"Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee paved the way for America’s families to get support they urgently need. By passing a bill that provides funding to help states develop paid leave programs, increases funds for implementing health reform, and promotes critical health care programs and research, the committee has taken a welcome step forward. The full Senate, and then the House, should act quickly to see this bill through.
Tens of millions of working people in the United States risk their economic stability when they need to care for new babies or sick family members. With the $5 million appropriation for a state paid leave fund the committee passed today, that could begin to change. The National Partnership has long championed this measure, which would provide grants to states considering programs that enable women and men to receive a portion of their pay when they need time off to care for loved ones.
California and New Jersey have already pioneered successful paid family leave programs, and Rhode Island just passed a similar measure. The state paid leave fund would encourage and enable more states to follow suit, spurring valuable state innovation, helping working people and their families tremendously, and moving the nation closer to the day when no one has to choose between job and family when inevitable health and caregiving needs arise.
We enthusiastically applaud the committee for increasing funds for implementation of the Affordable Care Act, especially at this critical moment when open enrollment is about to begin and millions of Americans are on the brink of finally getting the coverage they urgently need. It is time to put petty politics aside and make sure that resources are available to ensure a smooth enrollment process. This is money that is very well spent because it will make preventive services more accessible, support badly needed delivery system reforms, and save money in the long run for individuals, families and the country.
The Senate Appropriations Committee served the nation well today."
The National Partnership for Women & Families drafted and led the fight for the Family and Medical Leave Act. The organization is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.