Senate Democrats have decided to scrap President Biden’s proposal to provide a federal subsidy for parental and family leave from a sprawling social spending bill in a major blow to Biden’s agenda, sources confirmed to The Post.
A source close to the talks said Senator Joe Manchin’s vehement opposition to the terms of the paid leave means he likely won’t be in the final act, though many members are pressing him to support the measure, which Biden has campaigned.
That policy was scrapped as Democrats sought agreement on the bill before Biden left Washington on Thursday for a trip to Europe.
Biden has sought 12 weeks of federally subsidized paid leave for workers to care for new children or sick family members, but the idea was already scaled back to four weeks before it was canceled altogether on Wednesday.
“It’s down to four weeks. The reason I’m down to four weeks, Biden said last week during CNN’s town hall is that I can’t get through 12 weeks.
Federal workers currently get 12 weeks of paid leave, but private sector policies on paid time vary by state and employer.
The move is a blow to Biden’s recent claims that he can pass a bill that at least gives a start to various progressive programs that can later be expanded. Free community college is also expected to be taken off the bill and other items, such as expanding Medicare programs, to remain on the chopping block.
The last-minute row over details in the bill, along with potential tax increases, comes as House leftists threaten to torpedo the Senate’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill if they don’t get expanded social spending.
Biden’s social spending plan is expected to include nearly $500 billion in environmental funds, and the total price is currently believed to be about half of Biden’s initial $3.5 trillion request.