“There’s a growing desire in the Republican conference in the Senate and House to address the fundamental fact that there are people in America who have decided they can’t afford to have children because they can’t get a month off of work and not get paid,” Rubio said.
Trump has focused her efforts on making child care more affordable. She pushed her father’s administration to include $19 billion in its budget to pay for a national family leave program even as it slashes trillions of dollars in spending on other social safety net programs. The proposal would have been administered through local unemployment offices, and states would be responsible for determining benefit levels. But an administration official estimated they would average $343 per week.
A federally funded paid leave program has long been a dream of Democrats, though they have criticized the first daughter’s approach for not going far enough.
“As outlined in his budget, President Trump’s paid parental leave proposal threatens to leave out the very workers who need access to robust, comprehensive paid leave benefits the most,” said Sunny Frothingham, senior researcher for Women’s Economic Policy at the Center for Economic Policy, in a statement this month. “Worse, the proposal threatens to put additional strain on an already-underfunded UI system, potentially pitting unemployed jobseekers against new parents.”
On the other hand, Republicans are no fans of using federal dollars to fund family leave. During his presidential campaign, Rubio derided that strategy as an “outdated, costly federal mandate.” Instead, he proposed giving employers who offered at least four weeks of paid family leave a 25 percent tax credit. The credit was capped at 12 weeks and $4,000 per employee annually.
No Democrats attended Tuesday’s meeting on Capitol Hill. But Ivanka Trump previously met with both liberal and conservative think tanks to hear alternatives to her approach. She has also had dinner with female CEOs about this issue and signaled that she is open to revising her position.