[Congressional Record Volume 157, Number 38 (Monday, March 14, 2011)]
[Pages H1788-H1794]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 5, 2011, the gentlewoman from the Virgin Islands (Mrs. 
Christensen) is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the 
minority leader.

                             General Leave

  Mrs. CHRISTENSEN. I ask unanimous consent, Mr. Speaker, that all 
Members may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their 
remarks and to add material to the subject that we are discussing this 
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from the Virgin Islands?
  There was no objection.
  Mrs. CHRISTENSEN. Mr. Speaker, this evening we in the Congressional 
Black Caucus are coming to the floor to honor the women in our 
communities that have been its backbone and who have employed their 
foresight, their hard work, and their sacrifice to move us forward, 
serving as the inspiration for all of us in our individual and 
collective journeys.
  March, as you know, is Women's History Month, celebrated this year 
with the theme, ``Our History is Our Strength.'' We all know the 
stories in our families and in our communities of mothers, 
grandmothers, godmothers, aunts and sisters who pulled together to make 
sure that everyone within their power was fed, educated and remained 
healthy. Those with a lot of resources shared what they had. Those with 
not much gave of their time and their heart to bring generations into 
existence, to nurture all of the community's children despite all of 
the odds before them.
  As we highlight the achievements of women, we will also speak to our 
concerns that the gains women have made and the progress we still need 
to make are being threatened by the actions and the agenda of the 112th 
Congress under a Republican majority.
  Before I yield to my colleague from Texas, I would just like to read 
some quotes from the Secretary of State and the President of the United 

[[Page H1789]]

First the Secretary, quoting from her remarks on Women's History Month:
  ``This year we commemorate the 100th anniversary of International 
Women's Day, a global celebration of the economic, political and social 
achievements of women past, present and future. International Women's 
Day is a chance to pay tribute to ordinary women throughout the world 
and is rooted in women's century-old struggle to participate in society 
on an equal footing with men. This day reminds us that while enormous 
progress has been made, there is still work to be done before women 
achieve true parity.''
  And from President Barack Obama:
  ``We have to work even harder,'' he says, ``to close the gap that 
still exists and to uphold that simple American ideal: we are all equal 
and deserving of the chance to pursue our own version of happiness. 
That's what Eleanor Roosevelt was striving toward half a century ago. 
That's why the report on women that was issued this month matters 
today. And that's why on behalf of all of our daughters and our sons, 
we've got to keep making progress in the years ahead.''
  It is now my pleasure to yield to the gentlelady from Texas, Sheila 
Jackson Lee.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. I would like to thank the gentlelady from 
the Virgin Islands for allowing us--and being the lead on Monday after 
Monday--opportunities to be able to engage our constituents and speak 
on a number of very important issues. I thank you for your leadership. 
I have certainly been privileged to be part of this very important 
opportunity to speak on a number of challenging issues.

  Many of us have just arrived back into Washington. We have spent 
precious days with our constituents, and it is amazing the number of 
issues that we are encountering: individuals who are impacted by the 
broken and unfixed immigration laws; individuals who are in need of 
small business assistance or health care. These are the real issues of 
Americans. Or those who are gathering to join their allies and friends 
in Wisconsin as they are concerned and almost intimidated somewhat 
about the misdirected approach to budget cutting by cutting out rights 
of workers, many of whom are women.
  So I think speaking about women is crucial as we commemorate Women's 
History Month, because we know from the early founding of this great 
country, women were standing side by side with the Founders. Those of 
us who come from a slave history, we know the history of slave women 
who were the backbone of keeping families together. That if a slave 
woman was sold, she could turn to another slave woman and say, Would 
you take care of my children? I can't take them with me. Or if, 
tragically, she lost her life in the violence of slavery, the families 
of other slaves rallied around those children.
  I would think the same of Native Americans, Indian women, who were 
the backbone of their families, and pioneering women and women who came 
from places around the world, Irish women, women who came from Great 
Britain or Poland or from South and Central America or from the 
Caribbean. These are women who have come to the United States and were 
part of the founding.
  I speak of my grandmother, Olive Jackson, who came from Jamaica, West 
Indies, and with her husband, Albert Jackson, went to Panama and helped 
build in the teeming woods and forests of that era, fighting against 
malaria and mosquitoes and diseases and were part of building the 
Panama Canal. How my grandmother kept the family together and gave 
birth to her first son and survived to be able to make it here to the 
United States and had children born in South Carolina and made their 
way up, and then finally got to Brooklyn, New York. A part of the 
history of this country. She kept the family together.
  Let me just call a roll, if you don't mind, of some of the women from 
Texas. Please note that there are many others.
  Women like Mrs. Johnson, the wife of Lyndon Baines Johnson, who was 
so much involved in the beautification of Texas. Her daughter, Luci 
Baines Johnson. Her other daughter, Lynda Robb Johnson. The Honorable 
Barbara Jordan, who made a point in the 1974 Watergate hearings that 
she would not see the Constitution declined or diminished, and that she 
believed that even though it did not include her when we started, that 
this Constitution means We the People. That's what Women's History 
Month means.
  Ann Richards, the former Governor, the late Governor of Texas. Mayor 
Kathy Whitmire. Beulah Shepard, the mayor of Acres Home. Ruby Mosley, 
who has been such a leader and a pioneer in changes in Acres Home. 
Jewel Houston, a great educator. Willie Belle Boone, a great political 
activist. Christia Adair, another great political activist. Esther 
Williams, a great early political activist and precinct judge. Irma of 
Irma's fabulous Mexican restaurant, a businesswoman who, with her 
children by her side, opened one of the famous restaurants in Houston. 
Representative Carol Alvarado. Representative Anna Hernandez. 
Commissioner Sylvia Garcia. Council Member Wanda Adams. Council Member 
Jolanda Jones. Doris Hubbard. The late Dorothy Hubbard. Mayor Annise 
  Small businesswomen. The late Nancy Berkman, who was so pivotal in 
working on the Mickey Leland Kibbutzim program. Joyce Schechter, a 
premier advocate and supporter of Democratic policies. Parvin McVey, an 
outstanding humanitarian. The women and doctors at the March of Dimes 
that I work with, the sacrifice that they make. Former Councilwoman 
Robinson, the wife of the late Judson Robinson, the first council 
member to be elected, and once he passed, Council Member Robinson, his 
wife took his place. Jewel McGowan, another great educator.
  Teachers, nurses. Dr. Betty Lewis, a great nurse. Dr. Wanda Mott, a 
great doctor. Dr. Natalie Carroll, former president of the National 
Medical Association. And certainly Ling Lui, a Chinese American. Dr. 
Ahmed, an American from Bangladesh who's at Texas Southern University.
  My mother, Ivalita Jackson. My aunts: Aunt Valerie, Aunt Audrey, Aunt 
Vickie, Aunt Sybil.

