GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio on Friday rolled out a plan to encourage businesses to provide more paid family leave by providing them with a tax break.
Speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., the freshman Florida senator said that he supports a 25 percent non-refundable tax credit for business that offers between four and 12 weeks of paid leave.
“This won’t solve every scheduling conflict between work and family life. No policy can,” Mr. Rubio said. “But it will help ensure that our people don’t have to sit behind a desk while the most profound moments of their lives pass them by. And it will help our businesses expand and create new jobs by allowing them to keep more of their money rather than send it to Washington.”
Mr. Rubio noted that Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination and former secretary of state, has offered misguided big government solutions to the problem.
Mr. Rubio was the first of eight GOP presidential hopefuls that are slated to speak here at the annual gathering of social conservatives, which coincided with the news that House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican and a favorite target of grassroots activists, was resigning at the end of October.
“And the issues like this are numerous, and they are so big, so consequential, so generational, that people cannot help but ask: How can it be that we’ve sent a Republican majority to Congress, yet they still aren’t able to stop our country from sliding in the wrong direction?” Mr. Rubio said, before turning to the Boehner announcement.
“We will see how things will go. Just a few minutes ago, Speaker Boehner announced that he was resigning,” Mr. Rubio said, sparking an uproar from the crowd. “I am not here to bash anyone, but the time has come to turn the page.”
Mr. Rubio also took a swipe at the “political class” and “outdated leaders” in Washington, saying that “too many leaders in both parties have fallen out of touch with America.”
“And this is exactly why, after almost five years in the Senate, I’ve had enough,” he said. “I’ve decided to run for president because I’ve realized that none of the problems I got elected to solve are going to be solved if we keep promoting the same people to higher and higher ranks within our government. “
Since turning his attention to the presidential race, Mr. Rubio has missed more votes than most lawmakers in the Senate. He is polling nationally in the middle of the GOP field.
But Mr. Rubio’s recent debate performances have been praised, and some political analysts say it is additional proof that he is well-positioned in the race over the long haul.
Mr. Rubio’s tax break would be capped at 12 weeks and $4,000 per employee. Under the plan, a business that offers $1,600 worth of paid leave would receive a $400 tax break, he said.
• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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