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Houlahan Leads Effort to Secure Paid Family Leave for Every Working American

In letter to House Leadership, Houlahan, DeLauro, Chu and Pressley push for paid family leave for working families across the United States

WASHINGTON – Today, Representatives Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT), Judy Chu (D-CA) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) have launched an effort to pass a universal, comprehensive paid family and medical leave policy as part of the Build Back Better infrastructure package.


“As we work to rebuild our economy, we must address structural inequities that were major drivers of crisis and economic instability in the pandemic,” wrote the members of Congress. “Investments in care infrastructure and policies that support workers, such as paid leave, are critical to an equitable recovery for all workers. The American Rescue Plan laid important groundwork for lasting, equitable change and delivered results for America’s women and families. We look forward to expanding those investments to rebuild our country’s care infrastructure, including with universal, comprehensive paid family and medical leave.”


Nearly 100 members have joined this effort – a testament to the energy behind this crucial priority.


“Since coming to Congress, I have made paid family and medical leave a priority,” said Houlahan. “In my first year in Congress, I led an effort alongside Representatives Adam Smith and Carolyn Maloney to guarantee paid leave to federal workers. It was an important starting point, and this effort is a necessary next step towards our ultimate goal – a paid family and medical leave program interwoven into the foundation of our nation’s infrastructure. This is an investment in working families, and consequently, in our economic growth. Right now, we have the responsibility to seize on this transformative opportunity in our nation’s history. We’re not just trying to restore our economy; we’re trying to make it even better – more accessible, equitable, and fair for every American. I’m grateful to the 87 other members who have joined me in this effort, and to my co-leads, Representatives Rosa L. DeLauro, Judy Chu and Ayanna Pressley for their steadfast commitment to this pressing issue.”


“There has never been a more urgent need to establish a national comprehensive paid family and medical leave program for the workers of this country,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “For decades, there has been a desperate need for paid family and medical leave – a need worsened by the pandemic. We have the opportunity to build the architecture for the future, but without a permanent paid leave solution, workers are at risk of losing their livelihoods, and our economic recovery is at risk of stalling. Women and communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by this crisis, often forced to make the impossible decision between caring for themselves or their families and earning a paycheck. Paid leave is not a fringe issue or a work perk— it is a lifeline. Now is the time to invest in programs, such as comprehensive and immediate paid family and medical leave and not leave millions of working families in the cold again.”


“Beyond an emergency response to the pandemic, paid family leave remains a vital need as we get our country back to work, especially for the women of America who have been forced out of the workforce in unprecedented numbers,” said Rep. Chu. “Parents need to have the flexibility to take care of themselves or their families when they’re sick and not risk their safety, their coworkers’ safety, or their own careers. I’m proud to join this call for a robust paid family leave policy that works for our families and our economy.”


“Universal and permanent paid leave is a matter of public health, racial, gender, economic and disability justice,” said Rep. Pressley. “We owe it to our workers and families nationwide to invest in paid leave as the critical infrastructure that it is, and I am grateful to Congresswomen Houlahan, DeLauro and Chu for their partnership in this fight.”


This effort has been endorsed by National Partnership for Women & Families, Indivisible, Paid Leave for the United States (PL+US), A Better Balance, Family Values @ Work, Main Street Alliance, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Bread for the World, TIME’S UP Now and Union for Reform Judaism.


“Paid family and medical leave would give working people the time they need to welcome a new child, care for a loved one or to take care of themselves, without fear of losing pay or the threat of losing their job,” said Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families. “This policy is essential for all families, communities, and businesses to thrive, and I am grateful for the more than 80 members of Congress who are committed to making paid leave a reality this year.”



Full text of the letter can be found here and below:

Houlahan is an Air Force veteran, an engineer, a serial entrepreneur, an educator and a nonprofit leader. She represents Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District, which encompasses Chester County and southern Berks County. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Small Business Committee.