USWCC: 2016 Federal Candidate Questionnaire
The purpose of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce| 2016 Federal Candidate Questionnaire is to understand your views and determine our candidate ratings and endorsements. Responses will be published at one or more of our association web-sites including uswcc.org and IVoteForWomen.org.
Women are an important force in America who have, for too long, been undervalued and underrepresented in political leadership and policy making. Our multi-decade march into the American workforce, business ownership, household leadership and consumer spending has elevated women into true leadership of the American economy. And now, we are also The Majority Vote.
However, even with our sizable contributions to and influence on the American economy, we recognize there is much left to do to support women’s economic opportunities, independence, security, values and family well-being.
The new role for women’s economic and political leadership has begun as we focus or influence, detail specifically our contributions to America, our views and needs and strongly assert our influence through aligning our votes with those who support us. We call upon America’s political leaders to answer our call.
We are students, workers, mothers, business owners, retirees, consumers and The Majority Vote. We are the New American Leadership.
Margot Dorfman, CEOU.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce®700 12th Street, NW, Suite 700Washington, DC 20005888-418-7922, uswcc.org
We will notify you via email when we receive your completed questionnaire. If you have questions, please contact the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce at 888-418-7922. (A PDF of this survey is available online at IVoteForWomen.org/survey.) Or, often (during normal business owners) our website has live support available. Just go to uswcc.org and look for the live chat assistance at the bottom right of the page. Please complete and return the candidate questionnaire by August 31, 2016. [We will accept questionnaires after this date as well.]
Women are an important economic force in America who, for too long, have been undervalued. For more than two decades, women have lead the growth in America’s Gross Domestic Product, driven the creation of new businesses and jobs, moved into leadership roles providing financially for our children and families — and now, we also hold The Majority Vote.
But, even with our sizable contributions to the American economy, there is much left to do to support our economic opportunities, independence, security, values and family well-being.
The U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce released a report on the Women’s Economic Priorities which highlights the contributions we have made to America, outlines our current economic condition and states clearly the types of federal budget and policies that are vital to support Women’s Economic Priorities. In 2016, the USWCC released a detailed statistical report and “Wake-Up Call” highlighting the alarming disparities between the number of women business owners in America and their business revenues.
As a candidate running for federal office, if elected (or re-elected) – your activities will directly impact Women’s Economic Priorities. To understand your positions and views, the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce asks you to complete the following questionnaire.
The Paycheck Fairness Act takes meaningful steps to create incentives for employers to follow the law, empower women to negotiate for equal pay, and strengthen federal outreach and enforcement efforts. The bill would also deter discrimination by strengthening penalties for equal pay violations and by prohibiting retaliation against workers who inquire about employers’ wage practices or disclose their own wages.
Do you support or oppose the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 862 / H.R. 1619)?
>If elected, what specific actions will you take regarding fair pay programs?
The Women’s Chamber recognizes that raising the minimum wage is good for women, businesses and America. Two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women. For women-owned small businesses, raising the minimum wage levels the playing field for fair competition. Minimum wage increases raise productivity and commitment of employees, reduce training costs and turnover, decrease absenteeism and increase morale. Raising the minimum wage increases consumer spending and improves the quality of products/services, customer satisfaction and company reputation.
Do you support legislation to raise the minimum wage to $12 per hour or more?
>If elected, what specific actions will you take regarding minimum wage?
The United States is the only advanced country in the world that does not guarantee paid sick leave to our workers. The U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce members and women business owners seek to offer paid leave because they do not want their employees to have to choose between a paycheck and taking care of a sick child or parent or even taking care of themselves if they are sick. USWCC is supporting the Healthy Families Act which will require employers with over 15 employees to permit each employee to earn at least one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked.
Do you support or oppose the Healthy Families Act (S. 497 / H.R. 932)?
>If elected, what specific actions will you take regarding family-friendly workplaces?
