U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) is touting a new family leave bill that he claims would benefit parents and do so without growing the size of the federal government.
Rubio has introduced the Economic Security for New Parents Act in the Senate while a similar bill has been introduced in the House by Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Missouri).
Twelve weeks of unpaid family leave is currently mandated by the Family Medical Leave Act, and the new measure would allow both father and mother to draw from their future Social Security benefits to pay for maternal leave by delaying retirement for three to six months.
"It's a choice. We're not making people do it," Rubio tells OneNewsNow. "But it's certainly better than what they have now, which is no choices at all."
Although the family leave laws allows for maternity time off, it's unpaid time.
So few parents can afford to take advantage of it and few business owners can afford to pay for it, Rubio points out.
"We've struggled for years on how do you fix that gap because the private sector can't afford it, in many cases, small businesses and the like," he says. "And there has been some proposals from Democrats to raise taxes on everybody through the payroll tax, which disproportionately hurts working people instead of the wealthy."
Meanwhile, Rubio credits the White House and first daughter Ivanka Trump for publicizing the issue of paid family leave, and pushing for a solution by asking for a "policy competition" from lawmakers.
"She has said that the president wants to get behind paid family leave," Rubio says of President Trump, "and he's inviting people to come forward with ideas about how we can do that in a way that doesn't raise taxes, and doesn't grow the debt, and doesn't grow government, and doesn't create an entitlement, and our proposal is the first one out there."
American Principles Project is applauding the Economic Security for New Parents Act, and Patrice Lee Onwuka of the Independent Women's Forum praised the legislation in a Washington Examiner op-ed.
The U.S. senator tells OneNewsNow that Rep. Wagner brings a lot of experience to the issue, being a mother, grandmother, and a policy wonk.
"I can't imagine having a better partner in the House," he says of the congresswoman.