WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), today was named chairman of the bipartisan Senate Finance Committee working group that will consider the issue of federal family leave policy. U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) will serve as the Democrat co-chair of the working group.
“This working group reflects the widespread interest in helping moms and dads have financial flexibility to raise children,” Cassidy said. “The policy must be fiscally sustainable and not bury taxpayers in even more red ink. We will find a bipartisan solution that empowers families and business owners to succeed.”
The family leave working group will meet regularly and devise a list of principles on which all members reach agreement by consensus. Members will consider:
- Existing family leave plans and any gaps in coverage;
- The appropriate federal role in making family leave more widely available;
- The type of benefit, criteria for eligibility, wage replacement rate, protections for workers and other parameters of coverage;
- Potential funding mechanisms and potential offsets; and
- The possibility of reaching consensus on legislation in this area.
This year and last Congress, Cassidy has been meeting with Senior Adviser to the President Ivanka Trump to plot the path forward on enacting paid family leave legislation. In July 2018, Dr. Cassidy chaired a Senate hearing examining proposals to provide working families with paid family leave. Last month, Senator Cassidy announced that he was working with U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) on an effort to create the first bipartisan proposal for paid family leave.
The Senate Finance Committee has jurisdiction over federal tax policy and significant federal health care policy. The working group will consider ideas and principles relating to the issue of family leave and will also consider existing legislation introduced by several senators on and off the committee and from both parties.
U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-SC), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Bob Casey (D-PA), Todd Young (R-IN) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) will serve as members. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) will also serve as ex-officio members.