                              {time}  2020

  The reason why I just called their names is because they, along with 
the women of courage that we honored just a week or so ago with 
Secretary Hillary Clinton and Mrs. Obama--Michelle Obama, which I 
include in the greatness of how far women have come--they really make a 
statement, Congresswoman, that what we're doing in the budget and what 
we're doing in the CR really does not take into account all the sweat 
and toil of hardworking women.
  Can you tell me how we would ignore a health care reform that women 
no longer have to be subjected to preexisting condition as a means of 
getting insurance and therefore pregnancy now does not stifle a woman 
who is working on a job from getting insurance and bans insurance 
companies, again, from dropping the women when they get sick or become 
pregnant. For women in new plans, it provides pre-coverage of important 
lifesaving preventative services. Women who are sometimes a single head 
of household, older women who have chronic conditions, they can now be 
covered because of preventative care; bans insurance companies from 
reauthorization or referral for access to OB/GYN care.
  What an antiquated system that required women not to be able to go to 
a doctor for OB/GYN care. We have gotten rid of that; and the common 
practice of gender rating, meaning charging women substantially higher 
premiums. Yet this Affordable Health Care is on the chopping blocks. I 
can't understand it. Ensures children up to age 19 cannot be denied 
coverage for preexisting disease. Sometimes babies are born with asthma 
or sickle cell or juvenile diabetes. Those people cannot get insurance. 
Women would have to take off or quit or get on welfare just to be able 
to find some such basis of coverage or insurance.
  Greater access to insurance by women. And yet as we commemorate 
Women's History Month, we have a situation where our friends on the 
other side of the aisle are slashing and burning. In fact, they have 
already voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. What does it say to 
the history of women in this country?
  Let me quickly move to some additional harms to women, Republican-
proposed cuts that will harm women

[[Page H1790]]

and their families. Title X family planning. This program has provided 
family planning services, breast and cervical cancer screening and 
other preventative health care to low-income women. It has provided 
health centers that serve more than 5 million women.
  Can you imagine that healthy women, who make a difference in this 
country--that is less hours of sick women, less children away from the 
home, less women able to bear children and then go out into the 
workplace, because they have suffered the lack of access to health 
care. Well, my friends, if you can imagine, this is where we are today.
  We had $300 million in a vote just by a Congressperson from Indiana, 
who won the vote 240-185 to prevent any Federal funding to Planned 
Parenthood. By the way, Planned Parenthood reads. They understand. 
Their moneys are used for family planning. It is used to detect 
cervical cancer and breast cancer. It's used to provide preventative 
service to millions of women in health care dealing with HIV testing, 
breast exams, and, of course, contraception. But none of these dollars 
will be used for what I suppose this amendment was supposed to 
inhibit--and that's abortion. They read. They get it. They have been 
following the law for years.
  In Women's History Month, what are we saying to our women? It cuts 
nutrition programs for pregnant women and children $747 million, 
special supplemental nutrition program, the WIC program. Can you 
believe it? Suggesting that it's a waste of money, when most educators 
will tell you children that are not nourished in the early stages, they 
have a default in their ability to think and to be able to do well in 
school. Cut Head Start and child care. People approach me in my 
district, on the streets here in Washington, D.C. Cutting $1.1 from 
Head Start, $39 million from child care.
  I want you to know that I'm dealing with a case, Congresswoman, in my 
district where Federal dollars were supporting a home child care. As 
you well know, those requirements are less than Head Start. And now do 
you know what we have? Four dead babies in this child care home care 
center where a fire consumed them. Unfortunately, because the caretaker 
made a mistake. This is what I'm dealing with.
  And so my question is: you're cutting Head Start, you're cutting 
child care. People are standing in line to get child care. People are 
being turned away. They don't know what to do. Young mothers who are 
trying to do right, are trying to get a job, and they realize this is a 
problem. It cuts job training. I've had young mothers in job training 
programs, $4 billion. Are they telling me it doesn't work?
  These job training programs are particularly important to women 
workers, many of them coming out of the home after they've had children 
and they can place them in a school setting or Head Start. They can now 
get back to work. They can be contributing to the tax base and to the 
society and be able to teach their children about the work ethic 
because they're young and they want to do so.

