Congress reaches tentative agreement giving federal workers paid family leave, creating Space Force

  • In Politics
  • 2019-12-07 17:14:35Z

WASHINGTON - Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress have come to a tentative bipartisan agreement that would give federal employees 12 weeks of paid family leave and establish the "Space Force" as a new addition to the U.S. military, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

The deal was made as part of negotiations for the defense authorization bill, which could come up for a vote as early as next week, the source said. The deal is only tentative and could change before becoming law.

The agreement, if passed, would mark one of the biggest deals President Donald Trump has cut with Congress while also checking off what has become a key priority for his administration ahead of the 2020 election: establishing a "Space Force" under the Air Force - something that would be attached to Trump's legacy in the White House.

The deal was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Democrats have long sought to provide additional benefits to the government's 2.1 million workers and paid family leave for new parents and became a key issue pushed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Historically, paid family leave is something conservatives have not supported.

More: America's parents want paid family leave and affordable child care. Why can't they get it?

More: How Ivanka Trump is working on paid family leave, affordable child care - and why it hasn't passed

The president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, has aimed to change that and told the USA TODAY Network she's been working in the background to educate and change views on the issue.

"As the country's largest employer, the United States Government must lead by example. After 3 years of relentless advocacy, the passage of the NDAA will secure Paid Parental Leave for ALL federal employees," Ivanka Trump said in a statement. "This will mark a HUGE step forward towards making paid leave a reality for all Americans. This new policy represents another incredible win for millions of hard-working American families courtesy of President Trump!"

Some of the biggest opponents to federal intervention on child care costs, USA TODAY found, are Americans who think kids are best off if their moms stay home. These people don't want to pay for another family's child care, and they worry by doing so the government would be incentivizing parents to work instead of spending time with their kids.

And those attitudes - held by people who, polls have shown, lean conservative - contribute to inertia in Congress, insiders say.

The timing of the bipartisan agreement on its own is notable given the worsening divide in Congress due to the impeachment inquiry into the president. Conservatives and the president have attacked Democrats for taking up impeachment and ignoring legislation that is important to the American people.

House Democrats have pointed to the hundreds of bills they have passed and blame the GOP-controlled Senate for not taking up much of the legislation. Before the deal can become law, it will need to pass both the House and Senate and receive Trump's signature.

Contributing: Courtney Crowder

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Congress reaches deal offering family leave, creating Space Force


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