Republicans push back on expanding paid family leave beyond federal workers
© Greg Nash

GOP lawmakers on Tuesday pushed back on a proposal that would create a national paid family and medical leave program, signaling Republicans aren’t willing to go beyond paid leave for federal workers in a massive defense policy bill.

Congress and the White House recently struck a deal that would give federal workers 12 weeks of paid parental leave in exchange for creating President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Trump expands tariffs on steel and aluminum imports CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group MORE’s Space Force.

Some Republicans said Tuesday they are worried about the costs associated with creating a national paid family and medical leave program.

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“We hear a lot of support about the support of the national paid family leave and medical -- and I get that it sounds wonderful -- but at the end of the day there’s nothing free and at some point this has an enormous cost associated with it,” Rep. Jody HiceJody Brownlow HiceGOP Congressman: Impeachment has sucked all the oxygen out of the room GOP rep: Impeachment 'sham' is 'taking all the oxygen' out of Washington The Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions MORE (R-Ga.) said at a House Oversight Committee hearing on parental leave.

Rep. Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn Bosher MaloneyHouse Oversight committee asks DHS for information on family separation Overnight Energy: Appeals court tosses kids' climate suit | California sues Trump over fracking | Oversight finds EPA appointees slow-walked ethics obligations Oversight finds EPA political appointees slow-walked ethics obligations MORE (D-N.Y.), the chair of the committee, praised the inclusion of her bill, the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act, in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that’s awaiting a final vote in Congress.

“Providing this benefit is a significant investment in our future ­– the future of children, parents, families and our future as a nation,” she said at the hearing. “Paid leave yields better outcomes for productivity, health of parents and children, and long-term financial stability. It also contributes to closing the gender wage gap.”

Some Democrats are attempting to use the momentum from the NDAA deal to broaden paid family medical leave beyond government employees. 

Rep. Rosa DeLauroRosa Luisa DeLauroSome kids will spend Christmas in border cages On The Money: House approves Trump USMCA deal in bipartisan vote | Senate sends .4T spending bill to Trump's desk | Why budget watchdogs are howling over the spending deal House approves Trump's USMCA trade deal amid shadow of impeachment MORE (D-Conn.), who re-introduced the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act this year, gave testimony at the hearing, where she argued that broadening paid family and medical leave would help “elevate” middle- and working-class Americans.

“I am so glad that my colleagues on the other side support this in some form,” DeLauro said, referring to the defense policy bill.

She said Congress should provide leave benefits “not only for Senate staffers for House staffers and not only for members of Congress but for everyone in this country to provide them economic security.”