Staffers on Capitol Hill will head home for a weeklong holiday break this week, but they will return at full strength — including lawmakers in the U.S. House who face a crucial vote on paid family leave legislation Tuesday morning.
Republicans have always insisted that any legislation that would provide time away from work to care for a new child, sick family member or in-laws would be tantamount to a government entitlement program that could take money away from everyday taxpayers.
Republicans control the U.S. House, but have not said whether they will support the legislation or how they will cast their votes Tuesday. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the committee tasked with writing paid family leave legislation, is supporting the legislation.
Tuesday marks a crucial vote that would introduce paid family leave into the U.S. Constitution and force the Senate to take up the legislation.
The three House Democrats leading the charge on this legislation are introducing similar proposals in both chambers of Congress.
“This is the first time in U.S. history that one chamber of Congress will introduce legislation that would require Americans to have access to paid sick days, paid family leave, paid vacation days and paid sick and bereavement days,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Members of both parties support paid family leave legislation, but have typically struggled to come together to agree on a plan.
The long-term health effects of economic strain at work, increased absenteeism, divorce and lower levels of life satisfaction for women and men who leave work to care for a family member is both well-known and almost exclusively captured in polls.
Polls have shown most Americans support legislation that offers paid leave benefits for a specific period, with 77 percent in an Insure.com poll supporting it in April and 58 percent in a June Fox News poll also saying they supported a one- or two-week paid parental leave measure.
Over half of Americans in both polls also said they would be willing to pay toward the cost of the paid leave.
“We have a society that needs it. Our economy needs it. Our families need it,” said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio).
The bill has at least 14 co-sponsors in the House. It appears most likely to pass the House, but is unlikely to come to a vote in the Senate.