Gillibrand: 'Manchin has come a long way on paid leave'

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandEx-officials voice deep concerns over new Pentagon UFO unit Paid leave advocates ramping up the pressure on Manchin and Schumer Gillibrand, bipartisan lawmakers push to keep military justice overhaul in NDAA MORE (D-N.Y.) said on Sunday that Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Dems press drillers over methane leaks Overnight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Abortion access for 65M women at stake Joe Manchin should embrace paid leave — now MORE (D-W.Va.) “has come a long way on paid leave” as the Senate gets ready to take up the social spending bill after the Thanksgiving break.

“Well, Joe Manchin has come a long way on paid leave. I've been talking to him now for about three weeks on the topic, and in the beginning of our conversations, he didn't know a lot about pay leave, and he's come forward with a lot of really smart questions about, how would you build it? What would it look like?” Gillibrand said during “Face the Nation” on CBS.

“So I'm optimistic that Sen. Manchin and I can continue to talk about ways to put paid leave in this bill because, long term, he wants it to be something that's bipartisan,” she added.

She noted, however, that Republicans she’s talked to who are interested in paid leave are not interested in what Manchin wants to do, which is to consider it as an earned benefit.

“I think Sen. Manchin and I can come together hopefully in the next couple of weeks on something that could be included in this package that would be a Democratic-only proposal that we could start with, something modest, perhaps, that we can start paid leave with” that would eventually lay the groundwork to get to 12 weeks of paid leave in future proposals, Gillibrand said.  

Late last week, House Democrats passed the social spending bill, sending it to the Senate, which is expected to take it up after the Thanksgiving break. Among the initiatives passed are renewable energy tax incentives, paid family leave and child care subsidies. 

Manchin has previously vocalized his opposition to paid family leave in the bill, saying that it should be supported “in a bipartisan way” instead of through reconciliation, which requires only 50 votes instead of a majority. Democrats cannot afford any opposition to the spending bill, and Manchin’s support is considered crucial for its passage.