On June 4th the House passed bill HR 626 providing federal employees 4 weeks of paid parental leave at a vote of 258-154.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi had this to say about the passage of the bill:
"Today's House passage of paid parental leave for federal employees after the birth or adoption of a new child is a victory for all working families. As the nation's largest employer, the federal government should offer competitive benefits to those already offered in the private sector. Family-friendly practices help improve children's health and development; they also reduce turnover.
Supporting families with paid parental leave is an investment in our future. I salute Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney for her relentless efforts to ensure a strong bipartisan vote in support of this legislation. With this vote, in tough economic times, the House has stood with hardworking Americans and their families, and on the side of fiscally sound management."
Governor Corzine brings up an interesting point after announcing the passage of paid family leave in New Jersey. He believes that the bill would not have been able to be passed without the democratic control of the state government. I question why policies that benefit families are a partisan, or more accurately a democratic issue. Since the 1980s the Republican party has been running on a family values platform, and what policies could more easily integrate into this platform than those that help mothers and families? Personally, it does not make sense why such a family focused party does not support policy that would allow a child adequate time to bond with the parents and breast-feed. Is the issue that the conservatives prefer a nuclear family model where mothers do not work? Because that is simply not possible for many families today where two incomes are needed. I ask you to ponder why policies like paid parental leave are a partisan issue and not a family issue and then call your elected official and urge them to support paid parental leave policies across the country like H.R. 626.