In his April 28 address to Congress, President Joe Biden said, “No one should have to choose between a job and a paycheck or taking care of themselves and their loved ones — a parent, or spouse, or child.” Partisan social media accounts misleadingly edited his words in a viral video to suggest he said, “No one should have to choose between a job and a paycheck.”
That proposal, called the American Families Plan, follows two related proposals — the American Rescue Plan, a COVID-19 stimulus package that Biden signed into law on March 11, and the American Jobs Plan, which focuses largely on infrastructure and is awaiting action by Congress.
In his speech, Biden said that the new proposal would allow for up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. He added, “No one should have to choose between a job and a paycheck or taking care of themselves and their loved ones — a parent, or spouse, or child.”
But a video clip has been circulating on social media that includes only the first part of the president’s statement, making it sound like he said, “No one should have to choose between a job and a paycheck.”
The same truncated quote also has been featured in memes and tweets, which garnered comments suggesting that the president was proposing a plan that would keep people “fully dependent on the government.”
But, as the full video shows, Biden was talking about a program that would offer up to 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents and those who are taking care of an ailing family member.
According to a White House fact sheet, “The program will ensure workers receive partial wage replacement to take time to bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill loved one, deal with a loved one’s military deployment, find safety from sexual assault, stalking, or domestic violence, heal from their own serious illness, or take time to deal with the death of a loved one. It will guarantee twelve weeks of paid parental, family, and personal illness/safe leave by year 10 of the program, and also ensure workers get three days of bereavement leave per year starting in year one. The program will provide workers up to $4,000 a month, with a minimum of two-thirds of average weekly wages replaced, rising to 80 percent for the lowest wage workers.”
That’s just the administration’s initial vision for the plan. It is likely to change as it works its way through Congress.
Biden, Joe. Presidential Economic Address. C-SPAN. 18 Apr 2021.
Fact Sheet: The American Families Plan. Whitehouse.gov. 28 Apr 2021.
American Rescue Plan. Whitehouse.gov. Accessed 29 Apr 2021.
FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan. Whitehouse.gov. 31 Mar 2021.