Bill Cassidy, Kyrsten Sinema Paid Family Leave Bill Gaining Steam in Senate

Tess Finnegan poses with her family on December 12, 2017, in Washington, DC. The US economy is nearing full employment, with its jobless rate the lowest in almost 20 years, but women in the workforce don't fully benefit. Due to the lack of widely available and affordable child care and …
AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) announced Wednesday that his and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s (D-AZ) Paid Family Leave bill continues to gain steam in the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Cassidy, chairman of the Senate Paid Family Leave working group, announced Wednesday during a hearing at the Joint Economic Committee that his and Sinema’s legislation continues to gain support from both Republicans and Democrats. He said:

This past spring, Senator Sinema and I announced a bipartisan solution to help working families, and I would say it’s currently the only common ground paid leave plan in the Senate. I’m happy to report additional Republican and Democratic senators are now supporting and working with us on legislative text we hope to introduce this fall.

Sens. Cassidy and Sinema announced their bipartisan paid family leave proposal, otherwise known as the Cassidy-Sinema plan, in July, which could serve as the basis through which Congress passes a federal solution to help young parents start new families.

Cassidy charged in July “There is no bigger kitchen table issue” than parents taking care of their newborn child.

The Cassidy-Sinema would give new parents the option to bring forward their Child Tax Credit (CTC) to receive a $5,000 paid leave benefit. The Cassidy-Sinema plan would give new parents the flexibility to cover costs after having or adopting a child.

Sen. Cassidy suggested Wednesday that his and Sinema’s plan would not raise taxes on Americans and puts no onerous mandates on the employer or employee. Cassidy’s plan serves as a more conservative option compared to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) plan, which would raise taxes on Americans and businesses by increasing a payroll tax.

Cassidy said:

For many dual income families, the first year following the birth or adoption is the most expensive, and subsequent years less so. Just as the kind of context for our bill, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act bill…increased the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000. So under our proposal…the family who has the newborn child gets $5,000, and they pull forward that benefit from subsequent years, so instead of $2,000 in year two of life, we get $1,500, and on down until it’s paid back. We like it. It does not raise taxes. Payroll tax is inherently regressive. And so we avoid that. And it’s no mandates upon the employer or the employee. And it does not increase the federal deficit.

Paid family leave serves as a rising issue for Republicans. President Donald Trump announced during his State of the Union address he will work to implement a paid family leave plan. White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump continues to work with Republicans, including Sen. Cassidy, on the issue.

Sen. Cassidy told Breitbart News during a press conference in June that President Trump has been the “ultimate force” behind Republicans embracing “kitchen-table” issues such as drug pricing, the opioid epidemic, and paid family leave.

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.

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