Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News, Commentary and Blog posts from the Independent Women's Foundation.(...)IWF RSShttp://iwf.org/images/email-logo.pnghttp://www.iwf.org33968Calm Down But Don't Forget Common Sense<p> Taylor Swift&rsquo;s new song and&nbsp;<a data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dkk9gvTmCXY" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dkk9gvTmCXY" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank">music video</a>, &ldquo;You Need to Calm Down,&rdquo; has a message that should apply to just about everyone in the political world--particularly those who attempt to score political points in social media. It&rsquo;s too bad that in the video, Swift instead chooses to traffic in stereotypes herself, casting white, gay-bashing, cowboy hat and flannel shirt wearing, trailer-park dwellers as the lone haters needing an education in tolerance. &nbsp;</p> <p> Worse, Swift includes a petition in support of the Equality Act at the end of her music video, suggesting that this legislation would end the unfair treatment of the LGBT community and ensure &ldquo;our laws truly treat all of our citizens equally.&rdquo; The Equality Act has much broader implications and could have particularly pronounced--and decidedly unfair--impact on biological women.</p> <p> The Equality Act would make it illegal to discriminate based on gender identity. That certainly sounds like a triumph for fairness. We don&rsquo;t want anyone denied job or educational opportunities based on their gender or sexuality, and this includes those who are transgender or who have any non-conforming gender status. There is broad agreement in the public that people should be judged on their merits and free to pursue their own vision of happiness, regardless of sex, race, gender identity, sexual orientation or essentially any other group membership or characteristic.</p> <p> However, there are times when fairness requires that we recognize and account for differences. We differentiate between people based on age and ability in determining eligibility for activities, occupations, and educational opportunities. We don&rsquo;t let teenagers enter competitions meant for five-year-olds; we don&rsquo;t let high school football players join peewee leagues; we don&rsquo;t let children into R rated movies until they are 18. All of this is a form of discrimination, but one that is recognized as having a legitimate purpose.</p> <p> There are also times when fairness&nbsp;<em>requires</em>&nbsp;discriminating between the sexes. Take athletics. By the time children are pre-teens, they are regularly separated into boys and girls teams. This isn&rsquo;t just an antiquated practice, akin to painting boys&rsquo; rooms blue and dressing little girls in tutus. There are fundamental biological differences between males and females. Separating between sexes ensures that each sex has equal opportunity to participate in athletics.</p> <p> If we end sex-based discrimination in athletics, biological women will lose any hope of winning in most major sports. In fact, women will rarely even make the team. Men have physical advantages in terms of speed, endurance, and strength. No one was surprised when a biological male shattered the world records for women&rsquo;s weight lifting or won a state track meet. Women&rsquo;s world record weight lifters generally lift<a data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_world_records_in_Olympic_weightlifting" href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_world_records_in_Olympic_weightlifting" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank">&nbsp;about two-thirds&nbsp;</a>of what male record holders lift. Any competitive male weightlifter who switched to the women&rsquo;s competition would dominate. &nbsp;</p> <p> Men&rsquo;s edge may be most pronounced in weightlifting, but persists in most other sports. Men&rsquo;s world record running times are consistently and significantly lower than women&rsquo;s. Men have similar advantages in skiing, tennis, swimming, jumping, throwing, which means it would impact just about all team sports, including soccer, lacrosse, hockey, basketball, rugby, volleyball, and the list goes on.</p> <p> Acknowledging this reality doesn&rsquo;t undermine the tremendous accomplishments of female athletes. But it is necessary to make sure those accomplishments continue. Throwing this kind of &ldquo;discrimination&rdquo; between biological men and women into legal question--so that any male claiming to identify as a female can enter a competition meant for biological females--could have a serious and negative impact of female athletics. &nbsp;</p> <p> That would be a tremendous shame: Women&rsquo;s advocates have worked hard over the last forty years to build a recognition that athletic participation is just as important for girls as it is for boys. Policymakers have worked with educators and community leaders to make sure that both men and women have access to athletic programs. We shouldn&rsquo;t jeopardize that progress. &nbsp;</p> <p> Of course, communities can and should treat transgender women with respect and seek to include them whenever possible, including in athletic programs. However, they should do so in a manner that ensures that biological women are not disadvantaged and displaced. Leaders of sports leagues and communities are seeking to find nuanced solutions. They should be encouraged to continue to do so.</p> <p> Sadly, the Equality Act will short-circuit this process, making any differentiation between the sexes legally out-of-bounds.</p> <p> The Equality Act&rsquo;s limitations on sex discrimination have implications beyond athletic fields. Under the Equality Act, will female-only prisons still be allowed? Or domestic violence shelters? Would programs meant to encourage women&rsquo;s participation in science and technology fields, or business startups, still be allowed?</p> <p> We can be respectful, fair, and supportive of transgender women and men without the Equality Act&rsquo;s dictate that we can never recognize or acknowledge any of the implications of the very real physical differences that exist between those born male and female. We can be calm and respectful about it, but we shouldn&rsquo;t outlaw common sense.</p> <div> &nbsp;</div> http://iwf.org/news/2809857/Carrie L. LukasThu, 20 Jun 2019 08:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumLetter in Support of Ernst-Gardner Over-the-Counter Birth Control Bill<p> <a href="https://www.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Ernst-Gardner-letter.pdf"><img alt="" src="http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb366/IWF11/RED_Click%20Here%20for%20PDF_zpscszoflnj.png" style="width: 250px; height: 41px;" /></a></p> <p> Dear Senator,</p> <p> On behalf of the undersigned organizations, we urge you to support the Allowing Greater Access to Safe and Effective Contraception Act (S. 930), sponsored by Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.). While FDA action remains necessary, this bill marks an important first step toward reducing the government barriers that make it difficult for women to access contraception by paving the way for contraceptives to be sold over the counter (OTC) without a prescription.</p> <p> Oral contraceptives are safe, effective and widely used by millions of American women. However, the current system for accessing them, which requires a prescription from a doctor in almost all U.S. states, is needlessly burdensome. Adult women can determine for themselves which form of contraception is best for them, and they should be able to access it directly from a pharmacy, not forced to undergo time-consuming and often invasive doctors&rsquo; visits. Leading medical groups including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians have all agreed that contraceptives are appropriate for over-the-counter administration. However, even though the medical community is in agreement, it may be years before over-the-counter status becomes a reality due to the expensive and slow-moving nature of the FDA approval process.</p> <p> The Allowing Greater Access to Safe and Effective Contraception Act will fast-track this process by incentivizing manufacturers of routine-use contraceptives to file FDA applications for OTC status. These incentives apply to any contraceptive the FDA deems to be safe and effective for routine OTC use by adults over the age of 18. The bill also makes it easier for women to save for their contraceptive needs by allowing them to use health, medical and flexible savings accounts to purchase over-the-counter drugs without a prescription.</p> <p> Birth control can be safely administered over the counter, and it is time for the FDA&rsquo;s regulatory regime to catch up with medical reality. National conversations surrounding contraceptives tend to be bitterly politicized, but making them available over the counter is a commonsense, market-friendly solution to enhance women&rsquo;s reproductive freedom without burdening taxpayers. Passing the Allowing Greater Access to Safe and Effective Contraception Act would be a crucial step in the right direction toward more sensible regulation.</p> <p> Sincerely,</p> <p> R Street Institute</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> Independent Women&rsquo;s Voice</p> <p> Taxpayers Protection Alliance</p> http://iwf.org/media/2809810/Carrie L. LukasFri, 14 Jun 2019 14:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPaid leave bill would hurt families<div> <p> Vermont&rsquo;s House of Representatives recently passed H.107, a bill to create a statewide paid family and medical leave program. It&rsquo;s now being considered by the Senate. That may sound like great news for working women and families struggling to get by, but these are the workers who are most likely to be hurt most by the program&rsquo;s unintended consequences.</p> </div> <div> <p> The plan passed by Vermont&rsquo;s House of Representatives would offer workers welcoming a new child, caring for a sick family member, or facing their own serious illness, benefits up to 12 weeks each year. That&rsquo;s a really generous leave package. But how will employers react to this new regime and the expectation much of their workforce might disappear for one quarter of the year?</p> </div> <div> <p> Workers should be warned many businesses will start looking to consolidate employment &mdash; particularly for workers with fewer skills. Employers will want to decrease the risk associated with having employees who take lengthy leave time, so will find ways to rely on fewer workers (such as by increasing automation, outsourcing non-essential functions and hiring fewer, more productive workers).