Despite the vast economic importance of women-owned businesses, in 2012 only 9.3 Small Business Administration 7(a) loans were issued per 10,000 women-owned businesses compared with 24.7 for male-owned small businesses. Moreover, women account for only 16% of conventional small business loans and these loans account for only 4.4% of the total dollar value of loans from all sources. Just $1 of every $23 in conventional small business loans goes to a women-owned business. In addition, the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce reported in its Wake-Up Call study that women own nearly 36% of all firms in America. Yet they account for only 4.23% of the revenues and only 10% of them have employees.
>Will you support reform legislation that will lead to greater access to capital for women-owned businesses including:
A. Raising caps on credit union member business lending
B. Advancing SBA-backed lending through credit unions and community banks
C. Enforcing the Community Reinvestment Act to ensure large banks serve small businesses in underserved communities including women-owned, low-income and minority communities
D. Mandating that SBA engage in direct lending (with loans to be sold on the secondary market) in any underserved community where small businesses are not securing appropriate levels of access to capital
E. Requiring Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) lenders to report investments in women-owned firms
F. Expanding federal funding of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)
>If elected, what specific actions will you take regarding access to capital for small and women-owned businesses?
The Women’s Chamber of Commerce has fought for over a decade to ensure women-owned firms have equal access to federal contracts. Women own 36% of all businesses, and yet, while the federal government is claiming it has met the 20-year goal of 5% awarded contracts to women-owned companies, they have not taken into account the programs flaws where more than 40% of Women-Owned Small Business and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business awarded contracts went to ineligible firms and Inspector General reports from multiple federal agencies detailing widespread fraud. These shortcomings translate into women business owners losing over $100 billion in federal contracting opportunities during this time span.
>Will you support small business federal contracting reform legislation that will:
A. Provide greater transparency and detailed data within annual SBA small business contracting reports
B. Eliminate unwarranted exclusions to small business contracting goals
C. End of “grandfathering” small businesses bought by large companies which causes award reporting to inflate federal small business award data
D. Improve verifications to assure contract awards counted as awards to women-owned firms are awards that went to legitimately women-owned firms
E. Assure more Procurement Center Representatives are hired and trained to support access to contracts for small firms?
>If elected, what specific actions will you take regarding increasing access to federal contracts for women-owned small business suppliers?
Over the last two (plus) decades, revenues generated by America’s small businesses have declined while profits from large corporations have grown disproportionately. Large corporations have gained significant control over the political process, capital, markets and competition turning America into a place of less business opportunity and competition instead of more.
>Will you support a strong agenda and federal government leadership that:
– Stops undue, anti-competitive corporate concentration– Ensures large corporations pay their fair share of taxes– Makes antitrust policies and enforcement stronger– Ends abusive behavior of dominant companies– Ends abusive, discriminatory and unfair methods of competition– Ends corporate supplier practices that force small, women and minority-owned firms to pay for and secure large corporate controlled supplier designations prior to securing competitive market opportunities
>If elected, what specific actions will you take to promote competition, level the playing field and support the growth of small, women-owned and minority-owned firms?
Much is written about the contributions of small businesses to our economy: job creation, asset building and prosperity, innovation and flexibility, community economic empowerment, flexibility for owners and independence.
– Invests in small business creation and growth– Restores and protects a strong and vibrant Small Business Administration– Invests and develops regional incubators and entrepreneurial development including rural areas where resources are lacking– Expands government purchasing more broadly outside of the beltway to assure citizen taxpayer investments are not funneled back to DC-MD-VA firms with such density
>If elected, what specific actions will you take to invest in and support small business creation and growth?
America relies upon our infrastructure for job / business creation, safety and prosperity. But, our infrastructure is in a significant and ongoing decline. The U.S. needs a serious and significant investment in rebuilding our infrastructure. This effort will also create jobs and businesses and increase American competitiveness around the globe.
>Will you support a strong agenda and federal government leadership that makes significant investments in U.S. infrastructure?
>If elected, what specific actions will you take to invest in U.S. Infrastructure?
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