Gender Justice Sign-On Letter Urging Congress to Pass a Clean Debt Ceiling

May 19, 2023

Dear Leader Schumer and Leader Jeffries,

We the undersigned organizations dedicated to promoting gender equity and working to ensure all women, LGBTQI+ people and their families can live a life of dignity, write to express our gratitude for your strong opposition to any debt ceiling deal that increases poverty and raises costs for families.


As you know, millions of women, LGBTQI+ people, people with disabilities and their families rely on Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), in addition to non-defense discretionary programs, in order to access health care, put food on the table, afford child care, pay their rent, and live in their communities. Cuts to these programs or additional harsh punitive requirements will make people poorer, sicker and hungrier, while doing nothing to promote employment.


As talks on raising the debt limit progress, we urge you to stand firm in rejecting these cuts. Women would be disproportionately hurt by both these overall cuts and by losing access to benefits caused by burdensome reporting requirements. Analysis by the National Women’s Law Center shows that:

  • Women are the majority of adult Medicaid users, which covers services including birth control, maternity care, prescription drugs, home and community based services, and more that address many of women’s major health needs throughout their lives.
  • Women are 63% of adult SNAP users, and 92% of the SNAP-using households with children headed by a single adult.
  • Women are 85% of the adults served by TANF.
  • A full 75% of the households receiving rental assistance are headed by women, as are two-thirds of the recipients of emergency rental assistance.
  • Women disproportionately take on care responsibilities, so taking away child care hurts their ability to stay employed.
  • And 62% of those pregnant, post-partum, and breastfeeding women receiving nutrition assistance through WIC are women of color.

We applaud your stance on passing a clean debt ceiling increase in recognition that women and the families who rely on us are not political leverage for a manufactured crisis. As discussions continue, we urge you to hold firm to President Biden’s negotiating principle thus far: namely that Congress must raise the debt ceiling to avoid catastrophic, widespread consequences, and do so without any cuts that increase poverty and take healthcare and food away from struggling families.


There is a path forward that values our families and communities – and we urge you at every opportunity to remind the American people that rather than gutting supports our families rely on, we must invest in Medicaid so that no matter your zip code or how old you are, you have access to high quality affordable health care; we must invest in SNAP so that more families aren’t staring down hunger amidst rising food costs; we must ensure that more families have the income they need to provide the basics for themselves and their children. We must invest in child care, paid leave, and home and community based services, so that our families can balance work and caring for our loved ones. And we can afford to do these things by asking the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share in taxes.


We appreciate your support and urge you to remain steadfast in protecting Medicaid, SNAP, TANF, as well as non-defense discretionary and entitlement programs so that low-income women and families do not pay the price for political brinkmanship and decades of lopsided tax cuts for billionaires and corporations.




1000 Women Strong

A Better Balance

AIDS Alabama

All Our Kin

American Association of People with Disabilities

Americans for Tax Fairness

American Medical Students Association (AMSA)

Asset Building Strategies

Be a Hero

CA LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network

California NOW

Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy

Catholics for Choice

Care in Action

Caring Across Generations

Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)

Center for Popular Democracy

Chicago Foundation for Women

Child Care for Every Family Network

Children’s Defense Fund

Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues

Coalition on Human Needs

Columbia NOW – National Organization for Women, Columbia, SC

Community Catalyst

Community Change Action

Equal Rights Advocates

ERA Coalition

Family Values @ Work

Florida NOW Education Fund

Food Research & Action Center

Futures Without Violence

GRACE/End Child Poverty California

If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice

Illinois National Organization for Women

Just Solutions

Justice in Aging

Main Street Alliance

Maryland National Organization for Women

Minority Veterans of America


Montgomery County PA NOW

NARAL Pro-Choice America

National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

National Coalition on Black Civic Participation – Black Women’s Roundtable

National Council of Jewish Women

National Crittenton

National Domestic Workers Alliance

National Health Law Program

National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund

National Organization for Women (NOW) CT

National Organization for Women

National Organization for Women, Columbia Area

National Organization for Women, Hollywood NOW Chapter

National Organization for Women, Missouri

National Organization for Women, South Dakota Chapter

National Organization of API Ending Sexual Violence

National Organization of Women – Minnesota NOW

National Partnership for Women & Families

National WIC Association

National Women’s Health Network

National Women’s Law Center

National Women’s Political Caucus

Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

Northern New Jersey NOW

NOW New York State

Ohio National Organization for Women

Oxfam America

Physicians for Reproductive Health

Pinellas County National Organization for Women

Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Poverty Project at the Institute for Policy Studies

Prosperity Now

Rochester NY Chapter of National Organization for Women

Service Employees International Union (SEIU)


The Collaborative

The Leadership Conference on Civil and HUman Rights

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

Ultraviolet Action

Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice

United Church of Christ Justice and Local Church Ministries


Washington State Federation of Democratic Women

Women’s Law Project