Senator Marco Rubio and Ivanka Trump are scheming to put forward a “paid” parental leave proposal requiring workers to delay future Social Security benefits to pay for parental leave benefits. Introduced by the Independent Women’s Forum – a right wing group funded by the Koch brothers – this plan does nothing to help most workers that need paid family and medical leave. In addition, their plan would force workers to choose between caring for their families and delaying retirement.
If that sounds unfair, it’s because it is. Workers shouldn’t be asked to pay for paid leave today by rolling the dice on future needs for Social Security retirement benefits. This is just another way the Trump Administration and congressional Republicans are trying to gut benefits and make life harder for working Americans. This comes less than two months after Congressional Republicans passed a tax bill that will explode the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion and justified its cost by hinting at offsetting it with future benefit cuts. Just last week, Speaker Paul Ryan rebranded his lifelong goal of decimating the social safety net from “welfare reform” to “workforce development.”
Weakening social security is particularly problematic for women, especially women of color, who are more likely to need social security to make ends meet. Women’s retirement security would take the biggest hit, as they will disproportionately be the workers who borrow against their own Social Security benefits, they have lower average Social Security benefits than those of men, and they take more frequent and longer family leaves than men. While Ivanka claims she is a champion for “Women Who Work,” it’s clear that her hypocrisy makes her partnership with Rubio the true dream team of destroying popular benefit programs.
ACTION OF THE DAY
Dream Act Day of Action. Last night, the House of Representatives passed another continuing resolution to keep the federal government funded until March 23rd. The stopgap bill did not include a DACA fix to protect Dreamers, so the fight continues to the Senate. If you are in DC, join us today for a National Day of Action in support of Dreamers. If you are not in the area, check ResistanceNearMe.org for an event near you, and help us fight for a #DreamActNOW!
Trump’s Dream Shutdown. Yesterday afternoon, President Trump remarked that he would “love to see a shutdown” if Congressional Democrats don’t agree to his nativist immigration demands ahead of Thursday’s budget renewal deadline. To be clear: The President of the United States is advocating for an outcome that disproportionately harms poor children, military veterans, low-wage workers, and other disadvantaged groups if he does not get his way. This is no longer a secret dream of his. He is openly expressing his desire to single-handedly shut down the government.
Racist Dog Whistle. Trump’s comment about the potential shutdown was not his only racially-infused moment of the day. Earlier in the day he tweeted his apparent disgust with the death of an Indianapolis Colts football player at the hands of an undocumented immigrant. This is the newest segment in his ploy to pit immigrants against African Americans by pointing out how the former harms the latter. His painfully transparent attempts are especially clear when one considers the disparity among how he talks about terror attacks perpetrated by people of different skin colors. He also fails to acknowledge the fact that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than those who are born in the United States. This president’s twitter feed is just one unabashed racist dog whistle after another.
Bad Contractor. An Atlanta entrepreneur working as a one-woman company was awarded a $156 million contract to deliver 30 million meals shortly after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico last September. Instead, only 50,000 were delivered. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) terminated the contract just 20 days after it was signed “due to late delivery of the approved heater meals.” This is not the first time a contractor hired in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria has failed families struggling to survive. Remember the Whitefish Energy debacle? It’s becoming all too apparent that the current administration doesn’t properly vet its government contractors.
Time’s Up in the House. The United States House of Representatives passed a breakthrough sexual harassment bill yesterday, which would make it easier to report sexual harassment on Capitol Hill and prohibit members of Congress from having sexual relationships with their staff. The bill also stipulates that taxpayer money will no longer be used to settle members’ sexual harassment cases. But Jocelyn Frye of the Center for American Progress says there is still much work to be done to prevent sexual harassment from occurring both inside and outside of the halls of Congress. Either way, this bill must now pass the Senate and be signed by President Trump if it is to become law.