Rubio introduces paid family leave bill

Sen. Marco Rubio plans to introduce a bill Thursday that would allow new parents to finance their paid leave by drawing from their Social Security benefits early.

The Florida Republican’s bill — Economic Security for New Parents Act — would allow parents to use their future Social Security benefits to use for at least two months leave, which would then delay receiving their retirement benefits by three to six months when they retire.

According to a summary from Rubio’s office, the bill will allow the benefits to be transferable between parents and eligible for stay-at-home parents.

“There’s nothing we can do for our children that’s better than allowing their parents to spend more time and be more involved in their lives, especially from their early days,” Rubio said in an interview on CBS “This Morning” Thursday morning.

He said his proposal would give families more options to choose from in providing care for their children.

“No one is required to do this, but everyone will have the option of saying, ‘I’m going to take some of my benefits,'” he said. “These are your benefits, not anybody else’s.”

Missouri Republican Ann Wagner plans to introduce a companion bill in the House next month.

Rubio’s bill is modeled after a policy paper from the conservative group Independent Women’s Forum released in January.

Although President Donald Trump talked about paid family leave during the Republican primary, the policy “was not exactly part of the Republican lexicon when we arrived in DC in January 2017,” Ivanka Trump said Thursday at an Axios conversation on workforce development at the Newseum.

The President’s eldest daughter and senior adviser has been helming White House efforts on the policy, which she said “will take time.”

Ivanka Trump spent the past year meeting with Republican lawmakers, and while she feels a shift has been made on Capitol Hill to thinking of paid family leave a bipartisan issue, there is still a long way to go and any eventual deal will require compromise.

Trump called Nebraska GOP Sen. Deb Fischer’s tax credit to private sector employers offering a paid family leave benefit a “great first step,” and said she was “looking forward” to reacting to Rubio’s legislation, as well as forthcoming legislation from “several other senators.”

While she is “cautiously optimistic” that a compromise will be reached, it won’t be passed soon.

“Not in this Congress,” she said.

But already the proposal has received backlash.

The National Partnership for Women & Families, however, slammed the proposal as “reckless, irresponsible and ill-conceived” and called it a “Social Security benefit cut.”

“We appreciate that Sen. Rubio and Rep. Wagner are looking for a way to provide the paid leave America’s families urgently need, but a program that only covers parents caring for new children, provides no leave for family care and personal medical needs, and forces parents to choose between paid leave and retirement security is absolutely the wrong way to go,” Debra Ness, the organization’s president, said in a statement Wednesday.