The ultimate fate of paid family leave and other social spending remains in the hands of moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.
According to NBC News, Sen. Manchin of West Virginia said, “I’m concerned about an awful lot of things,” when asked if he were concerned about the paid leave proposal, which had been reduced to four weeks from 12 in an effort to win support for President Joe Biden’s social spending plan.
Democrats can’t pass the legislation if they lose a single vote from their majority in the Senate. Passage requires the votes of all 48 Democrats, the two independents who caucus with them and the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris. And the measure would have to pass in the House, where Democrats hold a narrow majority.
President Biden discussed the bill Sunday with Sen. Manchin at the president’s home in Delaware. Joining the breakfast talks was Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, who said Monday that three or four issues had to be ironed out with Sen. Manchin.
In addition to his reservations about paid family leave, Sen. Manchin reportedly is not a fan of using Medicare vouchers to cover dental costs. President Biden’s original plan was to expand Medicare to include dental.
But Sen. Manchin told reporters Monday that he believes this week will see a framework on the social spending package.
Both Sens. Manchin and Sinema have objected to the original $3.5 trillion price tag for the federal spending plan. President Biden has suggested a compromise at $2 trillion, but Sen. Manchin has repeatedly said the number he supports is less than that. His number is $1.5 trillion.