Dems Press Manchin Over Paid Family Leave Plan as Biden Wants 'Finish Line' for Reconciliation Bill
10:37 GMT 28.10.2021 (Updated: 07:33 GMT 04.11.2021)
When asked whether President Joe Biden would sign a reconciliation bill without a paid leave programme, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday that she is "not going to litigate that from here".
Democratic congressmen have cornered colleague Joe Manchin
on the Senate floor to prevent him from impeding a national paid family leave programme, which was reportedly cut from President Joe Biden's reconciliation bill on late Wednesday.
Senate Health Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray insisted, however, that paid family leave is still in the package, adding that Manchin promised to keep an open mind on the issue.
"It's not out. He said he would think about it, he will keep an open mind. He is not a no", she said, referring to her previous conversation with Manchin.
Murray added that Democrats "will try to get a robust paid leave package in the [reconciliation] bill".
She spoke as Manchin told reporters on Wednesday that "we should be examining all this stuff", adding that the fast-track procedure Democrats are using to enact the bill is "not the way to do it".
"We have to be careful what we're doing. If we're going to do it, do it right", he added.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), for her part, warned that it is "not looking good" for the paid family leave policy and that she wished "it were otherwise". Warred added that she thinks "this may be one [policy] that's in real trouble".
The House Democrats' "ambitious" proposal initially stipulated 12 weeks of paid leave for workers nationwide for family reasons, such as the birth or adoption of a child, or medical reasons, including an illness or to care for an ill family member. Another proposal envisages the paid family leave being shortened to four weeks to reduce costs.
30 September 2021, 22:52 GMT
The developments come after President Biden
spent weeks discussing the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill with Democratic lawmakers, as moderates like Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema demanded a smaller bill, infuriating their progressive colleagues.
In the latest twist on the matter, Biden tweeted late Wednesday that the reconciliation package, along with a separate $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill are "all within our reach". "Let's bring these bills over the finish line", he added.