Liberal think tank: GOP paid parental leave proposals are too narrow

Liberal think tank: GOP paid parental leave proposals are too narrow
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The left-leaning Center for American Progress (CAP) issued a report Tuesday arguing that Republicans' paid leave proposals are too narrow because they only provide paid leave to new parents.

"Policymakers who promote these narrow proposals minimize the breadth and depth of families’ caregiving challenges and fail to respond to the needs of families when they experience a serious illness or injury," CAP's Diana Boesch wrote in the report. "For children and families to truly benefit under a paid leave policy, policymakers must ensure that workers have access to comprehensive paid family and medical leave."

The report comes as Republicans have shown a growing interest in pursuing paid parental leave legislation. The issue has been a top priority of Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpBiden praises Buttigieg for criticizing GOP attacks: 'That's a good man' Buttigieg knocks Trump as a 'walking conflict of interest' Stephen Miller defends Trump, accuses Democrats of 'witch hunt part two' MORE, the president's daughter and adviser.

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocratic senator rips Trump's 'let them fight' remarks: 'Enough is enough' Warren warns Facebook may help reelect Trump 'and profit off of it' Trump touts Turkey cease-fire: 'Sometimes you have to let them fight' MORE's budgets have called for at least six weeks of paid leave for parents after the birth or adoption of a child. A group of Republicans, including Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe On The Money: Senate fails to override Trump veto over border emergency | Trump resort to host G-7 next year | Senators to push Turkey sanctions despite ceasefire | McConnell tees up funding votes Senators vow to press Turkey sanctions bills despite Pence cease-fire announcement MORE (Fla.) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyPelosi, Schumer hit 'flailing' Trump over 'sham ceasefire' deal Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe On The Money: Senate fails to override Trump veto over border emergency | Trump resort to host G-7 next year | Senators to push Turkey sanctions despite ceasefire | McConnell tees up funding votes MORE (Utah) and Reps. Ann WagnerAnn Louise WagnerOn The Money: Tax, loan documents for Trump properties reportedly showed inconsistencies | Tensions flare as Dems hammer Trump consumer chief | Critics pounce as Facebook crypto project stumbles Tensions flare as Democrats urge consumer bureau to boost penalties Federal aid is reaching storm-damaged communities too late MORE (Mo.) and Dan CrenshawDaniel CrenshawGeorge Conway hits Republicans for not saying Trump's name while criticizing policy The absurdity of President Trump picking the Democratic nominee Missouri Republican wins annual craft brewing competition for lawmakers MORE (Texas), introduced legislation in March that would allow new parents to receive paid-leave benefits in the form of early Social Security benefits. In exchange, the new parents would have to increase their Social Security retirement age by three to six months per leave or receive a reduction in their Social Security benefits for the first five years of their retirements. 

Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe On The Money: Senate fails to override Trump veto over border emergency | Trump resort to host G-7 next year | Senators to push Turkey sanctions despite ceasefire | McConnell tees up funding votes Senate fails to override Trump veto over emergency declaration MORE (R-Utah) and Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstGOP cautions Graham against hauling Biden before Senate Farmers: New Trump ethanol proposal reneged on previous deal Overnight Energy: Farmers say EPA reneged on ethanol deal | EPA scrubs senators' quotes from controversial ethanol announcement | Perry unsure if he'll comply with subpoena | John Kerry criticizes lack of climate talk at debate MORE (R-Iowa) have also put forth a similar paid parental leave proposal linked to Social Security. Sen. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyUN Security Council to meet after Turkey launches Syria offensive Trump faces growing GOP revolt on Syria To win the federal paid family leave debate, allow states to lead the way MORE (R-La.) is also expected to offer a bipartisan paid-leave proposal in the near future with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), but has not provided many details about what the plan will look like.

Lee and Ernst said in a Q&A document that they focused their plan on paid parental leave because the future of Social Security depends on parents having children who become taxpaying adults. They also said that parental leave, unlike sick leave, is planned, making it easier to accurately calculate a federal benefit.

But CAP said it's important for paid-leave proposals to provide benefits for other leaves in addition to after the birth or adoption of a child.

The think tank analyzed data in a 2012 survey conducted for the Department of Labor and found that only about 18 percent of leaves under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in the preceding 12 months were to care for a new child, while most time people took was used either to care for their own illness or a family member's illness. The FMLA guarantees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave annually.

CAP also said that a paid-leave benefit that only helps new parents would "not benefit children whose parents and caregivers needed access to other types of leaves."

CAP's analysis of the 2012 survey found that more than half of leaves taken under the FMLA were taken by workers who were caring for children. Only about one-third of those leaves were to care for a new child.

Additionally, the analysis of the 2012 survey found that about 28 percent of leaves taken to care for a relative were taken to care for a child.

"Only a comprehensive paid family and medical leave policy would ensure that children can be cared for when they have serious illnesses or injuries, or when their parent or caregiver has a serious medical condition," the report stated.

While CAP's report was critical of GOP proposals focused on benefits for new parents, the report was positive about legislation introduced by Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — House passes resolution rebuking Trump over Syria | Sparks fly at White House meeting on Syria | Dems say Trump called Pelosi a 'third-rate politician' | Trump, Graham trade jabs Senate confirms Trump's Air Force secretary pick Lobbying world MORE (D-N.Y.), known as the FAMILY Act, that would provide paid leave to workers to care for a new child, their own illness and family members with illnesses.

Gillibrand is running for president, and several other presidential candidates also back her proposal. Gillibrand's bill would be paid for through a small increase in payroll taxes.

"Only a comprehensive paid family and medical leave proposal, such as the FAMILY Act, will provide a real solution for workers, children, and families," CAP wrote.