Opinion The GOP debate over family-friendly laws
Two Supreme Court cases could destroy what remains of the Voting Rights Act
A 6-3 Republican Court will hear one of the most aggressive attacks on voting rights since Jim Crow.These two DNC cases concern two Arizona laws that make it more difficult to vote. The first requires voting officials to discard in their entirety ballots cast in the wrong precinct, rather than just not counting votes for local candidates who the voter should not have been able to vote for. The second prohibits many forms of “ballot collection,” where a voter gives their absentee ballot to someone else and that person delivers that ballot to the election office.
When Meghan McCain gave birth to Liberty, her daughter with husband Ben Domenech, she felt grateful for family, the medical care she received while battling postnatal preeclampsia, and, as she shared on ABC’s The View, the paid maternity leave her company offered. However, when she returned to The View, she shared with the audience and the rest of the co-hosts that she was not just thankful, she was also angry — angry that more conservatives have not supported paid maternity leave like the kind she had just experienced.
“Everything about our ideology sort of stems from the nucleus of the family, that we are leaving women in this country without the capacity and ability unless you have an employer that allows you to, to take care of your child, to heal physically, which is something that needs to happen,” McCain said, calling the lack of nationwide, mandatory, paid maternity leave “a dark spot” that leaders need to resolve if “we are going to give women and families the capacity to grow in the way we want.”
Ben Sasse Says Nebraska Is 'a Lot Trumpier Than I Am,' Hit by State GOP Rebuke
"There are a lot of really good people involved in party activism. But I don't think they're at all representative of regular Nebraskans," the Republican senator said."I care about a lot of the people, but I don't really care about the censure," Sasse told Politico ahead of the Nebraska GOP's decision.
McCain is correct that the United States is an outlier. Whether the optics look as unfortunate as she describes may be up to whom you ask: America is the only industrialized country without a national, mandated maternity or paid family leave program for all workers, private and federal. In December 2019, President Donald Trump approved a plan for federal paid parental leave. He said in his State of the Union address that year that he was “proud to be the first president to include in my budget a plan for nationwide paid family leave — so that every new parent has the chance to bond with their newborn child.” At the end of January this year, House Democrats proposed a bill that wouldfor federal employees, providing them with the opportunity to care for themselves or a loved one, including family members going on or returning from active military duty.
Adam Kinzinger Says GOP 'Certainly Not United' on Vision for Future
"We have lost the House, the Senate and the presidency because of Donald Trump," the Illinois Republican said Sunday.Kinzinger was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump following the violent insurrection against the U.S. Capitol by Trump's supporters on January 6. While Kinzinger and a number of other leading GOP lawmakers oppose Trump and do not want the former president to have a continued leadership role within their party, the majority of Republican voters and lawmakers remain aligned with the former president.
Many conservatives and liberals agree that a mandated leave plan for federal workers makes sense. After all, the government is their employer. The rub is really about the private sector: Should the government force a similar provision on all private companies? Right-leaning economists, policymakers, and politicians often suggest there are ideological and logistical conflicts at play, the first of which is finding and disseminating accurate information on the issue.
A Forbes columnistin 2020 that 80% of the public supports national, mandated “paid family and medical leave,” but only 20% have it. According to a 2019 report from the have access to a paid leave program. However, Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, told me, “This number is highly misleading, since it severely underestimates the actual number of workers who benefit from paid leave,” she said. “The Bureau of Labor Statistics survey methods require paid leave to exist separately from ‘ .’ Proper accounting, which uses several government surveys about workers’ benefits, reveals that a have access to paid family leave benefits, and 3 out of 4 who take leave in a given year get full or partial pay.”
Senator Rick Scott Insists GOP Civil War 'Absolutely Canceled' Despite Ongoing Tensions
The Florida Republican doubled down in dismissing the GOP's divisions over former president Donald Trump.Trump spoke at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Sunday, asserting his continued dominance over the GOP—which he said is united even as he attacked Republican leaders who've crossed him—despite the violent insurrection against the U.S. Capitol by his supporters on January 6. While a number of leading Republican lawmakers have come out strongly against Trump in the wake of the violent mob attack targeting Congress, most GOP voters and lawmakers continue to align themselves with the former president.
She told the Washington Examiner that data show as many as 65% of workers in the private sector have access to paid family leave in some form.
McCain is correct that most Democrats overwhelmingly support a national, mandated paid leave program for the private sector, not just federal employees, and that Republicans rarely, if ever, do. This is often because the numbers don’t add up to any semblance of fiscal responsibility when it comes to private employers.
“Until recently, conservatives understood that the private sector is a better actor in providing these types of benefits. Government provision creates unseen distortions, above and beyond the cost of the federal budget,” de Rugy told me. “We do not have a national system, but we have a flexible private network that actually provides paid leave for employees that is better suited to employees and employers. ... There’s never any free lunch — that’s a thing people tend to not understand. It’s always at the expense of something. Often, it’s in the reduction of the growth of wages.”
Some Republicans differ with her assessment. While Republican legislators remain uninterested in mandating a national paid parental leave program, they have attempted to address the issue in other ways. In March 2019, with a unified Republican government in play, U.S. Sens. Mitt Romney and Marco Rubiothe , “legislation that would create a voluntary option for paid parental leave by allowing parents to use a portion of their Social Security after the birth or adoption of a child.” Republican Reps. Ann Wagner and Dan Crenshaw authored companion legislation in the House. It seemed like the best of both worlds: a paid leave program that wasn’t mandated and wouldn’t come out of employers’ pockets. Still, the bill couldn’t get any traction and died in committee.
