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 RSS's Biggest Challenge: Can She Turn Out The Liberal Base? • Happening Now SchaefferMon, 25 Jul 2016 13:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWill DNC E-mail Leaks Affect Voter Turnout In November? • Coast To Coast SchaefferMon, 25 Jul 2016 11:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPresidential politics; sexual harrassement in the workplace + Fox News • PBS To The Contrary SchaefferSun, 24 Jul 2016 08:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumIvanka Trump's Step In The Right Direction Bringing Up Women's Issues • CNN Newsroom SchaefferFri, 22 Jul 2016 09:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumInside Donald Trump’s Strategy To Win Back Women<p> NEW YORK CITY -- Since Kellyanne Conway joined the Donald Trump campaign three weeks ago, she has appeared on television an average of three times daily, projecting titanic optimism: Trump will win over America&rsquo;s women.</p> <p> Female voters, she declares on air, value a healthy economy and national security &mdash; issues on which Trump <a href="">polls well</a>. Besides, <a href="">she told Katie Couric</a> last Wednesday, &ldquo;a critical mass of women have not said they&rsquo;d vote for Hillary Clinton.&rdquo; Trump, she insists, will sway them with policies promoting job creation and safety.</p> <p> Behind the scenes, however, the woman hired to fix Trump&rsquo;s image with women adjusts her message, nudging the Republican presidential nominee to stop insulting his critics&rsquo; looks and display more compassion.</p> <p> National polls persistently reveal a dearth of support for Trump among half the nation&rsquo;s voters. All year long, at least 65 percent of women surveyed in The Washington Post-ABC polls have reported holding an &ldquo;unfavorable&rdquo; view of the Republican candidate. The most recent share, released last week, stands at 69 percent, compared to 59 percent of men. No candidate has won the presidency &mdash; or even come close &mdash; with so little support from women <a href="">since before 1980</a>.</p> <p> Female supporters also seem scarce on the ground. At the Republican National Convention this week, the &ldquo;Women Vote Trump&rdquo; event appeared <a href="">nearly empty</a>, according to photos reporters shared on Twitter. &ldquo;The crowd is so small,&rdquo; one attendee <a href="">tweeted</a>, &ldquo;the panel are asking themselves most of the questions.&rdquo;</p> <p> On a recent afternoon, spooning chilled pea soup at a French restaurant near Times Square, Conway, 49, hints how she&rsquo;ll tackle this challenge. You can&rsquo;t just tell Trump what to do, she said. You have to give him options.</p> <p> She illustrates the point with a story about her 11-year-old daughter.</p> <p> When Claudia emerged from her room on Memorial Day sporting turquoise, Conway asked her to change into blue. &ldquo;She goes, &lsquo;Turquoise <em>is</em> blue.&rsquo; And it is. But it wasn&rsquo;t a shade available to Betsy Ross when she stayed up through the night sewing the damn flag.&rdquo;</p> <p> She chose not to argue with the preteen, which would have delayed their morning. Instead she laid out four Betsy Ross blue choices on her bed. &ldquo;Minutes later,&rdquo; she says, &ldquo;she came out in one of those shades.&rdquo;</p> <p> Conway follows the same approach with the Republican presidential nominee. Never command. That could insult him. Always make suggestions, backed with information in 10-second sound bites: Betsy Ross lacked turquoise. Female voters want compassion.</p> <p> Acting tough&nbsp;comes naturally to Trump. Compassion ... well, she says, he has it. They&rsquo;re working on showing it off. She withholds the details.</p> <p> Evidence of her influence appears in Trump&rsquo;s response to recent tragedies. After the deaths this month of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile &mdash;&nbsp;two black men fatally shot by police &mdash; and the killings days later of five Dallas officers, he released a statement that even opponents praised.</p> <p> &ldquo;This is a time, perhaps more than ever,&rdquo; Trump said, &ldquo;for strong leadership, love and compassion.&rdquo;</p> <p> <strong>&#39;Maybe it&#39;s just the mother in me&#39;</strong></p> <p> Though women have voted more Democratic than men since 1980, Trump&rsquo;s elusive female approval concerns his team. Mitt Romney&rsquo;s support from women in the Post/ABC polls during his 2012 campaign never dipped below 53 percent, though he ultimately received 44 percent of women&#39;s votes.</p> <p> On the eve of the 2008 convention, meanwhile, 55 percent of women said they had a favorable impression of John McCain, while 31 percent report similar faith today in Trump. Not that Clinton is enjoying glittering success among women: The same poll found 48 percent like her, while another 48 percent say otherwise.</p> <p> National polls broadcast a tight race, with Clinton holding a five-point lead over Trump, a <a href=""><u>slight loss</u></a> of edge since June. The business mogul&rsquo;s deficit with women, however, has stayed consistently larger than his opponent&rsquo;s deficit with men.