White House UpSkill Summit

04/24/2015

At today’s White House Upskill Summit, the Administration announced new steps to help realize the full potential of America’s workforce by empowering workers with the education and training they need to develop new skills and earn higher wages. Over 100 leading employers, who employ more than 5 million workers made concrete commitments to empower front-line workers across their businesses, in partnership with 30 national labor unions, and accelerated by new innovative data and tools. During his State of the Union address earlier this year, the President launched a new Upskill Initiative, calling on businesses to help workers of all ages earn a shot at better, higher-paying jobs, even if they do not have a higher education. The commitments announced today already represent significant action and progress since the President’s January call to action.

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What They’re Saying: Businesses are Ready to Join the President to UpSkill America

Lindsay Holst January 26, 2015  01:24 PM EDT

In his State of the Union address and again at Boise State days later, the President called on more employers to adopt or expand measures to help workers gain the skills and credentials to advance into better paying jobs – including by expanding registered apprenticeships, increasing uptake of tuition benefit programs that pay for a worker to complete their college education, offering on-the-job training for career progression, and increasing access to technology-enabled learning tools.

Tonight, I’m also asking more businesses to follow the lead of companies like CVS and UPS, and offer more educational benefits and paid apprenticeships — opportunities that give workers the chance to earn higher-paying jobs even if they don’t have a higher education.

– President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015

This initiative to Upskill America includes important steps by employeers, educators, and others in the private sector. That’s why more than 30 employers are already answering the President’s call to grow apprenticeships, support thousands of workers to earn a college degree for free while they are working, and providing a clear path upward for employeers who develope and demonstrate critical skills in the field. It’s also why President Obama is calling on Congress to invest over $2 billion to expand registered apprenticeships and spread high-quality training programs.

For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/01/26/what-theyre-saying-businesses-are-ready-join-president-upskill-america

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Leading Employers Commit to Boost Worker Education, Job Training to Expand Economic Opportunity for 24 Million American Frontline Workers

April 24, 2015 upskillamerica.org

Washington, DC, April 24, 2015 – A White House Summit will convene today to address the critical need expand economic opportunity for low-wage workers and develop a more skilled workforce. At the same time, top U.S. business and workforce leadership in the UpSkill America partnership will announce new commitments to bolster their investment in frontline employee education and training.

Launched in January, UpSkill America is a coalition of business, labor, education, workforce training, and human resource organizations leading a national movement to provide the 24 million American workers stuck in low-skill jobs the opportunity to gain the education and training they need to move into higher-skill roles. The UpSkill America network’s collective membership includes hundreds of employers and labor partnerships representing millions of workers across the country.

UpSkill America partners played an integral role in bringing together the diverse group of 150 employers, labor leaders, non-profits, educators and technology innovators at the White House Upskilling Summit today. Together, these organizations are leading the way in providing more workers with stepping stones to advance on a career path and into the middle class.

New upskilling efforts unveiled at the summit include one hundred employers expanding access to apprenticeships and on-the-job training, as well as thirty national and local labor unions and non-profit groups working with employers to expand access to best practice training strategies. The focus of these efforts will center on industries like retail and hospitality and in small businesses that employ millions of low-wage workers. New data and tools for workers and employers were also released, among them:

“Businesses have a vital role to play in expanding the talent pipeline in our country,” said John Colborn, director of the Aspen Institute’s Skills for America’s Future, which is facilitating the work of UpSkill America. “UpSkill America is committed to sharing best practices, providing resources like new data and tools for employers to help enhance their workforce development practices and move the needle on addressing the national workforce skill shortage.”

For more: http://www.upskillamerica.org/press-release-leading-employers-commit-to-boost-worker-education-job-training-to-expand-economic-opportunity-for-24-million-american-frontline-workers/

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U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch

04/23/2015

Atty Gen Loretta Lynch

Loretta Lynch Confirmed as U.S. Attorney General After Five-Month Wait

Apr 23, 2015 11:04 AM PDT Kathleen Hunter and Del Quentin Wilber – bloomberg

Loretta Lynch was confirmed by the Senate as the first black woman to become U.S. attorney general after a five-month wait marked by partisan fights and Republican arguments that she won’t be independent enough from President Barack Obama.

The vote was 56-43. Lynch is replacing Attorney General Eric Holder, who has served in the job since Obama took office in 2009. After Obama nominated Lynch on Nov. 8, a confirmation vote was held up in part because Republicans insisted on first resolving a dispute with Democrats over an unrelated bill.

