The leave provision would cover “all employees who wish to take paid leave to arrange the birth of a newborn, care for a family member or deal with illness or injury, including from 2024,” a source said. Politics.
Predictably, that one senator is struggle. Manchin says he had “no idea” the provision was still alive and — here’s the big joke — he’s spoken to Republicans who want to do it in a bipartisan fashion. Right. Like Senator Marco Rubio’s old Republican idea of stealing from Social Security to “pay” employees for time off. No word on whether Manchin still thinks you can make work demands on people taking leave. . . work.
Senate Democrats are working to isolate Manchin in this. sen. Patty Murray – who was furious with Manchin for blocking this – immediately responded on the news that Pelosi is taking paid leave, saying: “I am incredibly relieved to see Speaker Pelosi taking paid leave in the House Build Back Better Act. This is an important step forward, but we are not done fighting to get this across the finish line.” Senate Speaker Ron Wyden backed her, saying he would “go all out for paid family leave.”
Before you celebrate too much on this, take note of this from Rep. Richie Neal: “The Ways and Means Committee has put in place a policy that will finally give workers and their families the peace of mind to know that when disaster strikes, they can rely on paid time off to prevent a total crisis. We do this responsibly and pay in full for the means-tested program. [emphasis added]So not really “all workers”. Maybe they’ll get Manchin. He likes him some substance testing. Still, four weeks of leave for low-income people isn’t 12 weeks for literally everyone, but it’s also better than a bucket of spit.
There’s also a small—yet huge—win in the prescription drug price reform deal that the House eventually reached with Senator Kyrsten Sinema. In any case, it will limit the cost of insulin to $35 per month, for policyholders. That’s for anyone with insurance, both Medicare and private insurance. It would take effect immediately.
In addition, it includes a cap on out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for Medicare enrollees of $2,000 per year, with a smoothing proposal that allows seniors to pay a monthly installment to cover those costs, rather than every time they fill their prescriptions. As for the drug price negotiations for Medicare, it’s not what Biden proposed or what the majority of the people and Democrats in Congress wanted, but it’s what the saboteurs would agree to: Medicare can negotiate drugs in part. B (medicines administered by providers, such as in a hospital or outpatient clinic) and in Part D (medicines purchased directly by consumers), but only for drugs that fall outside the “exclusivity” period – the time when the Food and Drug Administration allows them a monopoly on the drug. That means some of the most expensive drugs are non-negotiable. So-called “orphan drugs,” which are generally very expensive drugs used to treat rare diseases, are also exempt from negotiation, as are drugs from “small biotech” companies, although their exemption expires in 2028.
It is a start with negotiating the price of medicines, a foot in the door. It is enough to bring proponents along. “This means so much to people,” Anne Shoup, senior advisor at Protect Our Care, told Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman of the Washington Post. “It’s a kitchen table problem. It affects their health and well-being — their ability to live their lives.”
AARP added strong endorsement. “AARP applauds the leaders in Congress who have fought so hard for so long to get to this point,” said CEO Jo Ann Jenkins. “Now is the time for Congress to take care of their voters by passing a Build Back Better Act that will truly lower the prices of their prescription drugs and improve the lives of millions of older Americans. We will not stop until the president signs legislation that lowers drug prices.”
There now appears to be an agreed-upon strategy for dealing with Manchin. Sinema was brought along by both prescription drugs and tax provisions, where she was given a lot of say, so now Manchin is alone. It seems the Democrats are ready to just massively shout his bluff and force him to be all alone, disrupting his president’s agenda.