Today, the National Organization for Women sent a clear message to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.): “Women need jobs, not budget cuts!” NOW kicked off its 2011 National Conference in Tampa, Fla., with an emergency rally outside Sen. Rubio’s office. More than a hundred NOW members and supporters attending the conference gathered to tell the Tea Party senator: “Hands off Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and home rule in the District of Columbia.” This conference comes at a critical time in the ongoing war on women.
Yesterday, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the House Majority Leader and one of two Republicans at the 2012 budget discussions led by Vice President Joe Biden, decided to withdraw from budget negotiation talks. Cantor walked out at a crucial point in the budget talks, as the deadline for an increase in federal borrowing authority approaches.
NOW calls on the Obama administration to stand firm and not agree to a deal that bargains away programs that disproportionately serve and employ women in exchange for an increase in the federal debt limit. Instead, this country needs a robust jobs program to make our economy strong again, and the wealthy must pay their fair share in taxes. It’s also time for U.S. troops to come home, and for military spending to be cut more than social spending. Lastly, women must have access to affordable reproductive health care, including abortion care and birth control.
What’s left for the remainder of the conference agenda? We will continue to strategize, share information and brainstorm ideas to address the huge challenges we are facing. Exciting workshops and plenary sessions will address a wide range of women’s issues, with speakers that include Kate Dillon, Sara Manzano-Diaz and Celinda Lake.