Biden drops paid family leave from proposed budget bill framework

·3 min read

WASHINGTON – The White House summary of President Joe Biden’s proposed framework for a $1.75 trillion package of social programs doesn't include his proposal to provide 12 weeks of paid family leave, which disappointed some House Democrats.

The head of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., said members of Congress get paid time off when they are sick, but that many Americans do not.

“Isn't it unfortunate that will not be the case for the American people?” DeLauro asked.

Biden's framework, released Thursday morning, is a scaled back version of his original $3.5 trillion plan he pitched earlier this year. It's unclear whether his offer has the support of enough Democrats to pass through Congress and become law.

President Biden walks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday, during a visit to meet with House Democrats.
President Biden walks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday, during a visit to meet with House Democrats.

Biden’s initial proposal called for $225 billion for a national program to provide paid family and medical leave for workers for three months after having a child, rehabilitating from an illness, caring for a disabled relative or dealing with a partner’s military deployment.

That proposal called for up to $4,000 per month in paid leave for individuals who participate, with a minimum of two-thirds of average weekly wages and increasing to 80% for the lowest wage workers.

The United States is just one of six countries with no national paid leave program.

But Biden needs all 50 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus to support the legislation and at least two – Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. – objected to his initial $3.5 trillion price tag, which forced lawmakers to pare it down.

Democratic lawmakers have been haggling over the cost of the legislation for months and paid leave was one of the items that dropped out in the latest White House announcement about where talks stand.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., says the expansion of a tax credit for families could be "as big a change as with the New Deal and Social Security."
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., says the expansion of a tax credit for families could be "as big a change as with the New Deal and Social Security."

"After hearing input from all sides and negotiating in good faith with Sens. Manchin and Sinema, Congressional leadership, and a broad swath of members of Congress, President Biden is announcing a framework for the Build Back Better Act," the White House said in a statement. "President Biden is confident this is a framework that can pass both houses of Congress, and he looks forward to signing it into law."

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., chairman of the Senate Budget Committee who has helped craft the package, said the proposal from the White House “has major gaps” and that the lack of “paid family medical leave is also a great concern.”

A number of advocates and groups expressed their disappointment and concern, too.

The exclusion of paid family and medical leave from the reconciliation package, though, is deeply disappointing. For parents, paid leave is child care," said Lauren Kennedy, co-president and chief strategy officer of Neighborhood Villages, which advocates for early education and care policy reform, in a statement that

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a nonprofit research organization, applauded the proposal as a "historic win" but President and CEO Nicole Mason lamented the fact that paid leave was left out of the proposal.

"Paid leave is crucial for American workers and their families,” Mason said. “We learned during the pandemic that paid sick leave was not a ‘nice to have’ but a necessity for the most vulnerable workers and for families."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden drops paid family leave from proposed budget bill framework

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