Politics

Paid Sick Leave Amendment Passes Despite Republican Opposition

| by Arthur Kogan
Sen. Patty Murray.Sen. Patty Murray.

Despite not receiving a single vote from any Republican running for president, the Deficit-Neutral Reserve Fund for Legislation to Allow Americans to Earn Paid Sick Time amendment, or SA 798, proposed by Washington Sen. Patty Murray still managed to pass a Senate vote.

Murray’s amendment is related to:

"... efforts to improve workplace benefits and reduce health care costs, which may include measures to allow Americans to earn paid sick time to address their own health needs and the health needs of their families, and to promote equal employment opportunities, by the amounts provided in such legislation for those purposes, provided that such legislation would not increase the deficit over either the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2020 or the period of the total of fiscal years 2016 through 2025.”

The amendment was approved by all Democrats and 16 Republicans. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr, Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, Arizona Sen. John McCain, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey were GOP members who voted in favor of the bill.

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Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio all opposed the Murray amendment. Coincidentally, these senators are all considering running for president in the upcoming 2016 election, notes Bloomberg Politics.

Hillary Clinton, the current leading candidate for the Democratic Party, has supported the idea of paid family leave in the past for new mothers to ensure women’s equality in the workforce.

“The absence of quality affordable child care is a big factor in limiting and sometimes ending women’s participation in the workforce,” Clinton said at a panel discussion with philanthropist Melinda Gates, at the annual Clinton Global Initiative conference last year.

“When I was a young woman, there were colleges I couldn’t go to, scholarships I couldn’t apply for, jobs that had basically invisible, but very clear signs saying ‘no woman need apply,’” Clinton said.

That has improved over the past two decades, but women still lag in their earning potential compared to men, she noted. “We’ve gone from 77 cents to 78 cents compared to a dollar (earned by men),” she said. “That’s hardly groundbreaking progress.”

“The absence of paid leave is a strong signal to women and particularly mothers that the society and our economy don’t value being a mother.”

Sources: Bloomberg Politics, NY Daily News, Congress.gov

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons