Republicans applauded the Supreme Court’s recent decision to finish the federal right to abortion, a change that can likely result in more births and parental hardship. But that doesn’t mean the party is pushing for brand new policies to truly help these parents.
Lately, Democrats have increasingly supported things like direct money assistance or paid family leave. The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade last month – presaged by a leak in May – hasn’t brought more Republicans on board.
“I’m unsure government can fix that,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said this week when asked if the federal government had a much bigger role to play in helping parents in a post-Roe world.
“I’d be open to supporting families and family formation,” said Cornyn, a member of the Senate GOP leadership. “But that’s separate and aside from the abortion questions so far as I’m concerned.”
The Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization undid the court’s nearly five-decade-old opinion that guaranteed abortion rights, making a patchwork of abortion access across the country. Tens of millions of Americans in greater than a dozen states aren’t any longer capable of obtain an abortion, and Republican lawmakers in some states are threatening to ban interstate travel to terminate a pregnancy.
Experts say the reversal of Roe can have a disproportionate impact on lower-income households and other people of color. It may lead to a dramatic increase within the variety of births. One health care consulting firm estimated there might be a further 150,000 live births within the U.S. every year. There have been 3.6 million U.S. births in 2021.
But many Republicans contend that the U.S. does enough to support families. In addition they bristle on the notion that their opposition to more federal assistance means they don’t support children.
“[Democrats] ignore the trillion dollars in advantages which might be already sitting on the market and what’s already being done and say unless you do one other billion dollars more you actually don’t love children. It’s absurd,” Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) told HuffPost.
Lankford said he favors stronger child support enforcement against deadbeat dads and making adoption easier.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has been considered one of the one Republicans on Capitol Hill willing to embrace a monthly money allowance for fogeys. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images
Children have higher poverty rates than other age groups within the U.S., largely since the labor market doesn’t accommodate parents. Other wealthy countries offer paid parental leave and a monthly child allowance; the U.S. has neither.
Democrats created a baby allowance as a part of the American Rescue Plan last yr. For six months, parents received as much as $300 per child. Democrats planned to make the payments a everlasting fixture of the welfare state, envisioning the policy as “Social Security for youngsters,” but they did not extend the policy as a part of a broader social spending bill that collapsed under internal opposition.
Some Republican lawmakers have dabbled in family aid policy, offering various proposals before the Supreme Court gutted abortion rights. But none of them have gotten the backing of the party writ large.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) proposed an alternate version of the Democratic child allowance that may offset this system’s cost by consolidating other welfare policies. For Romney, a part of the motivation for the policy could be to encourage people to have children, whereas Democrats have tended to focus more on reducing child poverty.
Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) recently joined Romney in proposing a new edition of his bill, this one with a “pro-life” provision allowing expectant moms to say the kid tax credit while they’re pregnant, before their children are born.
Burr, who’s retiring, told HuffPost to not expect a surge of support for Romney’s bill now that federal law now not protects abortion access. The major obstacle is that there’s not much incentive for Republicans to leap onto what could be a mainly Democratic bill when the Senate’s schedule this summer is already jammed with other laws.
“There’s no compelling reason to get on something like that because there’s no pathway to get it passed,” Burr said.
A dozen Senate Republicans and 31 House Republicans cosponsored a symbolic bill that may solely allow expectant moms to say a tax credit for his or her baby before it’s born, as Romney’s proposal would do. But no additional lawmakers signed on to the laws after the Supreme Court made its decision.
“There’s a variety of costs that occur in that first yr” before a baby is born, said Lankford, considered one of the bill’s Senate co-sponsors. “Everyone ignores that yr of shopping for the crib, buying clothes, getting diapers together, all that type of stuff.”
Republicans even have authored several proposals that provide paid parental leave — though unlike Democratic plans, they don’t offer direct federal assistance. As an alternative, the proposals allow working families to advance existing child tax credits or their Social Security advantages.
“I’d be open to supporting families and family formation… But that’s separate and aside from the abortion questions so far as I’m concerned.”
– Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas)
Joshua McCabe, a family economic security analyst on the centrist Niskanen Center, said there’s a variety of energy amongst right-leaning wonks that would filter to lawmakers eventually.
“I do think the Dobbs decision lit a fireplace under some butts,” McCabe said.
Republicans are likely to consider that reducing material hardship makes people less more likely to work ― an economic ideology that seems to trump any desire to make life easier for fogeys.
“I believe we should have safety nets,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said. “What I don’t need to do is put people able that able-bodied Americans usually are not working.”
To allay those concerns, Romney added a “work requirement” to his child allowance proposal, but he still hasn’t won over Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) or Mike Lee (Utah), who favor expanding the kid tax credit for working parents.
Romney said he hasn’t tried reaching out across the aisle yet because he’s waiting for Democrats to complete negotiating amongst themselves on a new edition of their “budget reconciliation” bill that previously included a baby profit fashioned from an expansion of the kid tax credit.
“Assuming that child care or child tax credit will not be a part of the ultimate package that Democrats provide you with in reconciliation, then we are going to begin more extensive negotiations with Democrats,” Romney said.
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) said he still hopes Democrats include a monthly child profit of their reconciliation bill, but odds are slim. “If that doesn’t work, I believe there’s going to be a bipartisan negotiation this yr,” he said.
But Bennet suggested he didn’t think the Supreme Court would encourage Republicans to barter.
“I don’t think anything could make up for the damage of the Dobbs decision,” he said.