“Tonight, President Obama issued a compelling call for a nation that is more family friendly and fair, with a health care system that provides quality care and coverage people can rely on. He asked lawmakers to advance the most fundamental of American values: equal opportunity, access to quality jobs, a fair chance for all who are willing to work hard, and measures that will strengthen the middle class and protect the safety net. Congress should end the partisanship and gridlock, and heed his call by advancing the agenda Americans need.
As President Obama said, it’s time to leave ‘Mad Men’ attitudes and policies behind and adopt programs that allow people to hold jobs and care for their families. We need the FAMILY Act, to guarantee workers paid leave to care for babies, recover from serious illness, or care for seriously ill family members. We need the Healthy Families Act so workers throughout this country, no matter where they live, can earn the paid sick days they need to recover from illness and care for sick children and family members.
We need Congress to advance the Paycheck Fairness Act, to finally reduce the punitive wage gap President Obama discussed so eloquently. Too many hardworking women, and especially women of color, are victims of wage discrimination that causes terrible harm to their lives and families and makes it much harder for them to get ahead.
We need a higher minimum wage, unemployment benefits we can count on, and a real chance at retirement security.
And we need to strengthen, not attack, health care reform – the greatest advance for women’s health in a generation. We need to leave behind gender discrimination in pricing and refusals to cover those of us with pre-existing conditions. Instead, we need to secure the preventive care, contraceptive coverage, and consumer protections the Affordable Care Act has ushered in.
This was a rousing, resonant speech that speaks to the issues Americans care most about. It should be the start of a new era in which lawmakers from both sides of the aisle work together to make all our lives better. That is what the country needs.”