Florida Senator Marco Rubio is working with Ivanka Trump to craft a paid family leave plan that will be appealing to fellow Republicans, according to a report from Politico.
According to Rubio, a Republican-friendly paid family leave bill would neither raise taxes nor impose requirements on businesses to provide leave. Though Rubio and Trump’s paid family leave plan is still in its early stages, Rubio laid out the potential legislation’s outlines for Politico. Instead of mandating leave, Rubio’s plan would allow workers to draw from Social Security early and then later delay the benefit when they become eligible. Politico explains:
For instance, a person who would begin receiving full benefits when he or she turns 67 years old but wants to take six weeks of paid leave wouldn’t draw Social Security checks until six weeks after his or her 67th birthday.
The goal, Rubio said, is to turn Republicans toward a policy that they still “identify it as something that comes out of the left.”
The plan has apparently been pitched to Trump, who controversially touted paid family leave during her father’s campaign. Rubio has exchanged emails with Trump and Republican Senator Mike Lee (Utah) has reportedly pitched the Social Security-backed leave to her. Politico reports that she “gave it a warm reception.”
Though the White House is entertaining other ideas—Ivanka Trump is reportedly working on her own family leave plan—Rubio and Trump have been the most visible Republicans on the issue. In June 2017, the two paired up to work on a child tax credit expansion also crafted to pass a Republican House and Senate. The child tax credit was a partial success for the pair. The child tax credit was ultimately raised to $2000, but it was heavily criticized for overwhelming benefiting wealthy families while doing little for working-class families.
Rubio’s paid family leave plan is likely to face similar criticism. Though the senator argues that this plan will benefit working-class and poor families, it discounts how dependent a sizable portion of American seniors are on their Social Security benefits. A study from AARP showed that, in 2010, Social Security kept 35% of Americans out of poverty, while more than half of “poor and near poor” relied on Social Security for 90% of their household income.
Rubio told Politico that among “people that I know and interact with, going two weeks without a paycheck is catastrophic.” But his plan right now seems to simply move that period from the early days of parenthood to the age of retirement. Still, Rubio is probably correct that a plan that demands nothing of businesses and benefits the wealthy will likely be appealing to Republicans as well as a handful of Democrats.