In another major blow to progressive plans of social spending, paid family leaves have been removed from the sweeping bill. In the ongoing bargaining going on the bill before it goes for a vote, Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, are the ones who refused to include paid time off and leave in the bill.
“To expand social programs when you have trust funds that aren’t solvent – they’re going insolvent. I can’t explain that. It doesn’t make sense to me,” He told reporters regarding his stance, making fellow senators extremely furious. Some progressives worked night and day to include that concession for the workers throughout the country who cannot choose between earning money or caring for their family members.
Executive director for Paid Leaves for the US, Congress. Molly Day said in a statement, “A budget deal that does not include paid leave fails working families and will not allow us to build back better.”
Before paid family leaves, it was the climate and free community college tuition that house centrists targeted from the 10-year-spending bill laid out by the progressives. Originally capped at $3.5 trillion, the bill included health care, climate crisis, child care support, along with education and other social infrastructure projects. After the reductions and scaling back, the bill has come down to a low of $1.9 trillion from its previous $3.5 trillion.
Even though there are further tensions after the recent removal of paid family leaves, President Biden is supposed to show up at the House Democratic Caucus meeting to convince house progressives to pass a parallel bipartisan infrastructure bill. Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal is however unmoved saying, “If there isn’t a deal, which is what I am still hearing. then I am not sure what the President is going to present to us.”
In an earlier interview with CNN, she also said, “The majority of our members believe that we should make sure we keep as many of the transformational programs in as possible and shorten the number of years.”
Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders who co-authored most of the $3.5 trillion spending bill is infuriated among his other colleagues, “The problem is with members here who, although they are very few in number, they are a significant minority, think that they have a right to determine what the rest of the Congress should be doing.” said Sanders.