“She’s as qualified a candidate as I’ve ever seen in my time in the Senate,” said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat. “Loretta Lynch’s confirmation this time around should have sailed through the Senate.”

The Justice Department isn’t likely to dramatically change direction under Lynch. She has worked closely with Holder on many issues and served as his top prosecutor in Brooklyn, New York. She also will have a relatively short tenure to make changes, as Obama is set to leave office in January 2017.

When Obama nominated Lynch, 55, she wasn’t expected to run into much turbulence during confirmation because of her personal biography and tenure as a tough-on-crime federal prosecutor. Still, Republicans said they were skeptical that she would be sufficiently independent from Obama, and they criticized her support for his executive actions on immigration.

For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-04-23/lynch-confirmed-as-u-s-attorney-general-after-five-month-wait

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April 23, 2015

Statement by the President on the Confirmation of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General

Today, the Senate finally confirmed Loretta Lynch to be America’s next Attorney General – and America will be better off for it. Loretta has spent her life fighting for the fair and equal justice that is the foundation of our democracy. As head of the Justice Department, she will oversee a vast portfolio of cases, including counterterrorism and voting rights; public corruption and white-collar crime; judicial recommendations and policy reviews – all of which matter to the lives of every American, and shape the story of our country. She will bring to bear her experience as a tough, independent, and well-respected prosecutor on key, bipartisan priorities like criminal justice reform. And she will build on our progress in combatting newer threats like cybercrime. Loretta’s confirmation ensures that we are better positioned to keep our communities safe, keep our nation secure, and ensure that every American experiences justice under the law.

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Statement by the Attorney General on the Senate Confirmation of Loretta Lynch

Thursday, April 23, 2015 justice.gov

Attorney General Eric Holder released the following statement on the Senate confirmation of Loretta Lynch:

Loretta Lynch is a gifted attorney, a consummate professional, and a dedicated public servant. I am pleased that the United States Senate has recognized her clear qualifications and the need for her confirmation as Attorney General of the United States.

“At every stage of her career, Loretta has earned the trust and high regard of allies and adversaries alike, both in Washington and throughout the country. She is respected by law enforcement officers, civil rights leaders, and criminal justice officials of all political stripes. In every case and every circumstance, she has demonstrated an unfailing commitment to the rule of law and a steadfast fidelity to the pursuit to justice.

“I have known and worked closely with Loretta for many years, and I know that she will continue the vital work that this Administration has set in motion and leave her own innovative mark on the Department in which we have both been privileged to serve. I am confident that Loretta will be an outstanding Attorney General, a dedicated guardian of the Constitution, and a devoted champion of all those whom the law protects and empowers. I congratulate her on her confirmation, and I look forward to all that the Department of Justice will do and achieve under her exemplary leadership

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Monday, April 27, 2015
11:00 AM ET
Swearing in Ceremony for Attorney General Loretta Lynch

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2015 Earth Day

04/21/2015

Earth Day
Earth Day is April 22

Environmental Action means taking the simple steps in the place where we live. By choosing to act on five or more of these ideas you are joining thousands of others who are doing all they can to be a good and responsible citizen of the world.

Volunteer or Attend a Earth Day Event near you

Environmental Action You Can Take:
At home and in the garden
At work
At school
While shopping
In your community
On the road

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The Obama Administration is committed to protecting the air we breathe, water we drink, and land that supports and sustains us. From restoring ecosystems in the Chesapeake Bay and the Everglades, to reducing mercury pollution from power plants, we are bringing together Federal agencies to tackle America’s greatest environmental challenges such as:

* Recovery Act Investments in our Environment
Protecting Our Oceans 
Supporting Land Conservation
Prioritizing Clean Water
Reducing the Environmental Impacts of Mountaintop Coal Mining
Reducing Air Pollution From Vehicles and from Power Plants
Restoring our Treasured Great Ecosystems
Working Toward Environmental Justice
Supporting Sustainable Communities
Modernizing the National Environmental Policy Act
Reducing Global Emissions of Mercury
* DOI, EPA, NOAA announced Resilient Lands and Waters Initiative to prepare natural resources for climate change
FACT SHEET: New Steps to Protect People, Places and Local Economies from Climate Change
Presidential Proclamation — Earth Day, 2015

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#EarthDayEveryDay

#ActOnClimate

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April 22, 2015
President Obama delivers remarks on climate change
Everglades National Park, Florida

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33rd Annual Protecting Our Children Conference

04/18/2015

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National Indian Child Welfare Association’s
Protecting Our Children Conference

April 19, 2015 11:00 ET to April 22, 2015
6:00 ET
Portland, Oregon

33rd annual Protecting Our Children Conference is hosted by the National Indian Child Welfare Association, the event is the nation’s largest gathering on American Indian and Alaska Native child advocacy issues. This three-day conference creates a space where participants can learn about the latest information across Indian Country in child welfare.  Conference attendees are a cross-section of experts including child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice service providers; legal professionals; students; advocates for children; and tribal and federal leaders. This year’s conference theme is “Healing from Trauma: Supporting Native Communities, Family, and Children.”

