The Family Leave Dilemma

Alice Lloyd, Weekly Standard Magazine, September 4, 2017

"Abby McCloskey was another member of the working group. An economist, political consultant, and leading conservative advocate for paid family leave, she was pregnant during the 2016 presidential primaries while working as a policy adviser for Texas’s Rick Perry—who dropped out of the race just at the tail end of her two-month paid maternity leave from the campaign. Republicans, she says, are “pro-life, pro-family, pro-opportunity,” and they face a values test with the issue of paid leave. “If they don’t move on this, I think it will be an obvious sign, and it’s not just that they didn’t like the Democrats’ proposal or it was impossible to come to a compromise,” says McCloskey, an expectant mother once again. “This is an issue that is central to what the party says it values.” Republicans, she adds, will have “no one else to blame if this doesn’t pass, so that’s a really heavy burden and a crucial test.”

As younger lawmakers inherit the GOP, the Eisenhower-era ideal of household roles fades further from memory and new types of pro-family policy are gaining ground. McCloskey perceives “more appetite for this policy among younger politicians, and certainly among women politicians who have experienced firsthand having a child and breastfeeding.” Marco Rubio, she notes, is a 46-year-old father of four. “I think the reason why he would propose a plan, and why Ivanka Trump in her mid-30s would make it her focus, is that people who have first-hand experience [of the modern family] are going to be the biggest advocates.”

“While the public policy process is messy and slow,” says McCloskey, “the ground is softening on paid leave.”



In Our Opinion: Pursue Family-Friendly Policies That Don't Overly Burden Business

The Editorial Board, Desert News, July 11, 2017

"Other pro-family policies provide a wiser approach. Take, for example, Abby McCloskey's proposals on tax reform in the National Review: “Our tax and benefit systems are designed to benefit single-earner households above all else. We impose high effective marginal tax rates on married households in which both spouses work. In a recent report, economists Melissa Kearney and Lesley Turner show how a family headed by a primary earner making $25,000 a year will take home less than 30 percent of a spouse’s earnings under existing policy.” This should change.

Additionally, other reasonable child-care policies, including expanded tax credits for child care and other child-related expenses, can help support working families without putting the direct burden squarely on small business."


The Child Tax Credit Is No Elixir For Family Policy

Abby McCloskey, National Review, July 10, 2017

"There’s agreement among conservatives that relief is needed for parents working and raising children in the 21st century. That’s the good news. The CTC offers a tremendous amount of flexibility for different family arrangements and expenses. But it is unlikely to move the needle on major family and economic issues and could end up putting considerable strain on the federal budget. Sadly, that’s no elixir."


Ivanka Trump Signals Flexibility on Paid Parental Leave

The Associated Press, June 9, 2017

Abby McCloskey, a Republican economist who helped craft the alternative plan, said the original Trump idea was a "great start" that will encourage Republicans to start engaging the topic, but she was critical of its lack of a clear funding source. She said the "muted" reaction so far from politicians is because it presents problems for both parties.

"It's not as generous as Democrats would like, and it's an unfunded program, which Republicans don't like," she said. But she said the Trump team "seems very open to input and advice" and she was optimistic that common ground could be found."


AEI-Brookings Joint Report: Paid Family and Medical Leave: An Issue Whose Time Has Come

Aparna Mathur, Isabel Sawhill, Abby McCloskey, and others, AEI-Brookings Joint Report, June 6, 2017

"The report suggests a compromise plan for policymakers to consider. The compromise plan would provide eight weeks of gender-neutral paid parental leave, replace 70 percent of wages, and offer job protection. The policy would be fully funded by a combination of payroll taxes and savings elsewhere in the budget, with no increase in the deficit but also no adverse effects on low-income families."


U.S. could get first paid family leave benefit under Trump budget proposal

Danielle Paquette & Damian Paletta, The Washington Post, May 18, 2017

"“It’s a fair starting point to the conversation,” said Abby McCloskey, former policy adviser to Energy Secretary Rick Perry, an early supporter for paid leave on the right. “Trump has the opportunity to push the Republican Party forward and create a new line of thinking.”"



Fed Chair Janet Yellen has a cure for the lackluster economy. It has nothing to do with interest rates.

Danielle Paquette, The Washington Post, May 8, 2017

"“The nature of work and families have changed dramatically over the last 50 years — especially for women — yet our labor policies have largely stayed the same,” McCloskey said. “The result is a big disconnect between what working parents need and what is provided.”"



Paid family leave: Frequently asked questions from a Republican perspective

Abby McCloskey, AEI-Brookings Joint Blog, February 13, 2017

"Over the last few years, I’ve had numerous conversations with political leaders about the opportunity to introduce a paid parental leave policy. Several of the same questions and concerns tend to pop up among conservatives, which I would like to address here, considering that the new administration and Congressional majority are Republican."


Child Care & Paid Leave Policies That Work For Working Parents

Abby McCloskey, Aparna Mathur, Angela Rachidi, National Review, January 9, 2017

"In our personal experiences and scholarly work, we see a policy environment that has missed significant opportunities to support families and foster economic growth. Conservatives in particular have been slow to realize the benefits of these policies, but 2017 offers the GOP a huge opportunity to change that."