Having rejected opportunities to work on bipartisan solutions with Republicans to expand access to paid leave and child care, Democrats want to put Washington in control of families’ child care decisions from cradle to grave, limiting choices for American families.
Ways and Means Committee Republican Leader Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) and top Republican on the Worker and Family Support subcommittee Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) held a GOP roundtable to highlight how Democrats’ plan for massive government-run paid leave and child care entitlement programs will fail America’s working families and harm Main Street businesses.
Opening the roundtable, Rep. Brady said:
“Even if progressives’ Universal Paid Medical and Family Leave program doesn’t make it into the final package, Democrats will stop at nothing to hook a whole new generation of struggling Americans on government dependency.
“It’s no surprise either. Last week’s economic report was simply awful. If you take out businesses’ building up inventories, which is very temporary, our economic growth the last three months was effectively zero. And a lot of Americans are questioning the President’s competence in healing our economy.
“And there’s no doubt we will continue to see damage done by the policies that we see coming up here in the October jobs report. President Biden is already 1 million jobs short of the promises he made from the last COVID stimulus.”
Rep. Walorski said:
“Democrats want to spend billions of dollars on government-run paid leave and child care that puts Washington in the driver’s seat, not parents.
“These top-down solutions never live up to their lofty promises and leave the people they’re intended to help behind while taxpayers are stuck with the bill.
“Democrats rejected an opportunity to work with Republicans on common sense solutions in favor of a short-sighted partisan approach that included zero Republican input or collaboration.”
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CLICK HERE to read Rep. Brady and Rep. Walorski’s full opening remarks.
- In what would be the largest expansion of the welfare state in our lifetime, Democrats want to create a welfare-without-work Universal Paid Medical and Family Leave program that keeps people in poverty and hooks a new generation on government dependency.
- Democrats’ benefits are untargeted. A new parent earning as much as $250,000 a year could be eligible for more than $1,000 a week for 12 weeks every year while the neediest families are left behind.
- Republicans have better solutions. The Republican Protecting Worker Paychecks and Family Choice Act, introduced in May 2021, would provide greater flexibility to parents while focusing the greatest benefits on low-wage workers.
- Republican tax reform helped strengthen families’ financial security and encouraged work by doubling the Child Tax Credit and securing the Family and Medical Leave Tax Credit. Democrats have rejected bipartisan collaboration in favor of a shortsighted, one-size-fits all approach.
Rep. Brady’s full remarks as prepared for delivery appear below.
Good morning – and thank you all for joining us. Thank you to Congresswoman Walorski for leading this roundtable discussion with me today.
I also want to thank our guests for being here today and for their testimony.
I know there is still a lot of arm twisting and member-wrangling taking place in Washington this week, as House Democrats race to ram through a multi-trillion tax and spend plan.
Even if progressives’ Universal Paid Medical and Family Leave program doesn’t make it into the final package, Democrats will stop at nothing to hook a whole new generation of struggling Americans on government dependency.
It’s no surprise either. Last week’s economic report was simply awful. If you take out businesses’ building up inventories, which is very temporary, our economic growth the last three months was effectively zero. And a lot of Americans are questioning the Presidents’ competence in healing our economy.
And there’s no doubt we will continue to see damage done by the policies that we see coming up here in the October jobs report. President Biden is already 1 million jobs short of the promises he made from the last COVID stimulus.
Now, I worry – I think much of America does – Democrats seek to make it worse by putting the IRS in charge of your time off, creating a new child care guarantee that will drive up costs for parents. Democrats’ path will leave you with lower paychecks for life, less choice, fewer jobs, and greater hardships.
Like the Democrats’ expanded Child Tax Credit, these benefits are untargeted.
A new parent earning as much as a quarter of a million dollars a year could be eligible for more than $1,000 a week for 12 weeks every year, while the neediest families are left behind.
How does it make any sense for a two-earner household making half a million dollars to be eligible for up to $28,000 in paid leave benefits – every year? Meanwhile, there is no minimum benefit for low-wage workers.
Not only do these entitlements have little connection to work and prioritize rich over poor, they will also hurt small businesses who are trying to recover from the pandemic.
