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Obama urges Congress to act on paid sick leave

President Obama is pushing Congress to act on paid sick leave, chastising lawmakers for not prioritizing the “must-have” economic policy.

Obama pushes Congress to tackle paid sick leave

On the dire straits of working class Americans who choose between recovering from illness and making an adequate paycheck, the president declared in a video published Saturday that “we shouldn’t have to make choices like that in America.”

“That’s why I’ve repeatedly called on the Republican Congress to pass a law guaranteeing most workers in America the chance to earn seven days of paid sick leave each year,” Mr. Obama said. “Of course, Congress hasn’t acted.”

But the president touted his administration’s work “with states, cities and businesses to get the job done -- and many have, pointing to research showing that paid leave actually helps their bottom line.” He noted that the federal government itself is also requiring its contractors to give their employees up to seven paid sick days starting at the beginning of next year.

Adamantly stating that “paid sick leave isn’t a side issue, or a women’s issue, or something that’s just nice to have,” the president added more policies to prioritize, including child care, paid family leave, equal pay laws and a higher minimum wage.

“We need a Congress that will act on all these issues too because they’d make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of Americans who are working hard every day,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s more than talk -- it’s action.” 

The idea of paid leave is one that’s taken center stage at times in the 2016 presidential race, with both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump presenting some plans for paid sick and maternity leave.

Clinton has touted a plan that would guarantee up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave while the Republican nominee has said he would guarantee up to six weeks of paid maternity leave.

In a new ad starring his daughter and campaign surrogate Ivanka Trump, the GOP nominee also drew attention to his plans for working families. He tweeted the 30-second spot Saturday:

For Republicans in Congress, the issue of health care remains front and center.

GOP lawmaker promises "better way" for health care

In their weekly GOP address, Rep. Tom Price of Georgia slammed Mr. Obama’s landmark health care legislation, the Affordable Care Act, which passed Congress six years ago and has since survived numerous attempts to repeal it.

Price, a former orthopedic surgeon, pushed a plan by House Republicans to repeal the individual mandate and provide “real protections” for Americans’ health.

“You should be free to pick whatever insurance plan meets your needs, not one Washington forces you to buy,” Price said in a video Saturday. “We give you real protections so you never have to worry about being turned away because of your age, your income, or your health. We also clear out the bureaucracy so that our researchers and innovators can develop more life-saving treatments.”