Harris Expresses Frustration About Paid Leave Being Cut from Spending Package

Speaking from Paris, where she is meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, Vice President Kamala Harris expressed frustration about paid leave being cut from a landmark spending package.

“Yes, it’s frustrating,” she said. “It’s something I’ve been advocating for for years, as has the president, and it was in our initial proposal.”

She added: “I’m frustrated and it is, I think, a shame that then we are not yet a leader on this. We have work to do. And that is why the president and I are committed to doing this work.”

The paid family leave provision is popular but nearly tanked the bill after Senator Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), a moderate, voiced opposition against it.

But Democrats are committed to restoring the provision.

Earlier this month, House Democrats put paid family leave back into their spending bill, which is considered crucial to codifying the Democratic agenda and to delivering a victory for President Joe Biden and his administration amid sagging poll numbers.

The change was announced in a letter from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who said the Rules Committee would hold a hearing later in the day to consider it.

“We had planned for a Rules Committee hearing on the Build Back Better legislation on Monday, but suggestions for change continued to come in. This morning, we will present to Rules the amendment which contains some changes.  Members have been asked to further review the legislative text posted six days ago, as well as the amendment that will be released this morning,” Pelosi wrote.

The Speaker noted that some “outstanding” issues with the legislation would need to be addressed, especially since she has promised not to force House lawmakers to vote on anything that can’t win 50 votes in the Senate.

“It had been my intention throughout this process to put on the House Floor and pass a bill that would pass the Senate in the same form,” Pelosi wrote.

“Because I have been informed by a Senator of opposition to a few of the priorities contained in our bill and because we must have legislation agreed to by the House and the Senate in the final version of the Build Back Better Act that we will send to the President’s desk, we must strive to find common ground in the legislation.”