  Cutting that; cutting Pell Grants. When I went out to Lone Star 
College, what did I see? Young women, some of them young mothers, 
getting the opportunity of a second life. It halts funding for the 
implementation of the health care law. I've already spoken about that. 
Maternal and child health. And then Social Security for women who are 
seniors. I just don't understand what we are trying to do.
  So I would just argue the point in this Women's History Month that 
there is a breakdown. There's a mental block. Don't let me start 
talking about the minority women-owned businesses where they're cutting 
MBDA $1.9 million; and denying minority workers skills training for the 
21st century workforce, cutting $3 billion dollars, and leaving our 
American heroes out in cold, women who have been veterans, cutting them 
$75 million, who may be homeless. I have met women homeless veterans. I 
see them every day. And it has only been recently that we've 
acknowledged that these women have PTSD and other problems. I've met 
them. They have begged for the programs to continue because they served 
their country as well.
  And then, lo and behold, we've just shut the doors on community 
health clinics, something that the Congressional Black Caucus worked so 
hard on, $1.3 billion, cutting 3.2 million patients where they can come 
out of their homes and go to a doctor and not wind up in the emergency 
room that pushes up the tax base or the tax cost by the public hospital 
system and the private hospital system. And yet we continue cutting 
these programs.
  So I'm reminded of Barbara Jordan's words about not being worried 
about being called a politician. She just said, I want to be called a 
darned good politician. That's what we should be looking at here in 
this place as we honor women and Women's History Month, that we can all 
be good elected officials, good politicians that make a difference. We 
make a difference on behalf of all of the American people. No party 
affiliation. That we don't cut and jab into collective bargaining in 
States around this country when in fact collective bargaining is simply 
giving someone the opportunity to sit down at the bargaining table; 
nurses, many of them women; teachers, many of them women, clerical 
workers; many of them women; municipal workers; women who have come out 
of the household to support their family and may be the only bread 
  So let me thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to be 
able to salute women of all persuasions all over this country. Let me 
personally thank you for the nurturing that you have given the soldiers 
and sons that you have sent off to battles throughout the ages; to the 
Gold Star Mothers, to the Blue Star Mothers that I work with in my 
district. Thank you for the sacrifices that you have made. Thank you 
for nurturing those who are still mending and healing those who have 
been wounded in war, whether it's the war of the ages or the wars that 
we've just encountered in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  And let me thank the mothers and the women of the Mid East, from 
Egypt to Tunisia to Bahrain to Yemen to Libya--and most of all to 
Libya. Let me thank the women who have gone into battle. Let me thank 
the women who have already lost children because they wanted freedom in 
  Let me thank the peace lovers. And all I would say, as we commemorate 
Women's History Month, the names that I have just called, they 
represent the strength and our history. And it is on their shoulders 
that I stand. It is on their shoulders that I pledge that I will never 
give up; as John Lewis said, never give out; and never give in, because 
women today are truly having as the wind beneath their wings all the 
women who have gone before, all the older women that stand alongside of 

                              {time}  2030

  Finally, Congresswoman, to the young women, let me say that the road 
is never as smooth as one would like. It is rocky, with mountains and 
valleys; but take the opportunity to learn and to build so that you can 
have wings as well.
  Women's History Month, I salute you and the women. I believe in your 
strength, and I believe in your spirit and your history.

                  Background on Women's History Month

  Every March, the country recognizes National Women's History Month. 
This national celebration and recognition of women's historic 
achievements began in 1980 when National Women's History Week was 
proclaimed by Presidential Proclamation. In 1987, this national 
celebration was expanded by Congressional Resolution to an entire month 
by declaring March as National Women's History Month.
  In the last several years, we have had a number of historic firsts to 
celebrate in conjunction with Women's History Month--the first woman 
Speaker of the House, the first female President of Harvard--to name a 
couple. These historic events speak to the progress we have made in 
women participating in public service and the political process.
  Further, there are now a record number of women serving in Congress. 
The 112th Congress includes 93 women Members serving in the House and 
  The Democratic-led 111th Congress focused on a number of key concerns 
of America's women, including quality affordable health care, 
investments to create jobs and stimulate growth, investments in early 
childhood education, ensuring that our military families are receiving 
the resources and services that they need, and ensuring equal pay for 
all of America's working women.
  Unfortunately, in the 112th Congress, the GOP-led House has moved in 
the opposite direction--failing to pass measures to create

[[Page H1791]]

jobs and promote economic growth. Not only have Republicans failed to 
create jobs, they have passed a Spending Bill that is projected to 
destroy up to 700,000 jobs and reduce economic growth by up to 2 
percentage points, as well as cut services particularly vital for 
America's women.

                  How Healthcare Reform Benefits Women

  Ensures being a woman will no longer be treated as a ``pre-existing 
condition,'' with insurance companies banned from denying coverage for 
``pre-existing conditions,'' beginning in 2014. Currently, many women 
are denied coverage or charged more for such ``pre-existing 
conditions'' as breast or cervical cancer, pregnancy, having had a C-
section, or having been a victim of domestic violence.
  Bans insurance companies from dropping women when they get sick or 
become pregnant, as of 2010.
  For women in new plans, provides free coverage of important, life-
saving preventive services, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, as of 
  Improves the care of millions of older women with chronic conditions, 
by providing incentives under Medicare for more coordinated care.
  Bans insurance companies from requiring women to obtain a pre-
authorization or referral for access to ob-gyn care, as of 2010.
  Ends the common practice of ``gender rating,'' charging women 
substantially higher premiums than men for the same coverage, beginning 
in 2014. According to a recent study, the women on the individual 
market pay up to 48% more in premium costs than men.
  Ensures that children up to the age of 19 cannot be denied coverage 
due to a ``pre-existing condition,'' as of 2010.
  Provides greater access to affordable health coverage for women, with 
the establishment of new Health Insurance Exchanges for the millions 
who do not have health insurance through an employer, beginning in 
2014. Currently, less than half of America's women can obtain 
affordable insurance through their employer.

