Romney Pushes for Paid Family Leave at White House Summit

White House Child Care & Paid Leave Summit

WASHINGTON— U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today participated in the Child Care & Paid Leave Summit at the White House, where he joined several colleagues to discuss potential solutions to provide paid family leave for American families. In March, he teamed up with Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) to introduce the New Parents Act to give parents an option for paid parental leave after the birth or adoption of a child.

Below are excerpts of his remarks, and video of the summit is available here and here.

“There’s no question that in the life of a couple, that the birth of a child is perhaps the most momentous thing they will ever experience, and both the mom and the dad want to be part of that experience. Also in the life of a child, the first months of the child’s life have enormous impact on the health of their brain, on the development of their entire life’s course ahead, so allowing both parents, if both parents are together, to have participation in those early months with a child, is really critical—both for the child and for the parents. I would note that Senator Rubio and my legislation that he crafted, which is called the New Parents Act, is focused on providing for both the mom and the dad, if there are two parents involved in the home, to be able to pull retirement benefits from their Social Security benefits to bring them forward at a time that they can pay for up to three months of being able to stay home. I would also note that there are some employers that will provide this on their own, which we highly encourage. As has just been negotiated, the government is going to provide this for government employees, and we hope that many, many private employers do the same thing. But for those that don’t, allowing individuals to pull from a future benefit, such as Social Security, to provide for their financial needs while the child comes home is an enormous benefit. We’d like to see it happen for both moms and dads.”

“I know this is an important issue for people in all states, but my state happens to have the youngest population in the entire country and the highest birth rate, and so we have a lot of families. I have 24 grandkids, so I know personally what is happening with a lot of kids. It is an extraordinary burden for young families in many, many cases to be able to care for the children at the time they come home from the hospital, and as Senator Capito indicated, at other times when they are sick as well. All of us on this stage have proposed legislation that does not cost the government more money, that does not require new taxes, does not require mandates. It allows individuals the flexibility to bring forward a future benefit which they are entitled to under government law. They can bring forward that future benefit at a time when they need it most, which is when I child is coming home or when a child is sick. This is an extraordinary opportunity we have, and we have different views about how much money, and how it should be administered and so forth, but I’m convinced we can all come together on a bipartisan basis, and now is the time.”