Published on December 4, 2019 by Beth Baumann

Even though impeachment has greatly divided this country, especially down party lines, four legislators have come together to tackle the issue of paid family leave.

Reps. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Colin Allred (D-TX) and Sens. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) on Wednesday introduced legislation that would help families to offset expenses associated with having a new baby or adopting a child.

The bill, known as the Advancing Support for Working Families Act allows families to offset the financial burdens associated with a new baby, like childcare and baby supplies, by opting to advance up to $5,000 of their child tax credit. Families would be eligible for the first year of a child’s life or the first year they adopt a child. This gives parents flexibility without having to miss work or sacrifice an employer’s family/medical leave policy in order to pay for other expenses.

Under the bill, teleworkers would be able to obtain child care benefits while continuing to work from home while also taking care of their new child. The real win is that this bill doesn’t raise taxes and it doesn’t pull from Medicare or Social Security.

If a parent is considered low-income and they don’t qualify for the full refundable portion of the child tax credit, he or she can elect to receive a benefit adjustment. The adjustment would replace 100 percent of their wages for 12 weeks of work.

“Earlier this year I took a short parental leave from Congress to be with my wife Aly for the birth of our son, and I want to ensure more parents have access to financial help that could fund leave or offset other costs like child care,” Congressman Allred said in a statement. “I was able to be there for my family, and we need to make sure more parents can do the same. This bipartisan bill will provide families with flexibility and much-needed cash in hand within weeks of the arrival of their new baby.”

According to Dr. Cassidy, this is the only bi-partisan bill of its kind, which “gives it a greater potential to achieve that immediate need” for relief.

Both Rep. Stefanik and Sen. Sinema said this bill complements legislation at the state and local levels as well as what businesses are already doing on a voluntary basis.

Other co-sponsors include Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT), Shelley Capito (R-WV) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) and U.S. Reps. Joe Cunningham (D-SC), Jeff VanDrew (D-NJ), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Jamie Herrera-Beutler (R-WA), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) and Bryan Steil (R-WI).

Ivanka Trump, who has worked on this issue alongside Congress, applauded the group.

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