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Gillibrand working to keep paid family leave in Build Back Better bill

 Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) during a stop in Syracuse
Ellen Abbott
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) during a stop in Syracuse Monday

Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) isn’t giving up on including one of the projects she’s been working on for years in President Biden’s social spending bill that still has to be voted on in the Senate.

During a stop in Syracuse Monday, Gillibrand said she expects there will be more compromises and negotiations before the Senate vote on the Build Back Better bill, and she wants to make sure that one pillar of the legislation, what she calls the care economy, is included.

"I’m working really hard to get national paid leave into this Build Back Better bill. We’re working on universal pre-K plan for 3 and 4-year olds,” Gillibrand said. “We’re working on affordable daycare. All that care economy would have helped if we’d had that in place pre-COVID."

A version of the bill passed last week in the House, and it included a controversial paid family leave policy. But at this point, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) does not support it, and his vote is needed. Gillibrand has been a leading proponent of a national paid family leave program and has been talking to Manchin about it. She’s optimistic the legislation will be voted on by the end of the year.

"I hope by Christmastime this bill will be concluded, we’ll pass it. And that money will begin to flow into our states and communities,” she said.

Among the opposition from Republicans and centrist Democrats is concern that the legislation will worsen inflation. But Gillibrand doesn’t agree with that.

"That’s a supply chain problem. So it’s not the normal thing of inflation,” she said. “So getting money in people’s pockets so they can afford basic things is necessary, and it will ease inflationary pressures.”

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.