In the spirit of giving, I would like to offer President Trump credit where credit is due.
Recently, President Trump hosted the, “The White House Summit on Child Care and Paid Leave: Supporting America’s Working Families.” The focus of the summit was to discuss a path forward on paid leave and childcare for American families. Even in our politically toxic nation’s capital, this event should be celebrated.
A few short years ago, it would have been unthinkable that members of Congress from both sides of the aisle would be credibly discussing new and innovative ways to offer relief to new parents as they welcome a new child into their family.
Luckily times have changed and last week, President Trump welcomed governors, members of Congress and activists from around the country to discuss solutions that will help families balance raising their children with their work responsibilities. Ms. Ivanka Trump, a mother of three young children, deserves credit as well, for persistently focusing upon these issues regardless of whatever else is swirling around in Washington.
There were members (Democratic and Republican) of the U.S House of Representatives sitting side by side and discussing the need for parents to have flexibility and financial support during this time. One member of Congress is a tried and true leader in the effort to offer support to American families. I know this firsthand, because Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO) was my boss sixteen years ago when I was pregnant with my first child. Our organization didn’t have a maternity leave policy, until Ann made sure it did.
Congresswoman Wagner remains a crusader on this issue: Her current bill, The New Parents Act, creates a voluntary option for paid parental leave by allowing parents to use a portion of their social security after the birth or adoption of a child. Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), a cosponsor of the bill and a partner in this effort, spoke about the importance of flexibility being given to new families as they make choices that work for them.
Congressman Colin Allred (D-TX) advocated for his bipartisan legislation, The Advancing Support for Working Families Act, which allows families the option to advance up to $5,000 of their recently doubled child tax credit in the first year of a child’s life. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) is his cosponsor on this legislation and their partnership is a good example of bipartisan collaboration in the U.S. House.
There is strong support for progress on this issue within the United States Senate as well. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) discussed her current legislation, The Child Rearing and Development Leave Empowerment (CRADLE) Act, a budget neutral approach that would allow parents to take time off work by drawing on their retirement benefits early. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) is a cosponsor of the bill. There are similar bills in the Senate sponsored by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senator Mitch Romney (R-UT).
Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) discussed his bipartisan bill that would allow an advancement of the child tax credit up to $5,000 to help families during this time. His co-sponsor is Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), which in this highly partisan time is noteworthy.
With so much going wrong in Washington, and partisanship casting a shadow on everything–from impeachment to coverage of Christmas decorations–it’s more important than ever to recognize and celebrate what’s going right, and that’s certainly the case with the constructive, open, innovative conversations that are happening on these important issues.