As a longtime advocate for quality child care, I was heartened to hear President Obama’s forceful words on the matter during his State of the Union address. It occurred to me that it had been more than 40 years since a U.S. president had so visibly addressed the issue—and on that occasion, the message had been very different.
In contrast to last year’s SOTU response, Joni Ernst barely nodded at the issue of abortion. But that doesn’t mean congressional Republicans are letting it go. Instead, they are ready to vote on five bills meant to restrict reproductive rights.
The State of the Union address can often feel like a cheer-fest. But last night, there was one moment in which the audience met a sentence obviously intended to be an applause line with profound silence instead.
“It’s time we stop treating child care as a side issue, or a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us,” Obama said Tuesday night.
Joni Ernst is an example of how far-right views in the Republican Party have become the norm, and how the difference between “right-wing” and “establishment” Republicans is often more about style than substance.
“It’s just a fake front issue to talk about abortion,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said of HR 7, the anti-choice bill passed just hours before Tuesday’s State of the Union address. “What they’re really talking about is contraception, family planning, the judgment of women.”
The stalemate on health reform and proposed cuts to social programs in the federal budget have AIDS advocates concerned about the Administration’s commitment.
Tonight is the president’s State of the Union address and while Obama is sure to address health care reform there is some hope that he may also call on Congress to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for the military.