</p> </div> <div> <p> The payroll taxes imposed to fund these new benefits will also fall heaviest on those with lower incomes. Workers will lose a little less than 1% (0.93%) of their compensation to a new payroll tax, which will be imposed on their first $150,000 of earnings. But those with modest incomes will feel the loss the most. People will have no choice but to start paying this new tax and participating in this new program, regardless of whether they want, need, or use these new paid leave benefits. That reduction in income will make it harder, particularly for low-income workers, to make ends meet and put money away for a rainy day on their own.</p> </div> <div> <p> Most businesses already offer their employees some form [of] paid leave. Expect those existing leave benefits to disappear as employers will have an incentive for everyone to make use of this new government program, which they have to pay for. Workers who had less family leave time, but at full pay, may find they like the new benefit regime less. The new government program will also likely mean more paperwork and much less flexibility in how benefits are taken.</p> </div> <div> <p> Undoubtedly, supporters of this proposal have the best intention, but they ought to consider who benefits &mdash; and who loses out &mdash; from other government-run paid leave programs. They might take note that in California, the median income of mothers who took paid leave following the birth of a child was about $10,000 higher than the median income of the general population. More than 20% of beneficiaries in the California program had incomes in the highest income brackets, while less than 4% had incomes in the lowest income brackets.</p> </div> <div> <p> The same is true with European family leave programs. Economists at the University of California concluded Norway&rsquo;s paid leave program led to a &ldquo;pure leisure transfer to middle and upper income families &hellip; at the expense of some of the least well off in society.&rdquo; Studies show similar results in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Iceland and Belgium.</p> </div> <div> <p> There are better ways to help Vermont residents who lack paid leave benefits. First, the good news is employers are increasingly offering employees paid leave benefits, including for lower-income and hourly workers. Lawmakers should recognize a good economy and better business climate creates jobs, higher wages and better benefits for workers, so that should be priority number one.</p> </div> <div> <p> New Hampshire and Vermont have also put together a proposal for a two-state paid leave system, which would give workers the ability to opt-in to coverage. This program would be voluntary: Rather than requiring all workers to pay the new taxes and switch over to the government-benefit system &mdash; even if they are perfectly happy with their current paid leave plan &mdash; employees could decide for themselves if they want this coverage.</p> </div> <div> <p> A poll conducted by Heart and Mind Strategies for Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum found broad, bipartisan desire for federal action (73%) with a majority saying a plan should provide workers control and flexibility over the benefits (78%) and should be fair and not financially burden workers who do not use the benefit (67%). The voluntary, two-state plan would do just that. Government paid leave benefits sound compassionate, but they aren&rsquo;t in practice. They mean less income, freedom, flexibility and fewer job opportunities, particularly for lower-income workers. Vermont should reject this approach.</p> </div> <p> &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/news/2809495/Carrie L. LukasTue, 21 May 2019 07:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCongress can expand paid leave and help workers save with bipartisan support<p> Although 73&nbsp;<a href="http://iwf.org/media/2809370/Poll:-Americans-Want-Federal-Paid-Leave-Policy-But-Worry-About-Abuse,-Unfairness,-and-Displacing-Existing-Benefit-Policies" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">percent</a>&nbsp;of Americans want the federal government to do more to expand access to paid leave, Republicans and Democrats are unlikely to agree to major legislation anytime soon. &nbsp;Yet this doesn&rsquo;t mean that Congress can&rsquo;t also make meaningful progress to help workers now.</p> <p> The Working Families Flexibility Act, introduced by Sen.&nbsp;<span data-behavior="rolloverpeople"><a data-nid="188274" href="https://thehill.com/people/mike-lee">Mike Lee</a></span>&nbsp;(R-Utah), would amend the woefully out-of-date Fair Labor Standards Act to allow workers eligible for overtime pay to opt for more paid time off, rather than extra pay. Government workers&rsquo; have long enjoyed this option: Rather than getting paid time-and-a-half for every hour worked overtime, they can earn an extra hour-and-a-half of paid leave. Private-sector workers deserve this option too.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p> The ability to earn more paid leave would be beneficial for all workers &mdash; particularly women. Someone who is pregnant could try to work overtime to bank paid leave time for after the baby&rsquo;s birth. Parents of young children or people caring for elderly parents or other family members could similarly seek opportunities to work overtime in order to accrue more paid time off to use when they need it. Workers eligible for overtime are less likely to have traditional paid leave benefits, making this reform particularly important.</p> <p> Similarly, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) has proposed a bill called the Freedom for Families Act that would reform Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to give workers the option to use the funds in their HSAs to make up for pay lost during absences from work for qualifying illnesses or life events. Families have long used HSAs to cover medical expenses, but under current law only those enrolled in high-deductible health plans are eligible to open and contribute to these tax-advantaged accounts.</p> <p> This bill would eliminate that restriction so that anyone could open and use an HSA. Additionally, the Freedom for Families Act would expand HSA contribution limits from $3,500 to $9,000 for individuals and from $7,000 to $18,000 for married couples, giving families a chance to accrue more funds and therefore be more financially secure in the event of a family or medical event.</p> <p> Of course, neither of these bills would solve the entire paid leave problem. But they&rsquo;d help many people and be an important step in the right direction of giving workers more flexibility and better options.&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p> Rep.&nbsp;<span data-behavior="rolloverpeople"><a data-nid="418893" href="https://thehill.com/people/harley-rouda">Harley Rouda</a></span>&nbsp;(D-Calif.) also has a noteworthy proposal, called the Expanding Access to Retirement Savings for Caregivers Act. Although it doesn&rsquo;t relate to paid leave, it&rsquo;s another small, but important measure Congress should take to help caregivers and enhance financial security.</p> <p> Under current law, the IRS allows those over age 50 to make annual catch-up contributions to their tax-advantaged retirement savings accounts. Rep. Rounda proposes expanding eligibility for catch-up contributions, so that someone who took at least one year out of the workforce to care for a family member could start making catch up contributions before age 50. This would benefit people (disproportionately women) who have sacrificed for their families, giving them more opportunity to put away additional earnings and start earning more interest earlier in anticipation of retirement.</p> <p> This proposal would only help those who have enough disposable income to make use of retirement savings vehicles. But, especially given that women tend to have less saved for retirement than men do, it&rsquo;s a measure worth taking to help those who can use it.</p> <p> The economy is growing, unemployment has plummeted, and wages, at long last, are rising. Congress can help people make use of these positive trends by encouraging savings for future needs, whether that&rsquo;s time off from work, for medical expenses, or for retirement. Each of these proposals may sound relatively modest, but they are important steps to modernizing our employment and savings systems, which would ultimately help more people help themselves.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2809449/Carrie L. LukasWed, 15 May 2019 16:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumFlexibility, Responsibility, Fairness: What Moms -- and All Americans -- Want from Paid Leave<p> <span data-mce-style="font-weight: 400;">Mother&rsquo;s Day is a time to show love and appreciation not just for our own moms specifically, but for moms generally for the important role they play in society. &nbsp;&nbsp;Americans want to do more than just offer cards, showers, and words of encouragement: They want policies that support women and ease some of the pressures that moms face today.</span></p> <p> <span data-mce-style="font-weight: 400;">This desire to help parents&mdash;and moms in particular&mdash;underlies the increased national attention on expanding access to paid time off from work, particularly for families after the birth or adoption of a child. &nbsp;The good news is that companies are increasingly providing paid leave benefits even absent a public policy change: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 94 percent of full-time, civilian workers have access to some form of paid time off from work. And although fewer workers have access to paid&nbsp;</span><em>family</em><span data-mce-style="font-weight: 400;">&nbsp;leave in particular, this benefit is becoming more common: &nbsp;Numerous companies expanded their benefit packages, including for hourly and lower-wage workers, when&nbsp;</span><a data-mce-="" href="https://atr.org/family"><span data-mce-style="font-weight: 400;">the new tax laws took effect</span></a><span data-mce-style="font-weight: 400;">. &nbsp;We all want this trend to continue.</span></p> <p> <span data-mce-style="font-weight: 400;">Yet many families still struggle from a lack of paid time off when they need it.