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Russ Carnahan on Families & Children

Democratic Representative (MO-3)


Voted YES on four weeks of paid parental leave for federal employees.

Congressional Summary:Allows federal employees to substitute any available paid leave for any leave without pay available for either the: (1) birth of a child; or (2) placement of a child with the employee for either adoption or foster care. Makes available for any of the 12 weeks of leave an employee is entitled to for such purposes: (1) four administrative weeks of paid parental leave in connection with the birth or placement involved; and (2) any accumulated annual or sick leave.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:

Rep. STEVE LYNCH (D, MA-9): This bill takes an important step toward improving the Federal Government's ability to recruit and retain a highly qualified workforce by providing paid parental leave to Federal and Congressional employees for the birth, adoption or placement of a child for foster care, which is a benefit that is extended to many in the private sector in other industrialized countries.

Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. DARRELL ISSA (R, CA-49): This bill sends the wrong message at the wrong time to working American taxpayers and families that are struggling in difficult times. Our economy is in crisis, and deficits are already soaring. This bill does not have one provision to say if you make $170,000 a year, why do we have to give you this benefit, because you have to choose between feeding your children and being with your children? Certainly not. There are no protections against, in fact, those who do not need this special benefit getting it. There are no safeguards at all. As a matter of fact, this bill envisions the $1 billion over 5 years, swelling to $4 billion over 10 years or more because, in fact, they believe it should be 8 weeks of special leave. Federal employees enjoy one of the highest levels of job security, without a doubt, anywhere in the United States. I would venture to say many of them the highest. More importantly, in good times and bad, they keep their jobs.

Reference: Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act; Bill H.R.626 ; vote number 2009-H310 on Jun 4, 2009

Give parents tools to balance work and family.

Carnahan adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":

Strengthen America’s Families
While the steady reduction in the number of two-parent families of the last 40 years has slowed, more than one-third of our children still live in one- or no-parent families. There is a high correlation between a childhood spent with inadequate parental support and an adulthood spent in poverty or in prison.

To strengthen families, we must redouble efforts to reduce out-of-wedlock pregnancies, make work pay, eliminate tax policies that inadvertently penalize marriage, and require absent fathers to pay child support while offering them new opportunities to find work. Because every child needs the attention of at least one caring and competent adult, we should create an “extended family” of adult volunteer mentors.

Family breakdown is not the only challenge we face. As two-worker families have become the norm, harried parents have less time to spend on their most important job: raising their children. Moreover, parents and schools often find themselves contending with sex- and violence-saturated messages coming from an all-pervasive mass entertainment media.

We should continue public efforts to give parents tools to balance work and family and shield their children from harmful outside influences. For example, we should encourage employers to adopt family-friendly policies and practices such as parental leave, flex-time, and telecommuting. Public officials should speak out about violence in our culture and should press the entertainment media to adopt self-policing codes aimed at protecting children.

Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC4 on Aug 1, 2000

Permanent crime database for volunteers with kids.

Carnahan co-sponsored creating permanent crime database for volunteers with kids

A bill to amend the National Child Protection Act of 1993 to establish a permanent background check system. Congress finds the following:

  1. In 2006, a total of 16,500,000 adults volunteered their service to education or youth programs.
  2. An estimated 6.6% of individuals in the United States will serve time in prison for a crime during their lifetime. The Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System of the FBI maintains fingerprints and criminal histories on more than 47,000,000 individuals, many of whom have been arrested or convicted multiple times.
  3. Of individuals released from prison, an estimated 67.5% were rearrested for a felony or serious misdemeanor within 3 years.
  4. Given the large number of individuals with criminal records and the vulnerability of the population they work with, human service organizations that work with children need an effective and reliable means of obtaining a complete criminal history in order to determine the suitability of a potential volunteer or employee.
  5. The large majority of Americans (88%) favor granting youth-serving organizations access to conviction records for screening volunteers and 59% favored allowing youth-serving organizations to consider arrest records when screening volunteers.
  6. Even when accessible, the cost of a criminal background check can be prohibitively expensive, between $21 and $99 for each volunteer or employee.
  7. The Child Safety Pilot Program demonstrates that timely and affordable background checks are possible, as background checks under that program are completed within 3 to 5 business days at a cost of $18.
    Source: Child Protection Improvements Act (S.2756/H.R.5606) 08-S2756 on Jul 28, 2008

    Sex Ed including both abstinence and contraception.

    Carnahan signed H.R.1551&S.611

    Authorizes grants to states for sex education programs, including education on abstinence and contraception, to prevent teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Expresses the sense of Congress that states are encouraged, although not required, to provide matching funds to receive such grants.

    Requires the Secretary to provide for a national evaluation of a representative sample of such programs for effectiveness in delaying the initiation of sexual intercourse and other high-risk behaviors, preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease, and increasing contraceptive knowledge and behavior. Requires states receiving such grants to provide for an individual evaluation of the state's program by an external, independent entity.

    Source: Responsible Education About Life Act 09-HR1551 on Mar 17, 2009

    Increase number of children eligible for free school meals.

    Carnahan signed increasing number of children eligible for free school meals

    A bill to amend the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 to increase the number of children eligible for free school meals, with a phased-in transition period. Expands eligibility for free meals under the school lunch and breakfast programs to children whose family income falls at or below 185% of the federal poverty guidelines.

    SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS:

    Sen. FRANKEN: In a country as wealthy as ours, it is shameful to let any child go hungry. That is why today, Senator Murkowski and I are introducing the Expand School Meals Act. By eliminating the reduced price meals category and replacing it with the free meal program, this legislation will ensure that low-income children are not denied nutritious food during the school day if their family can't afford to pay for it.

    It is important to remember that this will improve student readiness for school. Parents have long known, and recent studies confirm, that children cannot learn on empty stomachs. Hungry children perform worse on achievement tests, have trouble concentrating, and are more likely to act out in school.

    There are 3.1 million low-income children across the Nation eligible for reduced-price school meals. Currently, these families must pay 40 cents for each lunch and 30 cents for each breakfast their children eat at school. While this may not sound like a lot of money to members of Congress, to a family that is barely scraping by, especially in today's economy, the cost can be prohibitive.

    I would like to conclude by commending my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their leadership in advocating for the extension of free school meals to children of the working poor. These efforts began with Senator Elizabeth Dole, who in 2003 introduced a bill that would have also phased out the reduced price meals category.

    Source: Expand School Meals Act (S.1737 & HR.3075) 2009-S1737 on Oct 1, 2009

    Teach teens about both abstinence & contraception.

    Carnahan signed Responsible Education About Life Act

      To provide for the reduction of adolescent pregnancy, HIV rates, and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), Congress finds as follows:
    1. Leading public health organizations stress the need for sexuality education that includes messages about abstinence and contraception.
    2. A 2005 statement [to Congress] urged that 'Sexuality education should be non-judgmental & support parent-child communication & should not impose religious or ideological viewpoints upon students.'
    3. [A Congressionally-sponsored] 2006 position paper that 'Efforts to promote abstinence should include information about concepts of healthy sexuality, sexual orientation & tolerance, personal responsibility, risks of HIV, access to reproductive health care, and benefits & risks of condoms & other contraceptive methods.'
    4. 8 in 10 Americans believe that sex education should promote abstinence and provide information about the effectiveness & benefits of contraception.
    5. There is strong evidence that more comprehensive sex education can effectively help young people delay sexual initiation, even as it increases contraceptive use among sexually active youth.
    6. There is no evidence that federally funded abstinence-only-until-marriage programs are effective in stopping or delaying teen sex.
    7. Most young people have sex for the first time at about age 17, but do not marry until their late 20s. Hence young adults are at risk of unwanted pregnancy & STDs for nearly a decade.

    Source: S.611&HR1551 2009-S611 on Mar 17, 2009

    2012 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Families & Children: Russ Carnahan on other issues:
    MO Gubernatorial:
    Jay Nixon
    MO Senatorial:
    Claire McCaskill
    John Brunner
    Roy Blunt
    Sarah Steelman
    Todd Akin

    Retiring to run for other office:

    Running for President:
    TX-14:Ron Paul(R)

    Running for Mayor:
    CA-51:Bob Filner(D)

    Running for Governor:
    IN-6:Mike Pence(R)
    WA-1:Jay Inslee(D)

    Running for Senate:
    AZ-6:Jeff Flake(R)
    CT-5:Chris Murphy(R)
    FL-14:Connie Mack(R)
    HI-2:Mazie Hirono(D)
    IN-2:Joe Donnelly(D)
    MO-2:Todd Akin(R)
    MT-0:Dennis Rehberg(R)
    ND-0:Rick Berg(D)
    NM-1:Martin Heinrich(D)
    NV-1:Shelley Berkley(D)
    NY-9:Bob Turner(R)
    WI-2:Tammy Baldwin(D)
    Lost Primary 2012:
    IL-16:Donald Manzullo(R)
    NJ-9:Steven Rothman(D)
    OH-2:Jean Schmidt(R)
    OH-9:Dennis Kucinich(D)
    PA-4:Jason Altmire(D)
    PA-17:Tim Holden(D)
    TX-16:Silvestre Reyes(D)

    Retiring 2012:
    AR-4:Mike Ross(D)
    AZ-8:Gabby Giffords(D)
    CA-2:Wally Herger(R)
    CA-6:Lynn Woolsey(D)
    CA-18:Dennis Cardoza(R)
    CA-24:Elton Gallegly(D)
    CA-26:David Dreier(R)
    CA-41:Jerry Lewis(R)
    IL-12:Jerry Costello(D)
    IL-15:Timothy Johnson(R)
    IN-5:Dan Burton(R)
    KY-4:Geoff Davis(R)
    MA-1:John Olver(D)
    MA-4:Barney Frank(D)
    MI-5:Dale Kildee(D)
    NC-9:Sue Myrick(R)
    NC-11:Heath Shuler(D)
    NC-13:Brad Miller(D)
    NY-5:Gary Ackerman(D)
    NY-10:Ed Towns(D)
    NY-22:Maurice Hinchey(D)
    OH-7:Steve Austria(R)
    OK-2:Dan Boren(D)
    PA-19:Todd Platts(R)
    TX-20:Charles Gonzalez(D)
    WA-6:Norm Dicks(D)
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    Page last updated: Jun 12, 2012