NICWA Facebook

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Bill aims to keep American Indian children with families

 Published on Tuesday, 07 April 2015 21:37 Written by ANNA GRONEWOLD, Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – While applying for her driver’s license at age 16, Karen Hardenbrook saw her birth certificate and learned what her adoptive parents from Broken Bow never told her: she was born in Winnebago and her mother was a member of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska. As a baby, the state removed her from her biological grandmother’s crowded home on the reservation.

Today Hardenbrook, 57, lives on the Omaha Reservation in Walthill. She’s an enrolled member but at times still feels like an outsider.

“I had a wonderful, beautiful (adoptive) home. I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” Hardenbrook said. “But I still wish I would have never left the res. I would have learned to dance. I would have learned to sing the songs. Now when I get out to the arena, I have to watch everyone, at 57 years old, because I don’t know the steps.”

A bill slated for a committee vote this week in the Nebraska Legislature would further strengthen protections of cultural identities for children like Hardenbrook by engaging tribal government and extended family mediation before removing children from tribal homes.

In 1978, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act in response to what it deemed “a crisis of massive proportions.” Between 25 percent and 35 percent of American Indian children were living in out-of-home placement, endangering the preservation of already dwindling American Indian tribes.

For more: http://www.nativetimes.com/index.php/news/federal/11358-bill-aims-to-keep-american-indian-children-with-families

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Impoverished tribe faces surge in teen suicides

Tuesday, 14 April 2015 15:19 Written by REGINA GARCIA CANO, Associated Press

PINE RIDGE, South Dakota (AP) – The people of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation are no strangers to hardship or to the risk of lives being cut short. But a string of seven suicides by teenagers in recent months has shaken this impoverished Midwestern U.S. community to its core and sent school and tribal leaders on an urgent mission to stop the deaths.

On Dec. 12, a 14-year-old boy hanged himself at his home on the reservation, a sprawling expanse of badlands on the border between the states of South Dakota and Nebraska. On Christmas Day, a 15-year-old girl was found dead, followed weeks later by a high school cheerleader. Two more teenagers took their lives in February and two more in March, along with several more attempts. The youngest to die was 12.

Somewhere between 16,000 and 40,000 members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe live on the reservation, which at over 2 million acres (nearly 1 million hectares) is among the largest in the U.S. Famous as the site of the Wounded Knee massacre, in which the U.S. Army slaughtered about 300 tribe members in 1890, it includes the county with the highest poverty rate in the U.S., and some of the worst rates of alcoholism and drug abuse, violence and unemployment. Life expectancy for men is below 50 years, the lowest in the Western Hemisphere.

For more: http://www.nativetimes.com/index.php/life/people/11398-impoverished-tribe-faces-surge-in-teen-suicides

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April 08, 2015

Remarks of First Lady Michelle Obama for White House Convening on Creating Opportunity for Native Youth
Washington, DC

Good morning everyone, and welcome to the White House. We are so thrilled to have you here today for our Generation Indigenous convening.I want to start by thanking Walter Isaacson and Senator Dorgan for their outstanding leadership and for the terrific work that they’re doing at the Aspen Institute.

And as for T.C – there really are no words to express how proud I am of this young man and how impressed I am by his courage, determination and maturity. Barack and I were blown away by T.C. and by the other young people we met when we visited T.C.’s tribe, the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, last June. And I want to start off today by telling you a little bit about that visit.

It began when we arrived in North Dakota, and as we left the airport where we’d landed, we looked around, and all we could see was flat, empty land. There were almost no signs of typical community life, no police stations, no community or business centers, no malls, no doctor’s offices, no churches, just flat, empty land.

Eventually, we pulled up to a little community with a cluster of houses, a few buildings, and a tiny school – and that was the town of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, which is part of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. And at that school, a small group of young people gathered in a classroom, anxiously but quietly waiting to meet with the President and the First Lady.

These teens were the best and brightest – hand-selected for this meeting – and after we all introduced ourselves, they shared their stories.

