an open seat (i.e. the incumbent is not running). Women have historically been vastly underrepresented in the state executive office, with only five current female governors (four of whom are running for re-election).
AAUW CHEER OF THE WEEK
Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop (D-NJ) signed a paid sick days law on Monday, making Jersey City the sixth city to allow workers to earn paid sick leave. When the law goes into effect in January 2014, employees of businesses with 10 or more workers will begin earning paid sick leave based on number of hours worked.
- Nearly half of all private-sector workers in this country – millions of Americans – don’t have the right to earn paid sick days. We commend progress at the state- and city-level, but what we need is a federal law guaranteeing workers the right to earn paid sick days: Urge your senators and representative to pass the Healthy Families Act today!
AAUW JEER OF THE WEEK
The Guardian reported on the 2012 list of the 10 top-paid U.S. executives – and all 10 are white males. Many on the list, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg (who brought home $2.27 billion) and Apple’s Tim Cook ($143.8 million), are from STEM industries where women continue to be critically underrepresented.
BITS AND PIECES
- On Wednesday, the Obama Administration clarified that people who sign up for health insurance through the exchanges by March 31, 2014, will not have to pay the penalty even though their health insurance will not have gone into effect by that date.
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that the start of the 2014 tax filing season will be delayed by one to two weeks due to the federal government shutdown. The April 15 filing deadline will remain because that date is fixed by statute.
- A new survey released this week reaffirms the “STEM shortage,” meaning that businesses are struggling to find qualified employees to fill job openings in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
- AAUW supports efforts to supplement our own home-grown STEM workforce through a STEM education initiative implemented as part of immigration reform legislation. The initiative would be funded through fees collected from U.S. employers who recruit foreign STEM workers and used to educate the next generation of American STEM workers. Write your representative today and ask him or her to include this fund in any immigration proposal!
- The NAACP has appointed Lorraine C. Miller as interim president and CEO. Miller will begin serving in this role on November 1; current NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous has announced he will step down at the end of the year. Miller will be the first woman to serve in the president-executive secretary’s role since 1916.
- On Monday, New Jersey became the 14th state in the country to recognize same-sex marriage. As the marriages began, Governor Chris Christie (R) announced that he was dropping his challenge to the law.
- On Monday, seven current and former UConn students filed a Title IX complaint against the university alleging school administrators were indifferent to their to campus sexual assault claims. High-profile anti-discrimination attorney Gloria Allred is representing the students.