Sessions Delivers Opening Statement On Economic Challenges Facing American Women

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, delivered the following prepared remarks today at a hearing on the weak state of the American economy and the challenges facing women and families:

“Chairman Murray, thank you for holding this important hearing today. There is no question that the state of our economy remains poor, and that millions of American families are barely scraping by:

  • Workforce participation rate for women is now at its lowest level in 23 years
  • For every one job added last month, nearly three people left the workforce entirely
  • Real wages for women have been stagnant since 2009
  • Median household income in America has dropped a stunning $2,268 since 2009, after adjusting for inflation
  • Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen lamented in her remarks last week that we are facing a slack labor market

These statistics paint an alarming portrait of the economic hardships facing American families. Working moms are struggling valiantly to support their kids, to pay their bills, and to set aside money for the future. They are the heroes of the American economy. Despite some progress, however, women do still face challenges and discrimination. We must have, in America, a fair and equal workplace for all our citizens. But every day this administration continues to advance policies that make it more difficult for Americans to find a job, earn a living, and see their wages go up.

Women especially are rightly concerned about the economic future facing  our young people. The statistics are grim:

  • Nearly 1 in 2 recent college graduates is under-employed
  • The unemployment rate for Americans age 20–24 is 10.6 percent
  • Teenage unemployment has been at or above 20 percent since 2009
  • Hispanic youth unemployment is 21.7 percent
  • African-American youth unemployment is 36.8 percent

We’ve borrowed $8 trillion, running the debt past $17 trillion in total. And yet incomes are down, wages are down, and workplace participation is down. Over the past year we have held a number of informative hearings in the Budget Committee, all leading to one conclusion: American workers are suffering in President Obama’s economy.


Virtually every major policy action taken by this administration tends to weaken job creation and wage progress. Here is the economic agenda that we are facing today:

  • An anti-energy policy that drive up prices and sends good-paying jobs overseas
  • Excessive government regulation that destroys jobs and weakens productivity
  • A burdensome tax code that undermines that ability of American workers and industry to compete on the world stage
  • A government health care takeover that is shrinking the workforce and forcing people into part-time jobs
  • A weak trade policy that fails to defend our manufacturing jobs
  • An immigration plan that would import twice as much new guest workers for corporations at a time when record numbers of Americans aren’t working—pushing down wages and increasing unemployment
  • A massive, maze-like welfare state that helps government bureaucrats but traps families in poverty
  • Out-of-control deficits, spending, and debt that undermine economic confidence and erode stability

These policies are hurting all Americans, from all ages, and all walks of life. We must stop this. Everyone agrees that American workers are suffering. We need a new economic strategy that grows the middle class—not the government—and puts the needs of women and all American workers first.”