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><a data-mce-="" href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/03/23/key-takeaways-on-americans-views-of-and-experiences-with-family-and-medical-leave/"><span data-mce-style="font-weight: 400;">Pew Research Center</span></a><span data-mce-style="font-weight: 400;">&nbsp;surveyed employed adults who wanted or needed time off from work but lacked paid-leave benefits. Seventeen percent &mdash; and 48 percent of those with incomes under $30,000 &mdash; reported going on public assistance to finance their parental leave.</span><span data-mce-style="font-weight: 400;">&nbsp;People want new parents to have better options.</span></p> <p> <span data-mce-style="font-weight: 400;">Research conducted by&nbsp;<a data-mce-="" href="http://iwf.org/media/2809370/Poll:-Americans-Want-Federal-Paid-Leave-Policy-But-Worry-About-Abuse,-Unfairness,-and-Displacing-Existing-Benefit-Policies">Hearts and Minds for Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</a>&nbsp;of 2,010 people in a nationally representative poll found just that: &nbsp;73 percent of Americans &ldquo;strongly or somewhat&rdquo; support a federal paid leave policy. The desire for action is bipartisan: Six out of ten conservatives and Republicans support a federal paid leave policy, along with seven out of ten Independents, eight out of ten Democrats and nearly nine out of ten self-identified liberals.</span></p> <p> <span data-mce-style="font-weight: 400;">Yet this general desire for policymakers to expand access to paid leave doesn&rsquo;t mean that Americans want government to take over the provision of paid leave entirely.</span></p> <p> <span data-mce-style="font-weight: 400;">While there was broad agreement on the benefits of expanding paid leave (time to bond with a new child (65 percent) and adjust to a new family situation (60 percent), Americans recognize the considerable drawbacks of federal actions. Nearly half of respondents agreed that they were concerned that a federal paid leave program would be abused. &nbsp;Four-in-ten are concerned about the lack of fairness for those without children (38 percent) and the costs associated with higher taxes needed to fund the plan (37 percent). Among those who oppose any federal paid leave policy, six-in-ten worry that it would discourage businesses from providing their own benefits.</span></p> <p> <span data-mce-style="font-weight: 400;">This research suggests that Americans want an approach that threads the needle -- providing support for parents who need it, but without unfairly shifting costs to others, growing government, or discouraging employers from providing benefits on their own. &nbsp;When asked about different principles for how any federal paid leave program ought to work, 78 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, &ldquo;Workers should have as much control and flexibility as possible over the benefits and money they have earned.&rdquo; Nearly two-thirds also want a plan to be fiscally responsible, agreeing with the statement, &ldquo;Paid leave should be budget neutral over the long term, meaning it shouldn&#39;t increase the total amount of money the government spends. It should not increase the financial burden on those who do not need the benefit.&rdquo;</span><br /> <img alt="" data-mce-placeholder="1" data-mce-resize="false" data-wp-more="nextpage" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7" style="height:16px;border:0px;width:864.953px;border-top-left-radius:0px;border-top-right-radius:0px;border-bottom-right-radius:0px;border-bottom-left-radius:0px;" title="Page break" /><br /> <span data-mce-style="font-weight: 400;">Given these preferences, it&rsquo;s not surprising that when asked about current proposals, the one that offered more flexibility to workers and didn&rsquo;t impose a new payroll tax had the highest level of support.</span></p> <p> <span data-mce-style="font-weight: 400;">Fifty percent of respondents strongly (23 percent) or somewhat (27 percent) support the concept of Earned Leave, the proposal that would allow eligible new parents to opt to receive some of their Social Security benefits early, in exchange for delaying their retirement benefits to make up for those costs. &nbsp;Another 25 percent slightly support this concept, while just 16 percent strongly (9 percent) or somewhat (7 percent) oppose it. There was slightly less support, and more opposition, to the FAMILY Act, which would require all workers pay a new payroll tax to fund a new government benefit for all eligible workers. &nbsp;The FAMILY Act was strongly (20 percent) or somewhat (25 percent) supported by 45 percent, while 19 percent were strongly (11 percent) or somewhat (8 percent) opposed to it.</span></p> <p> <span data-mce-style="font-weight: 400;">People liked that Earned Leave wouldn&rsquo;t require new taxes, would be budget neutral over the long term, and would only impact those who elect to participate, but there were concerns. &nbsp;Seven-in-ten agree that Social Security needs reform and worry that giving workers new options for when they can access their benefits could worsen its finances. Half worry that Earned Leave, like other federal paid leave options, would discourage employers from providing benefits on their own.</span></p> <p> <span data-mce-style="font-weight: 400;">Proponents of Earned Leave need to address these concerns: &nbsp;The good news is that studies by the Social Security Administration show voluntary parental leave benefits can be incorporated into Social Security without impacting its long-term financial health. &nbsp;Moreover, while any government paid leave program could ease pressure on businesses to offer workers such benefits, Earned Leave would have minimal effect on existing arrangements. Earned Leave wouldn&rsquo;t impose new taxes or mandates on business, and workers would face a trade-off, meaning employer-provided leave still has value (workers with employer-paid parental leave would not have to consider delaying their retirement benefits). This minimizes the risk that employers will alter existing benefits, but offers an important new option for those who today lack access to any paid parental leave from work.</span></p> <p> <span data-mce-style="font-weight: 400;">Of course, all plans come with trade-offs. &nbsp;Policymakers should keep this in mind and recognize that Americans want to honor moms and help families by expanding access to paid leave benefits, but they also want to preserve flexibility, personal responsibility and fairness for everyone.</span></p> http://iwf.org/news/2809378/Carrie L. LukasTue, 7 May 2019 12:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPoll: 73 Percent of Americans Approve of Paid Family Leave<p> The <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum (IWF)</span></strong></span></span>&nbsp;<a href="https://www.iwf.org/media/2809370/Poll:-Americans-Want-Federal-Paid-Leave-Policy-But-Worry-About-Abuse,-Unfairness,-and-Displacing-Existing-Benefit-Policies" rel="noopener external" target="_blank">released</a>&nbsp;a poll Tuesday which found Americans across the political spectrum approve of a paid family leave policy.</p> <p> Seventy-three percent of Americans approve of such a policy, including 60 percent of conservatives or Republicans, 72 percent of Independents, 73 percent of moderates, 83 percent of Democrats, and 87 percent of liberals, support a paid family leave proposal.</p> <p> The IWF&nbsp;<a href="https://waysandmeans.house.gov/legislation/hearings/paid-family-and-medical-leave-helping-workers-and-employers-succeed" rel="noopener external" target="_blank">released</a>&nbsp;the poll as the House Ways and Means Committee will host a hearing Wednesday on paid family leave.</p> <p> &ldquo;Americans want a paid leave approach that threads the needle &mdash; providing support for parents who need it, but without unfairly shifting costs to others, growing government, or discouraging employers from providing benefits on their own,&rdquo; IWF president Carrie Lukas said Tuesday.</p> <p> Americans also widely agreed on two central tenets that would entail a federal paid family leave policy:</p> <ol> <li> Seventy-eight percent of Americans, 83 percent of liberals, and 79 percent of moderates believe that workers should have as much control and flexibility as possible over the benefits that would arise from a paid family leave proposal.</li> <li> Sixty-seven percent of Americans believe that a paid family leave plan should remain budget neutral over the long-term and should not increase the financial burden of those who do not choose to have children and do not need the benefit.</li> </ol> <p> When asked about specific proposals, a majority of Americans, or 50 percent, approve of Earned Leave, a proposal that would let new parents access benefits they have already accrued through Social Security.</p> <p> Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Mike Lee (R-UT)&nbsp;<a href="https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/04/04/exclusive-joni-ernst-on-paid-family-leave-we-are-the-party-of-families/">sponsored</a>&nbsp;the Cradle Act, which would allow Americans to access their Social Security benefits to pay for a paid family leave program. The Social Security Administration (SSA) examined the financial impact of the legislation and&nbsp;<a href="https://www.ssa.gov/oact/solvency/LeeErnst_20190314.pdf" rel="noopener external" target="_blank">found</a>&nbsp;that the bill would have a &ldquo;negligible effect&rdquo; on the long-range health of Social Security.</p> <p> In comparison, 45 percent of Americans approve of the FAMILY Act,&nbsp;<a href="https://edlabor.house.gov/media/press-releases/delauro-gillibrand-reintroduce-the-family-act" rel="noopener external" target="_blank">sponsored</a>&nbsp;by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), which would pay for a paid family leave policy through a new payroll tax; however, 54 percent of Americans believed that it was unfair to force every American to pay into a new program that they may not use.</p> <p> Many Americans also have some concerns over paid family leave as well. Forty-nine percent of Americans remain concerned about potential abuses of the policy, 38 percent believe the policy might be unfair to those who do not have families or children, and 34 percent remain concerned about the policies&rsquo; ability to hinder businesses from offering their own benefits to their workers.</p> <p> Fifty-eight percent of Americans strongly or somewhat agree that it remains important for Republicans and Democrats to compromise and find a solution on paid family leave that could pass through Congress.