Sunday, February 28, 2021

Biden team’s family-leave low blow

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In a startling cheap shot at its predecessor, the Biden administration has denied already-approved paid family-leave benefits to several Trump political appointees.

Vanessa Ambrosini, who worked four years in Trump’s Commerce Department, got approved for three months of parental leave when she and her husband welcomed a child a week before Christmas. But when President Biden took office, she discovered she was no longer granted the benefit, Politico reported.

“I got completely screwed,” she said. “There were no caveats in that language saying anything about if the administration turns, you get nothing, and of course, that happened and so I got nothing.”

Several other Trump officials also lost their benefits. The White House declined to go on record, but an official told Politico that political appointees “do not enjoy the promise of federal employment past the end of the administration in which they choose to serve.” 

And sure, fair. But these employees were told the Biden administration would honor their approved family leave, only to find out at the last minute it would end as soon as Biden was sworn in.

The anonymous official, according to Politico, also cited Trump’s failing to execute a quick and orderly transition. And that seems to be the nugget of it: Trump’s political appointees are guilty by association. 

There’s no precedent for whether or not to honor leave in such circumstances, as the paid-leave benefit only went into effect in October. But Biden tweeted in praise of the law in 2019, saying it was “about time that federal workers get paid parental leave” to “address their own health needs or care for any of their loved ones.” Is there any other circumstance where liberals wouldn’t want a generous interpretation of family-leave rules?

This petty vindictiveness doesn’t auger well for Biden’s vows to heal the nation’s divisions.

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Why we need to rethink COVID-19 risk as the weather warms up

THIS IS an excerpt from Second Opinion, a weekly roundup of art and medical science information emailed to subscribers every...

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