Democrats Cut Paid Leave From Build Back Better Package

Senate Democrats have failed to convince Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to support a paid leave program, and told the House that it will have to be cut out of the Build Back Better spending and tax bill entirely.

Democrats were scrambling Wednesday to find a way to put some kind of national paid leave program in their budget bill, floating narrower policies that would leave protections for those who are sick themselves or caring for sick family members.

But in the end, Manchin didn’t bite, and Democrats abandoned the push, according to a congressional aide briefed on the decision.

Paid leave was under serious threat all week because of Manchin, who privately expressed concerns about the potential for fraud in the program, and the program’s cost.

“It doesn’t make sense to me. … I just can’t do it,” Manchin told CNN on Wednesday about the proposal, citing its impact on the debt.

The United States is an outlier among industrialized countries in the world for not having any kind of paid leave mandate. Workers must rely on their employers to voluntarily decide whether they will offer paid leave for the birth of a new child or if a worker is sick or has to care for a sick family member.

President Joe Biden’s original proposal was a national paid leave program with partial wage replacement that would phase in 12 weeks of paid leave over the course of 10 years. The House, led by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), separately put together a roughly $500 billion private-public proposal to provide 12 weeks of paid leave for Americans to care for a new child or a sick loved one, or to deal with a family death or the deployment of a military spouse.

Source: HuffPost – Breaking News, U.S. and World News

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