Democrats are considering major cuts to their paid family leave plan as they work towards passing their Build Back Better budget bill next week.

Initially, lawmakers proposed a 12-week paid leave program, which was outlined in President Joe Biden’s address to Congress. But now, they might have to cut down the program to include just four weeks of paid leave, which still amounts to a $100 billion proposal.

Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), the most conservative member of the Democratic caucus, told reporters “we’re doing a lot of negotiations right now.” Manchin has yet to make his stance on paid leave clear.

In order for the bill to pass, all 50 Democrats need to be on board.


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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who has championed three-month paid leave,  said she wants to ensure some version of the program remains on the bill. “The details of how long it’s covered and how supportive the benefit is in the first few years is not the most important thing; the most important thing is that that support is there for workers,” she told HuffPost. “Whether it’s X number of weeks or Y number weeks, that’s less important than creating the support that’s needed because we can build on that over time.”

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