    Republican proposed cuts that will harm women and their families

  Eliminates Funding for the Title X Family Planning--Entirely 
eliminates funding for the Title X Family Planning Program, which 
received $317 million in FY 2010. For more than 40 years, the Title X 
Family Planning Program has provided family planning services, breast 
and cervical cancer screening, and other preventive health care to low-
income women in need. Title X-funded health centers serve more than 5 
million individuals each year, at 4,500 community-based clinics. Six in 
10 women who obtain health care from a Title X-funded family planning 
center consider it to be their primary source of health care. Grantees 
include state and local health departments, hospitals, community health 
centers, and private non-profit organizations.
  Eliminates all federal funding for Planned Parenthood--In addition to 
eliminating all funding for the Title X Family Planning Program in the 
underlying bill, House Republicans also adopted an amendment by 
Representative Mike Pence (R-IN), by a vote of 240-185, to specifically 
prohibit any federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The Pence 
amendment would have a devastating effect on women's access to health 
care across the country. Planned Parenthood health centers currently 
provide preventive services to millions of women in need of health 
care, including the provision of contraception, cancer screenings, 
breast exams, and HIV testing. In fact, over 90 percent of health care 
offered by Planned Parenthood is preventive. Many low-income 
individuals depend on Planned Parenthood health centers for the 
majority, if not all, of their health care.

  Cuts Nutrition Programs for Pregnant Women and Their Children--Cuts 
$747 million from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, 
Infants, and Children, better known as the WIC program. The WIC program 
provides nutritious food, counseling, and other supports to 9.6 million 
low-income pregnant women, new mothers, and infants each month. This 
program makes a real difference; studies have linked WIC participation 
with higher birth weight and lower infant mortality.
  Cuts Head Start and Child Care--Cuts $1.1 billion from the Head Start 
program and $39 million from child care, causing hundreds of thousands 
of children to lose early learning support. Head Start, Early Head 
Start, and the Child Care Development Block Grant are our key federal 
early learning investments. These initiatives: (1) allow low-income 
children to start school ready to succeed, and (2) support and enable 
parents to work. Funding is already insufficient and these cuts will 
result in even fewer children benefiting from early learning programs.
  Cuts Job Training--Cuts more than $4 billion for job training 
programs that are critical in preparing workers for employment in 
growth industries. For example, funding under Title I of the Workforce 
Investment Act (WIA) is zeroed out--eliminating a $1.4 billion program 
serving 1.7 million youth and adult workers. These job training 
programs are particularly important for women workers, many of whom are 
concentrated in low-wage and low-skill jobs without opportunity for 
  Cuts Initiatives That Help Students Pay for College--Cuts the maximum 
Pell Grant amount by $845--from the current level of $5,550 to $4,705 
for the coming academic year. Pell Grants provide the basic foundation 
of federal student aid and help millions of low-income American women 
afford to attend college. The bill also entirely eliminates federal 
funding ($757 million in FY 2010) for Supplemental Educational 
Opportunity Grants, which provide additional grants of up to $4,000 to 
the lowest income Pell recipients and reach 1.3 million of the Nation's 
neediest students. Cuts to these programs will make college less 
accessible for low-income women.
  Halts Funding to Implement the Health Care Law--House Republicans 
adopted a series of amendments on the House Floor that essentially stop 
any funding to implement the Affordable Care Act, the landmark health 
care law enacted last year. The GOP bill, as amended, therefore takes 
away critical new patient's rights, many of which are critical to 
America's women. As a result, under the GOP bill, lifetime caps could 
once again be placed on coverage, young adults up to age 26 would lose 
the assurance they could stay on their parents' plan, pregnant women 
could once again be thrown off insurance rolls, and being a woman could 
once again be considered a pre-existing condition.
  Cuts Maternal and Child Health--Cuts $50 million from the Title V 
Maternal and Child Health Block Grant. Title V-supported programs 
provide prenatal health services to 2.5 million women and primary and 
preventive health care to 31 million children each year. Cuts this deep 
will severely harm state and local programs serving women, babies, and 
  Eliminates Funding that Helps Schools Comply with Title IX--
Eliminates the Women's Educational Equity Program, which promotes 
education equity for women and girls and helps educational agencies 
meet their obligations under Title IX, the law that requires gender 
equity for boys and girls in every educational program that receives 
federal funding.
  Cuts Funding for Social Security Offices and Supports for Women Who 
Are Seniors--Cuts funding for the Social Security Administration by 
hundreds of millions of dollars. These cuts will force thousands of 
layoffs and furloughs in offices across the country, which means delays 
in processing applications for Social Security benefits Americans have 
earned. The bill also cuts funding for a range of supports for seniors, 
including senior employment services (cut by $525 million) and 
Administration on Aging programs (cut by $65 million). Women are a 
majority of Social Security recipients and more than two-thirds of the 
elderly poor--so they will be disproportionately harmed by these GOP 
  Undermines Food Safety--Cuts funding for USDA food safety inspections 
by $88 million--making it impossible to conduct daily inspections of 
meat and poultry plants. This would force many meat and poultry plants 
to shut down for more than a month in 2011, resulting in estimated 
economic losses of up to $11 billion. Furthermore, the bill cuts FDA 
funding by $241 million. This would lead to furloughs and/or RIFs of 
hundreds of FDA staff including those who inspect our domestic and 
imported foods.
  Blocks Public Database on Safety of Consumer Products, Designed as 
``Early Warning System'' for Parents--House Republicans adopted an 
amendment by Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS), by a vote of 234-187, 
which prohibits any funding for a new public consumer safety 
information database, opposed by Big Business, which is particularly 
designed to warn parents about potentially defective products aimed at 

