In the heated battle between presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, it’s easy to forget each candidate also has a running mate that needs to be vetted. Senator Tim Kaine and Governor Mike Pence haven’t spent much time in the spotlight this election season, but tonight is the first vice presidential debate, and all of that is about to change.
For the first time since the Democratic and Republican national conventions, voters will get a chance to hear the VP candidates’ plans on everything from tax reform to fighting ISIS. But what many moms will be paying especially close attention to is their views on family issues and women’s health care. Before you settle in with your oversized bowl of popcorn to watch the candidates duke it out, here’s a quick rundown of how Pence and Kaine really feel about the issues that matter most to women and families.
1. Pay equity for women
Pence: Mike Pence voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which offers women greater leverage in suing for pay discrimination. He’s also been vocal about his opposition to raising the minimum wage. A Media Matters for America report shows he opposed an increase in Indiana’s minimum wage and signed into a law a measure “prohibit[ing] local governments from requiring businesses [to] pay a higher minimum wage” unless it’s required by federal law.
Kaine: As a senator, Tim Kaine co-sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure women receive equal pay for equal work. Both Kaine and Clinton strongly support women’s pay equity and efforts to raise the minimum wage.
2. Paid family leave
Pence: Donald Trump recently announced a plan to guarantee new moms six weeks of paid maternity leave. It’s unclear how much Pence supports his running mate’s plan, but he does have an established history of voting against paid family leave efforts while in Congress.
Kaine: Kaine called Trump’s maternity leave plan outdated. According to Time, Kaine told supporters paid leave is necessary for both men and women because “in 2016 not only do women take off to take care of kids when they’re born, but men do too.” He supports Clinton’s plan to guarantee 12 weeks of paid family leave for a newborn child and ensure employees receive at least two-thirds of their wages while on leave.
3. Gun control
Pence: Mike Pence supports a national right to carry guns in public and actively works to repeal gun control measures. According to the The New York Times, he has an A rating from the National Rifle Association and has accepted financial support from them for his campaigns for both the House and governor.
Kaine: Per his website, Kaine says he supports Americans’ right to bear arms, but also believes we must take meaningful steps to reduce gun violence. This includes expanding mental health services, performing background checks prior to gun purchases and placing responsible limits on combat-style weapons and high-capacity magazines.
4. Subsidized child care
Pence: In a 1997 op-ed in the Indianapolis Star, Pence wrote that kids who attend day care are “emotionally stunted.” In a recent appearance on Face the Nation, he clarified that his stance has changed and says he now supports “reforms in taxes… that will make it possible not only for maternity leave, but for families to fully deduct the cost of child care.”
Kaine: Kaine supports access to affordable child care, including expanding child care tax credits for low-income and middle-class families. As governor of Virginia, he supported several policies to assist low-income families with child care costs. He also backed a $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor that would be used to help working parents all over the country give their children quality child care.
5. Women’s health care
Pence: In 2011, Pence supported shutting down the government in an attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. Under Pence, Indiana has been forced to close many clinics and became the second state in the union to restrict women’s rights to abortion on the basis of the fetus’s gender, race or disability. Under the law, a doctor who performs an abortion for one of the above reasons can be held liable for wrongful death.
Kaine: On his website, Kaine says he opposes efforts to weaken Roe v. Wade and/or restrict women’s access to abortion. He believes in expanding access to health care and contraception, and co-sponsored the Protecting Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act to restore the contraceptive coverage requirement guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act.
Pence: Mike Pence was one of 25 Republican congress-people who voted against Bush’s No Child Left Behind policy. As governor of Indiana, he pushed to establish quality preschool programs to benefit low-income families. Like Trump, he supports establishing academic standards at the local level.
Kaine: Tim Kaine believes in increasing access to quality pre-K and technical education programs. He supports the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act recently signed into law by President Obama and hopes the bill will decrease the emphasis on standardized testing and give states more flexibility to close achievement gaps.