Jennifer Dunn

What the GOP has Done for Women - Jan. 1, 1996

Jennifer Dunn
January 01, 1996
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According to Congresswoman Dunn's office, this speech was given dozens of times as she traveled around the country during the 1996 campaign on behalf of male Republican Congressional candidates to help with the "gender gap."

When women back home in my district talk to me about what this Congress is doing these days, I tell them that Congress is dealing with the very problems that women are concerned about.

Well, what is it that we women care about?

We want opportunity for ourselves and our families;

We want some sense that there will be a retirement system we can count on.

We want a healthy environment.

We want a good education for our children.

We want personal safety.

We want health care security.

We want the folks who really need help in our society to get that help.

We want homemaker IRAs, because we know that the work done inside the home is every bit as important, if not more important, as the work done outside the home.

What has the Republican Congress done to answer these needs?

This Congress has indeed been supportive of women and the family. We passed a $500 per child tax credit; We passed marriage penalty tax relief; We passed tougher laws on sexual predators and stalkers; We are supporting employees having the option of selecting either time-off or cash instead of overtime wages. For too long parents have had to choose between work and spending time with their children. A working mother may prefer to see her daughter in a school play rather than be paid time and a half for staying at her job. She should have that choice.

And women care about their families. Much of what we care about concerns the family. Don't let the media fool you when they say this isn't a "family friendly" Congress. It may not seem so to those of us who spend hour after hour, day after day, month after month fighting the battles in the Congress! But it truly is friendly to families.

We increased day care money and child support enforcement provisions in our welfare reform plan - $4.5 billion more dollars than the current welfare system.

We support funding for the "Violence Against Women Act" - which will help state and local governments to focus tax dollars on preventing crimes targeted toward women, like domestic violence.

We support tax credits for couples who choose to adopt a child;

We support tax credits to help families care for elderly parents and grandparents in a loving home as long as they can stay there.

We passed the "Domestic Violence Insurance Protection Act" - which forbids insurance companies from treating domestic violence victims as having a pre-existing condition.

We passed steps to amend Medicare regulations to include the treatment of breast cancer with a proven cancer-stopping drug;

We support increased funding for women's health care research - given how hard this Congress has worked to balance the budget, an increase illustrates our high level of commitment to women's health issues.

And we have passed a bi-partisan "Safe Drinking Water Act" that has been heralded by environmentalists.

Please don't believe the rhetoric - rather, look at our record and look at what we've done.

For instance, take a look at our record on small business -- the real engine that creates new jobs and energizes the economy. Small business built this country. Today, more people are employed by women-owned small business than by Fortune 500 companies. And according to the SBA, women are starting businesses at twice the rate of men. It is anticipated that women will own 50 percent of the small businesses in America in the 21st Century.

What are these women small business owners and workers interested in?

Growth and prosperity, less regulation and lower taxes, common-sense laws, and health insurance deductibility for the self-employed. Women small business owners can be assured that their concerns are in sync with the Republican Congress' work on behalf of small business.

Look at what we've passed:

  • regulatory relief
  • paperwork reduction and elimination
  • health care deductibility for the self employed
  • we ensured the solvency of the principal lending programs at SBA
  • we made tax compliance for "S" Corporations less complicated
  • we provided small businesses the ability to quickly write-off the money they spend on practical things like computers and office furniture

In fact, if Congress gets its way - and President Clinton keeps his veto pen in his pocket - women business owners can expect sustained growth, more jobs and better wages...sounds a bit like the American Dream, doesn't it?

I've found that my women friends at home in Washington State care about the very same things that this Republican Congress does: helping families keep more of their paychecks so they can decide how to do more for their families and their communities; saving Medicare for our parents and welfare for the folks who are truly in need, and encouraging local answers as we solve the problems of increasing crime, and declining education and protecting the environment.

Our solutions are not complicated. Our solutions do not require Congressional studies, or Committee Hearings or "expert" testimony.

Our solution is to listen.

I've have found that if you listen to the American woman and respect her advice, the answers are all right there.

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