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  • 50 years later voting rights still threatened

    Nearly 50 years ago, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, to outlaw discrimination based on race, religion, gender, and more. The law strengthened voting rights and pushed for an end to racial segregation in schools, at the workplace, and in public places. The law passed with bipartisan support -- in fact, Republicans helped lead the charge and break the filibuster.

    Unfortunately, today's GOP retreats headlong from the battle towards greater equality. In fact, many Republican are trying to sabotage or undermine crucial protections in the Civil Rights Act.

    One of the critical goals of the Civil Rights Act was “to enforce the constitutional right to vote.” But instead of ensuring this right, today’s Republican Party wants to make it more difficult for people to cast their ballots.

    Republicans are engaged in an aggressive and sustained campaign to make voting harder for millions of Americans. Across the country, Republican controlled legislatures enact laws that put barriers between voters and the ballot box. Apparently, Republicans have decided that if voters reject their ideas at the polls, they'll just rig the system by decreasing participation and making it more difficult to cast a ballot.

    • In Texas, Alabama, Arizona, and Kansas, they have passed strict photo identification and proof of citizenship laws. The result: voters who change their name because they get married or can't provide an original birth certificate find it more difficult to have their vote counted.
    • In Wisconsin, Ohio, and North Carolina, the GOP is restricting early voting periods.
    • And in Minnesota, Republicans are trying to sue the Secretary of State to stop that state from implementing online voter registration.

    Voting restrictions like these impact all Americans, but they disproportionately hurt African Americans, Latinos, working people, seniors, young people, and women – the very groups the Civil Rights Act has been helping for fifty years.

    Meanwhile, Democrats are committed to our mission of ensuring that every eligible voter can register, that every registered voter can vote, and that every vote is accurately counted. Because we know that our nation has never moved forward with less participation. So as we mark 50 years since the Civil Rights Act became the law of the land, it is more important than ever that we recommit ourselves to protecting and expanding the franchise for ALL Americans.

    And it’s not just on voting rights that the GOP is standing on the wrong side of progress:

    • Republicans made clear this week that they do not support legislation that would move us closer to equal pay for equal work and address the persistent discrimination that millions of American women experience in the workplace.
    • On rights for LGBT Americans, the GOP blocked the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and in many states authored legislation to enshrine discrimination in the legal code.
    • Republicans want to repeal the Affordable Care Act and take us back to the days where insurance companies could deny coverage to those with preexisting conditions, or even for just being a woman.
    • The GOP continues to oppose and obstruct efforts to raise the minimum wage and ensure folks who work full time don’t remain in poverty.
    • Republicans refuse to act on immigration reform, dividing families and leaving millions of people stuck in a broken system.

    When it comes to civil rights, equality, and progress, Republicans are not only on the wrong side of the issues, their positions stand in stark contrast to the views of the American people. As Democrats, we will keep fighting to move our country forward, and work to get even closer to the ideals embodied in the Civil Rights Act over the next 50 years.

     

    Donna Brazile is the Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation at the Democratic National Committee.

     

  • DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s statement on National Equal Pay Day

    On National Equal Pay Day, we are reminded of how we impede our own success when we refuse to compensate women equally. Women still make just 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. Over a lifetime, that adds up to more than $430,000 in lost compensation for her, her family, and our economy. For Hispanic and African American women, the gap is shamefully even greater.

    Women now constitute nearly half of the nation’s work force. More women are acting as their family’s primary breadwinner, and many families rely on the paycheck of a wife or mother just to make ends meet. Pay equality is not just a women’s issue – it’s a family issue, and an economic issue.

    As the party of inclusion, empowerment, and opportunity, these issues are priorities for Democrats. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first bill signed into law by President Obama, and Democrats in Congress continue to fight for passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act. In addition, Democrats support increasing the minimum wage, because no one who works full time should have to live in poverty. We also recognize that real economic equality includes enabling women to decide for themselves when to start a family.

    The contrast with Republicans is clear. Republicans stood steadfast against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, oppose increasing the minimum wage, and have repeatedly blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act. They continue to double down on their obsession with repealing the Affordable Care Act, and with it the provision that bars insurance companies from treating being a woman as a pre-existing condition increasing the cost of health care for women and their families. The net effect is that while Republicans are fighting against bigger paychecks for women, they would also subject them to higher health care costs. That is an unsustainable proposition for America’s families.

    Equal pay is about more than just women’s rights. It’s about the economic security of our families. It’s about ensuring that our daughters enter a work environment that treats them with fairness and respect. And it’s about growing our economy, because we know that when women succeed, America succeeds. It’s high time Republicans get on board.

  • Advice to my younger self

    When the DNC Women's Caucus met at the DNC Winter Meeting earlier this month, we asked the members to share advice they would give their younger selves. Aside from the fact that we all need a good pair of stretchy pants sometimes, I would advise my younger self to never feel alone because you are standing on some of the strongest shoulders out there – the women who have worked to make this world a place where you can succeed. Here is more advice from some of those women:

  • Reflections in celebration of Women’s History Month

    In celebration of Women’s History Month, we’ll be sharing thoughts from Democratic leaders throughout March. I started things off by reflecting on my inspirations and what I’ve learned from the women around me.

    I was inspired by my mom and my grandma who instilled in me as early as I can remember that I could grow up and be anything I wanted to be.

    1. What woman inspired you?

    I was inspired by my mom and my grandma who instilled in me as early as I can remember that I could grow up and be anything I wanted to be. They lead by example, balancing work and family and giving me the values that helped me understand that because we were fortunate, it was our responsibility to give back to the community.

    2. Why are you a Democrat?

    I am a Democrat because the Democratic Party stands for inclusion, equality, and opportunity and that means empowerment for all Americans to achieve anything they can dream, if they work hard and play by the rules. I’m a Democrat because I believe that government can be part of the solution and isn’t all of the problem.

    3. What advice would you give your younger self?

    I would advise my younger self not to sweat the small stuff, to not put off for tomorrow what can be done today and to remember to be a sister to other women because helping others succeed helps all women succeed.

    Name: Debbie Wasserman Schultz

    State: Florida

  • Let’s make this year a success for women and for the nation

    Women’s History Month is special to me not just as a woman but as a mother, as a daughter and as a wife. It is inspiring to think how far we’ve come thanks to the women of previous generations on whose shoulders we stand. The suffragists fought for the right to vote and they won it in 1920. Another generation secured the passage of Title IX.

    Our generation had cause to celebrate when President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009 and when health care reform passed in 2010. Because of the Affordable Care Act, being a woman is no longer a preexisting condition, and women now have access to preventive care like mammograms at no cost.

    And yet our generation of women has an opportunity to do even more. I’m proud that the DNC recently launched the Democratic Women’s Alliance to get more women involved in politics, at every level. As the President said in his 2014 State of the Union Address, "When women succeed, America succeeds." Together, let’s make this year a success for women and for the nation.

    Add your name to stand with the President and Democrats fighting for equal pay for women:

    I'm in!

  • Congresswoman Karen Bass on what inspired her to run for public office

    Congresswoman Karen Bass represents the 37th district of California. She was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. Prior to serving in Congress, Bass made history when the California Assembly elected her to be its 67th Speaker, becoming the first African American woman in U.S. history to serve in this powerful state legislative role.
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