</p> <p> That could have something to do with his public treatment of women.</p> <p> Trump has called comedian Rosie O&rsquo;Donnell &ldquo;disgusting&rdquo; with a &ldquo;fat pig face&rdquo; and Arianna Huffington &ldquo;ugly inside and out.&rdquo; He asserted supermodel Heidi Klum is <a href=""><u>&ldquo;no longer a 10.&rdquo;</u></a> He said Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly had &ldquo;blood coming out of her wherever.&rdquo; He threatened to &ldquo;spill the beans&rdquo; on former rival Ted Cruz&rsquo;s wife, Heidi, while retweeting an unflattering picture of her. Last week, he attacked the sanity of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, widely hailed as a feminist icon, claiming her &ldquo;mind is shot.&rdquo;</p> <p> Conway doesn&rsquo;t like the name-calling. &ldquo;Maybe,&rdquo; she said, &ldquo;it&rsquo;s just the mother in me.&rdquo;</p> <p> But that&rsquo;s not the side of Trump she wants to talk about.</p> <p> She smiles broadly. She leans in close. Her blond hair falls over her red Karen Millen sheath dress. She wants to shift attention away from Trump&rsquo;s takedowns to his ideas.</p> <p> <strong>What women really want</strong></p> <p> The former Washington lawyer, who lives in New Jersey with her husband and four children, built much of her nearly three-decade career around a persistently difficult task. She aims to help conservative men snare the female vote, a feat no Republican presidential candidate has achieved since George H.W. Bush first sought the White House in 1988.</p> <p> Conway&nbsp;grew up in Atco, N.J., 43 miles northeast of Atlantic City. Her mother, grandmother and aunts raised her. The half-Irish, half-Italian women posted prints of the pope and the Last Supper on the walls. They prayed before meals. They celebrated faith and grinding work.</p> <p> She found her professional niche in 1988, working for Dick Wirthlin, Ronald Reagan&rsquo;s pollster, in the summer before she graduated from George Washington University Law School. Her first assignment was to demystify the gender voting gap: How could the GOP attract more women?</p> <p> In 1995, Conway founded The <a href=""><u>Polling Company/WomanTrend</u></a>, a consulting firm that specializes in market research. A decade later, she co-authored a book titled &ldquo;What Women Really Want: How American Women Are Quietly Erasing Political, Racial, Class, and Religious Lines to Change the Way We Live.&rdquo;</p> <p> Like Trump, she has generated criticism over the years. She caught flack for telling women to embrace femininity, not feminism, in a 2011 speech at the Conservative Women&rsquo;s Network. She caught more in 2013 for advising a group of House Republicans to <a href=""><u>stop talking about rape</u></a>. (Her former client, 2012 Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin, famously said women can&rsquo;t get pregnant during a sexual assault because their bodies &ldquo;<a href=""><u>shut the whole thing down</u></a>.&rdquo;)</p> <p> And sometimes, spontaneously, she goes off message. Before a recent NBC appearance, a hair stylist brushed her blond&nbsp;locks&nbsp;and talked about someone going bald. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s okay!&rdquo; Conway said. &ldquo;Women in my focus groups, they say a bald man is trustworthy. He has nothing to hide.&rdquo;</p> <p> Conway met Trump in 2006, when she served on the condominium board at Trump World Tower in Manhattan. She said the mogul seemed surprisingly hands-on, showing up at meetings to hear the residents&rsquo; concerns. She thought then he was much kinder than his public persona suggested.</p> <p> He called her over the years, following a familiar prompt: <em>I saw you on Hannity. I saw you on CNN. What do you think of this?</em></p> <p> In March 2015, Conway said, they met to discuss his presidential bid. She declined to work for him, thinking: I&rsquo;m not sure if this guy would ever care about polling.&nbsp;She worried about how the public would perceive their partnership. &ldquo;Like, &lsquo;What are you doing there?&rsquo;&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Riding on a plane? Whispering in his ear about what he should say to women?&rdquo;</p> <p> She linked up instead with Sen. Ted Cruz and ran his super PAC, Keep the Promise. When Cruz&#39;s&nbsp;campaign collapsed, Trump called again. Conway realized he was a serious contender.</p> <p> His history of bullying women wasn&rsquo;t a dealbreaker. Trump&rsquo;s string of biting comments shouldn&rsquo;t hurt him more than it already has, she said.</p> <p> &ldquo;The more that people keep repeating the same insults, the more it invites him to very legitimately defend himself,&rdquo; Conway said. &ldquo;Women look at the full measure of the man, not just one comment.&rdquo;</p> <p> <strong>A tough job</strong></p> <p> Conway likes a challenge. Her past clients include Newt Gingrich, Cruz and Trump&rsquo;s pick for vice president, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who lost women <a href=""><u>by five points</u></a> in his 2012 race. None have been popular with the demographic.