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While we are heartened by reports that President Trump’s budget recognizes the need for paid family and medical leave, which is, indeed, an urgent priority – the administration’s approach is not only terribly flawed, but also is coming at the same time Trump is proposing massive cuts to the programs that lift families the most. Actions speak louder than words, and while the words ‘paid family leave’ are in Trump’s leaked budget, the specifics of the paid family leave proposal itself, his recent executive orders, his ‘skinny budget,’ and his legislative stances – including advocating for pulling health care access from 24 million people – prove that this paid family leave policy proposal is largely a smokescreen.
 
To be clear, working families need a comprehensive, consistent, robust paid family and medical leave program that lifts our economy, businesses and families: It needs to be accessible to all working people, offer a meaningful amount of leave, be affordable for businesses, working people and taxpayers, be inclusive in defining family, and include strong job protections. One measure of just how far short this proposal falls is that 20 million people use unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) every year, but President Trump’s plan would leave out 15.6 million of them. His proposal sets working families up to fail. 
 
As reported by the media, the administration’s proposal would vary from state to state and cover only new parents, leaving out tens of millions of caregivers who urgently need paid leave to care for elderly spouses, parents or other relatives or to recover from injury or illness themselves. Without a more robust and adequate program, low-income families in particular will be unfairly penalized, with communities of color impacted the most. An inadequate plan like this will not help families achieve economic security, will not boost businesses, and will not allow our economy to thrive.
 
The political power of moms and families has brought paid leave to the forefront of public discussion, and we hope lawmakers will continue to hear our voices. But the Trump administration’s proposal falls far short of what our country needs and leaves behind millions of families that need time to care for their own serious medical needs or those of a loved one. It’s nothing more than a smokescreen to the greater economic harm he’s advancing in his budget and other policies.


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