Meghan Markle lobbies Republican senators for paid family leave

The Duchess of Sussex is reportedly cold-calling U.S. Senators to lobby for paid paternity leave

Meghan Markle is reaching out to members of Congress to campaign for paid family leave. 

The Duchess of Sussex is reportedly cold-calling U.S. Senators to lobby for paid paternity leave. TMZ reports that New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand gave Markle the cell phone numbers of Republican senators Susan Collins and Shelley Moore Capito, and both were surprised to receive a call from the former actress. 

“I talked to each of the women senators and let them know that she’s going to reach out because she only completed two of the calls,” Gillibrand said, according to Politico. “She’s going to call some others, so I let them know in advance.”

Meghan Markle
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex speaks during a special school assembly at the Robert Clack Upper School in Dagenham ahead of International Women’s Day (IWD) held on Sunday 8th March, on March 6, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Stansall-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Gillibrand continued, “She wants to be part of a working group to work on paid leave long term and she’s going to be. Whether this comes to fruition now or later, she’ll be part of a group of women that hopefully will work on paid leave together.”

“Honestly … I thought it was Sen. [Joe] Manchin. His calls come in blocked,” Senator Capito from West Virginia, told TMZ. “And she goes ‘Sen. Capito?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ She said, ‘This is Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.'”

Capito added, “I couldn’t figure out how she got my number.”

Meghan Markle
The Duchess of Sussex (Photo by Jeremy Selwyn – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

“I was happy to talk with her. But I’m more interested in what the people of Maine are telling me about it,” said Sen. Collins. “Much to my surprise, she called me on my private line and she introduced herself as the Duchess of Sussex, which is kind of ironic.”

Markle is a longtime advocate for paid family and medical leave. She recently donated Starbucks gift cards to employees of a U.S.-based nonprofit campaigning for greater equity in the workforce, theGrio previously reported.

People reported that Markle granted the cards to members of the nonprofit organization PL+US. The organization advocates for “high-quality paid family and medical leave for everyone” in the U.S. by 2022, according to its website.

Last month Markle penned a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in which she pushed for a national paid maternity leave bill. The letter was published by Paid Leave for All.

“Over the past 20 months, the pandemic has exposed long-existing fault lines in our communities,” the mother of two wrote, according to People. “At an alarming rate, millions of women dropped out of the workforce, staying home with their kids as schools and daycares were closed, and looking after loved ones full-time. The working mom or parent is facing the conflict of being present or being paid. The sacrifice of either comes at a great cost.”

A British lawyer has been suspended from her job at the family law firm she founded after her offensive tweets about the newborn daughter of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (above). (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

She continued: “I grew up on the $4.99 salad bar at Sizzler—it may have cost less back then (to be honest, I can’t remember)—but what I do remember was the feeling: I knew how hard my parents worked to afford this because even at five bucks, eating out was something special, and I felt lucky.”

Meghan also noted that she and her husband Prince Harry both recently took 20 weeks of parental leave.

“We knew we could take her home, and in that vital (and sacred) stage, devote any and everything to our kids and to our family,” Meghan wrote. “We knew that by doing so we wouldn’t have to make impossible choices about childcare, work, and medical care that so many have to make every single day.”

“The families you represent need your strong leadership,” she continued. “Paid leave should be a national right, rather than a patchwork option.”

Paid family leave was added into the $1.75 trillion social spending and climate policy bill, Pelosi announced Wednesday.

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