Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) have come up with a plan to help new families afford their family work leave after having a baby.
The United States is one of the few developed countries in the world that does not have some form of paid family leave for new parents following an addition to their family.
In their new proposal, called the Cradle Act, Lee and Ernst proposed allowing young parents to tap into the money they’ve already paid into social security for several weeks of income while they bond with their newborn.
The two senators explained their bill during an interview on “CBS This Morning.”
The "Cradle Act" would allow new parents to use Social Security savings to pay for time off after birth/adoption. Users would then delay their retirement to pay the money back.
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) March 12, 2019
“I think most people would look at this as an opportunity they might not otherwise have,” said Sen. Lee. “An opportunity to benefit from payments they’ve been making already for years.”
Ernst explained that she believes it is time for American families to see the same benefits that young families are seeing in other developed countries around the globe.
“We’ve decided now is the time to step up and really do something about this,” said Ernst. “We think it’s time to catch up to other countries.”
The proposal would ensure that families have the money needed in those weeks following the birth of the child. In return, the parents would delay their acceptance of social security when they retire. The Independent Women’s Forum argues that the proposal would be budget-neutral.
This proposal closely mirrors the plan drafted by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) last year.
Along with Ernst and Lee, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Rubio have been involved in the discussion on paid leave, as well. Beyond the Senate, the White House has included paid family leave in their 2020 budget announced Monday. White House Advisor Ivanka Trump has been focusing on this issue since beginning her work in the executive branch.
While there seems to be widespread support from Republicans, the proposal does have some critics. A report from the Mercatus Center, a libertarian think tank at George Mason University, claimed that the Social Security system can’t afford this program.
The Cradle Act is being officially proposed as a draft on Tuesday afternoon. It remains unclear how much support the bill will receive in Congress.