Tom Price on Families & Children
Republican Representative (GA-6)
Engaging non-custodial parents in work and work-related activities increases their earnings and, as a result, child-support collections, which both help provide a more stable environment for children. The potential solution lies with better connecting child-support enforcement programs to ongoing workforce development activities within a state, and helping to provide the skills and work-based learning opportunities needed to find and keep full-time employment. This effort must not duplicate existing programs or efforts, but make a point to connect and include non-custodial parents as eligible participants in such programs. In addition, better coordinating the child support enforcement program with other programs, much like is currently done with TANF, will help in prioritizing parental financial responsibilities for children.
Recognizing this need, Congress created the Head Start program in 1965. Since then, the number of federal programs providing support services to young children has exploded to 45 separate programs at a cost of more than $14 billion a year.
Virtually every program has a separate set of rules and reporting requirements that are difficult to navigate and impossible to align with community-based services. Fragmentation and program overlap create unnecessary administrative costs. Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Human Services found the few gains children receive in the Head Start program seldom last through the end of third grade, and the few gains that were found did not show a clear pattern of favorable or unfavorable impacts for children.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:
Rep. STEVE LYNCH (D, MA-9): This bill takes an important step toward improving the Federal Government's ability to recruit and retain a highly qualified workforce by providing paid parental leave to Federal and Congressional employees for the birth, adoption or placement of a child for foster care, which is a benefit that is extended to many in the private sector in other industrialized countries.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. DARRELL ISSA (R, CA-49): This bill sends the wrong message at the wrong time to working American taxpayers and families that are struggling in difficult times. Our economy is in crisis, and deficits are already soaring. This bill does not have one provision to say if you make $170,000 a year, why do we have to give you this benefit, because you have to choose between feeding your children and being with your children? Certainly not. There are no protections against, in fact, those who do not need this special benefit getting it. There are no safeguards at all. As a matter of fact, this bill envisions the $1 billion over 5 years, swelling to $4 billion over 10 years or more because, in fact, they believe it should be 8 weeks of special leave. Federal employees enjoy one of the highest levels of job security, without a doubt, anywhere in the United States. I would venture to say many of them the highest. More importantly, in good times and bad, they keep their jobs.
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