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.

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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.

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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.