Kamala Harris Floats 6 Months of Taxpayer-Funded Family Leave

The Associated Press
AP Photo/Meg Kinnard

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) on Monday unveiled one of the most aggressive family-leave proposals to date, featuring six months of taxpayer-funded family and medical leave.

Harris, who is floundering in both national and early primary state polls, has switched her campaign strategy on issues that “keep families up at night,” dubbing it a “3 a.m. agenda.”

Under Harris’s proposal, every worker that makes less than $75,000 per year would be entitled to full wages during the six-month absence, which is three months longer than proposals pushed by Democrat lawmakers like Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Higher earners would also receive compensation, but less than Americans under the outlined threshold.

The plan would allow workers to take advantage of the benefit outside of traditional childcare or medical-related issues and could apply to “chosen family.”

Politico reports:

For example, Harris’ campaign said that a parent could take leave to care for a child harmed by domestic violence. It wouldn’t be limited to immediate family — workers could take leave to care for domestic partners, parents-in-law and ‘chosen family,’ among others.

The benefits would extend to part-time workers, independent contractors, and self-employed workers as well.

Harris’s plan also calls for the passage of the Child Care for Working Families Act and pledges to “create a federal inter-agency working group tasked with cutting child poverty by 50 percent in her first term.” She also calls for the expansion of  the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program, or “food stamps.”

Harris plans to pay for her massive family leave proposal with “new payroll taxes on employers and employees in addition to unspecified ‘general revenues,'”  as well as “fines on corporations that fail to narrow their gender-based pay gaps,” Politico reports.

The proposal comes in the wake of Harris’s continued struggle to gain support in polls. IBD-TIPP’s October poll showed the presidential hopeful dropping to fifth place nationally, with just three percent support:

The California senator has modified her strategy in recent weeks, spending time in Iowa in hopes of gaining traction in the early caucus state. Harris reportedly aims to focus on families and family-issues during her Iowa blitz, meeting with families in “intimate” settings and helping to prepare dinner in Iowans’ homes.

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