Conservatives overturned Roe v. Wade, leading some to pressure the party to support families financially.
The GOP opposed Biden’s agenda, and Trump’s attempt to get paid leave through Congress fell flat.
Conservative policy experts argue that Republicans should soften their usual opposition to family support programs.
The Supreme Court took a blowtorch on the constitutional right to an abortion on Friday, marking a monumental victory for conservative activists who have worked for half a century to overthrow Roe v. Wade. abortion is ready to be severely restricted or banned in about half of all states with a few exceptions.
Last week’s ruling also took a hard look at the GOP. For a party that has long prioritized its pro-life priorities, Republicans have made minimal efforts in recent years to ensure that children enjoy a basic standard of living after birth.
The GOP was in fierce opposition to that of President Joe Biden Build back Better plan, which included ambitious initiatives to set up affordable childcare, establish universal pre-K and revise the child discount so that it was paid monthly. In early 2020, President Donald Trump approved a modest bipartisan paid leave plan that failed with Republican lawmakers.
It is prompting some conservatives to urge their party to soften its usual resistance to supporting parents and children financially. Abby McCloskey, a conservative policy expert who has worked on past GOP and independent presidential campaigns, called it a “soul-seeking moment” for the GOP.
“There are parts of the party that want to break through and implement more kinds of reforms in paid time off work, child tax credit and childcare,” McCloskey told Insider. “I think they should be quick to get behind that policy, especially since many in the Republican Party were in favor of overthrowing Roe and here we are,” she said.
Another warned against voters punishing Republicans at the polls in November. “I think there will be some backlash anyway,” Patrick Brown, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative think tank, said in an interview. “But I think it will be much more serious if they are seen as unreachable and unresponsive to women on particularly low incomes.”
Brown argues that Republicans should support making permanent a temporary extension of the pandemic-era Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program so that it covers mothers for a year after childbirth, among other steps. And McCloskey is calling for Congress should make it easier for states to spend money on childcare.
Some Republicans in the Senate are also beginning to identify areas the party can do something about. “We need to provide parents with the resources they need to create a healthy family,” Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy said in a statement to Insider. “That includes responsible parental leave, access to mental health care when needed, and school choice.”
What’s on the table among Republicans
The United States is among the stingiest nations in the developed world when it comes to federal spending on children. Compared to other countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the US spends much less on family benefits as a percentage of gross domestic product.
“If you look at US spending on children, it’s much more comparable to middle-income countries like Turkey and Mexico than wealthy European countries,” said Indivar Dutta-Gupta, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Law and Social. Policy, Insider told. “So we’ve been an outlier in many ways.”
The Supreme Court’s decision be aware of a weak social safety net in states that are on the brink of banning or limiting abortion, mainly led by Republicans. States like Mississippi often lack paid leave and refuse to expand Medicaid, leaving many low-income women unable to access health insurance and postpartum coverage. according to the left-wing Economic Policy Institute† A few states are reverse course.
There are some Republican proposals that aim to bolster parents’ ability to spend time caring for babies or newly adopted children. But they often have significant liabilities, reflecting the conservative approach to binding federal employment benefits. That is combined with the GOP’s tendency to divert federal funds from existing programs rather than spend new money.
“Republicans have been more skeptical about these benefits in the past,” Brian Riedl, a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute, told Insider. “If the polls go south after Roe, you could see Republicans rallying around some sort of child support package before the election.”
Most GOP lawmakers are doubling down on their efforts to sanction the Biden administration for inflation and rising prices at the gas station and supermarket in the run-up to the November midterms. They have a strong preference for retaking at least one chamber of Congress. However, some polls in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling suggest there has been a surge in support for Democrats in Congress’ general vote.
Republicans have not united around a series of family support plans. sen. Mitt Romney of Utah recently unveiled a rebooted proposal to: offer most parents with up to $350 in monthly checks per child, totaling $4,200 per year for younger children. But a larger share of benefits would flow to working parents, and payments to people without jobs would shrink.
“One of the most direct ways the GOP can support families would be to provide direct financial support to parents,” Samuel Hammond, director of social policy at the libertarian Niskanen Center, told Insider. “So for this kind of whole-life agenda, it makes a lot of sense to make sure that especially vulnerable parents have the resources they need to both choose to keep their child and then be able to take good care of them.”
That has so far not gained steam among Republicans. A separate measure as a spearhead by Senator Steve Daines of Montana would allow pregnant mothers to claim the child tax credit, where they can spend up to $2,000 before going into labor, provided they have taxable income. It has much deeper GOP support with 12 Republicans joining Daines as co-sponsors — or about a quarter of the Republican Senate conference.
sen. Marco Rubio of Florida introduced a “pro-life” framework shortly after the Supreme Court dismissed Roe v. Wade. “For years I have emphasized that Congress can and should do more for unborn children and their mothers,” Rubio said in a statement. “We need to adopt pro-life policies that support families, rather than destroy them.”
The blueprint includes a variety of plans that Rubio has been pushing for several years. A measure in it allows new parents to treat Social Security like a piggy bank and borrow against themselves. It would give parents at least three months of paid leave, financed by budget cuts on their future retirement benefits.
Democrats refuse these trade-offs, preferring the wealthiest Americans to push through generous Social Security benefits funded by tax increases. Some are ramping up attacks on Republicans because they resist without what they see as serious alternatives.
“Universal Health Care and Child Care. Weapons Security. Fighting Climate Change. The GOP Is Against All This,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a Friday tweet† “If they refuse to support life after birth, how can they claim to believe in it before?”
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