WASHINGTON, D.C. – Top Republican on the Ways and Means Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) opened today’s hearing on Paid Leave and Child Care highlighting Republicans’ new “Protecting Worker Paychecks and Family Choice Act”. Working American families deserve better than Democrats’ top-down solution to paid leave and child care.
Rep. Walorski said, “The last thing we need in the post-COVID world is tax hikes, job-killing mandates, government-run paid leave, and nationalized child care. These are not the solutions working families deserve.”
Watch Rep. Walorski’s opening statement here.
- Ways and Means Republicans today proposed a draft of the “Protecting Worker Paychecks and Family Choice Act,” which provides solutions and flexibility for working families tailored to their needs
- Democrats’ top-down approach to child care puts Washington in control of workers’ and families’ benefits and permanently cuts paychecks.
- Republican tax reform strengthened America’s working families and promote a path out of poverty by doubling the Child Tax Credit and offering a new Family and Medical Leave Tax Credit.
Rep. Walorski’s full opening remarks as prepared appear below.
Thank you, Chairman Davis. And thank you to all of our witnesses for joining us today.
Republicans are ready to work with Democrats to find common ground on an issue everyone can agree on – improving the lives of working families.
Both sides agree we need smart pro-family, pro-growth policies that improve access to both child care and paid leave benefits. We all know working families face many obstacles when balancing the demands of work with their needs at home. The question is how we solve these challenges.
Chairman Neal’s proposal, the “Building an Economy for Families Act,” is the right intention but the wrong direction for working families and for this country. Democrats’ vision for paid family and medical leave is a one-size-fits-all federal program that treats every worker and family’s situation the same while making the IRS their benefits manager.
The bill also includes massive new spending for child care with no regard for the $50 billion that was just invested. To justify this new child care spending, Democrats are bending over backwards to push the narrative that lack of child care, not prolonged unemployment benefits, is the driving force behind the worker shortage that is threatening our economic recovery.
This is simply not the case.
A new study by the former Chair of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers found that child care challenges are not the driver of continuing low employment levels, and that quote: “differential job loss among parents, or even mothers specifically, accounts for a negligible share of aggregate job loss.”
In fact, overall, employment rates among parents of young children have declined by 4.5 percent, compared with a 5.2 percent decline among those who are not parents of young children.
Mr. Chairman I ask unanimous consent to submit this study from the Peterson Institute for International Economics for the record.
Working families need good jobs, growing paychecks, access to affordable child care, and paid leave that works for them.
Small businesses want to provide benefits that help their workers thrive.
But the last thing we need in the post-COVID world is tax hikes, job-killing mandates, government-run paid leave, and nationalized child care. These are not the solutions working families deserve.
That is why today, Committee Republicans released a commonsense alternative with flexible solutions that working families can count on.
Our discussion draft, the “Protecting Worker Paychecks and Family Choice Act,” would ensure more Americans have access to family leave and child care that meets their needs, and flexibility that suits their workplaces.
Republicans created paid family and medical leave benefits in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act—our discussion draft expands this to be more inclusive for small employers, improves flexibility for families using dependent care flexible spending accounts, creates new family savings accounts, and paves the way for pooling and cost sharing for small business—all of which strengthen choice and lower costs.
Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, under our proposal, parents get to choose the child care that best fits their children’s needs and targets existing funding to states with higher concentrations of children in poverty.
Finally, our proposal expands access to child care and paid leave by targeting where we know there are gaps in coverage, including low-income families and low-wage workers who are least likely to receive paid leave benefits through their employers. And it empowers job creators by relying on proven policies that give workers in the 21st century flexibility at their jobs.
It would be foolish for us not to recognize the gains families achieved in the strong pre-COVID economy under the Trump administration. Restoring that tremendous economic growth will be critical to addressing these issues.
A strong job market supports wage growth, drives competition, and leads businesses of all sizes to offer more generous benefit packages to attract and retain workers – including with programs like paid family leave and child care.
These are important parts of the broad spectrum of solutions needed to support America’s families in raising the next generation.
Mr. Chairman, I’m proud of our record of working together on important policies, and I can think of few things more important than supporting American families.
Members of this Committee have an opportunity to work together to make it easier to balance the competing demands of work and family life.
The “Protecting Worker Paychecks and Family Choice Act” is a sound place to start. If we do it right, we can allow moms and dads to pursue their careers while building strong and thriving families.
With that, I yield back.