Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

President's 2018 budget to include family leave plan

The Washington Post reports that President Donald Trump's first formal budget proposal, to be introduced next week, will include an ask for funding to create a program that will give both mothers and fathers six weeks of paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child.

Trump's push marks a key departure from Republicans' traditional opposition to paid family leave, a benefit long espoused by Democrats.

The federal funds will be spent over the next 10 years and will be included in Trump's budget proposal, which will be released May 23, Bloomberg reported.

The Trump proposal also indicates that states will be required to run their own programs for this family leave - which leaves the door open for each state being able to decide for itself whether certain individuals could be uncovered by their state's program, such as same-sex parents or unmarried parents.

It also cuts $200 million in funding for the Department of Agriculture's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), a program that "provides grants to states for supplemental foods, health-care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and children who are at nutritional risk", according to the budget document. It also could mean that the benefits could vary greatly by location.

The extremely far behind when it comes to family leave.

Trump's proposal is unlikely to win much Republican support.

The last thing we can afford is a new entitlement program, and for that reason alone the president should shelve his paid leave proposal.

Trump's broader budget plan promises a balanced federal ledger in 10 years by relying on rosy economic assumptions and cuts to Medicaid and a variety of other benefits programs — though not Social Security pensions or Medicare benefits. Gillibrand has said she would be happy to work together with Trump on a paid leave plan.

The proposal for a family leave program was one of the few relatively large ticket items in a budget which is expected to contain sweeping reductions in spending on nondefense measures. Two health programs for women and children will receive increased funding: The The Maternal and Child Health Block Grant will receive an additional $30 million, while Healthy Start another $10 million.

And two health programs for women and children will get funding boosts.

So although Trump's inclusion of six weeks' paid leave is a step forward, it's undercut by the harm the rest of his budget will do to some of the very people who voted for him.

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