Among other things, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan demanded guaranteed family leave time before accepting his new role. The Speaker of the House has many duties and Ryan was concerned his new responsibilities would limit the amount of time he has to spend with his family.
That in itself would not be controversial, indeed it may even be welcome, but Paul Ryan clearly believes only he deserves family leave.
Ryan appeared on Fox News Sunday where he dismissed paid family leave as just another "entitlement."
“I don’t think people asked me to be Speaker so I can take more money from hard-working taxpayers, so I can create some new federal entitlement,” Ryan said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.” “But I think the public wants to have members of Congress that represent them, that are like them.
“Don’t you want your member of Congress to be a citizen legislator who lives with you, among you, who has your own kinds of concerns, who wants to spend time with his children on Saturdays and Sundays?”
In this particular instance Ryan may have the same concerns as many parents, however that clearly does little good as he is not willing to, or interested in, extending the same privileges he now enjoys to his constituents.
To categorize family leave as a "federal entitlement" is a misnomer at best. The federal government does employ a significant amount of people but guaranteed family leave should be provided to all Americans. The cost of providing family leave to the overwhelming majority of Americans who are not employed by the federal government would fall on their employers and would not require new taxes nor would such a mandate qualify as a "federal entitlement" and all that entails.
Ryan clearly wants to divide Americans and cast this as a unique privilege for government employees who, as we all know, don't have a "real job" in conservative folklore, but Ryan himself is a government employee who just negotiated unique privileges for himself alone.
I believe guaranteed family leave could pass both chambers of Congress if the issue was afforded an up or down vote with no policy riders but Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will never allow that.