</p> <p> &ldquo;With all due respect, Kellyanne is very good at understanding Republican women. But working with candidates like that and trying to not make them look like cave men &mdash; that&rsquo;s a tough job,&rdquo; said Katie Packer, a Republican strategist who worked on the Romney campaign.<strong>&nbsp;&ldquo;</strong>She has created a niche where candidates can check a box and say, well, they&#39;ve got a woman advising them.&rdquo;</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a deeper problem that goes beyond any single individual in Republican politics,&rdquo; added Sabrina Schaeffer, executive director of the Independent Women&#39;s Forum, a conservative think tank in Washington. (Conway sits on the board.) &ldquo;Republicans for many years simply didn&rsquo;t take gender differences seriously. &lsquo;We can ignore certain issues, and that&rsquo;s fine.&rsquo; But it&rsquo;s been politically tremendously damaging.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> The polls support her point. Women have voted majority-Democratic in every presidential election since 1992.</p> <p> What makes Trump fare worse with women than, say, Romney ever did likely has little to do with policy, though. A man in power flinging gendered insults appears to register as more disturbing to female voters.</p> <p> In the Post-ABC poll, 56 percent of respondents said Trump is biased against women and minorities, while 39 percent said he was not. Women, though, were 10 points more likely to report this belief than men. They were also 21 points more likely to say they felt &ldquo;strongly&rdquo; the candidate is biased.</p> <p> Sarah Lenti, a Republican strategist and former aide to Condoleezza Rice, said Trump needs to act like a statesman to improve his numbers with women. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s like a wild animal,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;He can&rsquo;t control himself.&rdquo;</p> <p> Not that his behavior stopped him from drawing roughly 14 million voters. The kind of voters he still needs to win &mdash; moderate conservative and independent women &mdash; tell Lenti he would be more appealing with one tweak.</p> <p> &ldquo;The fix,&rdquo; she said, &ldquo;is as simple as Trump starting to control himself.&rdquo;</p> <p> <strong>But ...</strong></p> <p> Trump joked about his woman problem in May at a speech before the National Rifle Association. &quot;I will say, my poll numbers with men are through the roof,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;but I like women more than men. Come on, women. Let&#39;s go.&quot;</p> <p> Enter Conway, whom Trump declared &ldquo;an expert on female consumers and female voters&rdquo; in a July 1 hiring announcement. She&rsquo;s among the highest-ranking women on his team, serving as both senior adviser and pollster.</p> <p> She conducts aggressive polling. She stays on the topics conservative women say they most care about, highlighting Trump&rsquo;s resolve to lift middle-class workers and tighten the border.</p> <p> On family issues and policies that disproportionately affect women, she frequently takes the traditional route. While Clinton has argued that paid maternity and paternity leave should be universal, Conway said Trump will likely leave that work up to the states. On reproductive issues, Conway considers Pence, who wants to outlaw abortion, an asset to the ticket. Trump has flipped positions on abortion at least four times, calling earlier this year for women who undergo the procedure to be punished. He later retracted the statement.</p> <p> There is at least one family policy she hopes will uniquely appeal to women, wading into an area typically owned by the left.</p> <p> Ivanka Trump, his oldest daughter, is leading the charge on a child-care plan, Conway said. She&rsquo;s meeting with academics on both sides of the ideological aisle. It will offer a conservative alternative to <a href=""><u>Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s proposal</u></a>, which caps the expense at 10 percent of a household&rsquo;s income and funds the much of the cost with tax credits and subsidies.</p> <p> She won&rsquo;t disclose many details but said Trump will promote incentives for businesses &mdash; perhaps in the form of tax credits &mdash; to help take care of their employees&rsquo; child-care needs, which, she points out, could boost their bottom lines. Trump&rsquo;s tax plan, meanwhile, will include a $500 per family credit to help cover child-care costs.</p> <p> Gender, Conway says, doesn&rsquo;t determine what voters care about. Her research shows it does, however, play a role in how they cast their vote.</p> <p> &ldquo;We need to address women,&rdquo; Conway said, &ldquo;from the waist up.&rdquo;</p> <p> That means, to her, doubling down on conservative messaging, while acknowledging the issues that disproportionately affect women, and delivering it with a less disparaging tone.</p> <p> She often hears the same feedback from female voters about Trump, regardless of their background.</p> <p> &ldquo;They say, &lsquo;I don&rsquo;t always like what he says, or how he says it,&#39;&rdquo; Conway said. &ldquo;&lsquo;<em>But </em>I think he would change Washington. I think he would create jobs and balance budgets.