Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a textbook, factually correct defense of paid family leave and medical leave laws during Tuesday night’s Democratic debate.
CNN’s Dana Bash asked Clinton about the subject, pressing her on Republican Carly Fiorina’s claim that requiring corporations to provide paid leave will hurt businesses and the economy. Clinton responded that it was a strange claim for Fiorina to make, given that Fiorina comes from California — a state that has had a paid leave law in effect for 10 years.
And the California law has worked well, by nearly all accounts. Last year, an assessment commissioned by the U.S. Department of Labor found that — thanks to the paid leave law — many more low-income parents were able to take leave. They were better off and so were the kids. And it all happened without ill effects on the economy.
In 2014, during a televised CNN interview, Clinton said she wasn’t sure paid family leave was “politically feasible,” even though she was a longtime supporter. Lately, though, she’s been talking it up — making it a centerpiece of her campaign.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) supports it too, with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) championing the cause on Capitol Hill.
And the Republicans? Like Fiorina, they oppose anything that actually requires corporations to provide leave — favoring, instead, tax incentives that few experts think would make much difference.
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