Census data released this week shows that President Trump’s agenda is taking a terrible toll on women and families.
Trump’s relentless sabotage and all-out assaults on our health care left 1.9 million fewer Americans with health insurance coverage in 2018 than the year before. That translates into more families going without the care, medication and treatment they need.
The situation could get even worse if Republicans prevail in Texas v. U.S., the federal lawsuit that threatens the Affordable Care Act and puts 133 million people living with pre-existing conditions, more than half of them women, at risk for losing their health coverage. A Republican/Trump victory in that case would cause chaos throughout our health care system and grave harm to moms and families, and it would accelerate the increase in uninsured Americans.
We hope this new Census data will be a wake-up call to lawmakers from both political parties and convince them to stop acting in ways that will cause even more families to suffer without health coverage and care.
We are greatly disappointed that we do not see significant progress in closing the gender- and race-based wage gap, which punishes so many women and families in this country and disproportionately impacts moms and women of color.
The U.S. Census Bureau adjusted its pay data methodology for 2018 data, changing the reported gap—but this does not reflect a real change in wages in America. The Census Bureau’s adjustment to its methodology cannot mask the sad fact that there is no statistical difference between the data released this year and last. Latinas are paid just 54 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men; Black women just 62 cents; white women just 79 cents; and Asian women just 90 cents, with some Asian-American subgroups paid much less. Overall, women make 82 cents for every dollar paid to men.
This discouraging data should serve as a powerful incentive for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the Paycheck Fairness Act to the floor; the House has already passed this essential legislation, which will help us make real progress toward finally making paychecks fair in this country.
We are deeply concerned, as well, that at this time when job growth remains strong, we do not see the kinds of gains we need in ending child poverty. The new Census data show that nearly 12 million children in this country lived in poverty last year—a marginal decrease from 2017 but far, far from the kind of progress we need.
We need a major national effort to end child poverty in this country. We must strengthen safety net programs like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit and Medicaid, which allow millions of people living near poverty to afford food, health care, childcare, housing, clothing and other essentials.
Instead of targeting these programs for cuts or restricting access to them, as President Trump and Republican leaders in Congress have tried to do repeatedly, we should be strengthening and fully funding them.
Read testimony MomsRising Executive Director and CEO Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner delivered to the Joint Economic Committee Tuesday on “Making It Affordable to Raise a Family.”