Congresswoman is the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations and sits on the Subcommittee for Livestock and Foreign Agriculture. As Chairwoman, she has convened hearings on the effectiveness of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) during the COVID-19 pandemic, on the prevalence of veteran and military hunger, on benefit cliffs, and on nutrition distribution programs like The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).
On the Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee, she has pushed to ensure Connecticut’s dairies, greenhouses, and family farms have equitable access to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and funding. Recognizing that the Fifth District of Connecticut is a leader in climate-smart practices, she has supported the inclusion of key USDA conservation programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Conservation Stewardship Program, and Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, in Build Back Better and the upcoming Farm Bill.
She has introduced legislation to provide economic relief to farmers directly through the USDA, and to ensure the lowest income college students have access to SNAP. She is a key voice for conservation, nutrition assistance, and equity on the committee.
Congresswoman Hayes, a career educator and 2016 National Teacher of the Year, sits on the Education and Labor Committee. The Committee handles a variety of matters within the education, labor, health, and nutrition spaces. She has two Subcommittee assignments – the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, and the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services. On the Subcommittee for Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, she advocates for investments in the educator workforce, school infrastructure, and addressing educational disparities for underrepresented children. On the Subcommittee for Civil Rights and Human Services, she advocates for equitable access to opportunity, as well as child nutrition policy that would end hunger in America. Outside of her Subcommittee assignments, she is a fierce proponent of labor rights – from protecting the right to organize, to ensuring pay equity and access to paid family and medical leave. She has introduced 12 pieces of legislation under the Education and Labor jurisdiction, half of which are bipartisan. These bills would expand access to critical child nutrition programs, provide relief to teachers who struggle with student debt, and increase college graduation rate transparency.
Congresswoman Hayes is a member of the House Autism Caucus, which aims to increase awareness about autism spectrum disorder among Members of Congress and bring together public, private and government entities to pursue legislative initiatives that will help facilitate advanced research treatments for autism spectrum disorder. Congresswoman Hayes helped to pass the Autism CARES Act of 2019, which reauthorizes the Autism CARES Act of 2014 and authorizes over $1 billion in funding for programs at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) over five years to cover the expansion and coordination of autism-related activities. At CDC, the funding will go to developmental disability surveillance and research; and at HRSA, the funding will cover education, early detection and intervention.
Congresswoman Hayes is a member of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, which aims to establish Black maternal health as a national priority, and explore and advocate for effective, evidence-based, culturally-competent policies and best practices for health outcomes for Black mothers. Congresswoman Hayes supports legislation to solve these systemic issues, including the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act.
The mission of the College Affordability Caucus (CAC) is to convene a diverse group of Members of Congress to discuss the complex drivers of the increasing cost of higher education and the resulting accessibility barriers to students seeking a postsecondary degree or credential. The CAC works to highlight solutions to the student loan default crisis that ensure adequate guardrails are in place to protect every student from predatory actors and reduce barriers to completion that subsequently heighten college debt for far too many students – including first generation students, students of color, and lower income students.
Since its creation in 1971, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) has been the voice of Congress’s conscious, working to ensure African Americans and other marginalized communities have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. Congresswoman Hayes has worked with the CBC to prioritize voting rights, address health disparities during the COVD-19 pandemic, and improve Black maternal health outcomes.
In April of 2019, the CBC launched an emergency taskforce focused on the growing problem of suicide and access to mental health care among Black youth. The taskforce held a number of hearings on Black youth suicide, including ones that focused on the impact of social media and the role of the faith community. Congresswoman Hayes has passed legislation that would better prepare schools to address and treat students facing mental health issues. She has also supported appropriations funding that would grow minority representation in the mental health field and increase the cultural competency of clinicians in the mental health work force.
Congresswoman Hayes is a member of the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, a group that works toward the extension of equal rights, the repeal of discriminatory laws, the elimination of hate-motivated violence, and the improved health and well-being for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. Congresswoman Hayes introduced the Runaway and Homeless Youth Trafficking Prevention Act, a bill that strengthens and enhances protections for young people in the United States experiencing or at risk of homelessness. She also champions legislation such as the Equality Act, the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act, and the LGBTQ Data Inclusion Act.
Congresswoman Hayes is the Deputy Whip on the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. This group, consisting of more than 170 Members of Congress, is devoted to finding commonsense solutions to our nation’s ongoing gun violence epidemic. The Congresswoman has supported universal background checks, and urged relevant agencies to regulate ghost guns and silencer trusts.
Congresswoman Hayes is a Vice Chair of the Congressional Labor Caucus. The Caucus is working to advance the needs of employees in the labor sector, combat the issues facing working families, and connect legislators directly with unions. As Vice Chair, she works with her colleagues to advance critical labor legislation to the House floor.
Congresswoman Hayes is a member of the Pro-Choice Caucus, a coalition of Representatives working to preserve, protect and advance the reproductive rights of women. Congresswoman Hayes is a cosponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act and the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act and has worked to expand access to care, reduce cost, and protect women and families.