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December 4, 2012Press Item
I am extremely disappointed that Senate Republicans blocked ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities today. Its ratification would enable the United States to play a leading role in helping other nations set policies that expand opportunities for their own citizens with disabilities. Modeled after the bipartisan Americans with Disabilities Act signed into law by President George H. W. Bush in 1990, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities represents a major step forward for individuals throughout the world living with disabilities and hoping for increased accessibility, equal opportunity, and greater independence. I was proud to have worked with former Rep. Tony Coelho and others, including former Republican Sen. Majority Leader Bob Dole, to pass the original Americans with Disabilities Act, and I strongly urge Senate Republicans to reconsider today’s vote and allow this treaty’s ratification.
November 28, 2012Press Item
Today, the full Senate is considering the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a landmark treaty that will strengthen the rights and freedoms of individuals with disabilities throughout the world – and which was reported favorably by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in July.  The Disabilities Convention draws heavily on the Americans with Disabilities Act, which Congress passed in 1990 with broad bipartisan support, and the Convention has already been championed by an array of leaders from both parties.  Its ratification will send a strong message that the United States is committed to the human rights, equal opportunity, and full inclusion of all who live with disabilities in our country and every other.  I was proud to have helped lead the effort, along with former Rep. Tony Coelho and others, to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act, and I join in calling on the Senate to agree to the Convention’s swift ratification.
October 16, 2012Press Item
House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after the Committee on House Administration issued a report detailing the nearly $1.5 million in taxpayer-funded legal bills accumulated over the past 15 months to pay an outside law firm to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA):
September 19, 2012Press Item
“I join in marking the one-year anniversary of the end of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ and the beginning of a new era of strength through inclusion for our military.  I was proud to help lead the successful repeal effort that finally ended that discriminatory policy.  Doing so opened doors for LGBT Americans wishing to join our armed forces and ended the fearful prospect of discharge for those who were already serving.
July 26, 2012Press Item
“I join in marking the twenty-second anniversary of the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 1990.  I was incredibly proud to lead the effort in Congress to pass this landmark legislation and see it signed into law.  Since 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act has enabled more than 50 million people with disabilities to participate more fully and more equally in our society. 
June 22, 2012Press Item
“Forty years ago tomorrow, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 was enacted to remove barriers to equal opportunity in education and school athletics.  This was a milestone that enabled the achievements of the tens of millions of American women who have since participated in the full range of educational and athletic opportunities this country has to offer.  
June 5, 2012Press Item
Today, Republicans choose once again to obstruct instead of make meaningful progress on an issue important to millions of American families.  By blocking the Paycheck Fairness Act, Senate Republicans followed their House colleagues, who unanimously rejected its consideration on the Floor last week.  
June 1, 2012Press Item
For LGBT Americans and their families, this year’s Pride Month comes at a particularly hopeful moment for LGBT equality in America.  From support for same-sex marriage growing across the country, to this week’s federal circuit court ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, to the end of the military’s discriminatory ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy last year, there is a real and tangible sense that our nation is moving closer to full equality.
May 31, 2012Press Item
I believe today’s decision by the First Circuit Court of Appeals upholding a previous ruling that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional was correct. By preventing the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages – even in states where those unions are legal – DOMA denies these families the same federal rights and benefits available to others. Today’s decision is a victory for the basic tenet of equality for all.
May 10, 2012Press Item
“I opposed this appropriations bill for several reasons, chief among them that it is not consistent with the bipartisan agreement reached in August on spending levels.  Breaking that agreement is just one more sign that this House Republican conference is simply unwilling to compromise or work with Democrats to find solutions to our challenges.
May 10, 2012Press Item
"One of the first votes I cast as a member of the Maryland State Senate in 1967 was to repeal the anti-miscegenation statute that remained Maryland law.  It was a legacy of a discriminatory history of prejudice and segregation. It was my feeling then and now that individuals have a right to choose their partners, and society must accord them that freedom.
April 17, 2012Press Item
Today, on Equal Pay Day, we pause to consider that to earn the same wages as a man in 2011, a woman would have had to work from January 1, 2011 until April 17, 2012.  It should be unacceptable in America today that women still earn only 77 cents to the dollar of a man’s wages for the same job.  This is why Democrats enacted the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009 – the first piece of legislation signed by President Obama – and it’s why we continue to push for measures that will close the gender gap in wages and bring greater economic opportunities for women.  It’s also why I am proud to be a co-sponsor, along with 177 other Democratic Members of Congress, of the Paycheck Fairness Act.
