By JOSH BOAK, Associated Press
The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade’s constitutional protections for abortion rights has sparked a competition between Democrats and Republicans ahead of the midterm elections over which policies would do the most to help vulnerable mothers and children.
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., who leads the Senate Republican campaign committee, said GOP lawmakers now have a responsibility to “do everything in our power to meet the needs of struggling women and of their families so that they can choose life. ”
It’s an acknowledgment that, even with a focus on inflation and high gas prices that have vexed President Joe Biden and Democrats, the culturally sensitive issue could complicate expectations of a takeover. of Congress by the GOP.
The fallout from Friday’s decision could add uncertainty to political races, as abortion is also an economic issue for many people. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said last month that a repeal “would have very detrimental effects on the economy and set women back decades.”
Democrats suggest their rivals are eleventh-hour converts who would offer half measures at best and that voters should judge them accordingly.
“It’s pretty cynical to say you want to do it now,” said Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash. “If it’s a priority, it always should have been a priority and actions truly speak louder than words.”
GOP leaders have generally opposed Biden’s expansion of the child tax credit — saying it would discourage people from working despite evidence to the contrary. Congressional Republicans have said the Democrats’ paid family leave plan – which would put the United States on a level playing field with other wealthy nations – could limit choices for families and crush small businesses. In 2017, House Republicans voted to repeal “Obamacare” and replace it with measures that could have made maternity care optional.
“Not only did leading Congressional Republicans endorse the Supreme Court’s sweeping break from precedent in imposing a nationwide ban on abortion, but they also spent years trying to make parenthood more expensive for families in the middle class,” said White House press deputy Andrew Bates. secretary.
An Associated Press analysis earlier this year found that states with the strictest abortion laws — often led by Republicans — typically provide far less support for parents and children, which typically results in more poverty and poorer health outcomes. In response to the AP’s findings, many conservative lawmakers said women could give their newborn babies up for adoption and said they would support increased funding for foster care programs.
Staff members of the two top Republican lawmakers, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, declined to say what measures they would advocate to help mothers and children following the ban on abortion.
But GOP lawmakers have floated ideas they say would help families in need.
A spokesperson for Scott said the senator would support removing work requirements for parents with children under 6 who live in public housing and receive food assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program .
Scott’s “Rescue America” plan states that no federal program or tax law should reward single people and that the federal government should pay all costs for single mothers who put their children up for adoption, among other policies.
Families who adopt children are eligible for a tax credit of up to $14,300 in 2020. But House Republicans also proposed an overhaul of the tax code in 2017 that would have eliminated the adoption tax credit to to simplify tax returns.
Following the Supreme Court’s decision, Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said on Twitter, “I will soon introduce a proposal to support mothers and their babies so that every child has a real opportunity to carry on the promise of America”.
His proposal would allow paid family leave, but would require parents to use their Social Security benefits and delay retirement. It would also increase child tax credit payments, but not all parents would be eligible for the full benefits, as Biden allowed with his one-year extension of the credit in 2021.
Announcing the framework in a Washington Examiner op-ed, Rubio said, “What we need is a pro-life plan for post-Roe America.”
There would be one major adjustment to the tax credit, however: parents of “unborn” children would be eligible for payments.
Copyright 2022 The Associated press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.