One young woman was in foster care because of substance abuse in her household. She talked about how hard it was to be separated from her five siblings. One young man had spent his high school years homeless, crashing on the sofa of his friends, even for a period living in the local community center. Another young man had gotten himself into college, but when he got there, he had trouble choosing the right classes; he realized that he’d never been taught how to properly write an essay; and when family problems arose back home, he struggled to balance all the stress and eventually had to drop out.

And just about every kid in that room had lost at least one friend or family member to drug or alcohol-related problems, or to preventable illnesses like heart disease, or to suicide. In fact, two of the girls went back and forth for several minutes trying to remember how many students in their freshman class had committed suicide – the number was either four or five…this is out of a class of 70.

For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/04/08/prepared-remarks-first-lady-michelle-obama-white-house-convening-creatin

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, SECRETARY JEWELL KICKS OFF PRESIDENT OBAMA’S NATIVE YOUTH LISTENING TOUR

20 FEB 2015 BY NATIVE NEWS ONLINE STAFF 

WASHINGTON – Last week, Secretary Jewell kicked off President Obama’s Native Youth Listening Tour. The tour is a key part of the Obama Administration’s Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) initiative, a program meant to break down barriers standing between Native youth and their opportunity for success.

The Department of the Interior put together this short video below to show why the Administration is doing this listening tour and why it’s important for the next generation of Indian Country.

Source: http://nativenewsonline.net/currents/u-s-department-interior/

Champions of Change: Native American Youth Leaders

In honor of the National Native American Heritage Month, the White House honored eleven Native American Youth leaders as Champions of Change. These young people are Champions in their tribes and communities as they work to improve the lives of those around them through innovative programs that help others, raise awareness of important issues like suicide and bullying prevention, energy efficiency and healthy eating. Watch the video from the Champions of Change discussion with White House and Administration officials which focused on the great work that these young people do every day.

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US Government & Indigenous Peoples Timeline 1819-2014
ProPresObama.org Civil Rights Timelines ™

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Pres Obama Immigration Orders Face Major Test in Federal Court

04/16/2015

nation-of-immigrants

Obama immigration orders face major test in federal court

President Obama’s executive actions on immigration will be tested on Friday when a federal appeals court considers whether to lift an order blocking the actions to allow millions of immigrants without legal status to remain in the United States.

Lawyers from the federal government and 26 states opposed to Obama’s immigration policies will make oral arguments in front of a three-judge panel from the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans, the most conservative circuit in the country.

The administration is seeking an emergency stay lifting a Texas judge’s order freezing Obama’s November executive actions, which could provide deportation relief and work permits to as many as 5 million undocumented immigrants.

Supporters of Obama’s programs are hopeful the court’s recent dismissal of a separate lawsuit against the immigration programs are a sign the judges will be on their side.

The panel may take days or weeks to decide on the government’s motion.

If it lifts U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen’s preliminary injunction, the Obama administration could begin implementing its programs. If it does not, Obama’s actions will remain in limbo.

The atmosphere surrounding the hearing is expected to be charged. More than 150 people plan to demonstrate outside the courthouse, including immigrants eligible for relief under Obama’s programs, according to immigrant-rights groups.

With just 21 months in Obama’s presidency, his administration is acting aggressively to resolve the legal issues surrounding the immigration programs, a key part of his presidential legacy.

But Obama’s lawyers could face an uphill battle in court on Friday.

For more: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/239130-obama-immigration-orders-face-major-test-in-federal-court

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President Obama’s Immigration Timeline:

We are and always will be a nation of immigrants - sml

White House Hispanic 

WH.gov en Español

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What Will YOU Do to End Inequality?

04/15/2015

Anti-LGBT Bills Introduced in 28 States

The wave of anti-LGBT bills filed across the country continues to swell. As of today, lawmakers have introduced more than 85 anti-LGBT bills in 28 state legislatures.

Some state legislative sessions have already drawn to a close, but other state legislatures will be in session for several more weeks or even months.  So far this year 34 anti-LGBT bills in nine states have been defeated or failed to meet key legislative deadlines, but two have passed — one in Arkansas and one in Indiana.

Among the recently introduced anti-LGBT legislation is a pair of bills in Nevada that would allow individuals and businesses to use religion to challenge or opt out of laws, including laws that protect LGBT people from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.  Similar legislation was also recently introduced in Montana and is still pending in Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri, Texas and elsewhere.

