Mr. Speaker, today I rise in opposition to CAFTA because it is a bad policy for families that I represent in my district, particularly Latino families not only in the United States but in Central America.
CAFTA will outsource valuable American jobs. In fact, in the last 10 years when we approved NAFTA, we lost 1,000 jobs in my district alone.
CAFTA will destroy the jobs of subsistence for farmers and others who depend on the environment in Central America.
As the only member of Central American descent, I think I do have the right to say that poverty there is still something that is very real for many of the people that live in Central America and particularly they will be most affected, whether it is their health care, access to medicines, whether it is farming jobs there. All that is at stake for people in Central America.
I am afraid to say that if we take away those opportunities, those individuals might want to come here to this country. And I know that there is a movement here in this country to say close the borders, but at the same time we are sending signals that we are going to be helping the very wealthy in these countries and not those who need it very much.
So I would oppose CAFTA and ask my colleagues to do so as well.
[Ms. SOLIS asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend her remarks.]
Mr. Speaker, today I rise to pay tribute to the women suffragettes who began their campaign for women's right to vote 157 years ago today in Seneca Falls in New York. It would take over 72 years of perseverance for this campaign to succeed and for women to gain the right to vote, with the ratification of the 19th amendment.
Today, almost 85 years later, a higher percentage of women vote as compared to men. However, we still have about 32 percent of women in the United States who are not even registered to vote. Can you believe that? Among that group of women between 18 and 24 years of age, 45 percent are not even registered to vote.
We need to do more to energize and engage these young women in the political process. Women must have a voice in all national debates that affect them, especially on important issues like reproductive health, equal rights, and Social Security.
As an example, in the debate over privatizing Social Security, 58 percent of seniors receiving Social Security are women. Since women have a longer average life span than men, privatizing Social Security would harm them. Let us take up the banner, like the suffragettes did, and let us work hard for women's rights.