We often build support based on association. Although not wrong on merit, it fosters a wedge into true politics and law. Often caught up in partisanship, we fail to recognize good policy -- on both sides -- when it is presented and pursued. Congress was created to put lawmakers in power to facilitate change and that is what has been misunderstood both on Capitol Hill and in homes nationwide. There may be faulty policies or swayed decisions made based on corruption, but that shouldn’t stop us from supporting deliberate policy. Initiatives shouldn’t be comprehended based on affiliation with a person or party, instead of on its purpose.
The 116th Congress has proved itself a refreshing change by electing and swearing in 117 congresswomen. Since their election in 2018, these women have fostered a diverse agenda and promoted bipartisanship for change. Since the one month recess is coming near, let us take a look at the policies women from both the left and the right of the chamber have proposed or passed.
Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii)
Shortly after seeing the image of a drowning father and daughter, an Hirono made an emotional plea for legislation that would end family separation at borders and improve health and safety protections for children. The Senator stated, “If you weren’t appalled by these pictures, then something is dead or dying in your hearts and in the heart of America.” As of right now, the bill has the backing of nearly three dozen Senate Democrats.
Lisa Murkowski (R-Arkansas)
After 36 years, the debate on the 96-year-old Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) made it back to Congress. In support of the ERA, which aims to amend the constitution to provide equal protection under the law regardless of sex, Murkowski is co-sponsoring Senate Joint Resolution 6, which removes the Congressional deadline. Doing so provides a clear pathway to ratification with bipartisan support, anti-discrimination, and the strengthening of equal pay.
Tina Smith (D-Minnesota)
Just this week, Smith introduced three new bills. The first is the Energy Efficiency Resource Standard Bill, which would create a Federal Energy Efficiency Resource Standard to cut utility bill costs, create jobs, and limit carbon emissions. Secondly, The Tribal Eligibility for Continuum of Care Program would enable tribal governments and housing authorities to administer grants by themselves and be their own planning body. Lastly, the Butch Lewis Act, which will help protect the pensions of Americans across the nation.
Dianne Feinstein (D-California)
Feinstein proposed the Bot Disclosure and Accountability Act to combat political deception and wrongdoing in the media. Specifically, this policy will prevent the subversion of future elections by banning candidates, campaigns, and political organizations from using social media bots aids.
Martha McSally (R-Arizona)
In collaboration with the Federal Transit Administration, McSally was able to secure $2.6 million in federal funding to purchase low or no emission buses to provide mindful public transportation in Tucson, Arizona. The senator states that the buses, “will make a positive contribution to its air quality and support access to jobs, education, and health services.” Trailblazing a new path for other towns to implement as well, McSally’s initiative provides a way to keep air quality in mind when providing for constituents.
As the Senate's current session comes to a close, one thing is clear: women have forged a path by introducing progressive policies and reforms that will see them being implemented or passed. As these Congresswomen and their peers leave their ideas on the Hill to be pondered, sponsored, and supported while on a summer recess, it gives us a head-start on the agenda for when the Senate reconvenes.