President Biden’s new budget revives Democrats’ calls for Congress to pass a national 12-week paid family and medical leave program, foreshadowing a plank in his 2024 reelection platform.
The plan would give American workers up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave annually to care for a new child, or an ill-loved one or deal with their own health matters.
Neither the family leave plan nor the rest of Mr. Biden’s budget will advance in the divided Congress. Still, the revival of paid leave is a nod to progressive activists, who have long supported the proposal and whose votes Mr. Biden will need to secure reelection in 2024.
“It’s time for the U.S. to join other developed nations and provide better support to our families, including access to PAID family leave,” said Rep. Chrissy Houlihan, a Pennsylvania Democrat who has introduced legislation on the topic this Congress.
Mr. Biden wants the plan to be administered by the Social Security Administration. It would allow individuals to receive partial payment of their regular wages by borrowing against their future social security payments.
To help pay for the program, the president proposed a slew of new tax hikes totaling more than $5.5 trillion over the next decade.
Mr. Biden made a concerted push for the program last year when negotiating his $739 billion Inflation Reduction Act. The White House was forced to jettison paid leave from the final legislation after opposition from Sen. Joe Manchin, West Virginia Democrat.