Of course paid leave was going to be dropped from the reconciliation bill.
For a second time in a row the progressive caucus left democratic leadership — namely Nancy Pelosi and President Biden — utterly humiliated, and for good reason. As many of us saw coming before the “negotiations” even really began, not only was the reconciliation bill gutted to a shell of what it once was, progressives were being pressured to simply take their word for it that Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema would vote for the reconciliation bill if they passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill first. The meeting between Speaker Pelosi and the progressive caucus grew so heated that Rashida Tlaib walked out and Nancy Pelosi was reportedly kicked out, stalking off without even saying a word to the press who was waiting. The bill, which they hoped to have voted on yesterday, is now being delayed another week at least.
While I don’t doubt that there will eventually be a vote on the reconciliation bill as is, I can’t help hoping that progressives will recognize the ability to kill legislation is power, and tank the bill that no longer even has any paid family leave benefits whatsoever.
No paid family leave.
Now, let’s talk about who tanked it: none other than West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. One man who denied millions of mothers the ability to bond with their babies, and fathers the chance to experience time with their newborns as well. He denied people the ability to take care of their sick partners, mothers, or fathers as well.
How many of us have really been able to sit back and process just how fundamentally morally bankrupt and cruel that truly is? How many of us have processed that a multi-millionaire sitting in the senate has denied not only his constituents in one of the poorest states in the country, but the entire nation universal paid family leave because he hasn’t deemed it necessary. In the eyes of a democratic senator, we are not worth the dignity of being able to afford to purchase food and keep a roof over our heads while we care for a sick loved one or welcome a baby into the world.