Gillibrand says that “this is the only moment” to pass paid family leave

Washington – Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said Sunday that “now is the time” for Democrats to implement a nationally paid leave program for workers as she seeks to influence another Democratic senator. Joe Manchin to back the policies of President Bidens social spending and climate change package.

“If your biggest concern is strengthening social security networks like Social Security, paid leave is one of the solutions,” Gillibrand said in an interview with Face the Nation. “I hope that if I can use the next three weeks to really impress Senator Manchin that some things can only be done with Democrats, then now is the only time to do so, perhaps in the next decade.”

Gillibrand has been a leading proponent of a paid family and sick leave program, saying she has spoken to Manchin about the terms of a proposal that would get his support. While Mr Biden’s initial sweeping plan to expand the country’s social safety net included 12 weeks’ paid leave, a revised version of his proposal omitted the policy due to objections from Manchin.

However, the House reintroduced a scaled-down family leave provision – providing four weeks’ leave – in its bill, called the Build Back Better Act, which cleared the lower chamber Friday.

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Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on “Face the Nation” on November 21, 2021.

CBS News


While the legislation that ultimately passes the Senate is expected to differ from Parliament’s bill, Gillibrand said she would be “grateful” if the Senate version matches the four-week program.

“It would be a good start to having universal paid leave for all people, all workers, and we know that paid leave helps people get back to work,” she said. “We know if it’s parental leave, parents, mothers are 40% more likely to return to work if they have paid leave, which goes on to Senator Manchin’s concern that he wants to strengthen our social safety net. He wants to strengthen “Social security. That’s what paid leave does. It gets people back to work. It allows people to stay in the workforce, even when there is a family emergency.”

Gillibrand said Manchin has “come a long way” in support of paid leave, but she warned that while the West Virginia senator is hoping for bipartisan support for such a measure, it is unlikely.

“The two-part ideas he has, they will not come true with the Republican senators who are interested in paid leave today because they are not today interested in a universal plan that is a earned benefit,” she said. “So that’s why I think for Senator Manchin that now is the time if he has a vision of what he wants to do. Putting it in this proposal that is only them is the only option in my opinion. “

Democrats are using a process called budget voting to speed up Mr Biden’s proposals for social spending and climate change through Congress. The procedure allows the plan to clear the Senate by a simple majority, requiring all 50 Democratic senators to support the spending bill.

The Democrats’ fragile Senate majority has given Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, a colleague, moderate influence in the negotiations over the details of the legislation, and their opposition to the original $ 3.5 trillion price price led the president to downscale his proposal.

Gillibrand said Manchin is “in the driver’s seat” of social spending and the climate package, including on how to pay for it, and said that if he has a vision for a paid leave benefit, it is the only way to include it in Democrats’ legislation. . will be adopted.

“I just hope he can stay open to include some provisions on paid leave because this is the only moment to get paid leave,” she said.

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