The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down constitutional protections of the right to abortion in Roe v. Wade sparked a race between Democrats and Republicans before the midterms over which policies would do the most to help vulnerable mothers and children.
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., who heads the Senate Republican campaign committee, said Republican lawmakers now have a responsibility to “do everything in our power to meet the needs of struggling women and their families so they can choose life. ”
It’s an acknowledgment that even with a focus on inflation and high gas prices that have rankled President Joe Biden and Democrats, the culturally sensitive issue could complicate expectations of a GOP takeover of Congress.
The fallout from Friday’s ruling could add uncertainty to political contests because abortion is also an economic problem for many people. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said last month that a repeal “would have very damaging effects on the economy and set women back decades.”
Democrats suggest that their rivals are last-minute converts offering half measures at best, and that voters should judge them accordingly.
“It’s pretty cynical to say you want to do it now,” said representative Suzan DelBene, D-Wash. “If it’s a priority, it should always have been a priority and actions really speak louder than words.”
Republican 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 said Democrats’ paid family leave plan, which would put the United States on par 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.
“Top Republicans in Congress not only endorsed the radical break with Supreme Court precedent by imposing a national abortion ban, they have also spent years trying to make parenthood more expensive for middle-class families,” said Andrew Bates, White House press deputy. 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, typically leading to more poverty and worse health outcomes. . In response to the AP’s findings, many conservative state lawmakers said women can put their newborns up for adoption and said they would support increased funding for foster care programs.
The staffs 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 push to help mothers and children as a result of the abortion ban.
But Republican lawmakers have floated ideas they say would help families in need.
A spokesman for Scott has said the senator would support eliminating 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 says that no federal programs or tax laws should reward people for not being married and that the federal government should pay all the costs of single mothers who put up their children for adoption, including other policies.
Families who adopt children are eligible for a tax credit worth up to $14,300 in 2020. But House Republicans in 2017 also proposed a tax code overhaul that would have eliminated the adoption tax credit to simplify tax returns.
Following the Supreme Court ruling, 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 chance to fulfill America’s promise.”
His proposal would allow paid family leave, but would require parents to use their Social Security benefits and delay retirement. It would also expand child tax credit payments, but not all parents would be eligible for the full benefits as Biden allowed with his one-year expansion 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.”
However, there would be a major change to the tax credit: Parents with “unborn” children would be eligible for the payments.