</p> <p> To find a bipartisan solution, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)&nbsp;<a href="https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/04/18/exclusive-bill-cassidy-paid-family-leave-pro-family-pro-business-pro-american/">announced</a>&nbsp;recently that he will work with Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) on a bill that could pass through Congress.</p> http://iwf.org/media/2809388/Carrie L. LukasTue, 7 May 2019 04:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumBooming Economy is Frustrating Democrats • Stacy on the Righthttp://iwf.org/media/2809380/Carrie L. LukasMon, 6 May 2019 13:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGirls and Women Deserve Single-Sex Sports<p> Our culture is so steeped in the idea of equality (in most ways, a very good and noble commitment) that we lose sight of obvious but important facts that we must acknowledge if we are to create a truly level playing field and make functioning equality possible.</p> <p> Take sports. Today, most people recognize that participating in athletics is associated with positive benefits for both males and females. It&rsquo;s just as important to encourage our daughters to join a team as it is to encourage our sons. Individuals of both sexes have the capacity to be great athletes.</p> <p> This is why, over the last 40-plus years, our policymakers have been focusing on making sure that both men and women have access to athletic programs. They have often gone overboard in trying to require colleges and universities to have as many female athletes as male athletes &mdash; going so far as to&nbsp;<a href="https://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2012/06/22/title-ixs-dark-legacy" rel="noopener" target="_blank">cut men&rsquo;s teams to make the numbers show gender parity</a>&nbsp;in athletic participation.</p> <p> Yet now, with growing concern about those who do not fall neatly into the category of one sex, we are revisiting the reasons that we separate people into girls&rsquo; and boys&rsquo; teams in the first place. Is the existence of single-sex teams just another manifestation of our culture&rsquo;s propensity to put girls in pink tutus while handing boys trucks?</p> <p> No. These distinctions are made, not to discriminate against girls and keep girls out of athletics, but to encourage and facilitate their participation in it. There are separate girls&rsquo; and boys&rsquo; teams to&nbsp;<em>help girls</em>, to make sure they are competitive, and to prevent boys from dominating athletic competitions.</p> <p> Let&rsquo;s be clear: If we let boys enter girls&rsquo; competitions, girls, with rare exceptions, simply won&rsquo;t win.</p> <p> The records don&rsquo;t care about political correctness: The world record holder in the 100-meter dash for men had a time of 9.58 seconds. The women&rsquo;s best time is nearly a full second (about 10 percent) slower, at 10.49 seconds. The men&rsquo;s world record for running a mile is three minutes and 43 seconds; the women&rsquo;s record is just under four minutes and 13 seconds &mdash; a half minute slower. When you look at the world records in weightlifting, the women&rsquo;s best lifts are generally around two-thirds of what the male record holders lift. These female weightlifters are extremely strong, but they would not qualify for any championships if they had to compete against men.</p> <p> It is no surprise at all that a biological male, Mary Gregory, who was allowed to enter the 100% Raw Weightlifting Federation competition this week, smashed four women&rsquo;s weightlifting records and won the nine events in which she competed. Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies got it exactly right when she explained that &ldquo;a woman with female biology cannot compete&rdquo; and characterized this as a &ldquo;pointless, unfair playing field.&rdquo; People who experience puberty as a male become stronger and have greater lung capacity and speed. Women simply don&rsquo;t have the same physical capacities. Recognizing this isn&rsquo;t rejecting women&rsquo;s equality. It&rsquo;s accepting reality, which we have to do if we are to protect women&rsquo;s interests and ensure that they can fairly and fully participate in athletics.</p> <p> Just as athletic associations around the world have had to create rules for the use of performance-enhancing drugs, they now need clear rules governing who qualifies to participate in women&rsquo;s athletics. The rules must give priority to the interests of biological women. If they do not, then expect a growing number of women&rsquo;s world records to be held by people who did not begin life as biological women. Expect more and more professional and college athletic teams to be dominated by former males. This trend threatens to undo recent decades&rsquo; progress in encouraging more women to play sports. And it sends the message to girls that they really shouldn&rsquo;t bother competing in sports, since they are doomed to lose.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2809349/Carrie L. LukasFri, 3 May 2019 12:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIWF Signs on to Coalition Letter: Intermediate Bodies Rule<p> <a href="https://cei.org/sites/default/files/DOL_Intermediate_Bodies_Rule_Letter_0.pdf"><img alt="" src="http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb366/IWF11/RED_Click%20Here%20for%20PDF_zpscszoflnj.png" style="width: 250px; height: 41px;" /></a></p> <p> May 2, 2019</p> <p> Dear Secretary Acosta:</p> <p> As free-market and conservative organizations concerned with protecting worker free choice and ensuring labor union officials are accountable to members, we urge the Department of Labor (DOL) to restore the &ldquo;Labor Organization Annual Financial Reports: Coverage of Intermediate Bodies&rdquo; rule. The rule extends the coverage of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 (LMRDA) to certain state and regional unions that represent only public employees and are a subordinate to an international or national labor union.</p> <p> The George W. Bush administration promulgated this rule in 2003, and courts have since ruled that the Labor Department has authority to implement it. The DOL could reinstate the Bush administration&rsquo;s 2003 interpretation of the LMRDA that intermediate unions, which are wholly composed of public sector members, are covered under the statute. This policy interpretation is backed up by a 2007 policy statement that provided analysis on the need and legislative authority for the rule. In 2008, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a decision holding the DOL&rsquo;s policy statement adequately explained and justified the agency&rsquo;s interpretation of the LMRDA.</p> <p> The rule clearly advances the intent of Congress, which passed the underlying statute with broad bi-partisan support to address widespread union corruption. Congress intended the coverage of the LMRDA to be applied broadly in order to promote union democracy and union financial integrity. In addition, labor unions have significantly changed how they are organized and run since 1959. Few small and independent unions exists today, and intermediate unions are interconnected with national and international unions which have the power to charter, affiliate, disaffiliate, or even put these intermediate bodies under trusteeship.</p> <p> The Labor Department should now begin the process of promulgating the intermediate bodies rule to ensure a greater number of workers can easily assess whether union leadership spends dues payments prudently and in way that represents worker interests. Increasing union financial disclosure appears to be a regulatory priority of the DOL, with the intermediate bodies rule listed in each edition of the Unified Regulatory Agenda since the spring of 2017.&nbsp;</p> <p> Under the intermediate bodies rule, state and regional unions representing public employees are required to file union financial disclosure Form LM-2 with the Labor Department. These forms provide union members with information on union &ldquo;assets, liabilities, receipts, salaries, loans to officers, employees, members or businesses and other disbursements.&rdquo; Expanding the coverage of the LMRDA allows a private sector local union member to better track disbursements from a national labor union to its state intermediate unions.</p> <p> Congress was wise to apply the provisions of the LMRDA broadly, because federal and state law lavish unions with monopoly power and other privileges. As such, much of labor unions authority stems from government, not voluntary support of workers. And since union members are the real owners of union finances and property, they should be entitled to an accounting of how union leadership spends their funds. Further, providing union members and the public with annual and detailed recording of union financial transactions can help curb embezzlement by union officers and help union members choose leaders who are fiscally responsible.&nbsp;?</p> <p> The below-signed organizations respectfully submit that the DOL promulgate the intermediate bodies rule to better advance the purposes of the LMRDA.</p> <p> Sincerely,</p> <p> Trey Kovacs<br /> Labor Policy Analyst<br /> Competitive Enterprise Institute</p> <p> Bethany Marcum<br /> Executive Director<br /> Alaska Policy Forum</p> <p> Lisa B. Nelson<br /> CEO<br /> ALEC Action</p> <p> Phil Kerpen<br /> President<br /> American Commitment</p> <p> Krisztina Pusok, Ph. D.<br /> Director of Policy and Research<br /> American Consumer Institute</p> <p> Brent Wm. Gardner<br /> Chief Government Affairs Officer<br /> Americans for Prosperity</p> <p> Grover Norquist<br /> President<br /> Americans for Tax Reform</p> <p> Jim Waters<br /> President and CEO<br /> Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions</p> <p> Michael Watson<br /> Research Director<br /> Capital Research Center</p> <p> Jeffrey Mazzella<br /> President<br /> Center for Individual Freedom</p> <p> Olivia Grady<br /> Senior Fellow<br /> Center for Worker Freedom</p> <p> Kim Crockett, Esq.