             republican spending bill impact on minorities

     Inhibiting the Creation of Minority Businesses

  Slashing $1.9 million from the Minority Business Development Agency 
(MBDA), the sole agency dedicated to fostering growth and innovation 
among minority-owned firms, creates barriers for minority businesses to 
employ more than the 6 million Americans they did last year.
  In 2010, the MBDA generated $3.3 billion in contracts and capital for 
minority-owned firms.

     Denying Minority Workers Skills Training for a 21st Century 

  Cutting $3 billion from the Workforce Investment Act eliminates 
access to essential job training initiatives that have helped millions 
of minorities gain the skills to compete in our nation's job market.
  In 2009, Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs helped approximately 
8,370,000 people, with minorities making up 43 percent (714,314) of the 
WIA Adult Program, 38 percent (384,106) of the WIA Dislocated Worker 
Program and 68 percent (186,809) of the WIA Youth Program.

[[Page H1792]]

     Ensuring a Second Rate Education for Minority Communities

  Taking away $1 billion from Head Start denies 200,000 children an 
early childhood education and forces them to begin kindergarten less 
educated than their classmates. This cut disproportionately harms 
minority children with Latinos making up 36 percent and African 
Americans 29 percent of the nearly 1,114,000 children that receive a 
quality early education from Head Start funding.
  By cutting $580 million from special education programs, Republicans 
are shifting the federal government's obligation to educate up to 
324,000 children with disabilities onto our already burdened states, 45 
of which are already running deficits. This cut will hurt special 
education programs where Latino children make up 19 percent, African 
American children 15 percent and Asian Americans and Pacific Islander 
children 4 percent of students.

     Eliminating Health Care Services to Minority Communities

  Eliminating $61 million in funding from the Maternal and Child Health 
Block Grants forces doctors to decide which of the millions of mothers 
they serve will not receive the prenatal care they need to give birth 
to healthy babies. In one year, these grants assisted over 4 million 
mothers, including 1 million Latinas, 723,000 African Americans and 
195,000 Asian Americans who gave birth to healthy babies.
  Cutting $1.3 billion from Community Health Centers will deny critical 
health care to nearly 3.2 million new patients. Currently, Community 
Health Centers provide quality, affordable health care to 20 million 
people 36 percent are Latinos, 22 percent are African Americans and 4 
percent are Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

