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In Honor of Father’s Day, Murray Meets with Dads to Highlight Need for Policies that Support Working Families

Jun 17 2014

Fathers share their experiences, discuss paid leave, child care, and equal pay

Working Families***Download high quality version of photo HERE.***

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – In honor of Father’s Day, Senator Murray hosted a Working Fathers and Families Meet and Greet today to continue highlighting the need for policies that better support modern working families.  At the event, she heard the perspectives of everyday husbands and fathers, as well as advocates, on issues that are often thought of as only impacting women—like paid family leave, child care, and equal pay. The event was a continuation of Senate Democrats’ work to highlight the Fair Shot agenda and other policies that help working women and families gain economic security.  After meeting with the fathers and advocates, Sen. Murray headed to the Senate floor to share the stories she heard, and discussed policies that would make a difference for their families.

“I asked a few dads to come in and speak with my colleagues and I about how some of the policies often thought of as especially important to working women——like affordable child care and paid sick leave——would also do a lot to help dads,” Senator Murray said. “We heard fathers speak up about how family-friendly policies helped them raise their kids and meet their responsibilities at work. We heard from a dad who decided to stay home with his twins rather than pay for child care, because it was simply too expensive. And we heard from a father and small business owner who has made fair pay a priority at his business—because he knows how fast those lost wages add up, and how much equal pay can mean for a working family with a mortgage, student loans, car payments—or all three.”

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s speech:

“Today two-thirds of families with children have two working parents. Dads are taking a more hands-on role in raising their children. And this means, in many working families, fathers are increasingly facing a lot of the same challenges mothers do. In fact, more and more fathers report that they are struggling to balance work and family. At a time when so many families need both parents to be at work in order to make ends meet, we clearly need to update our policies so that both mothers and fathers can succeed at work and at home.”

“…what these fathers made clear is that the economic barriers we often see impacting women, like: inflexible workplace policies,  the high cost of child care,  and unequal pay, aren’t just holding women back. They are holding 21st century families back. And there is no question in my mind that they are also a drag on our economy. That is why Democrats are fighting for policies that would help hardworking mothers and fathers across the country.”

“I really hope my Republican colleagues will rethink the approach they’ve taken on these issues so far. Because I believe that if we take steps to break down the barriers that working mothers and fathers are facing in today’s economy, families across the country will have more opportunity, and our country will be stronger, now and over the long term. And there is no reason not to get to work.”

Full text of Senator Murray’s speech on the Senate floor following the event below:

“Madam President, Senate Democrats have focused a lot on ways to expand opportunity and economic security for women and mothers in today’s workforce.

“We’ve talked about the need to ensure equal pay for equal work, make child care more affordable, and encourage pro-family workplace policies that help workers be good parents and good employees.

“And we’ve explained how each of these policies, and others, would give working women and mothers a better shot at success.

“But Madam President, it’s important to keep in mind that times have really changed in the last few decades.

“Today two-thirds of families with children have two working parents.

“Dads are taking a more hands-on role in raising their children.

“And this means, in many working families, fathers are increasingly facing a lot of the same challenges mothers do.

“In fact, more and more fathers report that they are struggling to balance work and family.

“At a time when so many families need both parents to be at work in order to make ends meet, we clearly need to update our policies so that both mothers and fathers can succeed at work and at home.

“So today, Madam President—since it was just Father’s Day…

“I asked a few dads to come in and speak with my colleagues and I about how some of the policies often thought of as especially important to working women——like affordable child care and paid sick leave——would also do a lot to help dads.

“I want to thank them for sharing their stories and experiences with us—because what we heard was really powerful.

“We heard fathers speak up about how family-friendly policies helped them raise their kids and meet their responsibilities at work.

“We heard from a dad who decided to stay home with his twins rather than pay for child care, because it was simply too expensive.

“And we heard from a father and small business owner who has made fair pay a priority at his business—because he knows how fast those lost wages add up, and how much equal pay can mean for a working family with a mortgage, student loans, car payments—or all three.

“Madam President, what these fathers made clear is that the economic barriers we often see impacting women, like: inflexible workplace policies,  the high cost of child care,  and unequal pay, aren’t just holding women back.

“They are holding 21st century families back.

“And there is no question in my mind that they are also a drag on our economy.

“That is why Democrats are fighting for policies that would help hardworking mothers and fathers across the country.

“We are fighting to make sure women get equal pay for equal work—just like we made sure women don’t get charged more for health insurance because of their gender.

“We have legislation to expand access to affordable, quality child care and early education—so that mothers and fathers can to go work knowing their children are safe and thriving while they are away.

“We’ve also proposed raising the minimum wage, so that parents aren’t working full-time, but still stuck in poverty and struggling to make ends meet.

“And Democrats are also fighting to help our workers compete for good jobs, by bringing down tuition costs and ensuring workers can get the training and education they need.

“There is much more we should do as well.

“But any of these policies would go an enormous way towards helping working families get the fair shot they deserve.

“And Madam President, this is why it’s been so disappointing to see that when it comes to everything from: the Paycheck Fairness Act, to the raising the minimum wage for millions of workers, to helping ease the burden of student loans, my Republican colleagues have—so far—said no.

“Even though these are policies that would help millions of working families…

“And even though we know Americans across the country strongly support these kinds of changes.

“I know they would certainly mean a lot to many of the fathers I spoke with today.

“So Madam President, I really hope my Republican colleagues will rethink the approach they’ve taken on these issues so far.

“Because I believe that if we take steps to break down the barriers that working mothers and fathers are facing in today’s economy, families across the country will have more opportunity, and our country will be stronger, now and over the long term.

“And there is no reason not to get to work.

“Thank you and I yield the floor.”