Bills that would allow adoption agencies to use religion to discriminate against eligible parents and guardians have been newly introduced in Alabama and Florida. These new bills are similar to a series of bills moving through the Michigan legislature.

Even in states with long traditions of support for equality, anti-equality lawmakers are introducing anti-LGBT bills.  Massachusetts, for example, is the latest state with a bill that would criminalize transgender people for using appropriate restrooms.  Anti-transgender “bathroom surveillance” bills have are now pending in Florida, Texas and a handful of other states.

For more: http://www.hrc.org/blog/entry/anti-lgbt-bills-introduced-in-28-states

About GLSENs Day of Silence

GLSENs Day of Silence is a national day of action in which students across the country vow to take a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools.

History
Founded in 1996, the Day of Silence has become the largest single student-led action towards creating safer schools for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. From the first-ever Day of Silence at the University of Virginia in 1996, to the organizing efforts in over 8,000 middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities across the country in 2008, its textured history reflects its diversity in both numbers and reach.

Organizing for Day of Silence
Organizing a Day of Silence (DOS) activity or event can be a positive tool for change-both personally and community-wide. By taking a vow of silence, you’re making a powerful statement about the important issue of anti-LGBT bullying, and when you organize others to join you that message becomes stronger. Discover ways of organizing your event here.

Your Rights
While you DO have a right to participate in GLSENs Day of Silence between classes and before and after school, you may NOT have the right to stay silent during instructional time if a teacher requests for you to speak. According to Lambda Legal, “Under the Constitution, public schools must respect students’ right to free speech. The right to speak includes the right not to speak, as well as the right to wear buttons or T-shirts expressing support for a cause.” However, this right to free speech doesn’t extend to classroom time. “If a teacher tells a student to answer a question during class, the student generally doesn’t have a constitutional right to refuse to answer.” We remind participants that students who talk with their teachers ahead of time are more likely to be able to remain silent during class.  Find more Lambda Legal advice here.

For more: http://dayofsilence.org/resources/

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Paycheck Fairness Act – Isn’t It About Time?

04/13/2015

Equal Pay - Women Breadwinners

The Paycheck Fairness Act is proposed legislation that would add procedural protections to the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Fair Labor Standards Act as part of an effort to address male–female income disparity in the United States. A Census Bureau report published in 2008 stated that women’s median annual earnings were 77.5% of men’s earnings, newer studies suggest, when the data is controlled for certain variables, the residual gap is around 7%, the same study concludes that the residual is due to the fact that “hours of work in many occupations are worth more when given at particular moments and when the hours are more continuous. That is, in many occupations earnings have a nonlinear relationship with respect to hours.”

The House of Represen­tatives approved the bill in January 2009. The United States Senate failed to move the bill forward in November 2010. President Barack Obama said in March 2011 that he will continue to fight for the goals in the Paycheck Fairness Act. The bill was reintroduced in both houses of Congress in April 2011.

The 2010 bill had no Republican Party co-sponsors, though a group of four Republican senators had supported an earlier bill to address gender-based wage discrimination, including Susan CollinsKay Bailey HutchisonLisa Murkowski and Olympia Snowe. On June 5th, 2012 the bill fell short of the 60 votes necessary to override a filibuster and did not make it to the Senate floor for debate. The vote went along party lines, excluding a vote against by Democrat Harry Reid. (A vote which left Democrats the option to introduce the bill again at a later time.) On April 9, 2014, in another straight-party-line vote, the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 2199; 113th Congress) was again blocked by a Republican filibuster in the U.S. Senate. Once again, Senator Reid changed his vote from support to oppose, as a tactical maneuver to keep the bill alive.

The 2010 Senate version of the bill had the support of the Obama administration and that of Democrats in the Senate. The American Civil Liberties Union supported S.182, citing the 2008 data from the United States Census Bureau that women’s median annual earnings were 77.5% of the male median, African-American women’s median annual earnings were 64% of the white male median, and Hispanic women’s median annual earnings were 54% of the white male median. The American Association of University Women also supported the bill, citing the organization’s 2007 research report, Behind the Pay Gap, which showed that women earn less than their male colleagues just one year out of college. The pay gap has widened 10 years after graduation.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paycheck_Fairness_Act

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Presidential Proclamation — National Equal Pay Day, 2015

NATIONAL EQUAL PAY DAY, 2015

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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

In the United States, the promise of opportunity is built on the idea that everyone who works hard should have the chance to get ahead.  This creed is at the core of our democracy, and it is central to our belief that America does best when all people are able to share in our Nation’s prosperity and contribute to our success.  Yet every day, countless women perform the same work as their male colleagues only to earn less than their fair share.  On National Equal Pay Day, we mark how far into the new year women would have to work just to earn the same as men did in the previous year, and we renew our efforts to end this injustice.

