Rick Santorum Stumping for Paid Family Leave? Did We Read That Right?

He has said it before. Or at least he’s said he has said it before. It just seems so incredibly unlikely.

Rick Santorum. Telling Republicans. To support paid family leave.

There it is in black and white…wrapping up his op-ed in the National Review: “Republicans need to roll up their sleeves, reach across the aisle, and get a new federal paid-leave program enacted. Paid parental leave is good policy and good politics.”

Of course, Satorum, a deeply GOP former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania and perpetual presidential hopeful, uses this same space to utter some other crackpot things. I’m still picking myself up off the floor after processing his claim that “President Trump…has galvanized working Americans like no Republican before him.”

(Feel free to insert your own uproarious laughter.)

OK, back to paid family leave…

It’s a no-brainer of a program that only a few states have adopted and that the federal government has resisted. Workers get paid time off when they have a baby, adopt or foster a new child or need to take care of a sick family member.  The state of California became the first to implement it in 2004. It’s administered through the state’s Employment Development Department (EDD). Rhode Island, Washington, New Jersey, New York and the District of Columbia also have laws on the books that help workers get paid time off to care for children or family members.

Santorum notes that he did not support the proposed federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in 1993, but now says “A lot has changed since then.”

“Today’s working families face new realities and struggles,” he writes in the NR. “Nearly 70 percent of mothers with children under the age of 18 are working, and millions of homes are headed by single mothers juggling care for their families while trying to make ends meet. Meanwhile, the cost of child care has grown out of proportion to the growth in other household costs; in 33 states the cost of child care exceeds the cost of in-state college tuition and fees.”

He notes that he is a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Task Force on Paid Family Leave, along with Christopher Dodd and Maria Contreras-Sweet.

No doubt PFL proponents will accept whatever support they can get, but talk about your strange bedfellows!

Read the rest of the article here.

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