Kirsten Gillibrand And Rand Paul Bond Over Childcare

Kirsten Gillibrand And Rand Paul Bond Over Childcare

This is the third time that U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rand Paul have joined forces for the greater good of the greater number, even if they’re, theoretically speaking, ideological antagonists.

Truth be told, Rand Paul is not your regular GOP member (like father, like son) and that’s pretty obvious, if you’re paying attention.

Even if the U.S, Congress is currently involved in a fratricide fight (after all, this is the Congress of the people and for the people, or at least that’s what it’s supposed to be), these two lawmakers are singing along to “Why can’t we be friends” regarding a matter that doesn’t discriminate between the Republican and Democrat creed. If you’re a parent purchasing child care services, you’ll love this.

Rand Paul is cosponsoring Gillibrand’s bill that aims to amend the federal tax code when it comes to, let me quote from the actual text:

“Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow taxpayers who do not otherwise itemize their tax deductions a deduction from gross income (above-the-line deduction) for their employment-related expenses incurred in caring for a child under the age of 13 or a child who is physically or mentally incapable of self care (qualifying child). Limits the dollar amount of such deduction in a taxable year to $7,000 for taxpayers with one qualifying child or $14,000 for taxpayers with two or more qualifying children. Allows an annual inflation adjustment to such amounts for taxable years beginning after 2014.”

As Huffington Post reported, the two U.S. Senators teamed up on this legislative item without drama and with little attention from the press. Gillibrand explained that the bill is intended to help working parents care for their children, especially those who don’t have extra family around to assist them.

Given the current economic hardships, says Gillibrand, an increasing number of middle class families can’t afford child care anymore and women (especially) feel tempted to leave their jobs in order to take care of their children. Obviously, this translates into reduced income for the respective families, as women leave the workforce, the end result being a further weakening of the middle class.

The truth is that the bill is still in its inception stage, but we must stay optimistic; as the Chinese say: even a 1000-mile journey starts with the first step.

Hence, even though the bill has only one other sponsor as I’m writing this (Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md) besides Kirsten Gillibrand and Rand Paul, and it’s a rara avis seeing ideological foes team up, this is by no means a “mission impossible” kind of thing.

If Democrats and Republicans can join forces over government surveillance or drones, there is still hope for the average Joe when it comes to childcare, don’t you think? If you ask me, it’s a matter of marketing after all, of selling a good idea or a good brand (just look at the Obama brand); even if it may sound populist, that’s “Real Politik”.

Mr. Paul commented on Huffington Post about the bill:

“While we may not agree on everything, Sen. Gillibrand and I are both willing to cross party lines to accomplish legislative goals that we all can agree on, I will continue to reach out to all legislators, regardless of party, and look forward to working more with Sen. Gillibrand and other colleagues in the future.”

What do you think? Can we really “be friends” for the common good, regardless of our political views? Share your thoughts about these issues in the comments below or on Facebook.

Written by Chris Black

(Photo courtesy of Caitlin Regan, via Flickr CC BY 2.0)


WATCH: HuffPost’s Commentary on the Kirsten Gillibrand And Rand Paul Team

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