Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is taking back family values from the Republican Party by unveiling his Family Values Agenda. The Sanders agenda calls for ten days of guaranteed paid vacation for employees who have worked for an employer for at least a year, and 12 weeks of universally paid family and medical leave.
At a Capitol Hill news conference, Sen. Sanders went after Republicans on family values:
When my Republican colleagues talk about “family values,” what they usually mean is opposition to a woman’s right to choose, opposition to contraception, opposition to gay rights. Let me today give a somewhat different perspective on family values – on real family values.
When a mother has a baby and is unable to spend time with that child during the first weeks and months of that baby’s life, and is forced back to work because of a lack of money, that is not a family value. That is an attack on everything that a family is supposed to stand for. When a wife is diagnosed with cancer and a husband cannot get time off of work to take care of her, that is not a family value. That is an attack on everything that a family is supposed to stand for. When a mother is forced to send her sick child to school because she cannot afford to stay home with her that is not a family value. That is an attack on everything that a family is supposed to stand for. When a husband, wife, and kids, during the course of an entire year, are unable to spend any time together on vacation – that is not a family value. That is an attack on everything that a family is supposed to stand for.
Sen. Sanders’ agenda is centered around two pieces of legislation, “Senator Sanders’ Guaranteed Paid Vacation Act would provide 10 days of paid vacation for employees who have worked for an employer for at least one year. This legislation would make sure workers have access to minimum vacation benefits that most companies already offer to their white-collar, high-salary workers. The Act would apply to employers with at least 15 employees….Workers in the United States should have at least 12 weeks of universal paid family and medical leave. The FAMILY Act introduced by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand does just that. This bill, which Sen.Sanders is co-sponsoring, allows mothers and fathers to receive 12 weeks of paid family leave to care for a baby. It also allows workers to take the same amount of paid time off if they are diagnosed with cancer or have other serious medical conditions or to take care of family members who are seriously ill.”
For decades, Republicans have been calling themselves the party of family values while carrying out an ideological agenda that weakens and undermines the economic security of the nation’s families. Republicans oppose any steps that would strengthen families. Studies have found that the more money a couple makes, the less likely they are to divorce. Economic stability increases family stability.
When a worker has to place economic survival ahead of their family, the family suffers. Republicans have gotten away with disguising their family killing policies as values for too long.
Conservatives hijacked the term family values, but Bernie Sanders is taking it back.