&rsquo;&quot;</p> <p> She grins.</p> <p> &ldquo;I can work with the &lsquo;but.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> SchaefferWed, 20 Jul 2016 13:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumMike Pence Has Mocked Working Moms: ‘Sure, You Can Have It All’<p> Like so many politicians who&rsquo;ve leapt overnight into national scrutiny, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence now faces intense journalistic vetting &mdash; which tends to include an onslaught of cringeworthy throwbacks. One day after Donald Trump named Pence his pick for vice president, reporters unearthed a 1999 essay he penned characterizing&nbsp;Disney&rsquo;s &ldquo;Mulan&rdquo; as&nbsp;liberal propaganda.</p> <p> &ldquo;Despite her delicate features and voice, Disney expects us to believe that Mulan&rsquo;s ingenuity and courage were enough to carry her to military success on an equal basis with her cloddish cohorts,&rdquo; Pence wrote <a href="">in the op-ed</a>. &ldquo;Obviously, this is Walt Disney&rsquo;s attempt to add childhood expectation to the cultural debate over the role of women in the military.&rdquo;</p> <p> Next came fierce criticism of working mothers.</p> <p> &ldquo;Sure, you can have it all,&rdquo; he wrote in <a href="">a 1997 letter </a>to the Indianapolis Star. &ldquo;But your day-care kids get the short end of the emotional stick.&rdquo;</p> <p> Pence of the past seems like he really wants women to just stay home. (His wife, we should note, is a longtime teacher.) That moral argument, of course, has disintegrated over time, considering female breadwinners <a href="">now support 40 percent of American households</a>, and most families simply can&rsquo;t survive on one income.&nbsp;It&rsquo;s also trapped in worn-out gender stereotypes. Why aren&rsquo;t we blasting working dads, Past Pence?</p> <p> We&nbsp;don&#39;t know if Pence&rsquo;s views have since changed &mdash; Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks didn&rsquo;t respond to a request for comment. But if they haven&#39;t, he&#39;s increasingly out of step with his party. Last year, for example, Marco Rubio became the first GOP candidate to release a policy plan to make childcare more affordable, proposing <a href="">new tax credits for working families</a>.</p> <p> Trump, for his part, plans to address childcare soon, providing an alternative to Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s plan, which would cap family spending on the service at 10 percent of household income. Details have yet to be released, but aides say Ivanka Trump, his oldest daughter, is leading the charge. She&rsquo;s a mother of three and executive vice president of development and acquisition at the Trump Organization.</p> <p> Pence&nbsp;did highlight a real concern in his essay, though, citing <a href=""><u>a government study</u></a> that found children in daycare didn&rsquo;t show signs of slowed cognitive or linguistic development, but some showed less affection to their primary caretaker at home.&nbsp;</p> <p> Researchers today aren&rsquo;t worried about the emotional impact of daycare on kids &mdash; they&rsquo;re worried about the emotional impact of low-quality daycare on kids. In <a href=""><u>a now-famous study</u></a>, Harvard neuroscientist Jack Shonkoff&nbsp;concluded&nbsp;that&nbsp;leaving toddlers alone for long periods of time, which can happen at overcrowded centers, sends them into a state of mental stress. That interferes with brain development, they wrote, and could determine how well they do in school or control impulses down the road.</p> <p> Guilt-tripping parents who must work to feed their babies isn&rsquo;t the solution, though. Modern policy architects say America&rsquo;s childcare is too expensive for parents, while daycare centers offer workers fast-food wages.</p> <p> Those on the left want to see a massive public investment into childcare, which would attract more skilled caretakers and open more quality slots for children. Those on the right, which historically avoided this conversation, have started to propose conservative alternatives, including tax credits for business that provide care on-site.</p> <p> <span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">&ldquo;For years now, Democrats have been saying: We are focused on women in the workplace,&rdquo; Sabrina&nbsp;Schaeffer, executive director of the conservative Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum,</span></span><a href=""><span style="color:#ffffff;"><u><span style="background-color:#ea425b;"> has told me</span></u></span></a><span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">. &ldquo;For whatever reason, Republicans keep ignoring these issues. It&rsquo;s the absolute worst thing they can do. They need to understand, engage and offer better solutions. They can&rsquo;t be afraid.&rdquo;</span></span></strong></span></p> SchaefferTue, 19 Jul 2016 16:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumPence Brings Health-Care Experience, Controversy to Ticket<p> July 15 &mdash; The selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as Donald Trump&#39;s running mate gives the presumptive Republican nominee a strong conservative partner with experience in health-care policy, but one who comes with plenty of controversy.