On average, full-time working women earn 78 cents for every dollar earned by men, and women of color face an even greater disparity.  This wage gap puts women at a career-long disadvantage, and it harms families, communities, and our entire economy.  Today, in more than half of all households, women are breadwinners — 49 million children depend on women’s salaries.  But our economy and our policies have not caught up to this reality.  When women experience pay discrimination it limits their future, and it also hurts the people they provide for.  It means less for their families’ everyday needs, for investments in their children’s futures, and for their own retirements.  These effects reduce our shared prosperity and restrict our Nation’s economic growth.  Wage inequality affects us all, and we each must do more to make certain that women are full and equal participants in our economy.

When we take action to help women succeed, we help America succeed, and my Administration is committed to ensuring women have every opportunity to reach their fullest potential.  The first bill I signed as President was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and the following year — to crack down on violations of equal pay laws — I created the National Equal Pay Task Force, which to date has helped women recover millions of dollars in lost wages.  If workers do not know they are underpaid, they cannot challenge the inequality; that is why we are going to require Federal contractors to submit data on employee compensation, including data by sex and race, and why last year I signed an Executive Order prohibiting Federal contractors from retaliating against employees who choose to discuss their pay.  And I continue to call on the Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to protect all people’s fundamental right to a fair wage.

For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/04/13/presidential-proclamation-national-equal-pay-day-2015

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Did You Know That Women Are Still Paid Less Than Men?

On average, full-time working women earn just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. This substantial gap is more than a statistic — it has real life consequences. When women, who make up nearly half the workforce, bring home less money each day, it means they have less for the everyday needs of their families, and over a lifetime of work, far less savings for retirement.

President Obama supports passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, a comprehensive and commonsense bill that updates and strengthens the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which made it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who perform substantially equal work.

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GET THE FACTS

GOP Blocks Equal Pay

Senate Republicans again kill Paycheck Fairness Act

4/09/14 01:06 PM – Steven Benen – maddowblog

The third time was not the charm. Democratic efforts to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act failed to overcome Republican opposition in the 111th Congress and the 112th Congress, and as of this morning, it failed once again at the hands of a GOP filibuster.

Senate Republicans filibustered a debate on a Democratic pay equity bill backed by President Barack Obama Wednesday.

Sixty votes were needed to allow the bill to be debated on the Senate floor, but Republicans refused to allow the bill to come up for debate after complaining Democrats weren’t allowing votes on their amendments.

The roll call from the vote is online here. Note that the final tally was 54 to 43 – six votes shy of the supermajority needed to end Republican obstructionism – but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) switched his vote for procedural reasons, leaving it at 53 to 44.

The legislation received exactly zero Republican votes, as was the case with previous efforts to pass the bill.I

In case anyone needs a refresher, the Paycheck Fairness Act is a perfectly credidble piece of legislation that would “enhance the remedies available for victims of gender-based discrimination and require employers to show that wage differences are job-related, not sex-based, and driven by business necessity. The measure would also protect employees from retaliation for sharing salary information, which is important for deterring and challenging discriminatory compensation.”

As we’ve discussed, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was an important step forward when it comes to combating discrimination, but it was also narrowly focused to address a specific problem: giving victims of discrimination access to the courts for legal redress. The Paycheck Fairness Act is a broader measure.

Republicans have responded that they endorse the idea of equal pay for equal work, but in recent years, much of the party remains opposed to policymakers’ efforts to do something about it. (This morning, some GOP senators also raised procedural objections about amendments.)

As for the electoral considerations, aren’t GOP lawmakers worried about rejecting measures like these in an election year?

Apparently not.

Senate Republicans aren’t sweating a ramped-up push by Democrats and President Barack Obama for new pay equity legislation – pushing forward women Republicans to rebut charges they have a woman problem and doubting the issue will resonate with voters. […]

Republicans argue that the Democrats’ bill – along with their so-called “Fair Shot” agenda for the year – is a political ploy that will not fool voters.

I’m not sure who’s trying to fool whom in this model. Dems put together a bill; the bill is popular; and they’ve pushed it repeatedly for six years. That sounds less like a p.r. stunt and more like an effort to address a problem.

As for the midterms, Republicans have struggled of late with the gender gap. At a minimum, today’s vote won’t help.

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#EqualPayNow

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