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Marco Rubio Readies Alternative to Obama's Take on Working Families

June 23, 2014 - 6:00pm
In the shadow of President Barack Obamas White House Summit on Working Families, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016, plans to offer his own alternative for middle-class America on Wednesday.

Rubio is scheduled to speak at conservative Hillsdale College in Michigan on Wednesday at which he is planning to speak about reform(ing) conservative ideas to address the rising cost of living plaguing middle-class families.

Obama outlined his proposals on Monday, calling for more flexible workplaces, paid parental leave and more benefits for same-sex couples. To that end, Obama is backing more flexible workplace options in the federal government and calling on Congress to pass legislation mandating businesses to offer more accommodations for pregnant employees instead of leave and extending the Family Medical Leave Act to same-sex couples. Obama also called for education reforms, including backing earlier childhood education and including more women in STEM programs.

Rubio gave Obama mixed marks for his proposals.

President Obama deserves credit for using the power of the presidency to highlight the significant obstacles working families face in America, Rubio said on Monday. However, the policies he announced today do not go far enough to address the challenges our families face. Telling federal agencies to do what theyre already supposed to do and endorsing partisan legislation that will never pass is not the sort of bold, innovative leadership we need.

Rubio insisted the stakes are high and many Americans are increasingly being left behind.

Never in our history have more Americans believed their children and grandchildren are destined to inherit a tougher life with fewer opportunities, Rubio said. For millions of Americans, the American dream feels increasingly out of reach. We cannot remain an exceptional country if we do not reverse this trend.

Looking ahead to Wednesday, Rubio promised to offer forward-looking initiatives.

The key to a better life and achieving the American dream does not lie with doubling down on outdated 20th century policies, Rubio said. It rests with 21st century reforms. That is why this coming Wednesday, I will outline how modern conservative reforms can help bring the American dream within reach for millions of single mothers, young Americans and working families.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), attended the summit on Monday and gave it high marks.

Todays summit is a reflection of the presidents personal and professional belief that when women and families succeed, America succeeds, Wasserman Schultz said. Building on the actions he has already taken to help create real, lasting economic security for working families, his announcements ranging from child care and sick leave, to pay equity and early education, will help even more women and families get ahead. I am honored to participate in this summit to share some of my own experiences with child care and work-life balance issues, as well as to learn more about the many public and private efforts happening nationwide to ensure that working families have the resources they need to thrive.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

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