TALLAHASSEE, FL — Concerned Florida women held a counter-protest at Congressman Steve Southerland’s rally today to highlight Southerland’s extreme record on women’s issues which is out of touch with north Florida’s values. Southerland has voted to block the Paycheck Fairness Act protecting equal pay for equal work for Florida’s women — and has also supported extreme legislation which would attempt to “redefine” rape, ban certain forms of birth control, reduce funding for violence against women programs and increase the cost of healthcare for women seniors.
Last week, the Florida Democratic Party released the Women’s “Binder” on Congressman Southerland — highlighting how Southerland’s votes have hurt Florida’s women and families — but at today’s rally a Southerland staffer refused to accept the Binder on his behalf.
“Whether he’s voting against equal pay for equal work or voting to ban contraception, Congressman Steve Southerland has shown us time and again that’s he’s not on the side of Florida’s women and families,” said Anne Allen, a resident of Florida’s 2nd Congressional District. “Instead of focusing on helping businesses create jobs or grow our economy for the middle class, Southerland has pursued an extreme, anti-women agenda — and these misplaced priorities demonstrate that he’s become part of the problem in Washington. Southerland extreme record is out of touch with the values of northern Florida, and he doesn’t deserve a second term.”
Recent polling shows that the race between Congressman Southerland and Al Lawson is tied, with the embattled incumbent looking increasingly vulnerable.
Steve Southerland Voted to Block Vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act. In May 2012, House Republicans voted to order the previous question, which prevented consideration of the Paycheck Fairness Act. The Hill wrote, “The legislation aimed to increase protections for women filing gender-discrimination lawsuits, as well as create a federal grant program to improve women’s salary negotiating skills.” [HR 557, Vote #297, 3/31/12; The Hill, 6/05/12]
Florida Woman Earn 80 Percent of Men’s Pay. “Working women in Florida make 80 cents for every $1 paid to men […] In Florida, the median pay for a woman working full time is $32,762 per year, compared with $40,731 for men, the Partnership report said. The gap grew roughly $1,000 since 2011.” [Sun-Sentinel, 4/18/12]
Southerland Co-Sponsored Bill that Would Redefine Rape. In February 2011, Southerland signed on as a co-sponsor of the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, a bill that would have redefined rape to just mean “forcible rape.” The Washington Post reported that the “modifier could distinguish it from other kinds of sexual assault that are typically categorized as rape, including statutory rape and attacks that occur because of drugs or verbal threats.” [HR 3, Washington Post, 2/01/11]
Southerland Co-Sponsored Bill that Would Ban Certain Forms of Birth Control. In February 2012, Southerland signed on as a co-sponsor of the Life at Conception Act. NPR reported that similar personhood amendments could “include bans on certain forms of birth control that can prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg, like the IUD and some formulations of the pill.” [HR 374; NPR, 11/09/11]
Southerland voted against increasing funding for violence against women programs. In May 2012, Southerland voted against a motion to recommit the bill to the House Appropriations Committee and report it back immediately with an amendment that would increase by $20.5 million the amount provided in the bill for programs that aid in the prevention and prosecution of acts of violence against women. It would reduce by the same amount general administrative funding for the Commerce and Justice departments and the Office of Science and Technology. [CQ Floor Votes, 5/10/12]. The motion was rejected, 181-233. [HR 5326, Vote #248, 5/10/12]
Southerland opposed even considering legislation to re-authorized the Violence Against Women Act. In April 2012, Southerland voted against motion to recommit the Interest Rate Reduction Act to the House Education and the Workforce and the House Energy and Commerce committees and report it back immediately with an amendment specifying that nothing in the bill would endorse, promote or result in a reduction or increased cost for health insurance for women and children. The motion failed 178-231. [HR 4628, Vote #194, 4/27/12]
Southerland voted against considering legislation that would prevent higher insurance costs for women and children. In April 2012, Southerland voted against motion to recommit the Interest Rate Reduction Act to the House Education and the Workforce and the House Energy and Commerce committees and report it back immediately with an amendment specifying that nothing in the bill would endorse, promote or result in a reduction or increased cost for health insurance for women and children. The motion failed 178-231. [HR 4628, Vote #194, 4/27/12]
Southerland voted for Ryan’s budget would raise healthcare costs for women seniors. House Republicans voted to raise health care costs and prescription drug costs for women seniors. The FY2012 Republican Budget would force women seniors to pay over $6,000 more a year in health care costs. In addition, the Republican Budget reopens the Medicare Part D prescription drug “donut hole.” This would raise prescription drug costs by an average of $599 a year for women seniors in America. [Link to vote: Vote #277]