9 Actions Congress' Class Of 2017 Women Have Taken

by Alexandra Spychalsky
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On Tuesday's Fox & Friends, Donald Trump gave his presidency an A for achievement. However, the record of his first 40 days in office suggests otherwise. Trump's executive order travel ban on immigrants and refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries unraveled almost immediately when put under a legal microscope. He has yet to fill almost 2,000 empty positions in his administration. He just now realized that health care is a smidge more complicated than he anticipated. And to add insult to injury, Trump has gone to his residence in Florida for three weekends since taking office.

However, do you know who has gotten a whole lot done? The newly-elected women in Congress. The 2017 class saw 15 women in new roles in the House of Representatives and the Senate. The four new senators, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Kamala Harris of California, Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire have not hesitated in their first few weeks in the Capitol. They have sponsored legislation, secured funding for their constituents, and fought the Trump administration on nominees and executive orders. These women have proved that just a few weeks in Washington can yield productive results, unlike some other people *cough* the commander-in-chief *cough* in Washington D.C.

1. Rescind Trumps' deportation order

Senators Duckworth, Harris and Cortez Masto signed on to legislation that would rescind Trump's controversial deportation order. That order shook the immigrant community while also threatening cities with loss of federal funds if they did not cooperate with the deportation efforts.

2. Fund Sexual Assault Prevention

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Duckworth and her Illinois Senate companion Sen. Dick Durbin announced earlier this month that they had secured more than $1 million in federal funding to prevent sexual assault and rape. The money will be used to fund education programs, counseling services, crisis hotlines and judicial services.

3. Speak Out Against Trump Cabinet Picks

While almost powerless to stop their appointments because of the Republican-controlled Senate, these women have fought vociferously on the Senate floor against the appointments they feel would be detrimental to American society.

4. Make Voting Easier

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Cortez Masto co-sponsored a bill last week called the Same Day Registration Act, which would allow people to register to vote on Election Day, rather than requiring registration to be completed weeks beforehand, as is the process now.

5. Expand Pell Grants

Senators Hassan and Cortez Masto signed on to a letter with more than 20 of their fellow senators to request that the White House expand Pell Grants, the federal, aid-based grants that help students pay for college. They are asking that the maximum award amount be increased, and the grants be accessible year-round, so students can expand their studies beyond two semesters per year.

6. Stop Opioids From Entering The United States

While the climate in Washington D.C. is quite polarizing these days, that hasn't stopped these Senators from creating bipartisan legislation. Sen. Hassan co-sponsored a bill with Republican Rob Portman called the Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act, which would implement stricter postal regulations to try to stop to flow of opoids into our country from foreign nations.

7. Help Victims Of Human Trafficking

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Hassan co-sponsored the Trafficking Survivors Relief Act, which would allow victims of human trafficking to clear their records of any non-violent federal crimes stemming from their time as a victim of trafficking. The legislation would allow victims a chance at finding employment and housing, so they have less of a risk of being exploited again.

8. Encourage Women In STEM

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Duckworth, Hassan and Cortez Masto are all members on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and in January, they voted to approve the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act and the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act, both of which would encourage women, girls and minorities to become involved in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, which historically have a low number of women participants.

9. Call To Investigate Russian Election Interference

As members of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Harris and Hassan, along with their Democratic colleagues, called on the committee to open an investigation into Russia's involvement and interference with the presidential elections.