Buttigieg says administration will keep fighting for family leave


Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg 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 Biden 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 Manchin (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 Carlson, 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.

Tags Joe Biden Joe Manchin Pete Buttigieg Tucker Carlson

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