The plan’s survival has been in question for several days due to objections from Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat. Biden’s initial 12-week proposal was scaled back to four weeks in an effort to secure Manchin’s support. That was rejected, leading to an effort by New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand that attempted to find a compromise with Manchin.
That has not succeeded, one of the people said, prompting Democrats to push it out of the package as they seek to scale back the proposal’s overall cost and programs to meet Manchin’s demands.
Manchin made clear he would not move when asked about the provision on Wednesday, saying: “I just can’t do it.”
“To expand social programs when you have trust funds that aren’t solvent, they’re going insolvent. I can’t explain that. It doesn’t make sense to me,” Manchin said. “I want to work with everyone as long as we can start paying for things. That’s all. I can’t put this burden on my grandchildren. I’ve got 10 grandchildren … I just can’t do it.”
But each move toward Manchin also risks alienating progressives, and dropping paid leave, which has been viewed as a cornerstone piece of the proposal, adds another complication for the White House and Democratic leaders as they seek to unify the party over the course of the next few hours.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.