Democrats get 4 weeks of paid leave back in the bill for social spending so far

Families, Parents, and Caregivers Encourage Congress to Include Paid Family and Sick Leave in the Build Back Better Legislative Package During a Full-Day Shift on November 2, 2021 in Washington, DC

Paul Morigi | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Democrats and advocates of paid family leave got a victory in the fight for a national plan on Wednesday, a day after holding a day-long press conference outside the Capitol building to rally support for the issue.

The proposed four-week paid leave plan is being added back to Build Back Better legislation after it was cut from the $ 1.75 trillion proposal due to some executives’ concerns about the high cost such a program would entail.

On Wednesday, Democratic leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., And House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., Announced that paid leave was again linked to the measure.

The bill had been reduced from the 12 weeks President Joe Biden originally proposed before being scrapped from the bill last week, leaving proponents who had fought for it in arms.

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“For far too long, American workers have had to make the impossible choice between providing for their families and caring for them,” Neal said in a statement Wednesday. “Now meaningful paid family and sick leave will be included as part of the Build Back Better Act because of the People’s House’s leadership and tireless advocacy.”

Currently, the United States is one of the few countries without a nationally paid family and sick leave program. Eligible workers may take unpaid leave through the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. Other workers may have access to paid leave through their employers or states that have adopted such programs.

However, many employees fall through the cracks, a problem that has become more obvious since the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced many workers to choose between care tasks or their own medical treatment and work.

The aim of the national plan would be to make it possible for workers to take paid leave when necessary, for reasons such as the birth or adoption of a child, the care of a sick relative or for their own health needs.

The plan aims to provide more access for low-income and minority workers, who typically do not have access to paid leave.

The Democrats’ plan would be funded through the federal government, which has been a problem with Republicans and some Democrats, especially Senator Joe Manchin, DW.V.

A spokeswoman who fought for the Democrats’ paid vacation plan on Tuesday, Khrista Messinger from Charleston, West Virginia, said she also planned to meet with Manchin after the event.

“I think I’m only here today because I was lucky enough to receive paid leave, and that helped save my life,” Messinger said. “It’s something I think everyone should have.”

Attorney Khrista Messinger urges Congress to include paid family and sick leave in the ‘Build Back Better’ package on November 2, 2021 in Washington, DC

Paul Morigi | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Messinger was paid leave when she was going to rehab for drug abuse. Having paid leave allowed her to keep her job in her local police department while she dedicated the time she needed to detox and get the treatment she needed, she said.

“To be clean, I needed the security of paid leave to be able to move on in my life,” Messinger said.

It is still unknown whether proponents of paid leave can influence Manchin in the matter. In response to the news that the proposal had been added back, Manchin said the issue is “much of a challenge,” according to reports.

Manchin has taken an issue with the cost of social spending proposed in the bill when there are already nearly $ 29 trillion in national debt, according to a statement he released earlier this week.

Republicans support paid leave, but want to see the program supported by companies instead of the government. Republicans in the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on Tuesday to discuss their proposals for paid leave and why Democrats’ plans could be detrimental to the economy.

“While the Democrats’ one-fit-all-socialist solution gives Washington control, the Republican approach to child care and paid leave puts families and ordinary businesses first,” Republican chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, Kevin Brady, R-Texas, said.

Advocates for the Democrats’ plan were quick to praise the reinstatement of the plan in the Build Back Better proposal.

In a statement, Molly Day, executive director of the non-profit organization Paid Leave for the United States, welcomed the steps of Parliament’s leaders and said she hoped the Senate would follow in their footsteps.

Last week, Paid Leave for the United States launched an ad campaign on DC cable to urge lawmakers to move forward with the bill after it was removed from the bill.

“It will take the collective efforts of our advocates in Congress, the White House and our national advocacy community to take this legislation across the finish line,” Day said Wednesday.

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