Trust Women Press Conference at Federal Building, 310 New Bern Ave,
8 Apr 15, Raleigh, NC
Intent versus Impact
My name is Gailya Paliga and I am the president of NC National Organization for Women.
I am glad to be here at this Trust Women Press Conference today to show that political games are hurting too many citizens, and way too many women and girls. The best way to look at the situation is intent versus impact.
You are hearing about the anti-abortion wording that was added into what had been a broadly supported, bi-partisan bill that would help victims of trafficking, mostly women and girls, in the US Senate. Senate Bill 178 is the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA).
The anti-abortion wording in this bill goes beyond the ‘Hyde Amendment.’ The Hyde Amendment already prohibits federal dollars from funding abortion, mostly through Medicaid, but also through Medicare and from military women at home and abroad. The Hyde Amendment has been attached to appropriations bills (bills that ‘must be passed’) as a rider since 1976.
I think of the Hyde Amendment as a giant painful barnacle on the belly of Health and Human Services funding.
You may not realize how much WORSE this anti-abortion addition is. According to Emily Crockett at RH Reality Check, “the use of that language in this bill would actually EXPAND the Hyde Amendment, making its restrictions permanent and applied to private funds, not just tax dollars.” http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2015/03/11/senate-gop-tries-restrict-abortion-services-human-trafficking-victims/
Regardless of the intent of forcing the anti-abortion language on a bill to fight human trafficking, and to expand the Hyde Amendment restrictions to non-taxpayer funds, this political maneuvering has other terrible impacts. These Senators are stopping a bill that is trying to help human trafficking victims by increasing penalties for perpetrators and providing more support for the victims (again mostly women and girls). But they are also preventing the approval of an extremely well qualified black woman from an office of incredible importance to the US. Loretta Lynch for US Attorney General.
The US Attorney General leads the Department of Justice (DOJ), and is in charge of enforcing the laws of the United States federal government. DOJ includes many law enforcement agencies, like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Marshals, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
That would be U.S. Marshalls who protect federal buildings like this one. In fact just last week, Senator Thom Tillis ordered the Federal Marshalls here to block a group of mostly women who were delivering a letter to Thom Tillis’ office from entering the federal building. Some of us are here again today. On March 30, the NAACP-NC held a demonstration and press conference asking Tillis to support Loretta Lynch. I don’t know Tillis’ intent for blocking us then. Maybe our group of passionate but professional women and men scared him. I do know that Tillis used the federal Marshalls to prevent our group from delivering a letter to his office – in Raleigh and in Charlotte as well. Another group was in Wilmington, they may have been able to enter, as any other peaceful citizens would.
Back to the nominations. Regardless of intent, our Senators are not doing their job of advice and consent. Their job is to make sure the nominee is qualified, and if so, vote yes. The Senate Judiciary Committee already approved Lynch back on Feb 26, 2015. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/feb/26/loretta-lynch-ag-nomination-clears-committee/ and http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/02/26/389278377/ senate-panel-oks-loretta-lynch-nomination-as-attorney-general among many on the hearing and vote.
And Lynch is not the first! Not the first woman from NC to be blocked or stonewalled. In fact, not even the first black woman from NC to be blocked or stonewalled.
The first, Jennifer May-Parker, was included in an article from Dec 2013 which named this situation – “Washington Purgatory”. As in
Who’s in Washington Purgatory? Meet the luckless Obama appointees caught in career limbo. By GLENN THRUSH, December 09, 2013. http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2013/12/whos-in-washington-purgatory-100920.html
I mention Jennifer May-Parker’s case so it is not forgotten, and to give an update.
Senator Burr stonewalled the nomination of May-Parker for the long standing vacancy in the Eastern District of NC by Senator Burr. Originally, Sen. Burr recommended May-Parker in 2009 (letter captured at Huffington Post, link found at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/08/richard-burr-judicial-nominee_n_4563083.html). Then in 2013 when President Obama nominated May-Parker, Sen. Burr refused to sign the blue-slip to let the vetting of the nominee begin.
Talk about intent and impact – as for intent, Burr wouldn’t say why he wouldn’t sign the blue-slip. Because of Burr’s stonewalling, the IMPACT is May-Parker failed to even *get a hearing* before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
As a further impact of his stonewalling, the May-Parker nomination EXPIRED when the 113th Congress adjourned a few months ago. May-Parker had been in that “Washington Purgatory” for over 18 months.
NC Policy Watch wrote that Sen. Burr prevented May-Parker getting a hearing “despite his public statements condemning delays and other obstructive tactics interfering with judicial confirmations.”
Regardless of Senator Burr and Senator Tillis’ intent
- The impact is that 2 very well qualified African American women from North Carolina do not have important federal positions for which they are well qualified.
- The impact, as Emily Crockett puts so well, is that our Senators, Burr and Tillis are working to perpetuate a law “which for 39 years has discriminated against low-income and vulnerable women by restricting federal funding for abortion care.
- The fact is they are trying to forcing more anti-women, anti-abortion changes into law. And expanding abortion restrictions to services provided by non-taxpayer money.
I am shocked and ashamed of our Senators for their extremely political choices that block women nominees and further hurt women and girls in North Carolina and the whole United States.
“Playing politics” affects the lives of real women. Please encourage Senator Burr and Senator Tillis to stand against politics whose impact is racist and sexist by confirming Loretta Lynch and passing a clean Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act!
Actions you can take:
Use NOW’s system to help you write Senator Burr and Senator Tillis on Loretta Lynch and the anti-abortion wording (you can edit the letters).
Read more on the Lynch nomination and the advice and consent rule, and how to contact our Senators directly at https://northcarolinanow.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/tell-your-senators-to-stop-playing-politics-with-our-next-us-attorney-general/