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Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) doubled down on his stance against including paid family leave in the Democrats’ massive social spending reconciliation bill on Thursday, even as House leaders attempted to secure a vote on the bill.
Speaking to John Berman on CNN’s “New Day,” Manchin discussed his position.
Manchin said he doesn’t think paid family leave belongs in the bill, saying, “That’s a piece of legislation that really is needed from the standpoint: if we do it and do it right.”
He said a policy of paid family leave with participation between employers and workers should be completed, saying, “We can do that in a bipartisan way. We can make sure it’s lasting.”
He noted, “When you do something in reconciliation and you throw all the cost and all the debt towards our national debt and the taxpayers, usually [that’s going to] flip flop back and forth as soon as someone else takes over as the majority.”
“Let’s fix that,” he added.
Appearing on MSNBC on Thursday, Manchin also said, “I believe in family leave; I believe people should have that opportunity,” noting, “Can’t we find a better position for this and do this in a bipartisan and in a process that works?”
“I do not object to it at all as far as the concept of paid family leave,” Manchin said, per Newsweek.
“People should be able to have family leave as they need it, but also we should be paying into it from — same as we do social security, it’s employer/employee participation.”
“I am talking to my Republican colleagues and friends and my Democrats, we can work a piece of bill out in a regular process that doesn’t put a burden on taxpayers, that doesn’t put a burden and also more debt.”
“‘Cause when you start the programs, you never stop them, you just don’t,” he added.
As The Daily Wire reported, on Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) requested paid family and medical leave to be included in the hearing on the social spending package Democrats are attempting to pass.
Pelosi sent a letter to House Democratic colleagues, stating, “It had been my intention throughout this process to put on the House Floor and pass a bill that would pass the Senate in the same form. Because I have been informed by a Senator of opposition to a few of the priorities contained in our bill and because we must have legislation agreed to by the House and the Senate in the final version of the Build Back Better Act that we will send to the President’s desk, we must strive to find common ground in the legislation.”
Notably, Pelosi wrote, “As we are reviewing priorities and at the urging of many Members of the Caucus, I have asked the Ways and Means Committee for its legislation for Paid Family and Medical Leave to be included in this morning’s hearing.”
Manchin, a key Democratic vote, had not been in support of including the paid family leave measure in the package, which originally led to the Democrats cutting it from the legislation. The Democrats need all Democratic votes in the Senate to get the bill through.
As The Hill reported, “Biden had initially proposed 12 weeks of paid family leave as part of his sweeping proposal to expand social benefits and climate programs — a provision adopted by House Democrats. But Manchin had balked at the $494 billion price tag, forcing negotiators to consider a sharp reduction of the benefit — down to four weeks — before Biden slashed it altogether in the framework he unveiled last week.”
On Tuesday, Manchin explained his opposition.
“I’m working on paid leave. I support paid leave but not in this bill in the way it’s presented because they had to — they really had to adjust the paid leave to fit into reconciliation,” Manchin said.
“In this bill you can’t get it done because of the constraints we have,” Manchin added.
After Pelosi’s announcement, Manchin doubled down on his stance, saying, “That’s a challenge, very much of a challenge. And they know how I feel about that.”
The paid family leave had previously been taken out of the measure as the entire package was reduced in size from around $3.5 trillion. The White House has repeatedly made the claim that the bill would cost nothing to the American people, a line of thinking that was met with mockery.