National Press Club

Fiscal cliff resolution slowed by lack of women negotiators: pro-choice group

January 7, 2013 | By Terry Hill | terry@terryhillcommunications.com

Stephanie Schriock, president of Emily's List spoke at a National Press Club Newsmaker even on Jan. 7 hosted by Club member Anthony Gallo (seated).

Stephanie Schriock, president of Emily's List spoke at a National Press Club Newsmaker even on Jan. 7 hosted by Club member Anthony Gallo (seated).

Photo/Image: Noel St. John

Averting the fiscal cliff would have occurred before the last possible moment -- as it did last week -- if women were in charge of Congress, the leader of a women's advocacy organization said Jan. 7 at the National Press Club.

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner and Republican members of Congress in general “just want to stand around and pound their chests rather than getting things done and solving our nation’s problems,” said Emily’s List President Stephanie Schriock.

“You can’t tell me that if we had two or three women involved in this fiscal cliff debate in the last month that we wouldn’t have done it a lot faster," Schriock said. "It’s time to get the Speaker’s gavel out of his hands and back in the hands of a woman.”

Schriock called Boehner’s initial decision not to bring a Hurricane Sandy relief measure to the floor for a vote “outrageous.” Boehner later allowed a vote, and the House approved flood insurance funding.

Schriock also accused House Republicans of deliberately putting women at risk by allowing the Violence Against Women Act to expire. The GOP leadership made the move "because they wanted to refuse to protect vulnerable populations like immigrants, and Native Americans, and members of the [homosexual] community,” Schriock said.

Schriock touted the pro-choice political action group’s success in helping elect female Democrats to congressional seats in November. She added that the effort is not just about electing women but also advancing women’s leadership through the process.

Founded nearly three decades ago to raise campaign funds for Democratic women candidates, Emily’s List claims partial credit for for seating 100 pro-choice females in the House of Representatives, 19 U.S. senators, 10 governors and hundreds of state lawmakers.

The group, which raised $51.5 million during the election cycle, played a role in more than two dozen general election victories, boosting the number of List alumnae serving in Congress to its highest level -- 56 House members and 14 senators.

The way to get more “progressive” policies enacted is to have an equal number of men and women sitting at the negotiation tables making decisions -- something Emily’s List is committed to achieving, Schriock said.