Moderate Senate Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia has once again flexed on his party's spending bill - this time refusing to go along with including a paid leave provision announced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier Wednesday - insisting it doesn't belong in a spending bill.
"That’s a challenge, very much a challenge," said Manchin, adding that the bill was the "wrong place" for a paid leave proposal.
I asked Manchin if he believes they need to pare back progressive policies after Tuesday's losses.— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 3, 2021
"I just think the message was really saying, 'If we're going to do something, let's take time to do it right.'
On adding paid leave to reconciliation bill, "That's a challenge" pic.twitter.com/hhhkZLdiQu
"I want to support paid leave. I want to do it in a bipartisan way. I've talked to [GOP Sen.] Susan Collins. I've talked to colleagues on both sides. We both agree something can be done," said Manchin. "Let's do that in a proper [way]. We’re trying to force it through reconciliation, which has guardrails and rules and regulations. Let's do it and do it right."
House Democrats announced on Wednesday that they were putting paid leave back into bill. Pelosi said the decision came “at the urging of many Members of the Caucus.”
The provision will provide four weeks of permanent parental and medical leave, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the language.
If House Democrats pass the social and climate spending legislation with the paid leave proposal in the bill, they would effectively be forcing Senate Democrats to decide if they will try to strip it out.
Any senator can force a vote on trying to change the spending bill once it's on the Senate floor, and most amendments can be adopted by a simple majority. That could allow all Republicans and Manchin to try to remove the paid leave provision.
Manchin also slammed Democrats over partisan legislation, saying "The bottom line is we have a divided country. We have a divided country that needs to be united, and you can't unite it by just going by a one-party system."
Sen. Joe Manchin: "The bottom line is we have a divided country. We have a divided country that needs to be united, and you can't unite it by just going by a one-party system." https://t.co/uNWgXpOWVm pic.twitter.com/xFJgiF7T1f— The Hill (@thehill) November 3, 2021
And as a reminder, without Manchin on board, whatever Pelosi and crew announce is absolutely moot.