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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 TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - COVID-19 fears surround Thanksgiving holiday Women set to take key roles in Biden administration New York expands Trump tax fraud investigations to include write-offs: report MORE, the president's daughter and adviser.

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rages against '60 Minutes' for interview with Krebs Cornyn spox: Neera Tanden has 'no chance' of being confirmed as Biden's OMB pick Pa. lawmaker was informed of positive coronavirus test while meeting with Trump: report 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 RubioVoters elected a record number of Black women to Congress this year — none were Republican Biden's Cabinet a battleground for future GOP White House hopefuls The Memo: GOP mulls its future after Trump MORE (Fla.) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyVoters elected a record number of Black women to Congress this year — none were Republican Congress set for chaotic year-end sprint Biden's Cabinet a battleground for future GOP White House hopefuls MORE (Utah) and Reps. Ann WagnerAnn Louise WagnerDemocrats projected to retain House majority Live updates: Democrats seek to extend House advantage Democrats seek wave to bolster House majority MORE (Mo.) and Dan CrenshawDaniel CrenshawFirst release from Fox News Books reaches No. 2 on Amazon top-seller list Overnight Defense: Trump orders troop drawdown in Afghanistan and Iraq | Key Republicans call Trump plan a 'mistake' Annual Wreaths Across America event at Arlington National Cemetery back on after backlash over cancellation 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 LeeMcConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surge Loeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus MORE (R-Utah) and Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstThe Memo: Trump plows ahead with efforts to overturn election More conservatives break with Trump over election claims Peggy Noonan: 'Bogus dispute' by Trump 'doing real damage' MORE (R-Iowa) have also put forth a similar paid parental leave proposal linked to Social Security. Sen. Bill CassidyBill CassidyMcConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surge As Biden administration ramps up, Trump legal effort drags on The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump OKs transition; Biden taps Treasury, State experience 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 GillibrandDemocratic senators urge Facebook to take action on anti-Muslim bigotry Social media responds to Harris making history: 'I feel like our ancestors are rejoicing' Ocasio-Cortez says she doesn't plan on 'staying in the House forever' 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.