Women's issues are important to our district and my work in Congress.
Gender equity issues have been front and center in the 111th Congress. Earlier this year, I proudly voted for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay law that allows women even greater legal relief when it comes to pay inequity. I also voted for the Paycheck Fairness Act which passed the House and is pending in the Senate.
I am a co-sponsor of Equal Rights for Health Care Act, a bill which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability status against any person under health care services or research programs which receives federal funding.
I am also a co-sponsor of the Women's Business Ownership Act of 2009 , which would establish a bipartisan Commission to recommend new and innovative ways to enhance the role of women in small business ownership positions. Additionally, the Commission will take an active role in improving women business ownership, access to credit, enhancing procurement opportunities, and providing management and technical assistance.
15 years ago, President Bill Clinton signed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) into law to ensure that survivors of domestic abuse or violent crimes receive the services they need.
Since the passage of VAWA, there is increased awareness and understanding about the specialized needs of victims and recognition that education and training are required to effectively handle domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking cases. Nationwide, the number of domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers and comprehensive service programs has increased significantly. With domestic violence shelters, VAWA funds have strengthened women and their families by providing the resources they need to courageously leave their abusers.
The Act ushered in a new era in response to violence against women. I want to commend all those in our community, and throughout our country, who volunteer and work at crisis centers, shelters and in city and county agencies. Each day, social workers, counselors, and volunteers strive to bring comfort and hope to all those who have been victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
As a member of the House Judiciary Committee and long-time supporter of domestic violence legislation, I will continue to look for ways to strengthen laws against domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.