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A group of 15 Senate Democrats led by Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandOvernight Energy & Environment Biden makes return to pre-Trump national monument boundaries officialBiden signs bill to help victims of ‘Havana syndrome’Lawmakers using leadership PACs as ‘slush funds’ to live lavish lifestyles: reportMORE (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday sent a letter to Biden, Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerFixing Congress requires fixing how it legislatesBeware the tea party of the leftBottom lineMORE (D-N.Y.) and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWhite House: Window for finalizing sweeping budget package ‘closing’Emanuel to take hot seat in Senate confirmation hearing Fixing Congress requires fixing how it legislatesMORE (D-Calif.), urging them to include a more robust family and medical paid leave program in the legislation.

We urge you to include a national paid leave program that is meaningful, comprehensive and permanent in the Build Back Better Act. It must be universal to cover all workers, provide progressive wage replacement to help the lowest wage earners, and cover all existing types of leave with parity, the senators wrote.

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It comes a day after Biden informed liberal Democrats at a White House meeting Wednesday that the emerging legislation will only provide four weeks of paid leave benefits instead of the 12 weeks initially discussed by lawmakers.

The program is also expected to be means tested to be limited to lower-income families. 

This proposed cut isnt sitting well with Democratic senators who argue that funding a generous national paid leave program will boost the economy and address what they say is a child-care crisis.

Paid leave is a critical policy to improve the economic security of families, support businesses, and increase economic growth, they wrote.

The pandemic has exposed an acute emergency on top of an ongoing, chronic caregiving crisis for working people and employers alike. We cannot emerge from this crisis and remain one of the only countries in the world with no form of national paid leave. Now is the time to make a bold and robust investment in our nations working families, they argued.  

The group of senators say a national paid leave program must cover all workers because at one point or another, nearly everyone will need to take leave from work to give or receive care, whether its to welcome a new child, be there for an aging parent or loved one, or to recover from their own major surgery, serious illness like cancer or substance use disorders. 

More than 100 House Democrats wrote a letter to Biden Tuesday expressing our support for maintaining robust paid family and medical leave in the final reconciliation package. 

The lawmakers pointed out that only 23 percent of American workers have access to paid family leave and most of them cant even afford to take it.

They wrote that workers with paid leave are disproportionately the higher-paid employees at large companies and that Black and Latino workers are likely not to have access to the benefit. 

Creating a universal paid leave program will lessen some of these racial and economic inequalities, they wrote.

The House letter was led by Rep. Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyOvernight Health Care Presented by The National Council for Mental Wellbeing FDA panel advises Moderna booster shot for high-risk peopleIlhan Omar to Biden: ‘Deliver on your promise to cancel student debt’Biden’s Red Queen justice: How he destroyed both the investigation and the reputation of border agentsMORE (D-Mass.) and signed by House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauroRosa DeLauroParis Hilton to visit Capitol Hill to advocate for bill on children’s treatment centersDemocrats want to bolster working women, but face tortuous choicesProgressives say go big and make life hard for GOPMORE (D-Conn.) and Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) among others.