<br /> Vice President and Senior Policy Fellow<br /> Center of the American Experiment</p> <p> Tom Schatz<br /> President<br /> Citizens Against Government Waste</p> <p> Nathan A. Benefield<br /> Vice President and Chief Operating Officer<br /> Commonwealth Foundation</p> <p> Brian Minnich<br /> Executive Vice President<br /> Freedom Foundation</p> <p> Nathan Nascimento<br /> Executive Vice President<br /> Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce</p> <p> Jason Pye<br /> Vice President of Legislative Affairs<br /> FreedomWorks</p> <p> Tim Chapman<br /> Executive Director<br /> Heritage Action for America</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Carrie L. Lukas</span><br /> <span style="background-color:#ea425b;">President</span><br /> <span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Independent Women&#39;s Forum</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> Heather R. Higgins<br /> CEO<br /> Independent Women&#39;s Voice</p> <p> Sal J. Nuzzo<br /> Vice President of Policy<br /> The James Madison Institute</p> <p> Lindsay B. Killen<br /> Vice President for Strategic Outreach &amp; Communications<br /> Mackinac Center for Public Policy</p> <p> Harry Alford<br /> President<br /> National Black Chamber of Commerce</p> <p> Daniel Erspamer<br /> CEO<br /> The Pelican Institute</p> <p> Paul Gessing<br /> President<br /> Rio Grande Foundation</p> <p> Tracie Sharp<br /> President and CEO<br /> State Policy Network</p> <p> David Williams<br /> President<br /> Taxpayers Protection Alliance</p> <p> Christian N. Braunlich<br /> President<br /> Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy</p> http://iwf.org/media/2809334/Carrie L. LukasWed, 1 May 2019 09:05:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPaid Leave Advocates Should Focus on Returning Resources & Decision-Making to Parents<p> <img alt="" height="78" src="http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb366/IWF11/IWF_Stacked_zps8l6bo57n.jpg" width="250" /></p> <p> Immediate Release<br /> April 30, 2019<br /> Press Contact: press@iwf.org&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <span style="font-size:18px"><strong>Paid Leave Advocates Should Focus on Returning Resources &amp; Decision-Making to Parents</strong></span><br /> <span style="font-size:16px"><em>FAMILY Act Would Hurt, Not Help, Low-Income Families</em></span></p> <p> Washington, DC -- Today &ldquo;Strolling Thunder&rdquo; comes to D.C. to advocate for federal policies they believe will help parents like the FAMILY Act, which would create a new federal entitlement program to offer paid leave to new parents. Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum (IWF) has been at the forefront of the policy debate to offer fair and flexible options for new parents, developing the Earned Leave policy approach that several pieces of legislation are based. <strong>IWF president Carrie Lukas</strong> issued the following statement on the paid leave debate in advance of Strolling Thunder:</p> <p> &ldquo;Congress should think about the future and try to do more to advance the interests of babies and the parents who raise them. But we know that families are very diverse in their needs. A government program to help one family may backfire on others. That&#39;s why it&#39;s important that, rather than creating one-size-fits-all government entitlement programs, policymakers ought to focus on returning resources and decision-making power to parents. &nbsp;</p> <p> &ldquo;One way to do that would be Earned Leave, which gives parents access to some of the Social Security benefits they have already earned after they have given birth or adopted a child. That way parents who need help can opt to get it, but without requiring new taxes or shifting costs to other families--such as families that are making sacrifices to keep a parent home full time. &nbsp;Similar, we shouldn&#39;t have government pouring money into daycare centers--and taking money from taxpayers of course--when many parents prefer other care options. That&#39;s not fair. We want parents to have options and make decisions that make sense for them and their children.&rdquo;</p> <p> For more information on how entitlement-based paid leave programs like the FAMILY Act would hurt, not help, <a href="http://pdf.iwf.org/FAMILY-Act-Would-Hurt-Low-Income-Families.pdf">click here</a>. To learn more about IWF&rsquo;s Earned Leave policy proposal, visit <a href="https://iwf.org/paid-leave">iwf.org/paid-leave</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> ####</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <a href="http://iwf.org">www.iwf.org</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <em>Independent Women&#39;s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren&rsquo;t just well intended, but actually enhance people&rsquo;s freedom, choices, and opportunities.</em></p> http://iwf.org/media/2809321/Carrie L. LukasMon, 29 Apr 2019 21:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIWF Signs On to Coalition Opposing Economic, Social & Gun Policy in the Violence Against Women Act <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> &nbsp;</p> <p> <a href="http://conservativeactionproject.com/conservatives-oppose-economic-social-gun-policy-in-the-violence-against-women-act/"><img alt="" src="http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb366/IWF11/RED_Click%20Here%20for%20PDF_zpscszoflnj.png" style="width: 250px; height: 41px;" /></a></p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> April 29, 2019<br /> Washington, DC</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Nancy Pelosi is attempting to hijack a program that has provided grants for the protection of abused women and girls since 1994 in order to enact more of her socialist agenda. Conservatives oppose the liberal wish-list that has been added to the House-passed Violence Against Women Act (H.R. 1585) and urge the Senate not to negotiate on the basis of it.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> H.R.1585 is one of the biggest efforts to date by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to set a leftist marker on economic policy, on social policy, and on gun policy all in one bill. It&rsquo;s an act of immense political overreach.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> The House-passed VAWA bill would dramatically increase unemployment insurance and thus impose an enormous tax on employers that would result in a loss of jobs. The bill would force shelters to house any male who self-identifies as a woman with women and girls who are victims of sexual assault and abuse. This not only violates the privacy and safety rights of vulnerable women and girls, but also discriminates against shelters run by religious individuals or organizations. The House Democrats&rsquo; bill would also allow gun owners to be stripped of their constitutional rights without due process.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is attempting to persuade Senate Republicans to negotiate on the basis of the House text, which includes this wish-list of liberal priorities. Congress should focus on protecting vulnerable women rather than engaging in partisan special interest politics and policies that may actually harm these women.</p> <hr /> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> &nbsp;</p> <table style="width:642px;"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> The Honorable Edwin Meese III<br /> Attorney General<br /> President Ronald Reagan (1985-1988)</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Alfred S. Regnery<br /> Chairman, Conservative Action Project<br /> Chairman, Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Penny Y. Nance<br /> President &amp; CEO<br /> Concerned Women for America</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Ginni Thomas<br /> President<br /> Liberty Consulting, Inc.</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Jenny Beth Martin<br /> Chairman<br /> Tea Party Patriots Citizen Fund</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Jessica Anderson<br /> Vice President<br /> Heritage Action for America</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> The Honorable Jim DeMint<br /> Member, South Carolina<br /> United States Senate (2005-2013)</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Cleta Mitchell, Esq.<br /> Partner<br /> Foley &amp; Lardner LLP</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Ed Corrigan<br /> Vice Chairman, Conservative Action Project<br /> Executive Director, Senate Steering Committee (2003-2012)</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Rachel Bovard<br /> Policy Director<br /> Senate Steering Committee (2014-2015)</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> The Honorable Becky Norton Dunlop<br /> White House Advisor<br /> President Ronald Reagan (1981-1985)</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> The Honorable Bob McEwen<br /> U.S. House of Representatives<br /> Former Member, Ohio</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> The Honorable Colin A. Hanna<br /> President<br /> Let Freedom Ring, Inc.</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> The Honorable T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr.<br /> Chief Domestic Advisor<br /> President Ronald Reagan (1987-1988)</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Thomas Fitton<br /> President<br /> Judicial Watch, Inc.</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> William L. Walton<br /> Chairman<br /> CNP Action, Inc.</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> David Bozell<br /> President<br /> ForAmerica</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> The Honorable Tony Perkins<br /> President, Family Research Council<br /> President, Council for National Policy</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Kenneth A. Klukowski, Esq.<br /> General Counsel<br /> American Civil Rights Union</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> The Honorable J. Kenneth Blackwell<br /> Chairman<br /> Constitutional Congress, Inc.