Anchor or Lobbyist? MSNBC's Katy Tur Pushes for Congress to Pass Paid Parental Leave

September 14th, 2019 7:03 PM

On Thursday afternoon, MSNBC host Katy Tur devoted a segment of her show to a discussion of passing a federal law to mandate that employees be given paid parental leave in which only left-leaning guests participated in the discussion.

Opponents who might argue that some employers would have difficulty doing without employees for several months were not included in the discussion as Tur hinted she only invited members of Congress who were trying to pass a federal law on the matter.

At 2:47 p.m. Eastern, Tur introduced the segment by recalling that, on Wednesday's show, she had ended with a commentary calling for a federal paid parental leave plan:

As you might remember, yesterday was my first day back from maternity leave, and, at the end of the show, I made a plea for paid parental leave for mothers, fathers and partners. It struck a nerve, probably because the U.S. is the only developed country without a federal parental leave policy in place. Just eight states here, plus Washington, D.C., have it. We invited any lawmaker who wanted to come on this show and talk about how to make parental leave more accessible to join me here, and a couple did reach out.

The MSNBC host then brought aboard California Democratic Congressman Jimmy Gomez and Loyola University political science professor Meghan Schuler as guests. After Congressman Gomez began by recounting his childhood experiences that made him believe paid parental leave for all Americans is necessary, Tur followed up: "Why hasn't this been taken up in this Congress? Why have you not had a vote on any parental family leave -- paid family leave act in the House?"

She soon turned to Professor Schuler and, after noting the push to give "working class" employees more benefits than those with higher incomes, Tur asked about the benefits of having paid leave available for both parents. She did not bring up the possible problems for employers who cannot afford to retrain to temporarily replace absent employees and then allow them to come back to work later.

After Tur followed up by asking Congressman Gomez whether he thought there was much chance for a bipartisan plan in light of First Daughter Ivanka Trump talking up the possibility, the Democratic congressman was given a forum to complain about how a Republican version of such a plan would be paid for. Gomez:

I really want to kind of push back on some of the proposals that are out there from the Republican side. You know, one of the things they want is to have people utilize Social Security, but in the end, if they utilize paid family leave through Social Security, then either they have to work or it's deducted from their Social Security benefits when they retire. That's completely unacceptable.

Concluding the segment, host Tur lamented: "It's only 13 or 14 percent of civilian workers who get paid time off. That is a terribly small number."