     Leaving Our American Heroes Out in the Cold

  Revoking $75 million from veterans' housing programs will leave up to 
10,000 homeless veterans without a roof over their head despite 
patriotically serving in our Armed Forces.
  African American and Latinos make up 56 percent of the estimated 
156,000 homeless veterans though they only comprise 11 percent and 6 
percent of the veterans' population, respectively.
  Finally, I can not end, without saluting Nancy Pelosi, the first 
women Speaker in the History of the United States. Many little girls 
will aspire to great heights because of her leadership and strength. 
Thank you, Speaker Pelosi, for all of your work over the years. Along 
with Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Coretta Scott King, Maya Angelo, 
Rosa Parks and Dr. Dorothy Height the women of Presidents, every U.S. 
President sought her counsel, we are blessed because of their fight and 
their victory!
  Mrs. CHRISTENSEN. Thank you, Congresswoman Jackson Lee, for your 
inspiring words, and thank you for being such a faithful participant in 
these Monday evening Special Orders.
  You listed a lot of the very special women in your district, as you 
said, on whose shoulders we stand. I could also list women from my 
district who are leaders in the fight for freedom and justice: who are 
labor leaders, doctors, clergy, writers, nurses, teachers, and those 
who have just been role models and who have helped to nurture our 
territory's children.
  I do want to spend some of my time saluting a pioneering educator in 
my district of the U.S. Virgin Islands, one who would have celebrated 
her 96th birthday on March 26 had she not left us this past January. 
Like many Virgin Islands women of her generation, Mrs. Delta Dorsch was 
a force of nature.
  Born in the town of Frederiksted in 1915, 2 years before the Virgin 
Islands became a part of the American family, Mrs. Dorsch was a 
renowned educator, storyteller and tradition bearer of the territory. 
She was tall in stature and stood out as a woman of class, of 
intelligence and excellence in all that she did. In her lifetime, she 
witnessed the birth, growth and development of the modern Virgin 
Islands: from the transfer of ownership from Denmark to the United 
States, to the quest of its people for greater self-government and 
self-determination, to its welcoming of many people from many shores, 
to its present position poised at the dawn of a new century with its 
modern concerns of quality health care and education for all, 
environmental and cultural sustainability, energy independence, and a 
future for its children of a life lived in peace and security, with 
access to a quality life that provides good, stable employment 
  Mrs. Dorsch, who was educated at New York University, at Columbia 
University and who studied international education at the University of 
London in England and at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, 
served for more than 38 years as a teacher and elementary supervisor in 
the Virgin Islands school system. From 1977 to 1982, she also served as 
an instructor of elementary education in both undergraduate programs at 
the University of the Virgin Islands and as Deputy Commissioner for 
Curriculum and Instruction in the Virgin Islands Department of 
Education. She was also the chair of the board of directors of the St. 
Dunstan's Episcopal School in St. Croix.
  Her excellent educational resume does not adequately convey the 
quality of care she gave to Virgin Islands students. She was a mentor 
and a special friend to many, encouraging them to achieve and to work 
for excellence. She also worked throughout her lifetime to preserve 
traditional values and her cultural heritage, taking it upon herself to 
learn the many folk stories that had been passed down from generation 
to generation and to share them with the young and with the not so 
  Her message was simple: As you progress and embrace change, don't 
forget your culture, your way of life, and the everyday things that 
make you unique and special and identifiable as a people.
  In addition to education and culture, she was active in the political 
life of the community, supporting the campaigns of worthy candidates 
and giving sage advice to those who, like myself, sought her counsel.
  In her lifetime, Mrs. Delta Dorsch received many accolades and 
awards. The National Junior Honor Society of the Elena Christian Junior 
High School is named in her honor as is the residence hall at the 
University of the Virgin Islands, St. Croix campus. She was among the 
tradition bearers who participated in the Virgin Islands Folklife 
Festival in 1990 here in Washington, DC, on The Mall, where she told 
the Bru Nansi and Jumbie stories that are particular to the U.S. Virgin 
Islands. She authored a book and an accompanying video on the role of 
the storyteller and of the preservation of the Virgin Islands culture, 
and she contributed to our town Frederiksted's current edition of the 
``Glory Days of Frederiksted.''
  Mrs. Delta M. Jackson Dorsch made her mark as a woman of substance in 
the U.S. Virgin Islands, and left a remarkable trail for the rest of us 
to follow. It is in her spirit of determination and advocacy that I 
stand here today to speak about the current state of women, not only in 
the U.S. Virgin Islands, but across our Nation.
  Mr. Speaker, we are now in a time that has shown great progress for 
women, as I read from our President earlier; but we also find ourselves 
at a crossroads where there are many areas in which our welfare is 
threatened. Some of these areas were enumerated by my colleague from 
  According to the report prepared for the White House Council on Women 
and Girls, entitled, ``Women in America: Indicators of Social and 
Economic Well-Being,'' which was published this month, women have 
outpaced men in educational attainment, earning more college degrees 
and graduate education, but they are still more likely than men to live 
in poverty.

  Black and Hispanic females are likely to be poorer than non-Hispanic 
white females. Black women have a 28 percent rate of poverty, Hispanic 
27 percent, white women 11 percent--also too high. While more education 
increases income for both men and women, the pay gap between the two 
still exists. More women than men work part time, and of course that 
means they are less likely to be insured or to have other benefits. At 
all levels of education, women still earn about 75 percent as much as 
their male counterparts. The female-headed families have the lowest 
family earnings among all family types.
  Women today face health challenges, with depression, for example, and 
more women than men report having chronic medical conditions. Yet more 
of us are uninsured, and many women report not having a usual source of 
care. Eighteen percent of nonelderly women lack health insurance. Of 
unmarried women, almost 25 percent are uninsured. Twenty-one percent of 
African American women and 38 percent of Latinas are uninsured.

[[Page H1793]]

  So the challenge to improve the lives of all women continues, and we 
Democrats are proud that in the historic 111th Congress, presided over 
by the first female Speaker of this House, we passed the Lilly 
Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restores the rights of women and other 
workers to challenge unfair pay and work events.
  We passed the Paycheck Fairness Act, which updated the 47-year-old 
Equal Pay Act, by providing more effective remedies for women who are 
not being paid equal wages for doing equal work.
  We also passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which 
created 3.3 million jobs, many of them held by American women in 
emerging industries such as clean energy.
  The stimulus package passed by this House expanded opportunities for 
women and minorities in the transportation industry by investing in on-
the-job training for them and even highway construction and 
transportation technology. It included technical assistance for them to 
obtain transportation infrastructure contracts, and is helping 3.5 
million women students obtain higher education through the increases in 
the Pell Grant funding. It provided for key investments in early 
education by providing additional funding to increase Head Start 
enrollment by 65,000, creating 30,000 jobs for Head Start teachers and 
staff, while strengthening families, including some of the women-headed 
  Services for families and children were strengthened in the 111th 
Congress with the increased funding for child care development block 
grants and for programs to reduce violence against women.
  In the 111th Congress, the Affordable Care Act increased access for 
the high number of uninsured women to access health care. For the 
insured, it made their insurance more secure, and it made it illegal 
for insurance companies to charge women more than men for the same 
coverage or to limit their choices by making caesarean deliveries or 
domestic violence preexisting conditions.
  Our 1.8 million women veterans have the chance at improved health 
care with the expansion of the VA health care services by removing 
barriers and providing up to 7 days of care for newborn children of 
women veterans and by enhancing treatment for sexual trauma for women 
at the VA.
  Much was done in the last Congress to enhance and protect the lives 
of women; but in this Congress, the 112th, it seems as though we are 
about to take giant steps backwards when it comes to the health, 
education, business, and finances of women and their families. The 
budget cuts being proposed to fund this year's budget and the next are 
definitely going to adversely impact the women of this country.

