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GOP lawmakers offer paid parental leave legislation linked to Social Security

A group of Republicans on Wednesday introduced legislation that would allow people to pull forward some of their Social Security benefits to use for paid parental leave — the latest effort from Republicans on paid leave in recent weeks.

Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenate votes to repeal OCC 'true lender' rule Democrats cool on Crist's latest bid for Florida governor Tim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls MORE (R-Fla.) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP Top female GOP senator compares Cheney ousting to 'cancel culture' Romney: Removing Cheney from House leadership will cost GOP election votes MORE (R-Utah) introduced legislation in the Senate, while Reps. Ann WagnerAnn Louise WagnerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - House GOP drama intensifies; BIden sets new vax goal Gender politics hound GOP in Cheney drama The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Can Cheney defy the odds and survive again? MORE (R-Mo.) and Dan CrenshawDaniel CrenshawCrenshaw makes first appearance at hearing since eye surgery Crenshaw 'hopeful' but not 'out of the woods' after eye surgery GOP Rep. Crenshaw to take leave due to eye surgery MORE (R-Texas) offered a companion bill in the House.

"Our proposal would enact paid family leave in America without increasing taxes, without placing new mandates on small businesses," Rubio said in a news conference.

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Under the legislation, new parents would have the option to get early Social Security benefits for up to three months to finance paid parental leave. A fact sheet from Rubio and Romney said most parents below the median household income would be able to receive a benefit that would replace about two-thirds of their wages.

In exchange for receiving the paid parental leave benefit, people would either have to increase their Social Security retirement age by several months or get a reduction in their monthly Social Security benefits for the first five years of their retirements.

The legislation comes amid a renewed push for paid family leave from policymakers on both sides of the aisle, though Republicans and Democrats are taking different approaches in their proposals.

Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGOP governor says Republican Party has to allow for differences Republicans urge probe into Amazon government cloud-computing bid: report Allowing a racist slur against Tim Scott to trend confirms social media's activist bias MORE (R-Utah) and Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstGraham warns about trying to 'drive' Trump from GOP: 'Half the people will leave' The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate braces for daylong brawl on elections bill Top female GOP senator compares Cheney ousting to 'cancel culture' MORE (R-Iowa) rolled out a proposal earlier this month that is similar to the new GOP bill. The draft legislation from Lee and Ernst would allow new parents to receive up to three months of paid parental leave in exchange for delaying collecting Social Security benefits by up to six months when they retire.

Additionally, Lee, Ernst, Rubio and Sen. Bill CassidyBill CassidyUtah county GOP censures Romney over Trump impeachment vote Amazon blocks 10B listings in crackdown on counterfeits Cassidy on pipeline cyberattack: Congress must equip businesses with defenses against incursions MORE (R-La.) last month met with Ivanka TrumpIvanka TrumpMelinda Gates tapped divorce lawyers in 2019 after Epstein links to husband: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Facebook upholds Trump ban; GOP leaders back Stefanik to replace Cheney Ivanka Trump doubles down on vaccine push with post celebrating second shot MORE, the president's daughter and adviser, to discuss paid family leave.

Republican proposals to link paid parental leave and Social Security are inspired by a proposal from the conservative Independent Women's Forum (IWF), which praised the legislation offered Wednesday.

"It expands access to paid parental leave in a fiscally responsible, fair, and flexible way," IWF President Carrie Lukas said in a statement. "It would modernize an existing government program that workers already pay into to allow them early access to benefits they’ve already earned."

Meanwhile, Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandAustin tight lipped on whether to take sexual assault cases out of commanders' hands Gillibrand touts legislation to lower drug costs: This idea 'is deeply bipartisan' A bipartisan effort to prevent the scourge of sexual assault in the armed forces MORE (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats reintroduced their own paid family leave bill last month, which would allow people to take paid family and medical leave for up to 12 weeks and would be paid for through small increases in payroll taxes.

Supporters of Gillibrand's bill have criticized GOP proposals, arguing that people shouldn't feel like they have to choose between paid leave and receiving Social Security when they retire. They've also criticized Republican proposals for focusing solely on parental leave without also providing a benefit for people caring for a sick family member or dealing with their own illness.

"There is clear bipartisan agreement that we have a paid leave problem, but proposals like this fall far short of the policy solutions we need," said Brianna Cayo Cotter, chief of staff for Paid Leave for the United States.