The White House on Friday issued a statement that announced a $300 million program that will allow “women with disabilities” to purchase rope harnesses and accessories.
The statement from the White House Office of the Press Secretary and a statement from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) came as the White, House and Capitol Police announced a crackdown on the misuse of disability-related products on Capitol Hill.
“As women who have worked in public service and advocacy for decades, we have a profound sense of compassion for those who have struggled with disabilities,” Gillibrands statement read.
“This is a time when Americans are reaching for our best selves and looking for strength and support, and we need to help these women get back to work.
We applaud the Trump Administration’s commitment to supporting these women and their families and are pleased to see that they are being taken seriously.”
The Trump Administration has previously announced $25 million in funding for the program, which it described as “designed to provide the very best rope and harness for people with disabilities who work.”
The new initiative, according to the White Office, will “provide additional resources for those individuals who need assistance with the ropes, as well as the ropes themselves.”
The program is described as a “first step toward the day when all people with disability are able to work and participate fully in society, no matter their disability status.”
The statement also notes that the President is “committed to increasing access to higher education, particularly in STEM fields.”
“With the President’s vision for a brighter future and his ongoing commitment to expanding opportunity for people of all backgrounds, we are encouraged that the Administration is working to make the lives of those who are disabled more attainable and accessible,” Gilliland’s office said in a statement.
The new rope harness program was announced just weeks after Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) introduced a bill to ban the sale of “rope and harness accessories” at the Capitol.
The Senate passed the legislation in early December.
The White Office noted that the Department of Justice will be reviewing the bill, as will the Department for Veterans Affairs.
A statement from Klobucar’s office read, “The President’s budget proposal provides $1 billion for these initiatives, which are in addition to $100 million for the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2017.
The President has been clear that his administration will not hesitate to defend the rights of people with special needs, and will continue to fight for these vital services.”
“It’s hard to think of a more powerful statement for the first female Cabinet member in history,” Gilligan told The Hill.
Gillibrando has long advocated for a more inclusive workforce.
She and other women in Congress have said that the gender pay gap, as it pertains to representation in the workplace, disproportionately affects women of color.
“There are so many ways that discrimination can be used to keep women out of the workforce and to keep the economy stagnant and to continue to marginalize women and minorities, particularly women of colour,” Gillibbons office said.
The Trump White House also noted that some of the people who use disability-based products are employed in the federal government and “many others who are not.”
Gillibrandi office said that “the use of disability related products at the federal level is not a new phenomenon.”
In the past, Gillibrants office said, “the Administration has been actively working to encourage people with and without disabilities to use the ropes and harnesses that they purchase at the retail stores to assist with their disabilities.”
Gilliband said that she and other female lawmakers will continue working to “support women who work with disabilities to get back into the workforce.”
“We believe that the ropes that people are using to get into the workplace is the best for them,” Gillis said in the statement.
“The ropes are very affordable, they’re easy to buy, and they’re not being abused by unscrupulous people.”
A spokesperson for the Department was not immediately available for comment.