Washington, D.C. – At a press conference with U.S. Representative Ann Wagner (R-MO), U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today unveiled the Economic Security for New Parents Act, legislation that creates an option for new parents to pull forward a portion of their Social Security to use for paid parental leave after the birth or adoption of a child. Specifically, the bill allows parents to use the benefit to take at least two months of parental leave, which is enough to finance two months of leave at up to 70 percent of wages for nearly all parents making below median family income. Many parents, especially those with low incomes, will be able to finance three months of leave or longer with the amount of the benefit, which is transferable between households. A one pager of the bill is available here.
Earlier today, Rubio discussed the Economic Security for New Parents Act on CBS This Morning. Yesterday, Rubio and Wagner penned an op-ed outlining their plan. Last month, Rubio’s office released a video highlighting his efforts to help working American families by expanding the Child Tax Credit and offering a conservative solution for paid family leave.
A rough and partial transcript of Rubio’s remarks is below:
I want to thank Congresswoman Wagner for coming up here. The House was not in session this week, and she came here to be apart of this, and I’m excited to see their legislation as it rolls out in the House. So let me start here by saying that, we live in a time, I don’t need to tell the people gathered here today who cover it, where America is deeply divided and fighting over just about any issue you can imagine.
I do believe there is at least one issue on which we all agree, even though we may not agree on the best way to do it, we agree on it and that is we need to do everything we can to help our children. I don’t think that’s an issue that has a left or a right, I don’t think that’s an issue that has a conservative or a liberal side to it, or a Republican or Democratic one.
All Americans want their children to be better off than themselves. All Americans want their children to have a better future, and therefore all Americans should agree that anything that is bad for our children is bad for America. And anything that is good for children is good for our nation and for its future, and there is nothing that is better for children--nothing that is better for them--than to have parents that involved in their lives, and that is especially true in the early weeks of their lives, one of the most critical moments in any person’s life.
But here’s the truth: right now for millions of children who are born into working families that isn’t what’s happening. What’s happening is that while the law says that if you have a child and take leave, they have to guarantee you at least twelve weeks without being fired, they don’t have to pay you for it.
The overwhelming majority of parents 85% at least do not get paid, when they take time away from work because of a newborn child. I personally know very few people who could go more than a week or two without a paycheck. I know very, very few people, certainly back home, who could go twelve weeks without getting paid. And the result is that today, the birth of a child for millions of Americans means they’re going to be depleting their savings, they’re going to be racking up credit card debt, they’re going to be potentially defaulting on a student loan, hurting their credit and their future prospects.
They’re going to in many cases quit work and end up needing public assistance during this period of time. None of that is good for children and it is most certainly not good for families and therefore cannot be good for our country. It is hurting our children to have parents who can’t afford to be with them after they are born. And it’s hurting our children to have parents who are going into debt, or are forced to leave the workplace in order to spend more time with them. So that’s why we’re here today, and I’m here to talk to you a little bit about the option that I’ll be presenting which is quiet similar to what we think, what we know will be filed in the House that will help provide an option to fix this for millions of Americans.
What we’re offering is an option for working parents to take up to twelve weeks of leave when a new child is born, and to use some of their own money from their own social security benefits to help compensate for lack of a paycheck. So let me tell you how this plan works. First, it allows new parents to be able to afford taking leave from work by giving them the option to basically pull forward a small portion of their future Social Security benefits that will allow all new parents to take two or three week or more of paid parental leave, at levels that for some cases will be at 70 or even 80% their regular income.
It’s important to note that when Social Security was created 83 years ago it was created for addressing a pressing economic insecurity of that time and that was the fact that elderly Americans found themselves living in squalor and poverty after they were no longer able to work and provide for themselves. Now 83 years later, an additional and new economic insecurity has emerged, and it’s the fact that millions of Americans are thrown into economic distress when a new child is born and they have to go weeks without a paycheck.
I can tell you I personally know people-- friends, family members and others for whom the joy of a new child was accompanied by the fear of financial catastrophe. We know mothers who were forced back to work because they could miss two weeks of pay, so they were forced back to work just two weeks after a c-section. Because they can’t afford to miss that paycheck. We know parents that were forced to quit their job, after the birth of their child, and they were then often times forced onto welfare programs and government programs to provide benefits.
We know families that have racked up significant credit card debt to pay for these times when they were not drawing a paycheck from work. That is not good for our country. That’s even worse for our children, and so to find an answer to this there are certain things that we did not want to do. And this plan does not do those things, and I told you what they plan does, let me briefly tell you what the plan does not. Congresswoman Wagner’s already outlined some of it.