</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> L. Brent Bozell, III</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Carrie L. Lukas<br /> President<br /> Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Heather R. Higgins<br /> CEO<br /> Independent Women&rsquo;s Voice</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Eunie Smith<br /> President<br /> Eagle Forum</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> The Honorable James C. Miller III<br /> Former Budget Director<br /> President Ronald Reagan</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Elaine Donnelly<br /> President<br /> Center for Military Readiness</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Susan A. Carleson<br /> Chairman/CEO<br /> American Civil Rights Union</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> George Landrith<br /> President<br /> Frontiers of Freedom</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Rebecca Hagelin<br /> Secretary<br /> Council for National Policy</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Kay R. Daly<br /> President<br /> Coalition for a Fair Judiciary</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Donna Hearne<br /> CEO<br /> The Constitutional Coalition</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Norm Singleton<br /> President<br /> Campaign for Liberty</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Anne Schlafly Cori<br /> Chairman<br /> Eagle Forum</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> The Honorable Charles J. Cooper<br /> Assistant Attorney General, President Ronald Reagan<br /> Cooper &amp; Kirk, PLLC</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Rod D. Martin<br /> Founder and CEO<br /> The Martin Organization, Inc.</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Sherri R. Martin<br /> Executive Vice President<br /> The Martin Organization, Inc.</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Haley E. Martin<br /> President<br /> The Martin Foundation</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Nicholas Stehle<br /> Campaign for the American Future</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Shawn A. Mitchell<br /> Former National Chaplain<br /> National Federation of Republican Assemblies (NFRA)</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Jerry Melvin<br /> Former Dean<br /> Florida House of Representatives</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Benjamin R. Case<br /> Chief Executive Officer<br /> Focused On Fundraising, Inc.</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Charlie Copeland<br /> President<br /> Intercollegiate Studies Institute</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Judson Phillips<br /> Founder<br /> Tea Party Nation</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Jack Park<br /> Conservative Activist and Donor</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Seton Motley<br /> President<br /> Less Government</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Nancy Schulze<br /> Founder<br /> RCW Speakers/Women Impacting America</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Jim Martin<br /> Founder/Chairman<br /> 60 Plus Association</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Saul Anuzis<br /> President<br /> 60 Plus Association</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Lee A. Beaman<br /> CEO<br /> Beaman Automotive Group</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Bill Shaker<br /> CEO<br /> Washington Marketing Group</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> The Honorable Morton Blackwell<br /> Chairman<br /> The Weyrich Lunch</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Faith Crowley<br /> Assistant to the General Secretary/CEO<br /> Messianic Jewish Alliance of America</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Ron Pearson<br /> Executive Director<br /> Conservative Victory Fund</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Ron Robinson<br /> President<br /> Young America&rsquo;s Foundation</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> William W. Pascoe, III<br /> Board Member<br /> Tea Party Patriots Action</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Mark Fitzgibbons<br /> President of Corporate Affairs<br /> American Target Advertising</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Dr. Richard Rounsavelle<br /> Trustee<br /> Media Research Center</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> The Honorable George K. Rasley, Jr.<br /> Managing Editor<br /> ConservativeHQ.com</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Melissa Ortiz<br /> Visiting Senior Fellow<br /> Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> David Spady<br /> President<br /> River Public Affairs Group</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Richard Wright<br /> CEO<br /> AAndrews Consulting</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Willes K. Lee<br /> President<br /> National Federation of Republican Assemblies</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Terrence Scanlon<br /> Retired President and CEO<br /> Capital Research Center (1994-2016)</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Sal Russo<br /> Chief Strategist and Co-Founder<br /> Tea Party Express</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Melvin Adams<br /> Former President<br /> Renewanation</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Roxanne Phillips<br /> Member, Executive Committee<br /> Council for National Policy</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Andresen Blom<br /> President<br /> Hawaiian Values</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> The Honorable Belden Bell<br /> Co-Chair<br /> Heritage Legacy Society</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Floyd Brown<br /> Chairman<br /> America Fighting Back PAC</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Allen Hebert<br /> Chairman<br /> American-Chinese Fellowship</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Augusta H. Petrone</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Carolee Adams<br /> President<br /> Eagle Forum of New Jersey</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Terry Schilling<br /> Executive Director<br /> American Principles Project</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Tim Macy<br /> Chairman<br /> Gun Owners of America</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Greg Pruett<br /> Supporter<br /> Idaho Second Amendment Alliance</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Robert K. Fischer<br /> Meeting Coordinator<br /> Conservatives of Faith</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> The Honorable Gerard Kassar<br /> State Chairman<br /> NYS Conservative Party</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Rachel Malone<br /> Texas Director<br /> Gun Owners of America</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Kevin Starrett<br /> Director<br /> Oregon Firearms Federation</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Ralph A. Rebandt II<br /> Lead Pastor<br /> Oakland Hills Community Church</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Sam Paredes<br /> Executive Director<br /> Gun Owners of California</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Alan M. Rice<br /> President<br /> New Hampshire Firearms Coalition, Inc.</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Philip Van Cleave<br /> President<br /> Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc.</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Chad Connelly<br /> President<br /> Faith Wins</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> John Harris<br /> Executive Director<br /> Tennessee Firearms Association</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> F. Paul Valone<br /> President<br /> Grass Roots North Carolina</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Kim Stolfer<br /> President<br /> Firearms Owners Against Crime</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Ed Martin<br /> President<br /> Phyllis Schlafly Eagles</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Don Spencer<br /> President<br /> Oklahoma Second Amendment Association</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> The Honorable Gary L. Bauer<br /> President<br /> American Values</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Dr. Robert Young<br /> Physician &amp; Editor<br /> Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Gary Epperson<br /> President<br /> Arkansas Liberty Coalition</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Bill Robinson<br /> Communications Director<br /> GOA &ndash; New York</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Eddie Fulmer<br /> President<br /> BamaCarry, Inc.</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Klint Macro<br /> President<br /> Allegheny County Sportsmen&rsquo;s League</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Philip Wagner<br /> President<br /> Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Ron Cramer<br /> Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Justin Delosh<br /> Founder and Legislative Director<br /> Lone Star Gun Rights</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Trayce Bradford<br /> President<br /> Texas Eagle Forum</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> CJ Grisham<br /> Executive Director<br /> Open Carry Texas</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Nicholas Ciggelakis<br /> Policy Director<br /> Young Conservatives of Texas</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Saurabh Sharma<br /> State Chairman<br /> Young Conservatives of Texas</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> C. Preston Noell III<br /> President<br /> Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Randy M. Long<br /> Founder<br /> Long Business Advisors, LLC</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Amapola Hansberger<br /> President<br /> Legal Immigrants for America</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Penna Dexter<br /> Co-Host<br /> Point of View Radio</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Allen Roth<br /> President<br /> Secure America Now</p> </td> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Peter Thomas<br /> Chairman<br /> The Conservative Caucus</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="line-height:1.4;"> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Erich Pratt<br /> Executive Director<br /> Gun Owners of America</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p> &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/media/2809279/Carrie L. LukasThu, 25 Apr 2019 16:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumProfessors, scholars call on Congress to punish schools that fail to protect speech<p> Professors and scholars from across the country signed onto a statement urging the federal government to penalize schools that don&rsquo;t protect free speech on campus by denying them federal money.</p> <p> Academics from the University of Texas, the University of Chicago, Villanova University and UCLA, among others, signed onto the statement circulated by the National Association of Scholars.