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Loss of paid family leave deals harsh blow to President Biden's domestic policy plan

President Biden's $1.75 trillion plan includes new programs for child care and climate change, but some key services were removed, including paid family leave.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After months of work, President Joe Biden announced the framework for his Build Back Better domestic policy plan.

The $1.75 trillion proposal includes new programs for health care, child care and climate change, but some key services ended up getting cut

"No one got everything they wanted," Biden said when announcing the plan. 

Let's connect the dots

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Among the chief policies cut from the plan was paid family leave. The idea was in Biden's original $3.5 trillion spending plan, with $225 billion of that being set aside to offer full-time workers up to 12 weeks off after having a child, to recover from illness or to care for a disabled relative. It would have also provided paid leave for workers dealing with a partner's military deployment. 

The proposal called for up to $4,000 a month in paid leave. It was cut because Senate Democrats need support from their entire caucus to pass Biden's plan. Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, refused to support the policy

“It is outrageous and shameful” that the plan was taken out of the legislation, says Molly Day, the executive director of the advocacy group Paid Leave for the United States. “Our view on this moment is that we have every ounce of momentum required to pass this.


Right now, the United States is just one of six countries without a national paid family leave program. The U.S. is one of eight without national maternity leave, according to the World Policy Analysis Center.

Moms Rising is an organization working to promote paid family leave in the Carolinas. The group has put up billboards in North Carolina and South Carolina to promote the policy. 

"Many can't afford to take it because it's unpaid, so having access to a paid leave policy is critical for families," Tina Sherman, a spokesperson for Moms Rising, said. "Nobody should have to make those choices."

In the private sector, U.S. companies with 50 or more employees must offer up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off thanks to the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 23% of private industry workers have access to paid family leave.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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