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CCWI Outlines Priorities for 106th Congress

On May 17, members of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues (CCWI)—led by Caucus Co-Chairs Sue Kelly (R-NY) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)—met with Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL) to discuss their top priorities for the remainder of the Congress. Last summer, the Caucus unveiled its initial legislative agenda for the 106th Congress with a comprehensive list of over 70 bills and resolutions (the complete agenda may be accessed at http://www.house.gov/maloney/issues/womenscaucus/106thagenda.html).

“We women have come together from varying backgrounds and different life experiences to find a common goal that crosses partisan lines and geographic areas,” stated Rep. Kelly.

In an effort to advance the comprehensive, bipartisan agenda, the Caucus divided itself into legislative teams:

  • Violence Against Women and Safety Issues, co-chaired by Reps. Connie Morella (R-MD) and Julia Carson (D-IN);
  • Women’s Health, co-chaired by Reps. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Kelly;
  • Equal Opportunity, chaired by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC);
  • Education, co-chaired by Reps. Judy Biggert (R-IL) and Lois Capps (D-CA);
  • Safe Motherhood, co-chaired by Reps. Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Morella;
  • Older Women’s Health, co-chaired by Reps. Carrie Meek (D-FL) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL);
  • Children’s Issues and Child Care, chaired by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX);
  • Retirement, co-chaired by Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Kay Granger (R-TX);
  • Women in the Military/Women Veterans, co-chaired by Reps. Corrine Brown (D-FL) and Tillie Fowler (R-FL);
  • Women in Business, co-chaired by Reps. Kelly and Grace Napolitano (D-CA); and
  • Tax Policy, co-chaired by Reps. Karen Thurman (D-FL) and Nancy Johnson (R-CT). Among the Caucus’ top priorities discussed with Speaker Hastert are the following:
  • H.R. 1248—A bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, sponsored by Rep. Morella. The measure was approved, by voice vote, by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime on May 11.
  • H.R. 1070—A bill to provide treatment to women diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer under the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, sponsored by Reps. Rick Lazio (R-NY) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA). A similar bill (H.R. 4386) passed the House by a vote of 421-1 on May 9.
  • H.R. 306—A bill to prohibit discrimination against individuals and their families based on genetic information, sponsored by Rep. Slaughter. A weaker version of the bill was included in the Senate-passed patients’ bill of rights (S. 1344).
  • H.R. 1187—A bill to provide for coverage of medical nutrition therapy services under Medicare, sponsored by Rep. Nancy Johnson. There has been no action on this bill.
  • H.R. 1806—A bill to require managed care plans to provide women with direct access to ob-gyns, sponsored by Rep. Lowey. The bill was included in the House-passed patients’ bill of rights (H.R. 2990).
  • H.R. 1112—A bill to authorize the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to insure mortgages for the acquisition, construction, or substantial rehabilitation of child care and development facilities, sponsored by Rep. Maloney. Both the House and Senate Banking Committees have held hearings on the bill.
  • H. Res. 15—A resolution expressing the sense of the House in support of expanding federal procurement access for women-owned businesses, sponsored by Rep. Kelly. The House Government Reform Committee approved the resolution by voice vote on April 5. The Senate unanimously approved a similar resolution (S. Res. 311), sponsored by Sens. Christopher Bond (R-MO) and John Kerry (D-MA), on May 23.
  • H.R. 2259/H.R. 1139—The Caucus supports several provisions within these bills that would expand the dependent care tax credit. H.R. 2259 is sponsored by Rep. Nancy Johnson and H.R. 1139 is sponsored by Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA). There has been no action on either bill.

The Caucus also met with House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO) on May 6, 1999.

“We were pleased to have the opportunity to discuss the Caucus agenda with both the Speaker and Minority Leader. We look forward to working with them to make passage of these important bipartisan measures a reality before we adjourn this fall,” stated Rep. Maloney.

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