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STATEMENT: Pregnant Workers Fairness Act Fails to Pass by Unanimous Consent; Bill Has the 60+ Votes Needed to Pass & Leader Schumer Must Bring it to Floor Today

Failure to make time to pass the PWFA fails millions of women and their families across the country, advocates warn

The following is a statement from A Better Balance Co-President Dina Bakst:

“Today, the Senate deliberated on the floor about the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act in a procedure seeking unanimous consent for the bill from all 100 Senators. As expected, despite overwhelming bipartisan support and no objections from the vast majority in the Senate, three objectors needlessly delayed passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.   

Make no mistake: The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is not dead, and still has a clear path to passage. Today’s unanimous consent procedure made clear what advocates have warned all along: The best, most viable path for passing this bill in the Senate remains bringing the legislation to a full Senate floor vote, and that decision lies in Leader Schumer’s hands. 

A floor vote on the PWFA should have happened months ago, and now it needs to happen today, or the bill will die and millions of pregnant and postpartum workers will continue being forced to risk their health and suffer financial hardship as a result of being pushed out of their jobs. As Senator Casey made clear, the bill has the 60+ votes required to overcome any Senate filibuster.

It would be unconscionable for Senators to go home for the holidays without making the time to vote on this bill. It is time to finally make this legislation a priority, when families are scraping by economically, in the midst of a Black maternal and infant health crisis, and as Congress has thus far failed to deliver on many promises for women and families this year.

Leader Schumer has the opportunity to deliver a real solution for women and their families today—one with an extraordinary level of support from unions, faith leaders, businesses and associations, civil rights, maternal health, and economic justice groups, influential spokespeople, pregnant workers, and constituents. It would be a marked political failure to allow this bill to die now when it has been primed for passage for over six months. 

We are angry. We are tired. We are frustrated. The gender and women’s rights community, the civil rights community, the maternal health community will not sit quietly if families are deprived of the relief they desperately need.

We thank Senators Casey, Murray, and Cassidy for their leadership and urge Leader Schumer to file cloture today and bring the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act to a floor vote.” 

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