As the country processed the fall of Roe v. Wade, a few dozen GOP congressional staffers crammed into the second floor of the Monocle, a steak and seafood restaurant a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol. Over a buffet lunch, they listened to Samuel Hammond, an outside adviser to Sen. Mitt Romney, argue that Republicans have a heightened obligation to expand financial support for families now that abortion rights are no longer guaranteed nationwide.
Hammond, a Canadian policy analyst who received government benefits when his father took a few years off to be a stay-at-home dad, pitched a proposal by Romney (R-Utah) to send monthly checks of $250 per child to millions of American parents. “Pro-life conservatives now have an obligation to address the financial insecurities associated with childbirth and parenthood,” Hammond told the July 1 gathering.
But the 30-minute pitch appeared to find few takers. One staffer asked Hammond about the political viability of Romney’s plan, which has won support from only two other GOP senators. (The proposal is similar to President Biden’s expanded child tax credit, which expired last year amid united Republican opposition.) Another asked whether the federal government hadn’t sent enough cash to families during the pandemic.
Some influential antiabortion and religious groups, like Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, have endorsed measures like Romney’s, arguing that the government now has a greater obligation to provide material support to families. Calls for action may intensify since Kansas voters last week overwhelmingly defeated an effort to strip away their state’s abortion protections, highlighting the possible political danger the issue holds for the GOP with midterm elections looming.
So far, however, those calls largely have been ignored by party leaders. GOP aides and conservative policy analysts are skeptical that the Supreme Court decision will produce a meaningful shift in the party’s stance on federal family benefits. Republicans have mostly opposed Democrats’ efforts to create new social programs for the last century. Meanwhile, one of their central economic policy goals — cutting federal taxes — is at odds with an expanded safety net.
As inflation has spiked over the past year, GOP leaders have ramped up attacks on federal spending, making the party even less likely to propose new benefits. Republicans have roundly rejected Biden’s proposals to expand child care, prekindergarten, national paid family leave — all measures designed specifically to ease the burden of raising young children.
And here I thought the GOP was actually pro-family unlike those libs! Oh wait I get it. The GOP would totally have endorsed caps on insulin prices if only Democrats would send transgender kids to concentration camps. Good job Dems!