Spotlight Exclusives

Senators Introduce First Bipartisan Paid Family Leave Proposal

Spotlight Staff Spotlight Staff, posted on

Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) are set to release the first bipartisan piece of paid leave legislation. The proposal allows parents to frontload a portion of their tax credits to cover the costs of caring for their child.

Cassidy and Sinema discussed their plan in an event hosted by the cochairs of the AEI-Brookings Working Group on Paid Family Leave Aparna Mathur and Isabel Sawhill and held at the American Enterprise Institute last week.

Under the terms of the proposal, parents can receive $5,000 up front with the birth or adoption of a child that would be offset by an adjusted child tax credit ($1,500 annually rather than the standard $2,000) over the next ten years. Cassidy highlighted the importance of “not making the perfect the enemy of the good” and trying to find common ground where there is a chance for passage. “It is a good solution,” he stated.

The Senators stressed the value of leave and the lack of current access in America, with Sinema noting that “42% of Arizona families don’t have access to any leave, paid or unpaid.” They also emphasized that the legislation would not touch Social Security or raise taxes.

In a discussion following the presentation, AEI’s Angela Rachidi noted her support for the general structure of the plan stating that it is “well targeted, limited in scope, and fiscally viable and sustainable.”

The AEI-Brookings Working Group has found a number of benefits to paid leave including improvements in children’s physical and cognitive health, more parity in parental involvement with children, and an increase in labor force participation. The Committee’s 2018 report recommended a medical leave program funded through a temporary disability program and reforms to Social Security Disability Insurance. The Committee could not reach agreement on paid family leave.

The official legislation from Sinema and Cassidy is set to be released this week. Sinema stated that they expect to see “robust support from people in both parties.”

« Back to Spotlight Exclusives