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Beneath the Risk of One other Authorities Shutdown


Republicans within the Home appear keen to threat a authorities shutdown to chop important applications for household planning, maternal well being and equality within the office.

Speaker of the Home Mike Johnson (R-La.) arrives for a gathering with Home Republicans on Nov. 7, 2023, to debate the potential of a funds persevering with decision because the Nov. 17 authorities shutdown deadline looms. (Drew Angerer / Getty Photographs)

The federal government may shut down this week (once more). Congress narrowly averted a shutdown this September, when it handed a bipartisan persevering with decision—a short lived funding measure to enable for negotiations on a full-year funds invoice—that expires on Nov. 17. 

Speaker of the Home Mike Johnson, simply three weeks into his tenure, proposed a “two-step persevering with decision” this weekend that would supply funding for some federal applications till Jan. 19 and the remainder by means of Feb. 2. The plan has already elicited disapproval from each side of the aisle, with some Republicans disenchanted that the decision doesn’t embrace spending cuts and Democrats balking at its “tremendous convoluted” construction. 

One of many spending cuts Home Republicans proposed within the type of the Home Labor, Well being and Human Providers, Schooling, and Associated Companies Appropriations Invoice, was the full elimination of the Division of Labor Ladies’s Bureau, an company created in 1920 to enhance ladies’s working situations. The Ladies’s Bureau conducts analysis on the problems that face ladies within the office and helps applications that battle sexual harassment, present coaching for ladies in male-dominated industries, and promote paid depart and progressive childcare insurance policies.

For Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), the rating member of the Home Appropriations Committee, the try and defund the Ladies’s Bureau reminds her of her earliest days within the Home of Representatives.

“We’re combating among the identical battles right here,” stated DeLauro, who was first elected in 1991, on a latest episode of the Fifteen Minutes of Feminism (a part of On the Points with Michele Goodwin podcast).

DeLauro entered the Home the 12 months Anita Hill testified concerning the sexual harassment she skilled by the hands of then-Supreme-Court docket-nominee Clarence Thomas (solely after ladies within the Home demanded that she be heard). There have been no ladies’s loos on the ground of the Home, and “ladies and minorities weren’t a part of the medical trials on the Nationwide Institutes of Well being,” DeLauro stated.

Throughout a Capitol reception celebrating 50 years of Ms. this 12 months, DeLauro stated that, firstly of her profession, she and her colleagues “talked about little one tax credit score or talked about paid household depart [and] talked about equal pay for equal work. We had been the loopy aunts within the attic, you understand?”

Now, she stated, “these points are entrance and heart and making a distinction” to voters.

However, on the identical time, she stated, Home Republicans try to abolish the Ladies’s Bureau, they’re additionally:

  • making an attempt “a $75-million reduce to the Division of Labor’s Wage and Hour division, reducing the Equal Employment Alternative Fee”;
  • pulling $800 million [that] fund maternal and little one well being” from the Well being Assets and Providers Administration (HRSA), “eliminating funding for Title X [family planning]”; and
  • “reversing the FDA determination on mifepristone”

… amongst different setbacks.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro on July 25, 2023. Joined by Medicare advocates, Congressional Democrats held a information convention “to name for motion to cease wrongful delays and denials in personal Medicare Benefit plans, to finish to fraudulent overpayments, and to mandate accountability for the worst actors who damage sufferers.” (Alex Wong / Getty Photographs)

These proposed cuts clarify, partially, why Congress is popping to persevering with resolutions, a stopgap mechanism to maintain the federal government working, as an alternative of a full-year appropriations invoice. Republicans disagree concerning the extent of the spending cuts, and Democrats see lots of them as nonstarters.

In a press launch from September on the appropriations invoice put forth by Home Republicans, Jocelyn C. Frye, the president of the Nationwide Partnership for Ladies & Households, stated that regardless that “[t]inheritor proposals define an all-out assault on ladies’s high quality of life and talent to thrive in our financial system,” the “infighting between completely different GOP factions appears targeted on whether or not their excessive cuts are excessive sufficient.”

Despite the fact that the passage of one other persevering with decision would avert a authorities shutdown, since persevering with resolutions present for short-term funding intervals, they’ll result in “administrative inefficiencies and restricted administration choices,” each of which might intervene with applications upon which People rely. 

In dialog with Michele Goodwin, Rep. DeLauro, who served because the chief of employees to former Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) previous to her service within the Home, stated that “Congress’s best energy is its potential. It doesn’t do what you need it to each day, some days it does precisely the alternative of what you do. … We have to, you understand, push the sting of the envelope on what occurs right here, in order that this establishment does what it was meant to do. It must be an advocate for folks—to rework folks’s lives.”

DeLauro has expertise in “using the energy of this establishment to make change in folks’s life.” Whereas on Dodd’s employees, she efficiently labored to go the Household and Medical Go away Act (FMLA) and now needs to increase it to supply for paid depart. However pushing the envelope is troublesome in a Republican-controlled Home that’s keen to threat a authorities shutdown to chop important applications for household planning, maternal well being and equality within the office.

“In the intervening time, we’re stymied in the place we’re,” DeLauro stated, “however the surroundings adjustments.” 

The Home will vote on Johnson’s two-tiered and fraught persevering with decision this week—however its success is unlikely. With out adjustments to what White Home Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre expressed is “an unserious proposal that has been panned by members of each events,” the Friday shutdown deadline looms.

Hear extra from DeLauro on her imaginative and prescient for Congress on Fifteen Minutes of Feminism: Preventing For Ladies Employees (with Rep. Rosa DeLauro).

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U.S. democracy is at a harmful inflection level—from the demise of abortion rights, to a scarcity of pay fairness and parental depart, to skyrocketing maternal mortality, and assaults on trans well being. Left unchecked, these crises will result in wider gaps in political participation and illustration. For 50 years, Ms. has been forging feminist journalism—reporting, rebelling and truth-telling from the front-lines, championing the Equal Rights Modification, and centering the tales of these most impacted. With all that’s at stake for equality, we’re redoubling our dedication for the following 50 years. In flip, we’d like your assist, Assist Ms. at present with a donation—any quantity that’s significant to you. For as little as $5 every month, you’ll obtain the print journal together with our e-newsletters, motion alerts, and invites to Ms. Studios occasions and podcasts. We’re grateful on your loyalty and ferocity.



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