Ernst Testimony Illustrates Difficulties for Working Parents and How Paid Leave Benefits Growing Families

In U.S. Senator Joni Ernst’s opening statement in a hearing today on the importance of paid family leave, Senator Ernst discussed how paid family leave benefits children and families and how she knows firsthand that being a working parent is never an easy task. She illustrated how difficult it can be for working moms and dads to raise newborns by sharing a story of an Iowa couple working day in and day out to provide for their growing family:

“The issue of paid leave is incredibly important. Millions of mothers, fathers, grandparents and families across the country struggle with the realities of childbirth and infant care, while also working hard to put food on the table and raise strong and healthy families. It is long overdue that Congress not just have a conversation on these matters, but get serious about a path forward …

“Jessica is the epitome of what it means to be an Iowan. She’s been working since she was sixteen and done everything from working at a call center, to waitressing … Money, at times, has been tight and both Jessica and her husband had to decide between working and meeting rent and taking time to care for their newborn … Jessica’s experience is a similar story in households across the country. As a nation, we can do better for our families.

“As a conservative, I want to craft a paid leave policy that can not only attract consensus, but is viable for families, employers and the economy, recognizing that working parents by definition are an essential part of many businesses… We need to find a solution that doesn’t make our economy worse off or decrease the jobs available to working parents.”

Senator Joni Ernst testified before the Senate Finance Committee Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions and Family Policy. President Trump highlighted paid leave during his State of the Union address and his Administration was the first to budget for a national paid leave program. Ivanka Trump has been working closely with Congress on this issue to develop a dialogue and a path forward.

For the past several months, Senator Ernst has been working with Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mike Lee (R-UT) on the issue of paid leave by exploring how new parents could elect to receive a paid leave benefit through Social Security.