During most of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, members of Congress limited their responses to standard moves like applause, cheers or silence. A couple of times, lawmakers were more animated.
One of those moments came when Missouri Republican Rep. Ann Wagner reacted to Trump’s comments on paid family leave, an effort his daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump has prioritized since early in his presidency.
“I am also proud to be the first President to include in my budget a plan for nationwide paid family leave — so that every new parent has the chance to bond with their newborn child,” Trump said.
“Yes!” Wagner shouted as Trump touted the proposal.
Wagner worked with Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and Ivanka Trump to put forward a bill last August that would allow new parents to finance paid leave by pulling from their Social Security funds.
Their proposal received criticism at the time from Democrats who slammed the idea of delaying retirement benefits for those who want to take part, arguing instead for the creation of a national paid leave program funded by a payroll tax. The issue is likely to reemerge in the 116th Congress under Democratic leadership in the House.
Wagner confirmed after the speech that she had been the one who reacted loudly during that portion of Trump’s speech. She told reporters she has spoken “extensively” about the bill with the White House and that she hopes to restart the conversation soon.
“We’re looking forward to resurrecting some of those discussions now,” Wagner said. “I was so pleased to hear the President give a strong shoutout for it tonight. I was the first on my feet to say, ‘Yes!’ I’m a big supporter and advocate in this arena.”
“I am very, very much about bringing this legislation forward. We’re working, like I said, on a bipartisan basis to get this done,” she added.