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Could We Have Paid Family Leave?

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The answer is almost certainly no because Republicans hate working families. But the overturning of Roe has at least led a few Republicans to take their rhetoric about family values seriously, so there’s a little bit of an effort to create a bipartisan family leave bill.

A bipartisan group of House members, led by Reps. Stephanie I. Bice (R-Okla.) and Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.), are hoping to defy the odds and move the country closer to a national paid leave program.

“When you find somebody across the aisle who doesn’t dismiss you out of hand, then that’s a treasure, you know, that’s somebody to hold on to. And so I think that that’s kind of how we found each other on this,” Houlahan said of Bice.

Next week Houlahan and Bice will announce the formation of a new task force that will also include Reps. Julia Letlow (R-La.), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa), Haley Stevens (D-Mich.) and Colin Allred (D-Tex.).

Letlow, the first Republican woman elected to Congress from Louisiana and a mother of two young children, whose husband died of covid in 2020 just days before being sworn into office, was invited by Bice, as was Miller-Meeks. Allred has had two children since he was elected to Congress and has taken two parental leaves. 

The group will hold their first meeting Feb. 7, hours before President Biden delivers his State of the Union address.

With House Republicans focused on spending cuts and shrinking the government, passing significant paid leave legislation is a daunting task.

“Of course I worry about that,” Houlahan said.

Houlahan and Bice said they are under no illusions about how hard enacting any paid leave legislation will be. So far they have no firm goals and are reluctant to talk about what they’d like to see as the end product of their working group. 

They will study past efforts and the success of state programs. Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have passed paid family leave laws, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center.

I will believe it when I see it. However, one thing that is as annoying as this nation not having paid family leave is the way that Politico style boldface in political reporting has affected other outlets. So maybe we have to deal with that hell first.

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