Now that Republicans have flip-flopped on their decades-long denigration of mothers and decided that staying at home to raise children is work—or at least, it’s work when Ann Romney does it; poor mothers, not so much—House Democrats are telling them to put their money where their mouth is. Ryan Grim at Huffington Post reports:
A handful of House Democrats, encouraged by the recent bipartisan agreement that stay-at-home moms should be considered just as hard working as anyone in the workforce, will introduce legislation to apply that standard to mothers on welfare as well.
Under current law, raising children does not count toward the required “work activity” that must be performed by recipients of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, the federal program that emerged from the 1996 welfare reform. Some states make an exception for mothers with children less than a year old.
The Woman’s Option to Raise Kids (WORK) Act, a copy of which was provided to HuffPost in advance of its introduction, would allow mothers with children ages 3 and under to stay at home with their children and continue receiving benefits.
The WORK Act won’t really give all women the same choices Ann Romney had. As she explained:
No, I did not work. Mitt thought it was important for me to stay home with the children, and I was delighted.
Under the WORK Act, however, mothers whose husbands don’t have profitable stock portfolios to support them, but who also think it’s important to “stay home with the children” and would be delighted to do so, would have to return to the work force when their child turns four. Still, such legislation would be a much-needed step in the right direction. And it’s one Mitt Romney should be first in line to support. After all, as his wife told us last week:
This is obviously an awesome responsibility, to raise children. It’s, to me, the most important thing we can do. I will tell you that Mitt said to me, more times than you would imagine, “Ann, your job is more important than mine.” He was making money and doing the things, raising funds and investing and helping other companies, and he would come home and say, “Ann, your job is more important than mine.”