House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) defended his demand for more personal family time, but insisted that he would not support paid family leave legislation because it would be a new "entitlement."
During an interview on Fox News Sunday, host John Roberts pointed out that "there are many people in this country that would like to see you make your priority legislation that gives people the backing of the federal government so that they can have time with their family."
Although the Family Medical Leave Act protects workers' jobs for up to 12 weeks if they are forced to take time off for family illnesses or a new baby, employees who take time off also forfeit their pay. Republicans have blocked President Barack Obama's call to ensure that workers can take paid leave.
"I don't think people asked me to be Speaker to so that I can take more money from hardworking taxpayers to create some new federal entitlement," Ryan opined on Sunday. "But I think people want to have members of Congress who represent them, that are like them."
"Don't you want your member of Congress to be a citizen legislator who lives with you among you, who has your own kinds of concerns, who wants to spend time with his children on Saturdays and Sundays?" he asked. "I'm going to keep living in Janesville, Wisconsin where I'm from, where I raise my family. I'm going to keep going back and forth to D.C."
The new Speaker said that he would reserve at least two days a week for his family. However, legislation to guarantee paid leave for workers was out of the question.
"If you're asking me, because I want to spend -- I want to continue being the best dad and husband and Speaker I can be, getting that work-life balance correct means I should sign up for new unfunded entitlement, that doesn't make any sense," Ryan concluded.