Decision Maker

Cory A. Booker

  • NJ
  • Senator

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Victory
Petitioning U.S. Senate, John Barrasso, James Inhofe, Shelley Capito, John Boozman, Roger Wicker, Deb Fischer, Jeff Sessions, Jerry Moran, Mike Rounds, Joni Ernst, Dan Sullivan, Tom Carper, Ben Cardin, Bernie ...

Demand A Strong EPA For Our Bays

Let’s not trash the EPA. Reject Scott Pruitt as its new chief. Members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works recently boycotted the vote for Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s nomination to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  This comes as widespread, bipartisan concerns are being raised about Pruitt's record of challenging the core mission of the agency he’s been asked to lead. Many question Pruitt’s future commitment to protect public health, enforce the law, and hold corporations accountable to maintain healthy water, air, and land in their business practices. Pruitt has sued the EPA on behalf of regulated industries more than a dozen times in an attempt to weaken regulations such as the federal Clean Water Act. These regulations form the bedrock of our work at Heal the Bay and our sister organizations across the nation. They are hard-fought gains that were direct responses to past disasters. We cannot go back. A silenced, weakened EPA is a threat to our Bays. The U.S. Senate will vote on the appointment of Pruitt as EPA chief in the coming hours amid growing concerns about a broad directive from the new administration to censor EPA research, indefinitely. As a trusted ocean and watershed advocate, Heal the Bay is guided by the best science, not emotion. Over the last 30 years, we have seen first-hand how the EPA and its partner organizations can improve public health for Angelenos through environmental policies and regulations. A weakened EPA means turning back the clock on our critical programs in Greater Los Angeles that monitor beach water quality, prevent unsafe consumption of locally caught fish, protect our dwindling wetlands, and keep our streams and watersheds healthy to buffer communities from climate change. Scott Pruitt won’t do it. Our vital work is far from over. Sea level rise poses a real and immediate threat to many U.S. cities that are unprepared to adapt to the impacts of climate change. We need strong EPA leadership and funding now more than ever. These issues affect us all.  Sign this petition urging the U.S. Senate to reject Pruitt’s nomination for EPA chief. Tell our elected officials to maintain strong EPA funding for programs that affect our Bays nationwide. Call your local senators directly in the next 24 hours to make sure your voice is heard.  

Heal the Bay
94,213 supporters
Petitioning Elizabeth Warren

Implement a Federal Paid Family Leave Policy

The United States of America is the only industrialized nation in the world that does not offer paid parental leave.  Incredible isn’t it? For a country that prides itself on “family values,” the United States does a remarkably terrible job of supporting mothers and families at an incredibly vulnerable time when they need help the most. In this country, only 12% of women are granted any kind of paid leave by their employers. And horrifyingly, 1 in 4 women are financially forced to go back to work within just 2 weeks of delivery, before their baby can even support his/her head properly. American mothers are routinely forced to leave their babies long before either of them are physically or emotionally ready to be separated. It takes a woman approximately 40 weeks to grow a baby, during which time she experiences extreme fatigue, nausea, headaches, cramping, muscle soreness, heartburn, shortness of breath, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids – just to name a few. And she gets through this all the while working full time, often at a physically demanding and exhausting job. And that does not even touch on the incredible physical act that is childbirth itself. Women need maternity leave to not only care for their babies, but also to recover. To recover from both the physiological and psychological aspects that accompany the postpartum period, which include depression, lactation issues including mastitis, fatigue, and pain. Studies routinely show that parental leave can have a significant positive effect on the health of babies and mothers. In fact, paid parental leave can reduce infant mortality by as much as 10%. It also has been shown to increase the likelihood of infant doctor visits and vaccinations. And it increases the rate and duration of breastfeeding, which has a number of benefits for baby, including decreased rates of infection and SIDS, and lower risk for asthma and obesity later in life. And there are benefits for mothers too. Paid maternity leave leads to lower rates of depression and improvement in overall mental health in the months and years that follow. But this is not just a moral and health-based argument. There are economic benefits to paid leave as well. Researchers have routinely indicated that paid leave benefits women economically because they tend to go back to work and stay with the same employer, which means their wages grow at a faster rate afterward. Paid maternity leave is also associated with better job performance and retention among mothers, increased family incomes, and increased economic growth. These might be some of the reasons that literally every other industrialized country in the world offers working mothers paid maternity leave – some offering more than a full year of paid leave. It’s unfortunate to me that in this country, we look at women having children as a personal decision, which should only be made if one can handle the financial burden. Especially when 40% of all Americans are having a hard time earning enough to pay for rent, food, healthcare, and transportation costs, and 62% of Americans do not fall into the category of middle class. The ability to have a family, like so many things in this country, should not and must not be available only to the wealthy or those who have the means to do so. Rather than an individual or personal decision, other countries view having children as a need to collectively grow the next generation, from which all individuals stand to benefit. I’m one of the lucky ones. While I do not get any paid maternity leave, I do get 6 weeks partially paid short-term disability and have enough savings to get me through another 6 weeks. But really? Should we be in a situation, as the richest country in the world, where this is considered lucky? Should I be in routine conversations with working women who literally do not know how they are going to afford to take even 1-2 months off from work after the birth of their child? And should the United States of America continue to stay in the company of countries like Lesotho, Liberia, Papua New Guinea, and Swaziland, as every other industrialized country in the world does more to support their working mothers and families? The answer has to be no. We must do better. Join us in helping to enact real change for families across this country. Please share this message and sign the petition, which will be sent to current presidential candidates and congressmen. 

Jessica Knurick
68,039 supporters