This past month, I’ve been recalling a time nearly 25 years ago when Congress and the White House took decisive action to make our nation safer. On September 13th, 1994, President Bill Clinton signed into law the nation’s first, albeit temporary, ban on assault weapons.
This month, the House passed the Bipartisan Universal Background Checks Act of 2019 (H.R. 8), the most significant gun control measure since 1994, and I feel the same hope I experienced as a member of the Clinton Administration that day over two decades ago. Now that my second month in Congress has come to an end, I want to update you on legislative initiatives I am supporting with the goal of protecting the health and wellbeing of our families and communities.
In addition to the passage of H.R. 8, which mandates universal background checks for every gun sale, I joined my colleagues in reintroducing the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019, which will reestablish the prohibition of military-style firearms that expired in 2004. But our families and communities face threats other than gun violence, which is why I worked this month to introduce and advance the following legislation that will strengthen women’s rights in the workplace and benefit hard-working families.
- Paycheck Fairness Act – I’m proud to be a cosponsor of this bill that seeks to guarantee equal pay for equal work. The gender pay gap hurts women, their families, and the economy. Yet women in our District working full-time, year-round still receive on average 82 cents for every dollar paid to men. The bill will be on the House Floor for a final vote before Equal Pay Day on April 2.
- Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act – I am also supporting this legislation, which will create a national paid family and medical leave program. This program will help keep people in the workforce, reduce family financial stress, and provide better wages – all of which will make our economy stronger. Workers should never be forced to give up a paycheck or quit their jobs to care for a newborn baby or ailing loved one.
- Raise the Wage Act – I cosponsored this bill and helped it advance out of the House Committee on Education & Labor. American workers are overdue for a raise. Gradually raising the minimum wage in six steps to $15 by 2024 will be good for workers, good for businesses, and good for the economy.
- Venezuela – As I work for our families in Florida, I am also advocating on behalf of the families in Venezuela that continue to suffer as the constitutional crisis evolves. I’m hopeful the full House will soon take up my bipartisan bill restricting arms sales to the Maduro regime.
As I work to advance the well-being of our families, I want to hear from you and your neighbors about issues that are important to our community. Be sure to save the date for these upcoming Town Hall meetings:
- Miami Beach – March 18—Gun Violence
- Palmetto Bay – March 20—Climate Change
- Pinecrest – April 16—Immigration Reform
- Coral Gables/South Miami – April 17–Education
- Richmond Heights – April 25–Healthcare
- Little Havana – May 29—Jobs/Economy
Specific time and location information can be found on my website at https://shalala.house.gov/calendar/.
For your record: Our District Office recently moved to a new building. The new address is 7700 N. Kendall Drive, Suite 605, Miami, Florida 33156. Please stop by Monday through Friday from 9am until 5pm if you need assistance with an issue or want to share your concerns about a policy matter. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you need assistance with a federal agency, applying for a federal grant, or requesting a U.S. flag to be flown over the Capitol. You can visit our website at https://shalala.house.gov/services or give us a call at (305) 668-2285 or (202) 225-3931.
Donna E. Shalala
Member of Congress