Yes, women care about the economy, and yes, women’s health care issues play a big role in that, says the House of Representatives' highest-ranking female. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) held a roundtable with a dozen bloggers today, talking about women’s issues, the economy, and how the Democratic platform addresses both in a plan to reignite the American dream.
Pelosi fights back at the many accusations from Republicans who blame the Obama Administration for the current 8.2% unemployment rate: “In one year, under President Obama’s leadership, more jobs were created in the private sector than in eight years of the Bush administration,” she said.
Image Credit: Grace Hwang Lynch
Women's health issues came up quickly in this conversation –- after all, this is the woman who called Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin the doggie-dooon his party’s shoes in response to his controversial statement that most women don't get pregnant after "legitimate rape."
When asked about the Republicans' insistence that what women want is better economics, Pelosi insisted that reproductive freedom is a key part of women’s financial stability:
“Women determine the size and timing of our family, the impact it has on their own empowerment, their education and training, their ability to succeed in the workplace.”
Medicare is another point on which she called out the GOP. Last week, Paul Ryan claimed that Obamacare would wipe out Medicare; meanwhile, Pelosi says, the Republican vice-presidential candidate is actually pushing a plan to gut the health care program for seniors himself. “If they win, Medicare is gone,” she says.
Pelosi also had something to say about last week’s Republican convention speeches lauding women -– mostly in the position of motherhood. She asserted that women have always been a pillar of what the Democratic party stands for, and not just in their roles at home:
“Women’s issues have always been a part of our Democratic agenda. We’ve been advocates of women in the workplace -- Lilly Ledbetter was the first bill we placed on the President's desk in 2009; the issue of women’s right to choose, issues of violence; all of those things.”
But how does she think change on issues important to women is going to happen? Pelosi isn’t holding out hope for bipartisan cooperation in a GOP-dominated House of Representatives. “The President tried to talk across the aisle, but they wanted him to fail,” she said. Pelosi, who served as the first female Speaker of the House for four years until the Republicans regained a majority in 2010.
The key to continuing progress on these issues, she believes, is to elect more Democrats into Congress this November -– 25, to be exact -- in order to shift the balance of power. And campaign finance reform is going to be necessary to make that happen –- and get more women and minorities into office. “The bread box and the ballot box are connected; you’ve got to change the influence.”
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