WHEELING - Rep. Shelley Moore Capito denies the Republican Party is engaging in a "war against women" with its stance on women's issues.
Some Democrats have pointed to the GOP's position against abortion and its opposition to President Barack Obama's health care reform as being "anti-female," and establishing a Republican "war against women."
"I think that's just a highly political statement," said Capito, R-W.Va. "Both parties care - as women do - about the futures for their children and about health care. We just have different approaches.
"I'm a woman and a Republican, and I don't think I'm at war with myself. We just want to make sure the women of country have the same opportunities as everyone else."
There are 24 Republican women in the 435-member House, and all recently joined together to form the GOP Women's Policy Committee. The group hopes to improve the GOP's women's message.
"Democrats are seizing on what they think is an opportunity," Capito said. "Women account for more than 50 percent of registered voters"
And Capito doesn't believe the health care reform championed by the Obama administration is in women's best interest.
"Obamacare takes away choices, and women want more choices for health care," she said.
Then there are other times legislation has unintended affects that hurt women as a whole, Capito continued. She serves as chairwoman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit. She noted three years ago, Republicans and Democrats joined together to pass the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009. The measure was intended to keep credit card companies from continually offering credit to those without an independent way to pay back their debt.
The "Ability to Pay Rule" specifically was aimed at protecting youths age 21 and under who were being solicited by credit card companies, said Capito. But now credit is being denied to stay-at-home wives and mothers, she added. Many of these women also are military wives who must financially manage the home during their husband's overseas absence, she added.
"Military spouses can't establish their own lines of credit," Capito said. "If their child needs money for braces, they can't establish credit. If someone in their family is deployed, they might not be able to get access to money when it is needed."
Capito was a housewife for 15 years before being elected to Congress in 2000, and she is calling for a change in the rule.
"I want to make it fair so stay-at-home wives can obtain credit," she said. "Sometimes women are in an abusive relationship, or their spouse gets sick. Women have to know that having a financial credit history is important. It is just smart financial planning."