The Sutherland Institute hosted Sen. Mitt Romney for a Zoom webinar on March 23 to explain his new Family Security Act.
The act is meant to help families who are thinking about having children find greater financial security. The act would take many existing family policies and move them to one universal financial benefit for parents. The goal is to help incentivize those who may be forgoing marriage and children because of financial strain.
Romney promised in a press release that the act would not create any national debt. “The plan would immediately lift nearly 3 million children out of poverty, while providing a bridge to the middle class — without adding a dime to the federal deficit.”
The proposal was introduced in February 2021, drawing both praise and criticism from conservatives and liberals alike. Sen. Mike Lee joined Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida in a joint statement that they would prefer to instead work on existing systems to help families. The proposal itself has not yet been considered by Congress.
“I do believe there are dynamics in our developed world today that are contributing to the reduction of births,” Romney said. “I think the economic uncertainty has made people more reluctant to get married.”
The payments would phase out for couples with a combined income of $400,000 dollars, meaning the program wouldn’t just be there for extremely low-income families. “This is a program for families all throughout the middle class.” Romney said.
Romney said his plan is a result of research from around the world. When Sutherland Institute President and CEO Rick Larsen questioned Romney on what countries he modeled his plan after, Romney said countries like Canada are similar to the U.S. culturally yet have seen more families who have the security to have one parent stay home.
The Zoom meeting was held and organized by the Sutherland Institute, a conservative lobbying group based in Salt Lake City. The event was also attended by Ross Douthat, an op-ed columnist of the New York Times.
Douthat said some Eastern European countries like Hungary and Poland have seen fertility increases after implementing similar policies. Many conservative groups also see a benefit in traditional family structure, which falls in line with Romney’s proposals.
The Zoom meeting closed with promises to continue to discuss the Family Security Act in the future. The full Zoom meeting can be watched on the Sutherland Institute’s website.