On Thursday (May 18), senior White House aides revealed that President Trump’s first detailed budget request — titled, in uber-Trump fashion, "A New Foundation for American Greatness" — on Tuesday (May 23) will include the seeking of funds to create a mandatory paid parental leave program. The news came as a surprise to many, considering the subject of paid leave has long been opposed by Republicans and seems at odds with the rest of Trump’s proposal, which is intent on eliminating government spending on nondefense measures.
Regardless of one’s attitude toward the current administration, the creation of such a program would be a huge victory for working parents in the U.S., though some of the particulars seem a bit murky thus far. Still feeling uncertain about the details behind a paid leave program and its potential impact on our country? Here’s what you need to know:
1. President Trump’s proposed program would grant both mothers and fathers six weeks of paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child — a significantly more inclusive arrangement than what was outlined in the First Daughter’s book. (Initially, her advocations for paid leave extended to biological mothers only.)
2. Ivanka Trump will take the helm in discussions with Congress about the program’s construction, according to the Washington Post.
3. President Trump first introduced the idea of instituting paid leave back in September during the elections, but like his daughter, his initial plan only covered biological mothers. The proposal’s current incarnation seems to have taken liberal backlash into account.
4. The program, which would be paid out to participants through the U.S. unemployment insurance system, is expected to cost about $25 billion over 10 years and will benefit about 1.3 million people, White House aides said.
5. How the program will be funded is still largely to be determined, but the New York Times reported that the administration will work with states individually to find ways to pay for it — an admittedly vague solution.
6. There won’t be an income limit for participation in the program, though officials did say high earners will have their benefit capped.
8. Today, nearly one fourth of American women are back at work just 10 days after giving birth, which can have negative (and costly) effects on both mother and child. Mandatory paid leave would prevent that.
9. Even still, six weeks is on the skimpier side of international paid leave policies. For comparison, mothers in Finland can start their maternity leave seven weeks prior to their due date, and that’s on top of 16 additional weeks of paid leave post-birth. The country also offers eight weeks of paid paternity leave.
10. As of the budget's release on Tuesday (May 23), paid parental leave is one of only four areas Trump seeks to allocate increased spending to. The other areas are: discretionary defense spending at $469 billion; infrastructure investment at $200 billion; and a Veterans Choice Program, which would enable veterans to seek care at private hospitals outside of the Veteran Affairs System, at $29 billion. All other components detailed in the budget are subject to massive spending cuts, including Medicaid and the Environmental Protection Agency.
11. Many sources, including some conservative politicans, seem to be in agreement that the budget won't be approved by Congress in its current form.
(This article was updated on 5/23/17 at 12:50 p.m.)
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