Recent federal proposals to gut SNAP benefits and states’ calls to add paid employment and drug-testing as eligibility determinants are nothing new. They reflect longstanding concerns with dependence, waste, and fraud, as well as anxiety that black people, indigenous Americans, and immigrants might rise above abject status. They also reveal a widespread and longstanding suspicion of poor people—particularly poor women and especially poor women of color—as undeserving.
On June 8, 2017, the House of Representatives passed the Financial CHOICE Act. If signed into law, this Act will roll back numerous regulations set in place by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. News reporting about this Act has centered on the government’s role in Wall Street bail-outs and the risks and benefits of regulating how financial advisors invest consumers’ money. Analysis of its gendered and racialized impacts by contrast have been markedly absent. Beyond eliminating regulations for financial institutions, the Financial Choice Act also threatens to dismantle the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an independent government agency that investigates exploitative financial practices on the behalf of U.S. consumers. If signed into law, the Financial Choice Act would dramatically reduce the resources individuals have to challenge incorrect, outdated or damaging information about them in their credit reports, a change that holds significant consequences for people of color and transgender individuals.
Prior to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as ObamaCare or ACA), in states without protections for nursing mothers, many women were forced to nurse or express breastmilk in bathroom stalls—if they were even given adequate break time. Women without break time and/or access to a private space often stopped breastfeeding upon return to work. Even with the ACA in place, some women lose their jobs for trying to work and pump (numerous stories demonstrate these and other challenges). Now, as Congress and the White House again debate healthcare, mothers working in the formal economy have reason to worry.
Of all the actions President Trump has taken in his chaotic first months in office, moving to roll back the previous administration’s environmental and climate rules may have the greatest impact on future generations. Against the overwhelming evidence, scientific consensus, and trends in public opinion, Trump threatens to dramatically reshape climate and environmental policies – many of which will lead to disparate outcomes for men and women. The Trump Administration has made announcements and taken actions to slow or repeal Obama-era environmental protections related to coal mining waste, clean water, oil and gas drilling, vehicle emissions, and power plant carbon dioxide emissions. By some estimates, Trump rolled back 23 environmental rules in his first 100 days. The Administration has also removed information on climate change from EPA websites, proposed a budget that would significantly cut back federal funding for environmental protection and clean energy research, made significant cuts to the scientific advisory boards to the EPA, and nominated individuals with notable anti-environmental regulation positions for key regulatory positions.
The Trump administration began with high expectations for job creation through protectionism and infrastructure development, reform of family leave and child care policies, and tax and regulation reforms aimed at stimulating economic growth. Little of that agenda has been implemented, yet clear patterns have emerged with important implications for gender justice and equality. This article examines policies related to Labor and Family that have been promised, proposed and passed.
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