</p> <p> Pence spent a dozen years in the House and has been Indiana&#39;s governor since 2012, giving Trump a potential vice president with plenty of political and legislative experience&mdash;qualities the New York businessman has often said he was looking for. Pence has the support of religious conservatives because of his efforts to limit abortion in Indiana. He also began trying to defund Planned Parenthood as early as 2007, before it became a popular target of today&#39;s congressional conservatives.</p> <p> But Pence also broke from his party&#39;s ideology when he decided to expand Medicaid in Indiana using federal money made available under the Affordable Care Act. His expansion model had a conservative twist with plenty of strings attached for the Medicaid population, but it was ultimately approved by the Obama administration. Some conservatives may consider that a betrayal and an embrace of Obamacare, but Pence can argue that he did what he thought was best for the people of his state.</p> <p> Trump announced the selection July 15 on Twitter, with a press event set for the weekend in New York.</p> <p> The Obama administration has already begun to make a point about Indiana&#39;s Medicaid expansion. During a July 14 press conference, before the Pence announcement was official, White House press secretary Josh Ernest said Pence has done &ldquo;important work with the administration to expand Medicaid in his state.&rdquo;</p> <p> Reliable Conservative</p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">The vice presidential nominee traditionally doesn&#39;t make much of a difference when it comes to presidential voters, but it may prove differently this year, Sabrina Schaeffer, executive director of the Independent Women&#39;s Forum in Washington, told Bloomberg BNA July 14.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Voters are looking for someone with gravitas, who is ready and able to step into the shoes of the president, should that become necessary, Schaeffer said. They are looking for a vice president who brings with him a &ldquo;sense of security&rdquo; in an election in which polls have shown that many voters view both potential presidential picks as &ldquo;dangerous.&rdquo;</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">The Independent Women&#39;s Forum is a non-partisan group that seeks to increase the number of women who value free markets, personal liberty and a limited, constitutional government.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> <span style="color:#ffffff;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong><span style="background-color:#ea425b;">Pence, a &ldquo;principled conservative,&rdquo; meets that requirement, Schaeffer said. Trump&#39;s conservatism has been questioned, and bringing in someone like Pence may relieve voters who weren&#39;t certain exactly where Trump stands on several social issues, she said.</span></strong></span></span></p> <p> The jury, however, may still be out when it comes to evangelical voters. That group undoubtedly approves of Pence for his ultra anti-abortion stance, but may be turned off by his apparent willingness to compromise on religious liberty concerns.</p> <p> Abortion</p> <p> Groups supporting abortion rights assailed the selection of Pence.</p> <p> &ldquo;A Trump-Pence ticket could spell out a scary reality for American women and our families,&rdquo; NARAL Pro-Choice America said in a press release the day before Trump officially picked Pence.</p> <p> According to NARAL, Pence voted consistently &ldquo;against reproductive freedom&rdquo; while serving as a representative in Congress. He repeatedly voted to make abortion illegal nationwide in most cases, to ban some of the most common forms of contraception, to ban stem-cell research and to do away with in vitro fertilization, NARAL said.</p> <p> Pence also led drives to defund Planned Parenthood and voted to deny abortion coverage in plans offered on health-insurance exchanges, NARAL said.</p> <p> As governor, Pence signed into law a measure prohibiting abortion coverage in the private insurance market, as well as numerous new restrictions on abortion, NARAL said.</p> <p> &ldquo;A Trump-Pence ticket should send a shiver down the spine of women in this country,&rdquo; Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund in Washington, said in statement e-mailed to Bloomberg BNA. &ldquo;Donald Trump just sent a message to the women of America: your health and your lives are not important.&rdquo;</p> <p> &ldquo;Mike Pence has been on a years-long crusade to prevent women from accessing basic health care services&mdash;like cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and treatment&mdash;at Planned Parenthood health centers,&rdquo; Laguens said. She called an anti-abortion measure Pence signed into law last spring &ldquo;one of the worst abortion restrictions in the country.