Pete Buttigieg, who enjoyed paternity leave, defends Democrats cutting paid family leave from spending package

Buttigieg enjoys privileges you don't have.


Biden's Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, who has faced criticism for taking paternity leave amid the supply-chain crisis, has defended Democrats for their decision to axe paid family leave from their $3.5 trillion spending package.

The former Democratic presidential candidate and small town mayor said on Sunday that "nobody gets everything that they want" with such a large bill.

Speaking to CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union," Buttigieg insisted that the bill remains "the most important pro-family legislation of my lifetime."

Bash pressed Buttigieg with a clip of himself on the same show just two weeks prior in which he called for paid family leave, CNN reported.

"It is long past time to make it possible for every American, mother, and father, to take care of their children when a new child arrives in the family," Buttigieg said in the clip from early October.

"What do you say to the more than 100 million Americans who don’t have access to the kind of paid family leave you just benefited from and don’t understand why the administration didn’t fight harder to keep it in the bill?" Bash asked.

"When you have a successful policy, when you deliver major positive transformational change in the lives of Americans, you are rewarded with more running room to do more great things," Buttigieg said.

"I firmly believe that idea that good policy is good politics, and this framework is good policy," said Buttigieg, adding that "obviously, when you put together something this big and this complex, nobody gets everything that they want."

"The president has been clear about that; I don't think anybody crafting their perfect package in their mind would see it reflected here, because this reflects the input of so many different people, including bipartisan work on the infrastructure side, and a very ideologically diverse big tent party on the family stuff," he said.

While issues with the supply chain compounded over the summer, Buttigieg took several weeks of paternity leave when he and his husband Chasten adopted two newborn twins in August. Buttigieg was criticized for taking time off to focus on his family while his presence was most needed, particularly because the Biden administration was pushing the $3.5 trillion social spending package dubbed the Build Back Better Act.

Buttigieg has refused to apologize for his absence, stating that he is "not going to apologize" for putting his family's needs before his job, noting that "it's helped us have a conversation about parental leave."

"Every American ought to be able to get paid parental leave. That’s something that the president believes in and has proposed. It’s something I believe," Buttigieg said on "The View" earlier this month.

"If there’s this idea that maybe men have access to paternity leave, but it’s frowned on if they actually use it, then obviously that doesn’t work for a marriage like mine, but also for a man who’s married to a woman," Buttigieg added. "That carries with it the assumption that the woman’s going to do all the work. That just makes no sense in the 21st century."


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