Democrats risk disappointing voters by removing a major expansion of paid family and medical leave from a compromise social policy bill.
President BidenJoe Biden Trump’s lawyer blamed Pence for causing attack on Capitol: Report that Biden receives communion in Rome Protesters march for climate action in Rome amid G-20 summit MORE campaigned to extend paid leave to working women and men and initially proposed 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave as part of its broader domestic agenda.
But the proposal was shortened to four weeks and was eventually completely removed from the package due to opposition from the centrist senator. Joe manchinJoe Manchin Progressives fear compromise could jeopardize midterm hopes Sunday shows progress: Frustration mounts as infrastructure talks hit a setback Democrats could pass infrastructure and spending bills by Tuesday PLUS (DW.Va.).
Advocates see development as a major setback, particularly as women face more difficulty re-entering the workforce as the nation works its way out of the pandemic-induced economic crisis.
Female voters will be central to Democratic hopes in the midterm elections, and some see the risk that removing the provision could dampen support.
“It’s such an unforced error,” said Democratic strategist Christy Setzer. “Like universal pre-K, the genius of paid leave is that it is easy to understand and makes a big difference in our lives. Whether you get paid leave from the employer or not, all women with children remember the anxiety of disclosing their pregnancy at work and the struggle to find childcare while their body recovers.
“I don’t know if the voters will punish the Democrats for not doing this – it’s hard to miss out on what you’ve never had, but man, what a missed opportunity,” added Setzer. “Just think if we had gotten universal pre-kindergarten, paid leave, and child care above the line. Women would line up around the block to evangelize about it. “
Debra Ness, president of the National Association for Women and Families, also said setting aside paid family leave qualified as a risk for Democrats. She said that “women, when they voted in the last election, they were voting for people who thought they were going to fight for paid leave.”
An Oct. 27 memo from Democratic polling firm Lake Research Partners commissioned by the National Association called paid leave a “crucial component” of Biden’s plan because of its popularity. He cites polls that show 87 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of independents, and 43 percent of Republicans favor paid vacations.
Democrats insist that the compromise package presented by Biden will remain transformative for American families even without the paid leave provision.
No Republican has voiced support for paid leave, and Democrats intend to pass the package without the support of the Republican Party through budget reconciliation, which means they need every Democratic senator on board.
Speaker of the Chamber Nancy pelosiNancy PelosiSunday Shows Preview: Frustration Moves As Infrastructure Talks Hit Setback Democrats May Pass Infrastructure Bills, Tuesday Infrastructure Setback Frustrates Democrats Closer To Spending Package Win social MORE (D-Calif.), A leading proponent of paid leave, seemed exasperated when she referred to the removal of the program on Thursday, but said it would not detract from the rest of the package.
“I am still fighting for paid leave. Frankly, I have a hard time debating it because I don’t understand why we wouldn’t have that. But nonetheless, that does not undermine the fact that we have nearly a trillion dollars in universal pre-kindergarten, child care, child tax credit, home health care and the rest, ”Pelosi told reporters during a press conference. “A program, important as it is, does not detract from the rest.”
Pelosi also criticized Manchin, noting that he voted in favor of a defense policy bill that included paid leave for federal employees during the Trump administration.
Some advocates are hopeful that the measure can be put back in the package.
“We cannot accept a final Build Back Better deal without paid leave. We just can’t, ”said Giovanna Lockhart, Senior Paid Leave Advisor for the United States. “While this initial agreement falls short of what workers need and deserve, we are committed to fighting to ensure that final legislation includes a federal framework for paid family and medical leave.”
“Women voters are a supermajority and paid leave is incredibly popular,” Lockhart added. “I think this is another reminder that we need more women in Congress.”
The paid leave for the US is hosting an event in New York on Sunday outside the Senate Majority Leader Charles schumerChuck SchumerOcasio-Cortez Presses Biden on Student Debt: ‘You Don’t Need Manchin’s Permission for’ 535 ‘Presidents’ with Veto Power: Why Budget Agreement Still Elusive More(DN.Y.) at home to pressure him to retrieve the license paid on the invoice.
The problem was also highlighted this week by television journalist and mother Kasie Hunt, who recently underwent surgery to remove a benign tumor from her brain.
On Twitter, Hunt wrote: “If paid leave is left out of this bill, I will spend the midterm elections covering how suburban women who turned against the Republican Party on Trump are responding to the Democratic government in DC, especially after the pandemic. ”
But Ness and other advocates said their fight is not over.
“I do not accept that it is offside. It is very much at stake. We have a lot of champions fighting for it, ”said Ness.
Sources say senators, including Democratic Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (NY), Patty murrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn Murray The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Biden pleads with Democrats before heading to Europe Democrats drop paid leave from Biden’s spending framework The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Democrats they have many obstacles ahead MORE (To wash.) Mazie hironoMazie Keiko Hirono Patience wears out as Democrats miss deadlines Democrats face critical 72 hours Democrats seek plan B on obstructionism MORE (Hawaii), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Health Care – Presented by Altria – Drug prices outside of Biden’s framework, at least for now Manchin indicates he will support the .75T price for the spending plan Democratic presidents say not given for overdue in adding drug prices measure more (Mineral) and Mark KellyMark Kelly Anti-Trump Republicans Target McCarthy, Scalise, and Other High-Profile Conservatives Overnight Defense & National Security – Presented by Raytheon Technologies – Biden Backtracks on Taiwan Arizona Attorney General Calls for Restraining Order to Block Federal Mandate of vaccines MORE (Ariz.) They are still pushing for the issue to be included in the legislation.
Murray, in a statement, praised the framework, but called it “frankly embarrassing that the United States is the only developed nation where workers are not guaranteed paid leave if they have a child, become seriously ill, or need to care for a loved one.” . . “
Still, an effort to regain paid leave in the bill appears to be unsuccessful at the moment.
The White House insists that Biden will continue to fight for him after the comprehensive spending package is approved, but the way forward is highly uncertain.
“Ultimately, the president believes this is the framework that the House and Senate will pass,” said the White House chief deputy press secretary. Karine Jean-PierreKarine Jean-PierreBiden Risks Presidency with House of Representatives Biden for McAuliffe to Test its Election Brand Overnight Defense & National Security – Presented by Boeing – US is ‘deeply alarmed’ by reports of military takeover in Sudan MORE told reporters during a gang aboard Air Force One on Thursday. “The paid leave, the medical leave is something fundamental and important to him. He campaigned on it. And he’s going to keep working on that. “