&rdquo;</p> <p> In late June, a federal court in Indiana blocked the state from enforcing some of those restrictions (127 HCDR, 7/1/16). The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana said at least one of the measures, which prohibits terminating a pregnancy for any &ldquo;discriminatory&rdquo; reason, such as its race, sex or diagnosed disability, almost certainly violates the &ldquo;categorical right to a pre-viability abortion&rdquo; recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in <em>Roe v. Wade</em>, 410 U.S. 113 (1973).</p> <p> Anti-abortion groups did not respond to Bloomberg BNA&#39;s requests for comment.</p> <p> Religious Liberty</p> <p> In 2015, Pence signed into law Indiana&#39;s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which allowed Indiana businesses to cite religious freedom as a defense when accused of discriminating against certain individuals, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.</p> <p> Pence, in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, defended the law as ensuring &ldquo;that Indiana law will respect religious freedom and apply the highest level of scrutiny to any state or local governmental action that infringes on people&#39;s religious liberty.&rdquo;</p> <p> Following immediate backlash from corporations, Pence signed a revised version of the law clarifying that it may not be used to discriminate against people based on gender identity or sexual orientation.</p> <p> In the health-care arena, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act has been used to strike down regulations implementing the Affordable Care Act&#39;s essential coverage provisions, most notably the provision requiring employers to provide employee health plans that cover contraceptive-related services, as to employers that have strong religious objections to providing the coverage (126 HCDR, 7/1/14).</p> <p> The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is a &ldquo;really important issue,&rdquo; Schaeffer of the Independent Women&#39;s Forum said. After Pence signed the revised state law, he was viewed as being &ldquo;wishy-washy&rdquo; on religious liberty issues, which might make some evangelical voters uncomfortable, she said. But, Schaeffer said she doesn&#39;t believe religious liberty issues are the top concern for most voters.</p> <p> Other religious liberty issues, however, may come up during the election.</p> <p> For example, the Supreme Court recently refused to review a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that upheld Washington state pharmacy regulations that the challengers said infringed the conscience rights of pharmacists and pharmacy owners who have religious-based objections to providing drugs they deem to be abortifacients (125 HCDR, 6/29/16).</p> <p> Pence backed legislation providing strong conscience right protections for health-care workers while in Congress.</p> <p> Medicaid Expansion</p> <p> Pence may also find himself in the uncomfortable position of calling for a repeal of the Medicaid expansion he helped to enact.</p> <p> Trump has put forward a broad health-care plan on his website that includes repealing all of the ACA&mdash;including the Medicaid expansion. Trump would also turn Medicaid into a block-grant program.</p> <p> The House Republican health-care plan, which is partly designed for Trump to adopt if he becomes president, would also repeal all of the ACA&#39;s mandates and penalties. Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Brian Rye said Pence is House Speaker Paul Ryan&#39;s (R-Wis) best advocate to get that health plan enacted.</p> <p> Trump hasn&#39;t been too interested in focusing on policy details, but &ldquo;to the extent that there&rsquo;s an avenue to push a health agenda, [Paul] Ryan has Pence,&rdquo; Rye said in a July 15 interview. Pence is probably &ldquo;the most effective advocate for [Ryan&#39;s] plan.&rdquo;</p> <p> The plan proposes to provide states a choice of either a per capita allotment, or a block grant, for their Medicaid programs beginning in 2019. Depending on their unique set of circumstances, states could choose the block grant option, or otherwise default into a per capita allotment approach. However, experts have said the changes to Medicaid would effectively eliminate the ACA&#39;s Medicaid expansion.</p> <p> Healthy Indiana</p> <p> Rye said Pence&#39;s Medicaid expansion did some damage to his reputation with conservatives trying to repeal Obamacare, but it&#39;s not going to matter too much in the general election because of the candidate at the top of the ticket.</p> <p> &ldquo;The selection of Pence makes people on Capitol Hill feel better, but I don&rsquo;t know it will convince voters to vote for that ticket&rdquo; because of the Trump factor, Rye said. &ldquo;Expansion is still an issue, but it&#39;s overwhelmed by Trump.&rdquo;</p> <p> In early 2015, the federal government approved Indiana&#39;s version of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.</p> <p> Pence didn&#39;t adopt the federal expansion program entirely. Instead, he developed a state-specific program called the <a href="">Healthy Indiana</a> Plan (HIP) 2.0 (223 HCDR, 11/19/14, 194 HCDR, 10/7/14, 153 HCDR, 8/8/14).