                              {time}  2040

  I see I have been joined by another of my colleagues, Congresswoman 
Gwen Moore of Wisconsin, and I would invite her to use as much time as 
she might consume or to enter in a dialogue if she would like.
  Ms. MOORE. Thank you so much, gentlelady from the Virgin Islands. I 
am so pleased that you put this Special Order together to memorialize 
the contributions that African American women have made in this, our 
month of March, a tribute to all women.
  As the Democratic cochair of the Women's Caucus, I am particularly 
proud to talk about some of the accomplishments and challenges, quite 
frankly, of African American women in this country. It is so obvious 
that we have to honor some of our ancestors on whose shoulders we 
stand, women like Harriet Tubman, who led slaves out of slavery, even 
at the point of a gun, a rifle, a strong African American woman that 
really instilled the kind of self-respect and self-esteem in the 
African American community, that strength of character that has helped 
us survive all kinds of tragedies in our community.
  Sojourner Truth, of course, who really was engaged very heavily in 
the women's right to vote movement, in the suffrage movement. And of 
course Fannie Lou Hamer in Mississippi, who fought for the right to 
vote. And Rosa Parks, who fought to end the segregation in the South on 
accommodation. And really, moving through history, people like Madam 
C.J. Walker, first millionaire. So many people, I could just go on and 
on naming women in every field of business and entertainment, Oprah 
Winfrey, all the way of course to our very own first lady, our own 
great Michelle Robinson Obama.
  But I think that such a tribute would not be complete if we did not 
recognize some of the people who are unknown to people, some of the 
unsung heroes within our own community. And I'm thinking of such a 
woman right now, a woman named Velvalea Phillips. Velvalea Phillips 
lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and graduated from North Division High 
School, my alma mater, the same school that Golda Meir graduated from, 
and it was at that time a predominantly white school, and she won an 
oratorical contest, and the school was reluctant to give her that prize 
because she was a black student, and of course, the majority white 
student body rebelled and insisted that she win the prize as an orator.
  Velvalea Phillips later came to be known as Vel, affectionately as 
Vel Phillips, went on to run for alderman of the city of Milwaukee. 
There had never been a woman who had won a seat on the common council 
until Vel ran, and because she shortened her name from Velvalea to Vel, 
they thought she was a man. She didn't put any pictures on her 
literature. So they also did not know she was a black. So she was the 
first woman and the first black person to become an alderman in the 
city of Milwaukee.
  She was the first black woman to graduate from the University of 
Wisconsin Law School. She was the first black person to become a judge 
in Milwaukee County. She was the first black woman to ever serve on a 
national party committee in either the Democrat or the Republican 
national committee, the very first black woman. She is the first and 
only African American who has ever won a Statewide office in the State 
of Wisconsin.
  She is alive and still kicking, and is a major force in the community 
brainstorming conference of Milwaukee, a sort of black think tank in 
Milwaukee that talks about all kinds of social situations in Milwaukee, 
very thriving organization in our community.
  But even then it would be inappropriate to end this tribute without 
talking about those unknown women who have contributed so much, and I 
believe that this hour started out with your referencing some of these 
people. Madea, Big Mama, Aunt Peaches, Cousin Fannie, these people who 
dug deep into their pockets to pull out a very carefully folded $20 
bill to press into your hand as you went off to college to give you 
some support. Those people who scrubbed floors and were not proud to 
try to give you a better life than they had. Those people who held the 
family together when all else failed. And that is why African Americans 
have thrived and survived to the extent that they have because of the 
strength of the African American woman in our community.
  I will tell you as a physician, gentlelady from the Virgin Islands, 
that African American women are facing some tremendous challenges right 
now. We live in America, and of course, African Americans are very 
proud to be American, but the fact still remains that there is no level 
playing field in America for African American women. Women in general 
only earn 77 cents for every dollar that a man earns, and of course, 
African American women earn even less than that.
  And they're faced with so many challenges. With a very high 
incarceration rate among African American men, African American women 
are often finding themselves in situations where they are the sole 
breadwinners in a family where their wages are less than African 
American men or any men in this country.

  African American women, though, have continued to show that they are 
overcomers; that they can step outside of their story; that they can 
stand in the truth of their power and continue to inspire generation 
after generation after generation of African Americans. And we see this 
so often when we think of people in our community who have been raised 
up by single female and single female heads of household but have 
continued to move forward.
  We look at our own President, Barack Obama. He is an African 
American. His mother was not an African American woman but she mirrored 
the condition of so many African American

[[Page H1794]]

women in this country, finding themselves rearing African American 
children on their own.
  And that is why I think it is important to come to this floor and to 
implore our colleagues to not eviscerate the kinds of support that 
makes so much difference to children. Like the Women, Infant, and 
Children program, where there have been efforts to cut that by $747 
million; efforts to cut Head Start; efforts to cut the maternal and 
child health block grant; efforts to cut out basic kinds of support 
that African American women need to support their often lonely task of 
trying to rear children who are already poor. And the genius of African 
American women to cobble together a living where there seems to be 
nothing is something that I admire a great deal and something, quite 
frankly, that I have been a beneficiary of.
  My mother was the mother of nine children. I'm the eighth of nine 
children, and my mother was poor. At the point at which I was born, my 
mother had nine children and did not have a high school education. She 
went back to high school--this was prior to GED--she went back to high 
school when I was about 5 years old and she got an associate's degree 
after that, and she went on to graduate and become magna cum laude as 
an adult, and all this time she kept us fed with beans and cornbread 
and rice and plenty of fresh water out of Lake Michigan.

