“What I’m most proud of in my entire career is the Violence Against Women Act. It showed we can change people’s lives, but the change is always one person at a time. There are many more laws and attitudes that need changing so women are treated with equal opportunities at work, in the classroom, and in our health care system.”
Senator Joe Biden
Supporting Equality, Fairness and Individual Rights
On Domestic Violence:
Violence against women isn’t just a problem for women - it is a problem for everyone and a threat to the economic and social stability of this country. In a 2002 report by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, 44 percent of the cities surveyed identified domestic violence as the primary cause of homelessness.Joe Biden led the fight to criminalize violence against women and to hold batterers truly accountable by writing the ground-breaking Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in the 1990s. Since the passage of this important legislation, states have set up coordinated community responses to domestic violence and rape, passed hundreds of laws prohibiting family violence and provided resources to create shelters insuring that abused women have a safe place to go. The law also established a national hotline for abused women that over 1.5 million have used for help. According to a report published by the Department of Justice in 2000, violence against women by intimate partners fell by 21 percent between 1993 and 1998 from 1.1 million violent incidents to 876,340 incidents and a Bureau of Justice Statistics report published in 2005 showed that violent crime against women has decreased steadily from 1994 to 2005.
However, there remains work to be done, so in 2007, the Senator introduced the National Domestic Violence Volunteer Attorney Network Act, an innovative initiative that would recruit volunteer lawyers and match them with domestic violence victims.
On Working for Equality in the Workplace:
Today, women still face pay inequality, earning on average 77 cents for every dollar a man makes doing the same work. In an effort to address this discrimination, Joe Biden supports the recently introduced Paycheck Fairness Act and the Fair Pay Restoration Act, conceived to prevent pay discrimination by strengthening penalties for discriminatory practices and eliminating legal barriers against women initiating pay discrimination cases. Joe Biden also supported increasing the federal minimum wage from $5.15 where it had been stuck for 10 years to $7.25 an hour, giving more than 7 million women a pay raise in 2007.Senator Biden voted “Yes” to the Employment Nondiscrimination Act of 1996, a bill to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Senator Biden voted “Yes” to the Disadvantaged Business Enterprises Amendment, requiring that Federal funds be used to encourage development and outreach to emerging business enterprises, including those owned by minorities and women, and prohibit discrimination and preferential treatment based on race, color, national origin, or sex.
On Flextime for Families:
As a father who parented small children on his own, Joe Biden knows first-hand the challenges of balancing work and family. He recognizes that it can be especially difficult for women, who often make the health-care decisions, take the kids or elderly parents to see the doctor, or stay at home when someone is sick. Joe Biden believes we need to provide all workers, including women, with the flexibility they need to both take care of their families and remain working For this reason, he fought for the Family and Medical Leave Act that has given 50 million workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to look out for a sick family member. As there are many more workers who cannot afford unpaid leave, he is co-sponsoring the Healthy Families Act, which would require employers with 15 or more workers to provide seven paid sick days to care for their own or their families’ medical needs.
Joe Biden: Standing With Families
Tax Breaks for Families: Joe Biden understands the commitment and struggle of today’s families all across America. He voted “Yes” to State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) Reauthorization, a bill to amend title XXI of the Social Security Act to reauthorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and for other purposes.
Cracking Down on Deadbeat Dads: While the federal government cannot ensure that children have a father at home, it can help ensure those children have their father’s financial support. As Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Joe Biden worked to steer two major child support initiatives into law - one made it a federal crime to cross state lines to avoid paying child support; the other ensured that state courts honor the child support order of other states.
Giving Parents the Tools to Protect Their Kids: Joe Biden has worked over the last two decades to help parents protect their kids from violent predators. In 2003, he increased funding for Child Advocacy Centers with the Victims of Child Abuse Act. And in 2006, he authored the Adam Walsh Act to ensure convicted sex offenders can’t slip through the cracks by establishing registration requirements. Also in 2003 he voted “Yes” to the Enhance AMBER Alert Bill, an Act to prevent child abduction and the sexual exploitation of children.
Joe Biden: Caring For Women’s Health
Waging War Against Breast Cancer: Joe Biden, through his efforts to promote early detection and quality treatment, has been a leader in the fight against this deadly disease that that afflicts more than 200,000 women every year. His efforts include:
- Working to create and provide continued support for breast and cervical cancer prevention programs which ensure mammograms are available to low-income women and those without health insurance and then expanding the program beyond screening to one that also offers reliable treatment.
- Originating legislation to recognizing National Mammography Day every October since 1993 to encourage women to have mammograms each year.
- Supporting authorization of a special postage stamp to raise additional money for breast cancer research.
- Sponsoring legislation to expand Medicare to include coverage of mammograms.
- Working to ensure that insurance companies cover reconstructive surgery for breast cancer survivors.
Defending Roe v Wade: Senator Biden supports the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade that protects a woman’s right to choose to terminate a pregnancy. In 1999, Senatory Biden voted “Yes” to the Roe v Wade Amendment. This bill indicates that Congress supports the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize abortion in the Roe v. Wade case of 1973 by stating that it was an appropriate decision, it secures an important constitutional right, and should not be overturned.Believing family planning could help prevent many unwanted pregnancies, Senator Biden has consistently supported Title X - the nations’ family planning program — that provides information, services, support, and research for family planning. He voted “Yes” to the Teen Pregnancy Education Amendment, a bill to authorize grants that carry out programs to provide education on preventing teen pregnancies.
Senator Biden does not just support families, women and minorities - he fights for the rights of all Americans and he does it with more than words. He does it by voting “Yes” where it counts.