Republicans offer 'free market alternative' to paid family leave

House Republicans on Tuesday introduced legislation that they say would provide a “free market alternative” to paid family leave proposals.

The Freedom for Families Act — introduced by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and co-sponsored by 12 Republicans — would allow individuals to use health savings accounts (HSAs) to cover expenses while on leave following a birth, adoption or family member's illness.


The bill would expand the scope of who can obtain an HSA and increase the annual contribution limit. It also would allow employers to make pretax contributions into employee accounts for the purposes of paid leave.

“Families already use health savings accounts to save for healthcare expenses. There is no reason why families should not have the freedom to access those funds to pay expenses during family leave for a child’s birth, adoption, or a family illness,” Biggs said in a statement to The Hill. “This proposal provides financial security for families during family leave without new taxes or new federal burdens on employers.”

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The GOP bill comes on the heels of a measure introduced by House Democrats that would guarantee federal employees 12 weeks of paid family leave.

Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTensions swirl around Iran as administration to brief Congress Tensions swirl around Iran as administration to brief Congress Ending the Cyprus arms embargo will increase tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean MORE (R-Fla.) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — McConnell, Kaine offer bill to raise tobacco buying age to 21 | Measles outbreak spreads to 24 states | Pro-ObamaCare group launches ad blitz to protect Dems Dem senator: Many Republicans 'privately expressed concerns' about Mueller findings Romney expresses opposition to Alabama abortion ban MORE (R-Utah) recently unveiled a measure that would allow parents to utilize a portion of their future Social Security benefits to finance family leave. A companion bill was introduced by Reps. Ann WagnerAnn Louise WagnerRepublicans offer 'free market alternative' to paid family leave Top GOP lawmaker moves to force floor vote on abortion bill This week: Senate GOP prepares to change rules on Trump nominees MORE (R-Mo.) and Dan CrenshawDaniel CrenshawThirty-four GOP members buck Trump on disaster bill Behar clashes with Dan Crenshaw on Trump's Charlottesville comments Trump says New York Times should apologize for more than 'terrible Anti-Semitic Cartoon' MORE (R-Texas) in the House.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhat the Mueller report tells us about Putin, Russia and Trump's election Fox's Brit Hume fires back at Trump's criticism of the channel Anti-US trade war song going viral in China MORE’s budget proposal for 2020 calls for six weeks of paid parental leave, and a handful of states already have paid family-leave programs on the books.