Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is proposing a new program to be administered by Social Security that would give workers up to 12 weeks of benefits at two-thirds of their usual salary at times of family crisis. It would be funded by employer and employee contributions of 0.2% of workers' wages.
Does this have a realistic chance of passage at this point? Of course it doesn't. Tea party Republicans control the House of Representatives. However, this proposal and Senator Warren's proposal to increase Social Security benefits significantly are both signs that Democrats increasingly view expansion of Social Security as a political winner today and something that will become feasible in the not too distant future. Democrats may well decide that proposing to increase Social Security benefits is their best path to win back the House of Representatives.