Transportation Secretary Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegAirlines warn of 'catastrophic' crisis when new 5G service is deployed Buttigieg says parenthood 'lights a fire' The Memo: 2024 chatter reveals Democratic nervousness MORE on Monday said the Biden administration will continue to fight for paid family leave, adding his personal experience taught him that leave is “time to do important work.”
“It’s talked about as time off. It’s time to do work. Good work, joyful work, meaningful work. But it’s time to do important work,” Buttigieg told reporters at the White House.
He said “it’s no secret” how he feels about paid leave, nor how President BidenJoe BidenMacro grid will keep the lights on Pelosi suggests filibuster supporters 'dishonor' MLK's legacy on voting rights Sanders calls out Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdown MORE feels about it.
"He proposed it, I think campaigned on it, and will continue to fight for it," Buttigieg said.
Biden had proposed 12 weeks of paid family leave in the Democrats’ sweeping social spending package. That had been trimmed to four weeks through negotiations and then was fully cut from the White House’s framework as a concession to Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinPelosi suggests filibuster supporters 'dishonor' MLK's legacy on voting rights Sanders calls out Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdown Martin Luther King III: Biden, senators need to use same energy to pass voting rights as they did for infrastructure MORE (D-W.Va.).
“The president put forward a framework that he's confident can pass the House and the Senate,” Buttigieg said.
He joined the daily press briefing on Monday to tout the bipartisan infrastructure deal, which the House passed on Friday. Biden has not yet signed the deal into law, but Buttigieg said he will be “there with bells on” at the bill signing. The White House has not said when it will be signed.
Buttigieg has faced fierce criticism from conservatives over taking paternity leave and has aimed to use that to launch a conversation about the issue. He took shots last month for taking leave during the supply chain crisis from Fox News host Tucker CarlsonTucker CarlsonThe Hill's 12:30 Report: More of Biden's agenda teeters on collapse The Hill's Morning Report: Biden takes it on the chin Tucker Carlson extends influence on GOP MORE, who criticized his absence from work.
Buttigieg, the first openly gay Senate-confirmed Cabinet official in U.S. history, and his husband recently announced the birth of twins Penelope Rose and Joseph August. Buttigieg reportedly started his leave in mid-August.
—Updated at 2:52 p.m.