                              {time}  2050

  She believed firmly in taking us to church and feeding us at the 
trough of religion and good morality and having compassion and loving 
  Her very best friend, Ceria Travis, who went to church with her, has 
a daughter, Dr. Dorothy Travis Moore, who has established a school in 
Milwaukee devoted to helping struggling African American men because 
they saw how these strong black women worked hard. And my mom and Mrs. 
Travis inspired a whole generation of African American men and women to 
strive for a life better than they had. My mom helped so many young 
people go on and win college scholarships. She used to train them and 
tutor them to be able to win scholarships from the local Masons and 
Elks oratorical contests.
  This is why I can't stop, gentlelady from the Virgin Islands, because 
I had a role model in my own life of a sociological miracle, someone 
who overcame all of the things that had been said she couldn't do. So 
that is why, if people tell me that I cannot do something, I have what 
all children should have, and that is a background of someone who is 
close to them that says continuously, Yes, I can. Yes, I can. Yes, I 
can. And as black women, we can do it.
  However scarce our resources, however austere these budgets are, we 
are not going to go away. We are Americans. We work hard. We have built 
this country, and we have provided this country with a lot of genius. 
We have provided original music. We have provided inventions and 
agriculture. We have built this Capitol with our sweat, blood, and 
tears. And as African Americans, we are proud of the American part. And 
as black women, we have given birth not only to our children, but we 
have given birth to a great country.
  Mrs. CHRISTENSEN. I thank you for those words. And I know that those 
who are listening are really inspired by all of what you had to say. We 
are so proud and so very fortunate to have you as the cochair of the 
Women's Caucus in this Congress.
  Before we close, to take us back to where we are today, I just want 
to recap that, among the actions being proposed in this Congress, there 
are some repeals that--yes, we're going to rise above them--but that 
will make things very difficult for not only African American women but 
women all across this country.
  To recap: eliminating funding for the title X family planning 
program. These are the cuts that are being proposed in the CR for the 
rest of 2011 that eliminate the funding for the program that has 
provided family planning, breast and cervical cancer screening, and 
preventive health to low-income women. They propose to eliminate all 
Federal funding for Planned Parenthood, as we have heard, and to cut 
nutrition programs for pregnant women and their children; to cut Head 
Start and child care; to cut job training; to cut funding for college.
  All of these are going to make it much harder for our young and our 
older women to do what Gwen's mom did and move themselves up the 
educational ladder and help to provide a bridge for the youngsters that 
come behind. Their plan to cut funding for college and Pell Grants, to 
halt the implementation of the health care law that, as you have heard, 
will do so much for not just women but for all Americans, those who are 
insured and those who are uninsured. It will cut maternal and child 
health funding and funding that helps school comply with title IX.
  The CR that is proposed, the long-term CR for fiscal year 2011, also 
cuts funding for Social Security offices and support for senior 
programs, as the majority of Social Security recipients are women and 
of course are elderly, and many are poor. All of these programs and 
others are on the chopping block, and women will be greatly and 
adversely impacted by them.
  As we honor the history of women in our country this month, let us 
not celebrate it with an assault on women and their families. Let's not 
make it more difficult for poor women and minority women, for children, 
for students, for seniors, for small business women, for the many who 
need these necessary supports if they are to be a part of the vibrant 
future that we envision for our country. These cuts make any praise of 
Women's History Month by our Republican colleagues mere lip service, no 
more than empty words in a time when women are vulnerable because of 
our economic crisis and when we need the programs that they are 
planning to cut. We need those programs more than ever.
  In this month dedicated to women, we are calling on the leadership of 
the 112th Congress to continue to build, not to tear down, but to build 
on the gains we have made for women and for all Americans in the 111th 
Congress. Do not turn back the clock to a time that none of us want to 
go back to. Do not turn back the clock to a time that our country 
cannot afford to go back to if we are to be the number one country in 
this world.
  We, the members of the Congressional Black Caucus, dedicate this hour 
to the women of African descent, those known and unknown on whose 
shoulders we stand, the sturdy bridges that have brought us to where we 
are today. To them, we dedicate this hour, and we dedicate ourselves 
and our work on behalf of families and children, African American and 
all Americans here in this country and around the world.
  Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, throughout March we 
celebrate the many achievements and accomplishments women have made in 
the United States and around the world.
  Before the 1970s women's history was largely overlooked, but today we 
cannot ignore the significant contributions women have made in shaping 
our country and building for a brighter, more peaceful future.
  The theme for the 2011 Women's History Month is ``Our History Is Our 
Strength.'' Women's History Month celebrates millions of women who 
helped make our world a better place. We must continue to promote and 
encourage our future generation of young women and girls to strive for 
the very best.
  In the 111th Congress, the Democratic-led Congress focused on a 
number of key concerns of America's women, including: quality 
affordable health care; investments to create jobs and stimulate 
growth; investments in early childhood education; providing resources 
for our military families; and ensuring equal pay for all of America's 
working women.
  Unfortunately, the Republican-led House has moved in the opposite 
direction. House Republicans have passed a spending bill that reduces 
or eliminates funding to key women services and wellness programs. 
Their spending plan is projected to destroy up to 700,000 jobs and 
reduce economic growth. Ending vital programs and offering reckless 
spending proposals will only move our country backwards.
  Mr. Speaker, while cuts are necessary to address the nation's long-
term fiscal problems, cutting too deeply before the economy is in full 
expansion will add unnecessary risk to our economy and to America's 
women and families.