March 30, 2012Press Item
Today I join in celebrating the life and legacy of César Chávez, whose co-founding and leadership of the United Farm Workers helped raise the voices of millions of Latino agricultural workers.  He fought for their rights and stood up for the dignity of their work.  Over the course of his journey, Chávez marched, fasted, wrote, and spoke truth to power to win safe and fair working conditions, better pay, freedom from discrimination, and wider opportunities for all workers to achieve the American Dream.  As one of our civil rights giants, he continues to be a role model for young Latinos and all Americans who, when faced with adversity and wanting to improve their communities, draw strength from his example and legacy.
March 7, 2012Press Item
On this day in 1965, 600 men and women marched from the Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, Alabama, on their way to the state capitol in Montgomery.  They marched for freedom and the right to vote that had been denied them.  As they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge on their way out of town, they were met with the violence borne from bigotry and forced to turn back.  My friend and esteemed colleague, John Lewis, who led the march along with Hosea Williams, was beaten nearly to death.  However, their determination to be heard and to participate in our democracy could never be turned back.  The sad events of that day, which became known as ‘Bloody Sunday,’  were broadcast across America, opening the eyes of millions to the injustices of Jim Crow.  Later that month, thousands gathered in solidarity and with faith in the promise of America, setting out from that same place and together they walked across that bridge, to the state capitol in Montgomery, and into the pages of history. 
March 1, 2012Press Item
On March 7, 1965, our friend and esteemed colleague from Georgia, John Lewis, was among the leaders of that march. He was the leader – he and Hosea Williams. Two by two they walked, some 600 with John and Hosea at the front of the line. That day, in an extraordinary practice of nonviolence, he and other marchers were brutally beaten while trying to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. They were on their way to Montgomery, the state capital, to protest the murder of a young man, Jimmie Lee Jackson, who had been shot and killed while protecting his mother during a voting rights rally. And they were marching to Montgomery to say in a nonviolent way every American deserves the right to be able to register and to vote.
November 3, 2011Press Item
A year from now, millions of Americans will head to the polls to exercise their most fundamental right – the right to vote. Unfortunately, in states across the country, partisan measures have been adopted that would make it more difficult for nearly five million voters, particularly the poor, young people, the elderly, and minorities, to register and vote,” said Whip Hoyer. “Voter suppression has no place in our country. That’s why Democrats are sending a letter to Secretaries of State urging them to oppose these partisan efforts to hinder access to the ballot and urging them to work in a bipartisan way to ensure all Americans can exercise their constitutional right to be heard.
November 3, 2011Press Item
We are just about a year away from a pivotal election. Just as important as the choice we will make is ensuring that all who are eligible can participate in making that choice. The right to vote is fundamental to our entire system of government and the ability of every American to have his or her voice heard in Washington and in their statehouses and city halls.
November 2, 2011Press Item
 Mr. Speaker, we are a year away from an election – one that will shape the course of our nation for several years ahead. The choice we make will be pivotal, and in order to make certain that it reflects the direction our people want to take, we ought to do everything we can to ensure that all who have the right to cast a ballot can do so. Equal access to the ballot is the most fundamental right we all have as Americans. It is what preserves our democracy and instills confidence in our system of government. Some of our greatest national struggles have been over suffrage – from votes for African Americans and women to votes for the young people who risk their lives for us in uniform.
September 20, 2011Press Item
For the thousands of service men and women discharged under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and the countless others who have sacrificed their integrity all these long years, today is a day long awaited. The ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy was a rebuke not only to those gay and lesbian Americans who wished to serve under our flag and risk their lives for it but also to the principles of inclusion and equality that we as a nation hold dear. I was proud to help lead the effort last year to repeal this discriminatory policy once and for all. With this step, our military is surely strengthened at a time when we face great threats to our security and continued demands on our troops. Every American has a share in marking this civil rights milestone, because we all benefit from a strong and capable military that reflects our values.
August 29, 2011Press Item
Yesterday marked the 48th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, when more than a quarter million people came to our nation’s capital to demand equality for all Americans, regardless of race, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his landmark ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech. Armed with the power of nonviolence, their efforts helped end a system of racial discrimination. Let us mark this anniversary by honoring the legacy of these civil rights activists who pursued justice for all Americans and rededicate ourselves to equality and fairness. While we have come a long way in achieving racial equality since the March 48 years ago, disparities in employment and opportunity still exist today. Democrats are committed to closing that gap and promoting equality and opportunity through our Make It In America plan, an effort to create well-paying, middle-class jobs so that every American has the chance to succeed.
August 26, 2011Press Item
“Today, America marks Women’s Equality Day: the anniversary of the day women secured the right to vote through the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. This amendment was only passed as a result of the work of generations of women, who struggled for a full and equal voice in our democracy...
July 26, 2011Press Item
Twenty-one years ago today, the first President Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act. I was proud to help write this important law and work for its passage through Congress. The ADA made our nation a world leader in the inclusion of people with disabilities, and it came about because Republicans and Democrats, disability advocates and business leaders, all realized that we gain as a nation when we help all of our people live up to their potential.