Employment

The Senate and House committees with jurisdiction have been at odds over spending $300 billion or $494 billion, respectively, on the program for a while, a source familiar with the conversations said.

Advocates say that enacting any paid leave policy — even one that isn’t as comprehensive as first envisioned — is preferable to cutting the benefit from the package entirely. | Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

By ELEANOR MUELLER

10/13/2021 02:28 PM EDT

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Senate leadership is considering slashing funding for paid leave in Democrats’ reconciliation package to $300 billion, four sources told POLITICO, as part of a broader push to bring down the bill’s price tag to appease moderates.

That’s about $200 billion, or about 40 percent, less than what the House approved. To get there, policymakers would need to make major changes to the House-drafted language, illustrating the kind of tradeoffs Democrats are being forced to consider — and the type of schisms that’s creating between moderates and progressives.

“We’ve been touting this as being transformational in terms of creating job opportunities for women,” Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said in an interview. “It would be dastardly if the approach is one that is just going to be slash-and-burn” the House bill, “because that will mean that nothing is transformational.”

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