</p> <p> Jenna Robinson, president of the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal; <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Carrie Lukas, president of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</span></strong></span></span>; and Mark Bauerlein, senior editor of&nbsp;First Things, also signed onto the statement. More than 200 figures have signed the statement as of Tuesday evening.</p> <p> The NAS issued the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nas.org/articles/free_to_speak_reforming_the_higher_education_act" rel="noopener noreferrer">statement</a>&nbsp;on Monday calling for the reform of the Higher Education Act in order to punish schools that fail to protect free speech by depriving them of federal financial aid. The Higher Education Act is up for reauthorization this year.</p> <p> &ldquo;We are in the process of reaching out to lawmakers to encourage them to reform the Higher Education Act,&rdquo; Rachelle Peterson, director of research projects at NAS, wrote in an email to&nbsp;The College Fix. &ldquo;It is irresponsible to push through an HEA reauthorization with mere tinkering about the edges.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;Many colleges discriminate against religious and other student groups, preventing them from organizing on campus, withholding funds from mandatory student activity fees, and denying the use of campus facilities,&rdquo; the statement reads. &ldquo;Coupled with bias response teams, trigger warnings, and safe spaces, these policies teach students to obey the doctrines of political correctness, rather than to search boldly for the truth.&rdquo;</p> <p> It commends President Trump&rsquo;s&nbsp;<a href="https://www.thecollegefix.com/trumps-executive-order-punishes-professors-and-power-structures-for-censoring-students/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">executive order</a>&nbsp;on free speech, and calls for the Higher Education Act, originally passed in 1965 and reauthorized several times since, to be reformed before Congress reauthorizes the act again.</p> <p> The statement recommends tangible enforcement mechanisms for protecting speech on public campuses. Public institutions that violate the First Amendment through &ldquo;restrictive speech zones and speech codes, discriminatory treatment of religious student groups, and other policies and practices&rdquo; should be stripped of their eligibility for federal loans and grants.</p> <p> Title IV of the Higher Education Act covers federal student aid funds, which include a variety of loans and grants to schools and qualifying students. The federal government would deprive schools of these loans if they do not facilitate the open exchange of ideas, the statement recommends.</p> <p> &ldquo;I favor an &lsquo;all of the above&rsquo; approach to campus free speech&rdquo; Stanley Kurtz, a co-author of the &ldquo;Goldwater model,&rdquo; a&nbsp;<a href="https://goldwaterinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Campus-Free-Speech-A-Legislative-Proposal_Web.pdf" rel="noopener noreferrer">proposal</a>&nbsp;put forth by the Goldwater Institute that calls for institutional neutrality and official university policies affirming the importance of free expression, wrote in an email to&nbsp;The Fix. Kurtz is a signatory on the NAS&rsquo;s statement.</p> <p> &ldquo;Federal and state strategies may overlap at points, but each also provides benefits that the other does not. The federal approach alone cannot substitute for an oversight system based in a state university&rsquo;s board of trustees,&rdquo; he continued.</p> <p> Free speech on college campuses has been a legislative priority for several states over the past few years.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.thecollegefix.com/texas-poised-to-join-growing-number-of-states-passing-laws-to-protect-free-speech-on-campus/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Texas</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/03/south-dakota-protects-free-speech-on-campus/" rel="noopener noreferrer">South Dakota</a>, and&nbsp;<a href="https://www.thecollegefix.com/colorado-government-bans-free-speech-zones-state-campuses/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Kentucky</a>&nbsp;are just a few of the states passing laws with broad similarities, such as declaring outdoor spaces public forums and requiring universities to publish reports on how they are fostering intellectual diversity.</p> <p> But these laws generally leave enforcement mechanisms vague outside of requiring reports. The NAS plan provides a tangible method for penalizing schools that do not follow its guidelines on free speech.</p> <p> Kurtz also pointed out that the state laws are also restricted to public universities. &ldquo;A federal approach could, at minimum, hold private universities to their own announced free speech policies, often ignored in practice,&rdquo; he wrote to&nbsp;The Fix.</p> <p> Kurtz expanded on this point in an&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/fix-free-speech-or-no-higher-ed-act-reauthorization/" rel="noopener noreferrer">article</a>&nbsp;for&nbsp;National Review&nbsp;where he wrote that President Trump&rsquo;s executive order covers federal research funds, which &ldquo;pales by comparison with the many hundreds of millions of dollars at stake in federal student loans and grants.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;We welcome state legislation to protect free speech, and have spoken in favor of such bills,&rdquo; Peterson wrote. &ldquo;However, the federal government has a duty to ensure that it does not reward unconstitutional behavior by public colleges and universities by subsidizing them with federal student loans and grants.&rdquo;</p> <p> The NAS&rsquo;s statement is a concrete way the federal government could enforce speech protections at both public and private universities. &ldquo;Higher education is at a crisis point, and Congress must act,&rdquo; Peterson wrote.</p> http://iwf.org/media/2809272/Carrie L. LukasThu, 25 Apr 2019 11:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAdvance "Paycheck Fairness" With Tax Reform<p> More lawsuits, regulations, and paperwork:&nbsp; That&#39;s how progressive activists propose to help women earn more through the Paycheck Fairness Act.&nbsp; This mislabeled bill is sold as a way to end discrimination against women, but this ignores that discrimination is already illegal. Worse, the bill&rsquo;s proposed new red tape and associated specter of more lawsuits would encourage employers to standardize pay scales and offer less flexibility&mdash;exactly what most working women&nbsp;<em>don&rsquo;t</em>&nbsp;want.</p> <p> That doesn&rsquo;t mean that Congress should give up on the cause of making sure that women&rsquo;s earnings are treated fairly and helping women earn more.</p> <p> Congress should consider how tax policy and the structure of our safety-net programs discourage women from working, which depresses their long-term earnings potential.&nbsp;&nbsp; For example, under current law, married couples&rsquo; earnings are taxed as a unit.&nbsp; That means that if one spouse who hasn&rsquo;t been working outside of the home seeks employment, the first dollar she earns is taxed at the same rate as the other spouse&rsquo;s last dollar.&nbsp; Marginal tax rates for high-earner households can be as high as 50 percent, when federal, state, and local taxes are included.</p> <p> Stay-at-home parents who otherwise would like to restart their careers often decide it&rsquo;s not worth it to re-enter the workforce when the payoff is so low.&nbsp; And, of course, most stay-at-home spouses are women.&nbsp; Discouraging these women from seeking employment leaves them more financially vulnerable in the event of their spouse&rsquo;s death or a divorce.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s simply bad government policy.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s not just these individual women and their families who lose out when they shy away from entering the workforce because of high marginal tax rates.&nbsp; Often, it&rsquo;s highly educated and highly skilled women who decide working outside the home doesn&rsquo;t make financial sense. Our economy and society miss out on their contributions.</p> <p> Former small business owner and tax reform activist Frayda Levin explained: &ldquo;Throughout my career, I&rsquo;ve known many highly-educated women&mdash;women with MBAs who had been leaders and entrepreneurs&mdash;who took time out of work for children, intending to go back but never did for this very reason.&nbsp; Such a waste of their education and tremendous skills!&rdquo;</p> <div _nghost-c36="" ng-version="5.2.0" vest-pocket=""> <div _ngcontent-c36="" aria-hidden="true" tabindex="-1"> <div _ngcontent-c36=""> <fbs-ad _ngcontent-c36="" ad-id="ntv-rail-0" position="ntv-rail-2"> <div data-google-query-id="CLKZqqrD2uECFQPHwAodnJ8KtQ" id="ntv-rail-0"> <div id="google_ads_iframe_/7175/fdc.forbes/article-d_1__container__"> <div data-str-campaign-key="DSVXj2x6qovSJRukqL1U4AgqBY" data-str-native-key="UCddx8Xg8Mdi8m8PVh1kfbvP" data-str-rendered="1555620873830" data-str-visited-flag="true"> <div> &nbsp;</div> </div> </div> </div> </fbs-ad></div> </div> </div> <p> Women at the other end of the pay scale also often face high marginal tax rates as social safety-net programs phase out as income grows, creating an incentive to forgo paid work and to keep receiving government support.&nbsp; They also often face needless barriers to entering professions like cosmetology, home design and hairdressing because of occupational licensing laws.&nbsp; These licensing rules vary wildly by state, and many lack any legitimate public safety justification.</p> <p> The Institute of Justice noted that there are 73 professions with licensing requirements that exceed those required for emergency medical technicians.&nbsp; EMTs often literally hold someone&rsquo;s life in their hands, acting as first&nbsp;<a data-ga-track="ExternalLink:https://ij.org/report/license-work-2/report/the-irrationalities-of-occupational-licensure/" href="https://ij.org/report/license-work-2/report/the-irrationalities-of-occupational-licensure/" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">responders</a>&nbsp;who must resuscitate and stabilize patients before they can reach hospitals.&nbsp; As the Institute for Justice puts it:&nbsp; &ldquo;For perspective, while the average cosmetologist must complete 386 days of training, the average EMT must complete a mere 34&hellip; Such discrepancies do not mean that EMTs should face steeper requirements. Instead, they suggest barriers for other occupations could be safely lowered.