</p> <p> Expanding Medicaid to those earning 138 percent of poverty level was originally a mandatory part of the ACA, but it became optional after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that the federal government couldn&#39;t require expansion.</p> <p> Indiana&#39;s complex alternative offers four different Medicaid plans and uses copayments, health savings accounts (HSAs) and premiums to distribute care to different groups. The plan requires most eligible adults earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line to pay monthly premiums. When HIP expansion was approved, the state projected the coverage would support an additional 350,000 people who had been uninsured.</p> <p> The federal government surprised many when it agreed to the plan, which included a provision that would lock beneficiaries who are not &ldquo;medically frail&rdquo; and who earn more than 100 percent of the FPL out of the program for six months if they failed to make their premium payment in a 60-day grace period.</p> <p> HIP includes:</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp; &thinsp;a basic level plan for individuals earning less than 100 percent of the federal poverty level, who don&#39;t pay premiums with limited benefits and preventive care incentives;</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp; &thinsp;a middle-tier plan requiring beneficiaries to contribute to a health savings account (HSA); and</p> <p style="margin-left:.5in;"> &bull;&nbsp;&nbsp; &thinsp;an option for beneficiaries to choose a plan sponsored by their employer where they can use their HSA for premiums, cost-sharing and deductibles.</p> <p> The HIP demonstration was renewed three times between the submission of the plan by the state and federal approval, while state and Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services officials came to an agreement on how the program would be an alternative to traditional expansion under the ACA.</p> <p> Several provisions from Pence&#39;s original plan were absent from the final CMS-approved waiver on Medicaid expansion, including a requirement that beneficiaries seek employment to be eligible for the plan. Instead, Indiana administers a separate state-funded plan offering assistance in job searches and training.</p> <p> Careful Praise</p> <p> Pence has been careful to praise the HIP while avoiding looking like he supports the ACA in any way.</p> <p> &ldquo;I have long advocated for the repeal of Obamacare. Yet Republicans have been talking for even more years about reforming Medicaid. That&#39;s what we are doing in Indiana,&rdquo; Pence wrote in a 2014 Wall Street Journal <a href="">op-ed</a>. &ldquo;If and when we elect a president and Congress willing to give Medicaid back to the states as a flexible block-grant, I&#39;m confident that states will craft programs&mdash;like the Healthy Indiana Plan&mdash;that empower low-income Americans to take control of their own health-care choices and provide them access to quality care.&rdquo;</p> <p> And in an Indianapolis Star <a href="">op-ed</a> in January, Pence wrote that &ldquo;Obamacare is a deeply flawed law with its mandates, taxes and overreaches.&rdquo;</p> <p> With the Healthy Indiana Plan, Pence said &ldquo;Hoosiers are now in the driver&rsquo;s seat of their health,&rdquo; not the government.</p> <p> &ldquo;Obamacare did not create the Healthy Indiana Plan. HIP existed before Obamacare, and it will exist after Obamacare. Unlike Obamacare, HIP is popular, successful, bipartisan and has demonstrated results,&rdquo; Pence wrote.</p> <p> But some are not as convinced by the alternative.</p> <p> The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare said in a July 14 statement that Pence&#39;s voting record shows he has supported &ldquo;every form of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefit cut proposed in the past decade.&rdquo;</p> SchaefferTue, 19 Jul 2016 08:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCould Justice Ginsburg Remain Impartial If Trump's Elected? • Coast To Coast SchaefferThu, 14 Jul 2016 13:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumEmail Aftermath: What Do Republicans Hope To Achieve? • After The Bell SchaefferTue, 12 Jul 2016 15:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumWhat Do Americans Really Think Of Climate Change? • Forbes On Fox SchaefferSat, 2 Jul 2016 10:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumBig Government Prevents Market From Flourishing • Forbes On Fox SchaefferSat, 2 Jul 2016 09:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumRebranding Requires More Than A Fresh Coat Of Paint: Why The New Hillary Is Just More Of The Same<p> Throughout the campaign, Hillary Clinton has been struggling to shake her reputation as a dishonest, Washington insider, who can&rsquo;t connect personally or politically with the average American voter. Yesterday, however, Clinton came out swinging&ndash; with the attitude that she is ready to win this election &ndash; and, much to my chagrin, she scored some points.