Paul Ryan Takes A Stand Against These Women's Issues

Photo: REX Shutterstock
Paul Ryan has been Speaker of the House for less than a week and he's already giving women a sense of where he stands on their issues. Short version: It's not with them.

In an interview with CNN on Sunday morning, Speaker of the House Ryan spoke out against expanding paid family leave. "I don't think that sticking up for being a person with balance in your life, for wanting to spend your weekends in your home with your family...I don't think that means signing up for some new unfunded mandate," he said.

These remarks about paid family leave have led many to call him a hypocrite. Before being named Speaker of the House, Ryan was on record as saying that he would not give up time with his children to take the position. "It’s wonderful that Ryan is making it clear that he prioritizes family time over the high-profile role of U.S. House Speaker," writer Josh Levs said in Time magazine. "But he has the luxury of making that statement. Tens of millions of hardworking Americans don’t. When they have newborn children, elderly parents, or sick spouses to care for, they can’t afford to take 'family time.'”

Critics have pointed to Ryan's 2009 vote against the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act, a bill that would have given federal workers a month of paid parental leave. On Politico.com, Marianne Levine writes: "...when it comes to federal policies on family leave, Ryan has opposed virtually every measure proposed over the past several years."

As an alternative to paid family leave, Ryan championed the Working Families Flexibility Act — a bill proposed by fellow Republican Rep. Martha Roby, which he co-sponsored. This bill would "allow employers to offer private-sector employees the choice of paid time off in lieu of cash wages for overtime hours worked."

"I think we've had some pretty good legislation on flex time," Ryan said. "And that's a bill that I think is a great idea."
Advertisement

Meanwhile, also in the aforementioned CNN interview, Ryan said he does not believe Planned Parenthood should receive "one red cent" from America's taxpayers.

"I've always believed that, even before these disgusting videos came out," Ryan said, referring to undercover videos accusing Planned Parenthood of breaking federal laws by selling tissue and organs from aborted fetuses. (The content of these videos has been discredited.) "But I believe we need to do our oversight. We're just beginning to start a committee to investigate Planned Parenthood. That's important. So the special committee on Planned Parenthood, I think, should be in the driver's seat overseeing this process."

Ryan did admit that it will probably be hard for him to pull federal funding from the program.

"This is what I mean when I say being an effective opposition party. I think being an effective opposition party means being honest with people upfront about what it is we can and cannot achieve," he said. "But we also have to push issues where we can push issues, we have to speak truth to power."

Ryan added, "We have a president that isn't willing to listen, that isn't going to sign lots of our bills into law, we have a Senate that has a very difficult process when it comes to actually getting bills voted on, so knowing that we have those constraints, we have to operate within those constraints."

As Jezebel points out, Planned Parenthood has always been a thorn in Ryan's side since his congressman and vice presidential candidate days, when he openly supported a “no exception” abortion bill.

Ryan also said in his CNN interview that he would not try to work with President Barack Obama on immigration issues, saying it would be a "a ridiculous notion" and that the president could not be trusted.

Last November, Obama gave an executive order, which was put on hold by the courts, that would allow up to 4.7 million illegal immigrants to stay in the United States without threat of deportation. "This president tried to write the law himself," Ryan said. "Presidents don't write laws. Congress writes laws."
Advertisement