McCain’s Economic, Health Care Record a Disaster for Women

Concerns Over McCain Opposition in Senate to Fair Pay Protection, Women's Health; Support for Health Care Tax Hike, Tax Breaks for Wealthy, Big Oil

MILWAUKEE — Sen. John McCain’s record in the U.S. Senate has been a “disaster for women,” according to leaders from across Wisconsin, who say his opposition to fair pay, reproductive freedom and access to affordable health care, and his support for unfair trade deals and tax breaks for the wealthy and Big Oil will leave women even further behind economically.

McCain’s abysmal record on equal pay for women includes his skipping the April vote on the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which would have restored workers’ ability to pursue pay discrimination claims in the courts. McCain said women simply need “education and training” instead of equal pay protection and even told a 14-year-old girl that he didn’t think protections for equal pay would do “anything to help the rights of women.”

“John McCain’s policies have inflicted a double whammy on working women in Wisconsin – job loss and pay inequity,” said Sara Rogers, Executive Vice President of Wisconsin AFL-CIO. “His support for unfair trade deals has cost women jobs and his continuing opposition to pay equity costs women the ability to get the pay they deserve.”

McCain has consistently voted against reproductive freedom when it comes to women’s health care, including family planning, sex education and access to abortion services for women in the military. McCain has a zero-percent rating from Planned Parenthood for his voting record.

“John McCain opposes letting women and families make the most personal private decisions about their health care,” said Lisa Boyce, Executive Director for PPAWI. “He has opposed funding birth control for low-income women and wants to return us to the day of illegal, back alley abortions.”

McCain voted against getting low-income women breast and cervical cancer screening and his ideas on health care would raise taxes on millions of middle-class families and keep uninsured many low-income families and those with pre-existing conditions. An analysis by the non-partisan Center for American Progress says McCain’s plan would hike health care costs for families by $1,100 in 2013 and by $2,800 within 10 years.

“Sen. McCain’s plan for health care would keep millions of families from getting access to health care,” said Candice Owley, President of the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Care Professionals. “With costs skyrocketing, the last thing we need is a scheme that hikes our costs and keeps low-income families and people with pre-existing conditions from having care.”

McCain’s poor record on access to affordable health care for all also mirrors Bush policies, such as McCain’s opposition to expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP). Because of this vote and similar votes, the Children’s Defense Fund has ranked McCain as the worst Senator for children’s issues.

“We know John McCain wants to continue the disastrous policies of George W. Bush, including the economic policies which are failing women across Wisconsin,” said Carmen Marg-Patton, Political and Program Director for NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin. “For women this means limited access to health care, a loss of reproductive freedoms, fewer protections against workplace discrimination, more job loss and even higher gas prices.”

While Wisconsin families find it even harder to make ends meet because of a failing economy and record gas prices, McCain is calling for another $4 billion in tax cuts for Big Oil and the wealthy. Meanwhile, McCain opposes common-sense means to solve the housing crisis at a time when women are one-third more likely to have subprime mortgages, despite their credit scores being higher on average.

“Instead of rewarding Big Oil with another $4 billion, John McCain needs to support measures that bring relief to badly-suffering homeowners,” said Carolyn Castore, Political Director of ACORN Wisconsin. “He finds plenty of money to bail out corporations, but there’s nothing to help women losing their homes.”

McCain is scheduled to be in Hudson, Wisconsin this Friday for a town hall on women and the economy.

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