</p> <p> Perhaps it was the result of just having met a new grandson, but Tuesday&rsquo;s Clinton seemed excited to be on stage. Unlike her typical affectless speeches, she was all smiles and laughs. In a roughly 45 minute speech she eviscerated Donald Trump, but with a smile. This week voters met the &ldquo;new and improved&rdquo; Clinton.</p> <p> The problem is that while Clinton may have undergone an outward rebranding, what&rsquo;s inside remains the same. And despite her tone of optimism &ndash; &ldquo;Building the Growth and Fairness Economy&rdquo; &ndash; her economic policies would continue to concentrate power in the hands of Washington bureaucrats while undermining economic growth for Americans.</p> <p> In particular Clinton focused her attention on that ever-important Democratic voting bloc: women. Immediately she noted that the United States can&rsquo;t keep up with our foreign competition because we don&rsquo;t have &ldquo;family-friendly policies like paid leave.&rdquo; She added that, &ldquo;Fair pay and fair scheduling, paid family leave and earned sick days, childcare are essential to our competitiveness and our growth. And we can do this in a way that doesn&rsquo;t impose unfair burdens on businesses, especially small businesses. As president, I&rsquo;ll fight to put families first, just like I have my entire career.&rdquo;</p> <p> As a working mom, with an aging father, and the head of a women&rsquo;s organization, these issues resonate with me &ndash; and I&rsquo;m sure with many other women. It&rsquo;s true we can and need to do more to make work pay for women and their families and ensure that more workers have the flexibility they need to balance work and life responsibilities, while not hindering their economic opportunity. IWF writes about all of these issues in our recent report <a href="">Working for Women: A Modern Agenda for Women.</a></p> <p> But Clinton&rsquo;s policies would do just the opposite. This wasn&rsquo;t the first time we&rsquo;ve heard Clinton or other progressives talk about Europe&rsquo;s enviable benefit packages. It&rsquo;s true, in countries like Germany, women receive pretty cushy maternity and paid leave packages; but these generous leave packages come with serious unintended consequences. As my colleague <a href="'s-No-Magic-Bullet.">Carrie Lukas has written</a>, in contrast to the United States, European women are far more likely to work part-time and in less well-remunerated jobs. They&rsquo;re less likely to hold leadership positions. And not surprisingly, all these expensive benefits make women more expensive to employ, something employers balance out through lower wages and salaries.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s why a truly fresh idea would be to introduce a combination of Personal Care Accounts and small business tax credits, as IWF recommends, so that we can encourage both individual savings as well as help businesses afford to offer paid time off.</p> <p> Similarly Clinton once again made a push for universal childcare. But instead of putting Washington in the driver&rsquo;s seat, a truly modern idea would be to consolidate and reform existing tax credits for children, providing much-needed tax relief for parents. This would allow families to make decisions about the best kind of childcare arrangements, eliminate the bias against stay-at-home parents, and simplify the tax code. What&rsquo;s more we ought to eliminate needless regulations on day care centers. Everyone wants children to be in a safe and caring environment, but excessive staffing regulations simply results in the misallocation of funds without improving quality.</p> <p> And while Clinton may be trying to put on a fresh, positive face, she continues to rely on the pessimistic and outdated narrative that women are grossly underpaid in the workplace. We can strengthen the Equal Pay Act to protect workers and build a better understanding among businesses of their requirements under the law; but we ought to also recognize that the best way to help women earn more is to encourage them to consider their choices and the tradeoffs all of us have to make in our educational, professional, and personal lives.</p> <p> It&rsquo;s easy to think that changing the packaging is enough to help you boost your sales. But if you&rsquo;re still selling the same old, stale bag of goods, it&rsquo;s not going to be enough to win more market share. A genuine brand overhaul requires changing the substance of your product. And if Clinton really wants to rebrand herself as the fresh mind for women she&rsquo;s going to need to seriously rethink her policies, not just her style.</p> <p> <em>Sabrina L. Schaeffer is executive director of the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum.</em></p> SchaefferThu, 23 Jun 2016 08:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumClinton Hits Trump On Economic Plan & Business Record • Coast To Coast SchaefferTue, 21 Jun 2016 13:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDisney's Gator Problem + Should Facebook Regulate Violent Posts? • Risk & Reward SchaefferMon, 20 Jun 2016 08:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumSenate Pushes Gun Control, But We're Not Enforcing Laws On The Books • Risk & Reward SchaefferMon, 20 Jun 2016 08:06:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum