Vice President Joe Biden today told a group of 400 women leaders from the YWCA that Republicans - and by implication, presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney - are undermining efforts to get more women back to work and close the gender gap.
"Notice how some are bleeding over how women are the most damaged by this godawful recession we've been having," Biden said, making a veiled reference to Romney and the RNC, which have been hammering President Obama for higher net job losses among women during his first term.
"There's something we can do about it, because guess what? Three quarters of all the teachers who got laid off are women and they have families," he said, having noted that Obama's budget blueprint calls for an infusion of cash to states to boost hiring at schools. Republicans oppose the spending measure.
"Because you're out there every day, you know that women aren't only concerned about so-called 'women's issues.' You know the economy is a women's issue. And restoring the middle class is a women's issue. And I've got to tell you, I think this fight has only just begun," he said.
"The other team is taking on virtually every one of the initiatives you and I and the president fought so hard to establish to give girls and women a better chance to level the playing field…. The other team in Congress has signed on to a thing called the Ryan Budget, which would either eliminate or eviscerate some of the things we fought for."
The vice president repeatedly exhorted his audience to help lobby Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, a law he originally wrote and sponsored as a U.S. Senator from Delaware in 1994. The measure - currently set to expire on Sept. 30 - has been reauthorized several times with bipartisan support but has become an election-year lightning rod.
A Democratic-sponsored bill extending more than $650 million to programs aimed at preventing crimes against women and boosting investigations of domestic violence cases passed the Senate last week, including support from 15 Republicans. The GOP-controlled House is writing its own version of the bill.
"We have one more hurdle, one more real hurdle, and that's the House of Representatives," Biden said. "And we need your help here. And we need your help with making sure that, as my mom would say, the Real McCoy passes - the real Violence Against Women Act."
"Imagine the message it would send if this is not reauthorized. Ask yourself, what message would it send to every one of our daughters, every woman imprisoned in her own home?" he said. "Ask yourself, would it say to them if we didn't reauthorize this law?"