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Rubio to introduce paid family leave plan

It would allow parents to tap into Social Security benefits.
Ivanka Trump with Sen. Marco Rubio in June 2017 (Associated Press)
Published Aug. 1, 2018
Updated Aug. 1, 2018

WASHINGTON – Sen. Marco Rubio on Wednesday will finally reveal his paid family leave proposal allowing parents to draw from future Social Security benefits.

"Our proposal would be a consistent application of Social Security's original principle — to provide assistance to dependents in our care — to the challenges of today," Rubio writes in a USA Today op/ed. He is introducing the bill with Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo.

Democrats have already criticized the plan, which Rubio has talked about for months, because it affects Social Security. People would delay future benefits in order to draw them for family leave.

"We appreciate that Sen. Rubio and Rep. Wagner are looking for a way to provide the paid leave America's families urgently need, but a program that only covers parents caring for new children, provides no leave for family care and personal medical needs, and forces parents to choose between paid leave and retirement security is absolutely the wrong way to go," said the National Partnership for Women & Families. "In fact, it is reckless, irresponsible and ill-conceived. This is a Social Security benefit cut for the working people who need Social Security the most."

Rubio pitches it as a conservative solution to an idea long advocated by Democrats.

"Like Social Security, the benefits under our plans would be most generous to working class families. Parents taking the option would receive monthly payments that will help cover costs like rent, groceries and new baby supplies during a time of significant income constraints," Rubi writes. "The benefit will also be transferable between parents in the household. And unlike other paid parental leave proposals, this option would be available to working and stay-at-home moms and dads alike."

Rubio was expected to introduced the bill earlier in July but that was delayed.

The idea, backed by Ivanka Trump, matches one promoted by the Independent Women’s Forum, which called for 12 weeks of paid leave per parent. To get that, an adult would defer Social Security retirement benefits by six weeks.

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