&rdquo;</p> <p> There is simply no legitimate policy reason that cosmetologists, hair dressers, interior designers, and manicurists should face costly and burdensome hurdles before offering their services to customers.&nbsp; Such barriers are unfair to women, particularly those with lower incomes and less financial resources, who are less able to afford the tuition payments and associated fees.</p> <p> But it&rsquo;s easy to see why policymakers like occupational licenses: They are a way for them to favor some groups&mdash;those already in a profession who benefit from less competition as well as those who run the required training programs&mdash;and bolster government budgets.&nbsp; Unfortunately, they discourage work, entrepreneurship and career building, all of which are the real keys to building true financial security.</p> <p> This is what&rsquo;s truly unfair to women and what government should be seeking to correct.&nbsp; The Paycheck Fairness Act doubles down on increasing government power, imposing new rules and reporting requirements and increasing the likelihood of lawsuits.&nbsp; This isn&rsquo;t what&rsquo;s needed to help women thrive:&nbsp; We need policies that are fair to women who want to find paid employment, so they will be more financially secure, and our entire society will be richer.</p> http://iwf.org/news/2809217/Carrie L. LukasThu, 18 Apr 2019 15:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIWF Signs On to Coalition Urging Congress to Prioritize, Streamline, and Innovate U.S. Infrastructure Spending Without Raising Taxes<p> <a href="https://americansforprosperity.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/AFP_GasTax_CoalitionLetter_4.15.pdf"><img alt="" src="http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb366/IWF11/RED_Click%20Here%20for%20PDF_zpscszoflnj.png" style="width: 250px; height: 41px;" /></a></p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Monday, April 15 2019</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Dear Members of Congerss:</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> On behalf of our organizations and the millions of American individuals, families, and business owners they represent, we urge you to focus on comprehensive reforms to prioritize, streamline and innovate the financing and regulation of our nation&rsquo;s infrastructure projects rather than considering any increases to the federal gas tax.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> As part of any potential infrastructure package, Congress has an opportunity this year to institute major reforms to our federal funding and regulatory systems. Reforms are badly needed to improve outcomes, target spending toward critical projects, and streamline much needed maintenance and construction projects. The goal this year should be a more modern and efficient national infrastructure system that will allow people and goods to move where they need to both safely and economically, contributing to an effective and well-functioning system of free enterprise.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> A 25-cent per gallon increase in the federal gas tax, a current proposal from some on and off Capitol Hill, would more than double the current rate and would amount to an estimated $394 billion tax increase over the next ten years.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Before asking Americans for more of their hard earned money at the gas pump, lawmakers must consider how federal gas tax dollars are currently mishandled. More than 28 percent of funds from the Highway Trust Fund are currently diverted away from roads and bridges. Still more taxpayer dollars are wasted on inflated costs due to outdated regulatory burdens, a complex and sluggish permitting system, and overly restrictive labor requirements.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> These reforms can be achieved by focusing on three core outcomes: 1) spending smarter on projects of true national priority, 2)&nbsp;reforming outdated and costly regulations, and 3) protecting Americans from new or increased tax burdens.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> We urge lawmakers to reject calls to simply throw more money into a broken funding system. Now is the time to take serious steps toward modernizing our nation&rsquo;s infrastructure by eliminating unnecessary spending, reducing government overreach and unleashing untapped private sector investment. Our organizations stand ready to work with lawmakers who will fight for these important reforms to deliver better results to the American people without asking them to pay more.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Thank you for your consideration.</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Sincerely,</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Americans for Prosperity</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> ALEC Action</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> American Business Defense Council</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> American Commitment</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> American Consumer Institute</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Center for Citizen Research</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> American Energy Alliance</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Americans for Limited Government</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Campaign for Liberty</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Center for a Free Economy</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Center for Freedom and Prosperity Club for Growth</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Center for Individual Freedom</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Competitive Enterprise Institute</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Consumer Actions for a Strong Economy</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Eagle Forum</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Energy &amp; Environment Legal Institute</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> FreedomWorks</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Idaho Freedom Foundation</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong>Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum</strong></span></p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Independent Women&rsquo;s Voice</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Institute for Liberty</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Heritage Action for America</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> James Madison Institute</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Jefferson Review</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> LIBRE Initiative</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> The Louisville Tea Party</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Mississippi Center for Public Policy</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> National Center for Public Policy Research</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> National Taxpayers Union</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> R Street Institute</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Rio Grande Foundation</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Taxpayers Protection Alliance</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Tea Party Patriots Action</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;"> Texas Public Policy Foundation</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/media/2809183/Carrie L. LukasMon, 15 Apr 2019 12:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSocial Security Administration: Rubio-Romney Earned Leave Proposal Doesn't Jeopardize Social Security<p> <img alt="" height="78" src="http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb366/IWF11/IWF_Stacked_zps8l6bo57n.jpg" width="250" /></p> <p> Immediate Release<br /> April 11, 2019<br /> Press Contact: press@iwf.org&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <span style="font-size:20px"><strong>Social Security Administration: Rubio-Romney Earned Leave Proposal Doesn&#39;t Jeopardize Social Security</strong></span><br /> <em><span style="font-size:18px">SSA says option for new parents to withdraw from future SS benefits does not impact program&#39;s financial health</span></em></p> <p> Washington, DC &mdash; Carrie Lukas, president of Independent Women&#39;s Forum (IWF), issued the following statement on the <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/oact/solvency/RubioWagner_20190409.pdf">Social Security Administration&#39;s determination</a> that the New Parents Act, based on <a href="http://pdf.iwf.org/SSEL_Overview.pdf">IWF&#39;s earned leave proposal</a>, introduced by Sens. Rubio and Romney would not negatively impact the financial health of the Social Security system:</p> <p> &quot;Americans want all workers to have access to parental leave, but they don&#39;t want new taxes which are unfair to other workers or to displace existing benefit programs. That&#39;s why the concept of earned leave&mdash;giving workers the option to take a share of retirement benefits they have already earned through Social Security early, after having a baby&mdash;is so appealing. Now the Social Security Administration has carefully analyzed the proposal by Senators Rubio and Romney to give workers this new option and shown that it does not impact Social Security&#39;s financial health. This should reassure those who worry that earned leave would jeopardize our Social Security system.</p> <p> &quot;Of course, Americans should be aware that right now, Social Security does have a financial imbalance which needs to be addressed. But that&#39;s true today and has nothing to do with the question of whether we should modernize Social Security to give workers more flexibility about when the choose to access their benefits.&quot;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> ####</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <a href="http://iwf.org">www.iwf.org</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <em>Independent Women&#39;s Forum is dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren&rsquo;t just well intended, but actually enhance people&rsquo;s freedom, choices, and opportunities.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/media/2809154/Carrie L. LukasThu, 11 Apr 2019 10:04:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum