Top Republican on the Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) spoke out against Democrats’ crippling $3.5 trillion tax hike and spending package noting that Democrats’ dangerous expansion of the welfare state will give Washington more control over Americans’ family decisions.
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- Democrats’ top-down approach puts Washington in control of workers’ benefits and permanently lowers paychecks for life. Democrats are pushing a partisan bill that promotes “Welfare Without Work” at a cost of over 451,000 jobs and puts the IRS in charge of families’ paid leave.
- Republicans have a record of delivering results for working families. 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.
- There is a better way. The Protecting Worker Paychecks and Family Choice Actincreases access to paid family and medical leave and affordable child care.
Rep. Walorski’s full remarks as prepared appear below.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
As we speak – we do not know how many of our fellow Americans are trapped behind enemy lines in Afghanistan. In recent weeks, the Biden Administration has abandoned these Americans and entrusted their lives to the mercy of the Taliban. As the president leans on the goodwill of brutal terrorists to allow them to leave, we have an obligation to the families of American hostages to get them home safely.
Instead of focusing on oversight of the Biden Administration’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan or saving American citizens, we’re here to give this inept administration $3.5 trillion dollars for the biggest entitlement expansion in a generation. This big-government wish list reveals the most urgent priorities of the Majority and the White House – leaving Americans behind and bankrolling socialist programs with taxpayer dollars.
As we often discuss, assisting working families who are struggling with challenges – like affording child care or caring for a newborn child or sick family member – is critical to building strong families and a stronger country.
Republicans and Democrats agree on the importance of ensuring that people have a pathway to achieve the American Dream.
The biggest question is whether we need new massive federal entitlement programs. And the answer is we don’t.
In April, Mr. Chairman, you sent a letter to Ranking Member Brady outlining plans to put together a proposal to tackle the issue of paid family and medical leave and child care.
Your letter said, “We invite you and your members to bring forward your proposals… There is strong bipartisan agreement that the current status of working families is untenable… We look forward to continuing this committees’ history of bipartisan collaboration”.
Mr. Chairman, I’d like to ask Unanimous Consent to submit this letter for the record.
As Ranking Member of the Worker and Family Support Subcommittee, I was particularly encouraged by this outreach.
In May, Ways and Means Republicans, alongside Republicans on the Education and Labor Committee, released a discussion draft called the Protecting Worker Paychecks and Family Choice Act.
Rather than take a one-size-fits-all approach, our draft includes a comprehensive set of proposals to expand access to paid family and medical leave and child care.
Our draft contains 15 different proposals that build on what’s already working and target resources where we know there are gaps in coverage and lack of access.
To my great disappointment, these proposals were met with resounding silence from my Democrat colleagues.
Instead, the Majority has chosen radical, left-wing politics over commonsense solutions that put the American people in control.
Five months later, we are considering the largest new entitlement program in a generation, on the scale of Medicare, at a cost of over half a trillion dollars. This bill includes zero Republican input or bipartisan collaboration.
Instead of doing the hard work of sitting down to discuss compromise and build consensus, Democrats are using a lazy, partisan budgetary tool that dismisses dissent and willfully ignores Republican proposals on the table.
This bill is the wrong direction for working families and the wrong direction for this country.
As we’ve learned too often, Democrats’ expensive policies that promise Americans so-called “free benefits” come with serious tradeoffs and consequences, including higher taxes, fewer jobs, more debt, and increased government dependency.
Right now, Democrats want to give Washington more control over how Americans live, work, and make decisions for their families from cradle to grave.
The Achilles’ heal of this grand plan, is that this hurried, partisan approach has resulted in a poorly designed program. It is so bad that even the most radical Democrat lawmakers should take a second look.
Ways and Means Democrats have put together a program that:
- Puts the IRS in charge of paid leave benefits for everyday Americans. Treasury itself has admitted it is unprepared to take on the program.
- The bill poorly targets benefits. It allows two-parent households with dual earners making up to $500,000 to claim benefits up to $30,000 per year. At the same time, it provides no minimum benefit for low-wage workers.
- The program is ripe for fraud, with lax requirements that rely heavily on self-certification and self-attestation.
- The bill fails to consider the realities of small business. By allowing workers to provide merely seven days’ notice before taking leave, employers would be left hanging and workers would be left without job protections.
- Finally, the bill transfers liability for pricey employer-sponsored paid leave plans to middle-class workers by subsidizing up to 90% of the costs of what employers themselves are already paying for. Why would we ask middle-class workers to pay for Amazon’s generous benefits policies?
Is this really the paid family leave program Democrats were dreaming of?
Democrats should hit the brakes. This proposal is not ready for prime time.
Instead, there is an opportunity to find common ground and craft a solution that will actually work for American families.
Unfortunately, Americans have already been burdened with the Democrats’ “inflation” tax imposed by reckless spending proposals. Now, they’re tripling down on their mistakes with a massive spending initiative that Americans simply can’t afford.
I oppose this Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute and encourage my colleagues to reject this reckless plan.
With that, I yield back.