On Thursday, the Republican senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska introduced a bill aimed at addressing paid family leave. The Strong Families Act creates a tax incentive—25 percent of what employees are paid during the leave—for businesses to offer two weeks of paid family leave a year. Versions of the bill has been introduced during the past two Congresses: The Strong Families Act is one Fischer introduced in 2014, and pushed again in 2015. But the timing and current political climate may be giving these old ideas a new boost.
On the heels of the historic Women’s March, interest groups have been anticipating that politicians would take advantage of the momentum toward advancing women’s economic issues, such as paid family leave. Earlier this week, two Democratic Senators, Kirsten Gillibrand and Rosa DeLauro, reintroduced their bill for paid family leave—the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act which would guarantee workers two-thirds of their pay for up to 12 weeks. Fischer also hinted at this dynamic between the growing disjoint between the women’s movement and the Republican party in an interview with Politico previewing the reintroduction of the bill, saying that “it’s an issue that to be honest, that we as a party have not taken a high profile on.”