Democrats’ universal paid family and medical leave only requires workers to provide a meager 7-days notice of leave. That will be a terrible burden on small businesses.
Unbelievably, taxpayers will now pick up 90 percent of the cost of paid leave for the biggest corporations who today pay for the benefit for their own workers.
Working families deserve access to paid leave and child care tailored to their needs, not Washington’s.
This why Republicans have introduced the Protecting Worker Paychecks and Family Choice Act.
Our bill would provide greater flexibility to parents while focusing the greatest benefits on low-wage workers.
While Democrats’ one-size-fits all socialist solution gives Washington control, the Republican approach to child care and paid leave puts families and Main Street businesses first.
Republicans, as you may know, created the first ever national policy on paid family and medical leave by creating the Family and Medical Leave Tax Credit.
Local businesses are able to utilize this credit to offer workers up to 12 weeks of paid leave, for family related matters or medical reasons.
And in 2017, Republican tax reform doubled the Child Tax Credit and expanded it to many more families.
Back in 2019 almost 40 million families benefited from this credit, receiving an average $2,200 per family.
In fact, we know that Republican tax reform worked for working families and working mothers.
Before the pandemic, wages rose at a faster rate than ever before while unemployment rate for working mothers hit a 66 year low
The bottom line is this: Republicans believe in a paid family leave policy that has real benefits for families and small business.
We urge our Democrat colleagues to work with us to address the real challenges families are facing and find the right way to help Americans better balance work and family.
Rep. Walorski’s opening remarks as prepared for delivery appear below.
Good morning and welcome. I want to thank everyone for joining us for today’s roundtable on Democrat proposals to enact massive government-run paid leave and child care entitlement programs that will fail America’s working families
Democrats want to spend billions on government-run paid leave and child care that puts Washington in the driver’s seat, not parents. These top-down “solutions” never live up to their lofty promises and leave the people they are intended to help behind, while taxpayers are stuck with the bill. .
I want to be very clear about what’s happened here. Democrats rejected an opportunity to work with Republicans on commonsense solutions in favor of a shortsighted partisan approach that included zero Republican input or collaboration.
Republicans on this Committee have been focused on smart pro-family, pro-growth policies that enhance access to both child care and paid leave benefits for years.
As the party that is proudly “pro-life,” we understand that working parents must have the support they need to grow a healthy and thriving family.
In May, Republicans put forward in good faith a commonsense alternative to Democrat’s one-size-fits all big-government program with flexible solutions that working families can count on.
Our bill, put together jointly with Republican members of the Education and Labor Committee, would provide a more targeted and flexible approach to child care and family leave benefits that would better suit families and job-creators’ needs.
The discussion draft included a comprehensive package of proposals that put families first and would keep small businesses on the path of rebuilding the economy.
Instead of working with Republicans to create lasting solutions, Democrats want to create massive new entitlements and Washington mandates on local businesses. I don’t expect Democrats to give up their big-government approach or their rejection of bipartisanship.
House Democrats’ paid leave plan was flawed from the start. It put the IRS in control of family policy, benefits weren’t targeted, it was ripe for fraud by allowing self-attestation, it disconnected workers from employers, and it would pick up 90 percent of the costs for large employers who today already pay for workers’ benefits.
President Biden’s own Treasury Department rejected the House proposal saying that it, “does not have the internal expertise to stand-up a permanent benefit entitlement program.”
There are better ways to support workers when they need time off from work without upending the existing employment and benefits arrangement of every single working American.
Even worse, Democrat’s child care plan will crush the middle class with higher costs by imposing federal mandates and new regulations on providers. According to left-leaning analysis, unsubsidized child care costs will spike by $13,082 per year for earners above the state median income.
At the same time, families that either do not choose, or are unable to find, a government-approved subsidized child care provider, including faith-based religious providers, would be left with few options.
Democrats went out of their way to expressly prohibit religious child care providers from receiving funds and unanimously rejected an amendment to allow all high-quality child care providers to be eligible for grants, including faith-based providers. Where is this animosity against the faith community coming from?
Working families need good jobs and growing paychecks, not tax hikes, government run paid leave and nationalized child care. We know small businesses want to provide benefits to their workers – but, the last thing employers and families need in the post-COVID world is new mandates from Washington.