Last Friday, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) released the main points of a new pro-family plan he will introduce to provide financial aid and support to pregnant women, new moms, and young children. The bill comes as a pro-family legislative response in the wake of the overturning of Roe by the Supreme Court. Senator Rubio said that the bill would “make a real difference to American parents and children in need.”
Rubio’s Providing for Life Act is the latest in a growing push by some Republican lawmakers to change the party’s stance toward social support for families. Earlier this month, Senator Romney (R-UT) introduced the Family Security Act, a bill also aimed at providing financial stability to new mothers and young kids, the piece of legislation is an updated version from an earlier plan by Romney and counts on the support of fellow Republican Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Steve Daines (R-MT). Senator Josh Hawley also introduced a similar pro-family plan in April.
Overview of Rubio’s pro-family plan
The proposed legislation would enable paid parental leave, expand the child tax credit, expand child support enforcement requirements, provide more funding to the WIC program, expand tax relief for adoptive parents, increase social services capacity by allowing more faith-based organizations to participate, establish a grant program to fund mentoring services for low-income mothers, create more resources for pregnant women, expanding support for pro-life support centers, and enforce rights for pregnant college students.
In the critical issue of expanding the child tax credit (CTC), Rubio proposes a $3,500 credit that parents would receive per child, and $4,500 per child under the age of 6, the CTC would maintain phase-out thresholds for single filers earning $200,000 and married couples earning $400,000. It also establishes that parents could claim the benefits for their unborn children, the refundable portion of the tax credit would phase in at a rate of 15.3%, and the SALT deduction will be eliminated in order to finance the new program.
In an op-ed published at the Washington Examiner, Senator Rubio has said that while the overturn of Roe is a victory for pro-life politicians. The country “can and must do more for unborn children and their mothers. What we need is a pro-life plan for post-Roe America.” Rubio also said that his plan will tighten the laws to “ensure that men pay their fair share of the financial burden of parenthood” as a response to the fears of many women that they will have to raise their kids alone due to the father abandoning them.
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While each one of the plans that have been floated by Republican politicians have some significant differences to be ironed up, the flurry of bills is a clear indication that there is a change in tune going on in conservative policy-making regarding social spending programs towards families.
This shift away from a more strictly libertarian approach toward social programs was foreshadowed by Rubio himself in 2020 when he tweeted that the future of the Republican Party would be based on providing the platform for a “multiethnic, multiracial, working-class coalition.” Rubio himself also worked closely with Ivanka Trump to bring pro-family policies, like paid family leave, to the forefront of conservative policymaking.
Whether any of these legislations will be able to muster enough support among Republicans and Democrats to become law remains to be seen, but what is clear is that pro-family plans will be supported by a growing wing of the GOP, and one that cuts across the traditional blocs that divide the Republican Party, since politicians who would seem to be in conflicting wings of the party (like Hawley and Romney) have been singing a similar tune in this issue.