Senator Ernst and Ivanka Trump discussing paid family leave.

WASHINGTON—U.S Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Mike Lee (R-UT) released the following statements today after meeting with Senior Adviser to the President Ivanka Trump to create a path forward on enacting paid family leave legislation. Staff from the offices of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Todd Young (R-IN) also attended the meeting.

“Today we had a productive conversation about paid family leave policy focused on the bipartisan desire to find a solution that supports American workers and families. We are seeking to build consensus around policy that can garner enough votes to be passed into law and thank the Senators on both sides of the aisle who are working together towards that goal,” said Ivanka Trump, Advisor to the President.

“As a mother, I understand firsthand how important it is for our policies to reflect the evolving needs of our workforce and to reduce the barriers imposed on parents who are balancing family and work,” said Senator Ernst, a member of the Senate Small Business Committee. “In his State of the Union address, the president made it clear that paid family leave is a priority for his administration. That’s why I am all the more encouraged to continue working with my colleagues, and the administration, to create a path forward for a voluntary, budget-neutral, child-focused paid leave program rather than impose a new entitlement or mandate.”

“There is widespread interest in helping moms and dads have the financial flexibility they need to raise children. The key will be crafting a policy that is fiscally sustainable, targeted, and doesn’t bury taxpayers in even more red ink,” said Dr. Cassidy, chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth. “We’re going to work hard in my committee to craft a good, bipartisan solution that empowers families to succeed. This is pro-family, pro-baby, pro-mama.”

“I commend the White House for continuing to show leadership and making it clear that paid family leave is a priority for this Administration,” said Senator Rubio, chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee. “I am honored to participate in the ongoing, substantive discussion about how best to implement this policy and committed to seeing this effort through. Too many new parents, especially those with low incomes, take on new debt or fall onto welfare programs just to pay for their basic living costs after having a child. It is time to take action.”

“Families are the foundation of our country, yet our tax and entitlement systems penalize parents and growing families. If young people can’t afford to form a household and have children then the very future of our nation is in jeopardy,” said Senator Lee. “It was great to hear President Trump mention this issue in the State of the Union and the continued interest of Senior Adviser Ivanka Trump is a fantastic sign. I look forward to working with the WH and my Senate colleagues to identify ways we can reform federal government policies to help solve this problem.”

“Most parents today work outside the home and childcare costs are a burden for many families. The first months of life are a critical period for newborns. We should take a look at any policy that might help in their development,” said Senator Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “It’s been several decades since we’ve updated federal family leave laws. I look forward to working with my colleagues in both parties to explore new ideas.”

###