Strong Families

115th Congress

  • Reintroduced Bipartisan Legislation to Make Life Easier for Mothers in Airports: Senator Fischer joined Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) to reintroduce the Friendly Airports for Mothers (FAM) Act. The bill would establish reasonable minimum standards for both medium and large-hub airports to develop private rooms for nursing mothers. 

  • Reintroduced Equal Pay and Paid Leave Proposals: Senator Fischer reintroduced two bills to make life easier for American families: The Workplace Advancement Act and The Strong Families Act. The Workplace Advancement Act would prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who seek and share wage information. It would empower individuals with the knowledge they need to negotiate their salaries more effectively. The bipartisan Strong Families Act, which Senator Fischer reintroduced with Senator Angus King (I-Maine), would encourage employers to voluntarily offer up to 12 weeks of paid leave. Senators Fischer and King introduced versions of the Strong Families Act the past two Congresses.

  • Introduced Bipartisan Water Infrastructure bill to Help Keep Families Healthy and Safe: Senator Fischer joined Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) to introduce the Water Infrastructure Flexibility Act. This legislation would provide local communities with increased flexibility when complying with Clean Water Act requirements for updates to water infrastructure projects. The bill would also provide communities more autonomy as they prioritize and plan for wastewater and storm water investments
  • Delivered Tax Cuts and Tax Reform for the First Time in 31 Years: Senator Fischer supported the Tax Cuts and Jobs bill, which has been signed into law. This legislation nearly doubles the standard deduction, protecting the first $24,000 married couples earn, and the first $12,000 individuals earn, from federal taxes. It continues to allow Americans to take a combined state/local property, sales, and/or income tax deduction of up to $10,000. The bill also expands the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000 per child. Click here for more information. 
  • Created the First Federal Paid Family Leave Policy: Senator Fischer championed the Strong Families Act, which provides more flexibility for working women and American families who are juggling responsibilities at home and in the workplace. It encourages employers to offer workers up to 12 weeks of paid family leave with a tax incentive, avoiding the creation of government mandates or new federal entitlements. Her legislation was included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which is now law.
  • Cosponsored Legislation to Ensure Justice for Sex Trafficking Victims: Senator Fischer cosponsored the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (S. 1693), which aims to hold websites that facilitate sex trafficking liable and give victims of these horrible crimes the justice they deserve. This legislation would eliminate federal liability protections to websites that knowingly facilitate a violation of federal sex trafficking laws. It would also better enable law enforcement at the state level to take action against individuals or businesses violating the law. 

114th Congress

  • Chaired Small Business Field Hearing with Nebraska Entrepreneurs in Lincoln: In August 2016, Senator Fischer convened a Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee field hearing titled “Examining Access to Capital and Other Headwinds to Entrepreneurship” in Lincoln, Nebraska. Fischer heard testimony from individuals representing various parts of Nebraska’s entrepreneurial community about the roadblocks to innovation and ways to increase access to capital for small businesses. The hearing took place at Nebraska Innovation Campus (NIC). Witnesses included Eric Dinger, co-founder and CEO of Powderhook; Dan Hoffman, CEO of Invest Nebraska Corporation; Julia Parker, Executive Director of Omaha Small Business Network; T.J. Casady, Vice President of Commercial Loans at Union Bank and Trust; and Jon Anderson, Manager of Advanced R&D at LI-COR.

  • Reintroduced Bipartisan Bill, Which Offers Incentives to Employers Who Provide Paid Leave: Senator Fischer joined Senator Angus King (I-Maine) to introduce the Strong Families Act. The bill would enable working families to receive pay while they are meeting necessary family obligations. The Fischer-King plan would create a 25 percent tax credit to encourage employers of any size to voluntarily offer paid leave for their workers. It does not include any new taxes or mandates.

  • Advocated for Conservative Solutions on Equal Pay and Paid Leave: Senator Fischer delivered an address at the American Enterprise Institute regarding legislation she is working on that would update our federal laws on equal pay and paid leave. Both proposals seek to make life easier and more flexible for working families across the country. Click here to read and view her full speech. 

  • Voted for Bipartisan Legislation to Combat America’s Opioid and Heroin Abuse Epidemic: To stop the spread of this deadly crisis and save lives, Senator Fischer voted for the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). The bill would provide grants to states and communities to bolster drug abuse education and develop prevention strategies at the local level. CARA would also provide law enforcement with better training and resources, such as the overdose reversal drug naloxone. The bill passed the Senate by a vote on 94 to 1 on March 10, 2016.

