October 30, 2015

They look like a nice family, don't they? I can see why he wants to spend time with them, but it's not so clear why he thinks the rest of us should do without family time. It's not exactly a surprise that Republicans have double standards, but it is jarring when the media types who cover them (looking at you, Kate Snow) are so very disconnected from the political reality:


One of Paul Ryan’s conditions for becoming speaker is that he be able to spend time with his family. But when it comes to federal policies on family leave, Ryan has opposed virtually every measure proposed over the past several years.

In 2009, for instance, Ryan voted against the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act, which would have allowed federal employees to substitute up to four weeks of available paid leave to take parental leave. The bill passed a then-Democratic House with 24 Republican votes, but the legislation never made it to the Senate floor.

In lieu of supporting paid leave, Ryan co-sponsored the Working Families Flexibility Act, which would give employers flexibility to substitute compensatory time off for time-and-a-half overtime pay. Family advocacy groups oppose the measure, which passed the House in 2013 with three Democratic votes but was not considered in the Senate.

Ellen Bravo, executive director of Family Values @ Work, a network of state coalitions advocating for paid leave, said the bill served only to reduce payroll costs for employers. “It gives the illusion of family time, but in fact you get to spend more time with your family only after you’re forced to spend more time away by working mandatory overtime,” she said.

On Tuesday night, Ryan told reporters, “I cannot and I will not give up my family time,” adding he “may not be on the road as often as previous speakers.”

“Paul Ryan is rightly concerned about his job’s impact on his spouse and children," said Judy Conti, federal advocacy coordinator at the National Employment Law Project. "Yet [he] isn’t willing to guarantee that all workers... have the necessary tools to balance their work and family obligations."

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