Senate panel to hold hearing on paid family leave
A Senate panel will hold a hearing next week on paid family leave — an issue that has become a priority for some lawmakers in both parties as well as for the president’s daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump.
Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) are both expected to testify at the hearing, which will be held July 11 by the Social Security, Pensions and Family Policy subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee. The two senators have been leading voices on paid family leave in their respective parties.
Gillibrand has offered a bill, co-sponsored by most other Senate Democrats, that would increase payroll taxes to fund 12 weeks of paid family leave. Workers would receive up to two-thirds of their wages while on the leave.
Ernst, along with Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), have been considering a proposal by the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) that would allow people to receive paid family leave in the form of early Social Security benefits, in exchange for deferring collection of Social Security retirement benefits.
Under IWF’s proposal, workers making an average wage would be paid about 45 percent of wages while on leave.
The hearing comes as Ivanka Trump has been meeting with lawmakers to discuss the issue. President Trump called for “supporting paid family leave” in his State of the Union address earlier this year, though he did not get into specifics.
The hearing also follows the passage of Republicans’ tax-cut law, which provides a tax credit for businesses that offer paid family leave.
“I am looking forward to a productive discussion about how we can build upon these efforts and give parents the workplace flexibility they need to raise a family,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), chairman of the subcommittee holding the hearing. Cassidy met with Ivanka Trump to discuss the topic in January.
Andrew Biggs, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and Vicki Shabo, vice president for workplace policies and strategies at the National Partnership for Women & Families, are also scheduled to testify at the hearing.
Axios first reported on the hearing.
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