Legislative Priorities for the 113th Congress
The 113th Congress convened January 3, 2013. As in the previous Congress, the House of Representatives will continue to be led by Republicans, and the Senate, by Democrats. The party split between chambers effectively means that the same challenges in reaching compromise between parties and across the chambers likely will result in the same gridlock that has defined congressional inaction.
However, notably, the 113th Congress welcomed 101 women members-20 in the Senate, 81 in the House. It is the first Congress to be comprised of such a large, female membership.
We are pleased that many more women will be involved in the policymaking process. Recent and ongoing attacks upon women’s access to affordable health care and ability to make personal health decisions about contraception and abortion make it important that women’s voices are heard during the legislative process.
The Imperative’s comprehensive policy agenda is focused upon on Sexual Health and Reproductive Justice. Under that broad umbrella, our intensive focus is on HIV/AIDS, Contraception, Abortion, Cervical Cancer, Breast Cancer, RelationshipViolence/Sexual Assault, and Maternal Health (including, pre and post natal care, maternal and infant mortality). While 113th Congress is poised to potentially act on these issues, the Imperative views as its top three legislative priorities:
- Re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
- Re-authorization of the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act
- Clean Budget and increased Appropriations funding for programs that support Women and Families
Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
The Imperative’s early beginnings grew out of a focus on violence and its affect on Black Women. Reauthorization of VAWA is Imperative as existing VAWA programs will be bolstered to end domestic violence, sexual assaults, and dating violence, and broadened to . According to the National Violence Against Women survey (2010), almost 1 in 3 African-American women have been subject to intimate partner violence. Intimate partner violence includes rape, physical assault, or stalking. Therefore, reauthorization of VAWA (S.47) is critical in ensuring the safety and security of Black women.
Reauthorization of the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act
The Imperative wants to ensure that the reauthorization of the Ryan White CARE Act will re-commit to prioritizing the needs of women living with HIV/AIDS and emphasize the importance of continued women and family focused services; continue supporting programs and services that prevent and/or reduce the risk of pre and perinatal HIV transmission; expand the range of support resources and services available to women living with HIV/AIDS and take into consideration the real life situations many face.
Clean Budget/Balanced Deficit Reduction/ Appropriations funding for programs supporting Women and Families
The Imperative advocates for a clean budget, void of language that impedes women’s reproductive rights by restricting funding for abortion care and coverage.
As the Budget is subject to caps on domestic discretionary funding, The Imperative supports a balanced approach to Deficit Reduction. We will press this Congress to ensure that cuts to safety-net programs like Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, which provide critical services to millions of Black women, are not made.
The Imperative advocates increased appropriations funding for several programs that promote reproductive wellness for Black women and provide services for their children, including: Title X Family Planning Program and Title V Maternal and Child Services Health Block Grants.
Read the letter the Imperative sent to President Barack Obama, here.