Congressional Democrats signaled Wednesday they would ditch plans for paid family and medical leave in an effort to trim costs and secure an elusive deal to push through a massive spending bill.
It marked the latest attempt to bridge the divide between liberals and moderates but would come at the cost of one of President Biden’s key campaign pledges.
During another day of frenetic activity, the two moderate holdouts, Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, met with Biden aides on Capitol Hill before saying they were confident of ‘progress.’
Later three sources familiar with ongoing discussions told Politico that Senate Democrats were dropping paid family and medical leave from the reconciliation bill.
It followed a confusing back and forth between House and Senate members, who first floated and then withdrew the idea of using a tax on billionaires to help pay for the package.
Biden aides are pressing Democrats to come together around a set of plans with a $1.75 trillion price tag before the end of the week, a move that would also unlock the president’s stalled $1 trillion infrastructure bill.
Discussions on Wednesday centered both on how to trim the cost of the bill and how to generate funding.
Biden is due to fly to Rome, Italy, on Thursday for a G20 summit followed by a climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, but is desperate to trumpet progress on his domestic agenda before a tight gubernatorial election in Virginia on Tuesday.
Last week he admitted that family leave was on the chopping block.
‘It is down to four weeks,’ he said during a CNN town hall.
‘And the reason it’s down to four weeks is I can’t get 12 weeks.’
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Source: Daily Mail