Trade deals are one subject (one of the very few left) which do not break down on party line. Both the Republicans and the Democrats are split over the issue, so it's not a repeat of the usual partisan battle lines. But it is a clear defeat for Obama, who lobbied hard to very little effect.
For all of the talk of American exceptionalism, the U.S. is exceptionally bad in the treatment of its workers. America--the world's largest economy--is one of the few advanced nations without a national policy guaranteeing paid sick leave for workers.
A few weeks ago, Sen. Murray surprised many observers, introducing a non-binding budget amendment calling for workers to earn 7 paid sick days -- the terms of the Healthy Families Act. A resounding 61 Senators voted yes, including 15 Republicans. That's a filibuster-proof majority.
The announcement that White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez will soon kick off a historic 'Lead On Leave' tour is exciting news that comes amidst strong, widespread demand and support for paid leave.
Last week I trained a group of small business owners. After I finished my introduction and housekeeping, a hand shot out of the crowd followed by an impatient voice asking, "Are you going to discuss the new sick leave law?"
Perhaps if parent bloggers step up and share more about how these policies would impact their families, we would see modern family values reflected more widely in policies across America. The business voice is loud and clear; what would be the impact if the family voice was just as loud?
Women's equality matters because every American deserves quality, affordable, patient-centered health care and efforts to provide that remain under attack, as does the birth control coverage and access to reproductive health services that women need.
A growing body of evidence shows that ensuring new parents and all workers have access to family friendly policies like paid sick days and paid family and medical leave has widespread benefits for the health and economic security of families and the strength of businesses and the economy.
So, although flowers, brunch and other gifts are a fine way to show the mothers in your life that you care, take some time this Mother's Day to think about the challenges facing America's mothers and families.
These messages -- and they really only scratch the surface of the challenges America's working mothers face -- illustrate the incredible strength and resilience of mothers who hold jobs in this country. But they also reveal a stark and unacceptable reality
Overtime pay is not just to be kind to workers. It also counteracts the absence of a federal statute that sets a ceiling on weekly work hours. What's to keep an employer from routinely asking for 70 hours and firing employees if they refuse?
These modest, reasonable proposals would go a long way toward protecting the health and economic stability of our families while also strengthening our economy. America's workers and families need and deserve them. It's time for lawmakers to act.
At a time when more than 40 million hardworking Americans can't earn any paid sick time to use when they get stomach flu or need a medical test -- and millions more can't earn paid sick time to care for an ailing child -- it's a question we all need answered.