Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) tapped Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) to form a bipartisan working group on paid family leave.
Sens. Cassidy and Hassan will serve as co-chairs of the working group to find a bipartisan solution on paid family leave.
Paid family leave has served as a growing issue for Republicans. President Donald Trump announced during his State of the Union address that he will work to implement a paid family leave plan. White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump continues to work with Republicans across the spectrum on the issue.
Sen. Cassidy, one of the Senate’s foremost experts on health care, told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview in April that paid family leave is pro-family, pro-business, and pro-American.
Breitbart News has spoken with Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Mike Lee (R-UT) about their paid family leave bill, the Cradle Act, which would allow Americans to use their Social Security benefits to access family leave without any additional cost to the taxpayer. The Social Security Administration (SSA) examined the financial impact of the legislation and found that the bill would have a “negligible effect” on the long-range health of Social Security.
Sens. Tim Scott (R-SC), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Bob Casey (D-PA), Todd Young (R-IN), and Sherrod Brown (R-OH) will serve as the members of the working group.
Members of the council will consider:
- Existing paid family leave plans and gaps in coverage
- Opportunities to make paid family leave widely available
- Types of benefits for eligibility, wage replacement rate, protections for workers
- Possible funding mechanisms and potential effects
- The possibility of reaching consensus on paid family leave
Employers in every state must comply with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which was passed in the 1990s, and Congress has not updated the legislation in 25 years. FMLA does not stipulate that any leave be paid.
Chairman Grassley said in a statement Wednesday:
Most parents work outside the home and childcare costs are a burden for many families. The first months of life are a critical period for newborns. We should take a look at any policy that might help in their development. It’s been several decades since we’ve updated federal family leave laws. I look forward to working with my colleagues in both parties to explore ideas.
“This working group reflects the widespread interest in helping moms and dads have financial flexibility to raise children,” Sen. Cassidy said. “The policy must be fiscally sustainable and not bury taxpayers in even more red ink. We will find a bipartisan solution that empowers families and business owners to succeed.”
Sen. Hassan said:
I look forward to being a part of this working group to attempt to find a bipartisan path forward to ensure that no American is forced to make the impossible choice between making ends meet and having the necessary time to care for a loved one or navigate a personal health crisis.
Paid family leave has garnered support across the political spectrum.
Support for paid family leave crosses over partisan lines. A poll from the PL+US Fund organization found that Americans highly approved of paid family leave. A survey showed that 94 percent of Democrats, 74 percent of Republicans, and 83 percent of Independents support some form of paid family leave.
Andrea Zuniga, the vice president of legislative affairs for PL+US (Paid Leave for the United States), cheered the announcement, saying that “this new working group is a direct response to the growing chorus of families and businesses stretching from Louisiana to Ohio to Maine to California for bold solutions.”
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.