March 02, 2018
A proposal to use Social Security benefits early to cover the cost of a federal paid parental leave program is being attacked from multiple angles on the right. The idea has been endorsed by President Trump and is being championed by Ivanka Trump and Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Mike Lee (R-UT). In criticizing the proposal, the Wall Street Journal editorial board points to the strides companies are making toward providing more generous paid leave benefits without government interference in the market, warning against the "crowding-out" effect and inevitable expansion of such government entitlement programs. "Republicans would be making an enormous mistake to interrupt decades of business progress toward more generous family policies," the piece argues. Separately, a critique from the CATO Institute raises longstanding issues with the Social Security program. "The program is already running a cash flow deficit and in trouble financially," the report reads. "Indeed, the Social Security Administration projects the present value of Social Security’s unfunded financial obligation is equal to $32.1 trillion through the infinite time horizon." The only bill introduced so far by a Republican is Rep. Mimi Walters' (R-CA) HR Policy-supported "Workflex in the 21st Century Act" (H.R.4219). The Walters’ bill incorporates a proposal from our Workplace 2020 report that companies meeting a federal paid leave standard would have a safe harbor against state and local regulations. HR Policy has been conferring with Republican and Democratic House staff to recruit cosponsors and prepare members for a possible hearing on the Workflex bill this month or next.