Democrats leveraged President Donald Trump’s insistence to make his proposed Space Force a priority in budget negotiations to get a paid parental leave bill for federal workers, The Washington Post reports.
The agreement between Democrats and the White House was struck last week, but must still pass Congress. It’s unclear if the proposal can garner enough votes in the Republican-led Senate. The idea also got pushback from some inside the Trump administration, like Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who balked at the cost of the paid parental leave funding.
Democrats say the benefit would cost about $3 billion, though there is disagreement over whether those funds would be doled out over five years or ten years, according to The Post.
GOP undercut by Trump:
Republicans in Congress had little interest in pursuing the Space Force but they were undercut by the Trump administration’s negotiators, according to The Post.
Democrats ultimately did not get everything they wanted either. The bill will not include funding for paid leave for the care of spouse, child, or parent with health conditions or when a family member is deployed by the military, which Democratic lawmakers had sought.
“Still,” The Post reported, “congressional aides of both parties said they will be under intense pressure to approve a broader package that is a top priority of the U.S. military, and the White House plans to make a case that enough priorities are in the deal.”
Trump’s obsession with Space Force gives Dems a win:
“The White House cared most about Space Force,” one source told The Post of the four months of negotiations.
“Trump began pushing his advisers last year to create the Space Force, which would be a branch of the military tasked with protecting U.S. satellites from foreign adversaries, among other things,” The Post reported. “Trump has described space as a ‘war-fighting domain,’ though he said last year that when he first floated the idea of a Space Force, ‘he was not really serious.’ But the concept caught on with supporters, and he has continued to push hard for it. His admirers have worn Space Force shirts and hats.”