  • Introduced an Amendment Requiring Airports to Provide a Private Space for Nursing Mothers: Senator Fischer joined Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) to introduce an amendment that would require all medium and hub airports in the United States to provide private accommodations for nursing mothers. The bipartisan provision was unanimously accepted in a markup of the Senate Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act. 

  • Cosponsored Bill to Address the Skills Gap Problem in America’s Labor Force: Senator Fischer is a cosponsor of legislation that would encourage apprenticeships and the training of workers with relevant skills. The bill, known as the Leveraging and Energizing America’s Apprenticeship Programs (LEAP) Act, would strengthen our workforce and provide businesses with more incentives to succeed and grow. The LEAP Act would offer businesses a tax credit of $1,000 in wages per taxable year for each new apprentice hired. It would also offer a $1,500 tax credit for apprentices under the age of 25. In either case, the credit can be claimed for a maximum of two years. 
  • Championed legislation reinforcing the principle of equal pay for equal work:  Senator Fischer introduced The Workplace Advancement Act, which includes provisions to prevent retaliation against employees who inquire about, or discuss, their salaries. It also reinforcing current law banning gender discrimination under both the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. A similar proposal was adopted to the Fiscal Year 16 budget in the form of an amendment and a motion to instruct conferees.
  • Joined bill to protect pregnant women from discrimination: Senator Fischer is an original cosponsor of the Pregnancy Discrimination Amendment Act. This bill makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against an applicant or employee on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions - strengthening a law enacted in 1978 by applying protections to all workers. 
  • Supported legislation to address America’s opioid crisis: The Senate passed the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) to fight the opioid and heroin abuse epidemic devastating communities across the country. CARA will expand drug abuse education and prevention. It will also empower states and local communities to fight this crisis and save lives. 

113th Congress

  • Offered a balanced paid leave proposal: The legislation, offered by Senators Fischer and Angus King (I-Maine), would incentivize employers to voluntarily provide employees with paid parental or medical leave. The challenge for many working families, particularly hourly workers living paycheck-to-paycheck, is that current law does not involve paid time off. The Strong Families Act (S. 2627 ) would enable working families to have continued access to pay while they are meeting necessary family obligations. The Fischer-King plan would create a tax credit to encourage employers of any size to voluntarily offer paid leave for workers; the legislation includes no new mandates.
  • Increased access to capital to help families climb out of poverty: Senator Fischer introduced legislation to improve microfinance services aimed at helping entrepreneurs with limited resources to start their own businesses. The Access to Capital, Access to Opportunity Act (Access Act) (S.2487) would strengthen the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) microloan program, which offers affordable loans to aspiring small business owners for working capital, supplies, material, and inventory. Access to capital is a steep, sometimes insurmountable, challenge for startups and small businesses, which are often denied loans by larger investors not interested in expending the necessary time or resources.
  • Addressed rising education costs. Senator Fischer introduced The Allocating for Children’s Education (ACE) Act (S.2568), which would increase the annual contribution limit for Coverdell education savings accounts from $2,000 to $5,000 per beneficiary, enabling parents to earn more money for their children’s education. Currently, families can set aside savings in a Coverdell account to pay for expenses like education-related technology, tuition, or tutoring. When funds are withdrawn from the Coverdell account and used for qualified educational expenses, they are entirely tax-free. As a result, families who regularly contribute to Coverdell accounts can save thousands of dollars over the long-term.
  • Ensured equal pay for equal work: Senator Fischer offered a proposal to update the 51-year-old Equal Pay Act and help address the pay gap between men and women. Her solution includes a provision to prevent retaliation against employees who inquire about or discuss their salaries. It also reiterates current law banning sex discrimination and requiring employers to post a notice to employees as to their rights under both the 1963 Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The proposal consolidates existing duplicative job training programs and provides federal grants to states for the creation of industry-led partnerships aimed at getting workers underrepresented in particular industries the skills they need to compete.
  • Promoted more family control over health careSenator Fischer introduced The Healthy Families Act (S. 631), legislation that would enhance government accountability in decisions impacting many families’ health care. Under Obamacare, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is authorized to determine the types of preventive service coverage private insurers must offer without imposing cost-sharing – such as copayments, deductibles, or co-insurance – on patients. These determinations also strongly influence which preventive services Medicare and Medicaid choose to cover. The Healthy Families Act would check the power granted to this federal task force with increased public involvement and a more transparent process.

  • Introduced Bill to Help Families Save for College: Senator Fischer introduced The Allocating for Children’s Education Act. The bill would increase the annual contribution limit for Coverdell education savings accounts from $2,000 to $5,000 per beneficiary, enabling parents to earn more money for their children’s education.