Republicans have built a cult of personality around Trump that glosses over his disgraced presidency
As leading Republicans whitewash Trump's legacy and enable the personality cult surrounding him, it's also revealing deep fractures in the party. In a mid-February statement explaining why he was voting to convict Trump over the Capitol riot in the former president's Senate impeachment trial, GOP Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska warned about the dangers of "tribalism." Sasse was effectively calling out his Republican colleagues who were standing by Trump despite the damning, indisputable evidence against him on top of his relentless attacks on the foundations of America's democracy.
Just after Joe Biden won the presidential election, Romney introduced a different family-friendly provision, this time not exactly a paid family leave program but a bill he hopes will provide much-needed aid to lower-income families by ending the deduction of state and local taxes. The “Family Security Act” provides parents with a child allowance of sorts, excluding very high-earning households, and, at $66 billion annually, is expensive. A bevy of respected pundits like it, such as Ross Douthat, Ramesh Ponnuru, and Lyman Stone, to name a few. At National Review, Yuval Levin, “As far as I can see, Romney’s proposal does a better job of fixing some (unintentional but meaningful) disincentives to marriage in the existing welfare and work-support system than any prior attempt to do so, and it manages that with relatively little disincentive to work.” At Forbes, Adam Millsap, a senior fellow for economic opportunity issues at Stand Together and the Charles Koch Institute, called the plan “a step in the right direction” that “moves the social safety net in the right direction by replacing counterproductive programs with an approach that empowers families.”
Yet not everyone thinks Romney’s plan is good, even working mothers. “There are better ways to help American families, such as reducing tax burdens for all Americans and giving parents a choice in their children’s education, than through a massive expansion in the welfare state, including to wealthy Americans,” Rachel Greszler told me. She’s a research fellow in economics, budgets, and entitlements at the Heritage Foundation and a mother of six.
GOP grapples with extremist episodes among its own
Some fear that if the conference doesn’t stomp out those political brush fires now, there’s a risk they will spread.The whiplash between Rep. Liz Cheney’s (R-Wyo.) plea and Rep. Paul Gosar’s (R-Ariz.) public speech underscores just how tough it is for GOP leaders to rein in members who cater to the extreme wings of the party. As Republicans increasingly grapple with how — or even whether — to exorcise the most radical elements from their party, their leaders’ jobs won’t get any easier.
If Romney’s provision gains traction and ultimately passes, it could be a partial Band-Aid to Republicans' festering public relations wound from opposing a national, mandated paid family leave program. Or it could leave a gaping hole for the private sector to fill. If Republicans could communicate about either better, it might shift the conversation in their favor.
“One of the biggest fallacies is that a government-run program will help people,” Greszler said. “They are bureaucratic. You have to fill out all this paperwork. It’s just this lengthy process. Most workers would rather shoot an email to their boss. Tell them they are pregnant or whatever they need leave for, and to just be able to talk directly and likely be able to come up with some leave. …That’s not possible with one-size-fits-all federal mandates or programs.”
Greszler says there is actually little evidence that a nationally mandated paid parental leave program has functioned well in other countries, either. She noted that the programs in Sweden and elsewhere are “regressive” and only available for middle- and upper-income earners. She suggested that Republicans, and ideally Democrats, hold the line in proposing any kind of national mandate for private companies to provide paid family leave and instead encourages them to continue to empower businesses through tax cuts and fewer regulations.
Republicans' hesitation in the face of a nationally mandated paid parental leave program doesn’t mean they’re against paid family leave entirely: They just differ in practical terms about who should provide it and how. As a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, employers saw a reduction in tax rates and regulations that freed up resources. Greszler says employer surveys showed one of the things workers wanted most was paid family leave. “You saw dozens, if not hundreds, of companies offer new and expanded paid family leave programs. Now, the top 30 companies in the U.S., companies that are employing lower- to middle-income workers, such as Target, Starbucks, Walmart, Lowe's, Home Depot, and Chipotle, all offer paid family leave,” she explained. Greszler says politicians should count on this example as an incentive to stay away from a nationally mandated paid family leave program. “Whatever you can do to let businesses run their businesses how they see fit and to not pay excessive taxes, they’re going to come up with things to keep their workers happy.”
Virginia is poised to reform its HIV criminalization laws. Is the rest of the U.S. next?
“Being HIV positive is itself not a threat to public safety,” state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, a Democrat, said.Passed after two versions of the bill were reconciled, the legislation would repeal the felony criminal ban on blood, tissue or organ donation by people with HIV and other sexually transmitted infections; make HIV-testing for people convicted of certain crimes, including prostitution and drug charges, optional rather than mandatory; and strike down a statute making failure to disclose HIV-positive status before sex a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months jail time.
Nicole Russell (@russell_nm) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog.
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Original Author: Nicole Russell
GOP Senator John Barrasso Backs Lisa Murkowski Despite Trump's Threat Against Her .
The Wyoming Republican praised Murkowski on Sunday after Trump called her "disloyal" and "very bad" and promised to campaign against her in Alaska next year.Murkowski is up for re-election next year and filed to run for a fourth term back in 2017. The Alaskan lawmaker was one of seven GOP senators who voted to convict Trump in his Senate impeachment trial last month for inciting his supporters to violently attack the U.S. Capitol on January 6.