WASHINGTON ― House Democrats are including four weeks of paid family and medical leave in their version of the Build Back Better Act, as leaders negotiate their way to a vote on the spending and tax bill as well as a bipartisan infrastructure bill.
The House Rules Committee would start the process Wednesday for an eventual floor vote on the newly amended legislation, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced in a letter to colleagues, though it wasn’t clear how soon the House would consider the bill.
The policy would guarantee workers have at least four weeks of paid leave for illness, the birth of a new child, or to take care of a sick family member. Currently, more than 75% of the private sector workforce doesn’t have access to paid family leave, and roughly 60% doesn’t have paid medical leave. The United States is one of the only countries that doesn’t provide any paid leave for workers.
While House lawmakers are adding four weeks of paid leave to their bill — cut down from the original 12-week proposal — the policy is still on shaky ground, as it does not have the support of 50 senators. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who has been in extensive negotiations over the plan as Democrats try to court his much-needed vote for the legislation, came out opposed to the policy late in negotiations last week, expressing concerns about the program’s cost and the potential for fraud. He reiterated his opposition Wednesday, after the House announced it would be added into its bill.