WASHINGTON — Lawmakers said they don’t want moms and dads to have to choose between having a family and having a career.
A House committee is looking at several legislative proposals that would close the gaps in paid parental leave for federal workers, and create a national paid family leave benefit.
Missouri Republican Congresswoman Ann Wagner said as a mom and a grandma, she knows the joy and stress a newborn can be on parents.
“Along with rent and groceries, parents are now paying for medical bills, diapers, car seats,” Wagner said.
Wagner told her colleagues in the House ways and means committee that working parents need to be able to raise their child without the fear of losing their career.
“The last thing a new parents should have to worry about is whether one is going to lose a job or miss a paycheck,” Wagner said.
Wagner said under the current family and Medical Leave Act, workers have the option to take time off but choose not to because they can’t afford it.
Wagner said her bill, the “New Parents Act” would give parents the option to use a portion of their social security after the birth or adoption of a child.
“I think it could really be called punished leave because it does punish working Americans for using paid leave by cutting social security,” U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett said.
Doggett said instead Congress should consider the Democrats “Family Act”. It would raise taxes to make sure every worker has access to 12 weeks of paid leave.
“I believe it will provide the compensation we need,” Doggett said.
But Texas Republican Kevin Brady said raising taxes would hurt families.
“Americans deserve a paid family leave plan that helps families and small businesses, not a one size fits all Washington mandate,” Brady said
Brady said the federal government should get out of the way, and let employers and employees to work together to create a solution that works for them.