A conservative push to expand federal benefits as abortion access dwindles is running into the usual buzzsaw of GOP opposition to social spending.

As the country processed the fall of Roe v. Wade, a few dozen GOP congressional staffers crammed into the second floor of the Monocle, a steak and seafood restaurant a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol. Over a buffet lunch, they listened to Samuel Hammond, an outside adviser to Sen. Mitt Romney, argue that Republicans have a heightened obligation to expand financial support for families now that abortion rights are no longer guaranteed nationwide.

Hammond, a Canadian policy analyst who received government benefits when his father took a few years off to be a stay-at-home dad, pitched a proposal by Romney (R-Utah) to send monthly checks of $250 per child to millions of American parents. “Pro-life conservatives now have an obligation to address the financial insecurities associated with childbirth and parenthood,” Hammond told the July 1 gathering.

But the 30-minute pitch appeared to find few takers. One staffer asked Hammond about the political viability of Romney’s plan, which has won support from only two other GOP senators. (The proposal is similar to President Biden’s expanded child tax credit, which expired last year amid united Republican opposition.) Another asked whether the federal government hadn’t sent enough cash to families during the pandemic.


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