Number one, this plan does not grow government. We’re not creating a new entitlement we're not creating a new program. We’re simply creating an option that allows people to use an existing program, part of an existing program earlier. Number two, it doesn’t threaten the future of Social Security. This proposal was designed to be budget neutral and that will remain our goal throughout. Number three, it doesn’t raise taxes on a single American. Number four, it doesn’t place a single mandate on a single business in America. There are no mandates on any business. Number five, it doesn’t crowd out, it doesn’t replace, it doesn’t preclude employers offering benefits or the ones who have already been offered by employers, or by states, or by anyone else.
Now, this is important legislation and it is also unique. This is a dramatic re-adjustment of the way we deal with economic insecurity in the modern era. A factor that perhaps 50, 60, 70 years ago would not have been a big part of our conversation today has become a necessary part of our conversation. And when you offer widespread changes, such as this, you know that there will be changes to any bill you file, to any legislation you propose. That is the way this process is supposed to work. That’s why we have Committee meetings. That’s why we take input from stakeholders. So I’m not here today to tell you that we have a plan that is perfect, and I know we both look forward to working with anyone and everyone who has ideas about how to make it better. If someone has a better idea that doesn’t raise taxes, that doesn't grow government, that doesn’t burden economic growth, I would be glad to take their plan over ours. But after working on this for over a year and engaging as many people as we possibly could, so far, this plan is the best one I’ve seen. A plan that gives millions of Americans an option that allows them to spend more time with their newborn child without having to face financial catastrophe. And I know that both us are going to work hard and long to get this done because our children don’t just deserve a plan like this, our country desperately needs one. And I look forward to the work that lies ahead.
RUBIO PRESENTA PROYECTO DE LEY PARA DAR LA OPCIÓN DE TOMAR LICENCIA FAMILIAR PAGADA A PADRES DE FAMILIA
Washington, DC - En una conferencia de prensa con la representante estadounidense Ann Wagner (R-MO), el senador estadounidense Marco Rubio (R-FL) dio a conocer hoy la Ley de Seguridad Económica para Nuevos Padres, una legislación que crea la opción de que nuevos padres usen su Seguridad Social para la licencia remunerada tras el nacimiento o adopción de un niño. Específicamente, el proyecto de ley permite a los padres usar el beneficio de tomar por lo menos dos meses de licencia parental, lo cual es suficiente para financiar dos meses de licencia hasta en un 70 por ciento de los salarios de casi todos los padres con un ingreso familiar. Muchos padres, específicamente aquellos con bajos ingresos, podrán financiar tres meses de licencia o más con el monto del beneficio, el cual es transferible en los hogares. Un documento informativo sobre el proyecto de ley está disponible aquí.
Una transcripción aproximada y parcial de las declaraciones de Rubio es la siguiente:
Yo creo que en este país, en un momento en que estamos bien divididos sobre varios temas un tema que nos une es nuestros niños, nuestros hijos. Todo lo que sea bueno para nuestros hijos es bueno para el país. Desafortunadamente vivimos en una época en donde la ley dice que hay que darle hasta 12 semanas de tiempo fuera de su trabajo sin poder votar [despedir] a un empleado, no dice que hay que pagarle. Hoy en día el 85% de las personas en este país no tienen ningún tipo de beneficio si están fuera de su trabajo por un tiempo después del nacimiento de un hijo. Para muchas familias, para muchos matrimonios, para muchos padres esto significa una crisis económica. Hemos visto en muchos casos, yo conozco personalmente a personas que han tenido hijos y han entrado en deudas con sus tarjetas de crédito o han tenido que utilizar lo que han ahorrado en el banco para su retiro o han tenido que-en muchos casos-abandonar el empleo y buscar beneficios del gobierno en esos momentos. Nosotros lo que estamos ofreciendo es un plan que les da la opción-no es un requisito-de utilizar un porcentaje pequeño del programa del Seguro Social, el cual todos pagamos, por anticipado. Y en cambio retirarse en un momento más tarde en el futuro hasta 12 semanas que puede representar un 70% o 80% de lo que uno va a ganar en su empleo, basado en el dinero que uno ha invertido en el sistema como trabajador. Ningún plan es perfecto, buscamos mejorarlo. Pero lo que no podemos hacer es seguir siendo un país donde a los niños se les sigue robando su tiempo con sus padres por situaciones económicas. Tampoco podemos seguir siendo un país donde el nacimiento de un hijo signifique un momento de alegría y un momento de crisis económica. Buscamos la oportunidad de trabajar juntos, esto va a ser una tarea larga pero importante para el futuro de este país.