Meghan Markle Privately Calling Republican Senators, Pushing Paid Family Leave: Report

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Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, reportedly called two Republican Senators on their personal phones and lobbied them to support paid family leave. 

According to POLITICO, Markle, who is targeting both Democrats and Republicans, called Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) to urge them to support paid family leave provisions in the Biden administration’s “Build Back Better” spending bill.

“I’m in my car. I’m driving. It says caller ID blocked. Honestly … I thought it was Sen. Manchin. His calls come in blocked. And she goes ‘Sen. Capito?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ She said, ‘This is Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.”… “I couldn’t figure out how she got my number.”

Collins was equally shocked. “[M]uch to my surprise,” Collins told Politico’s Marianne LeVine and The New York Times’s Emily Cochrane. “she called me on my private line and she introduced herself as the Duchess of Sussex, which is kind of ironic.”

“[I] was happy to talk with her. But I’m more interested in what the people of Maine are telling me about it.” 

The calls, according to Politico, were facilitated by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), an outspoken advocate for paid family leave. Gillibrand said she gave the duchess the phone numbers.

“I talked to each of the women senators and let them know that she’s going to reach out, because she only completed two of the calls,” she said. “She’s going to call some others, so I let them know in advance.”

“She wants to be part of a working group to work on paid leave long term and she’s going to be. Whether this comes to fruition now or later, she’ll be part of a group of women that hopefully will work on paid leave together,” she added. 

News of the Duchess’s call comes as Democrats have re-inserted a paid family leave provision into the scaled-back $1.75 trillion social spending bill.

As The Daily Wire reported Wednesday, Pelosi sent a letter to the members of her caucus, asking them to review the text of the Build Back Better Act, and asking the House Ways and Means Committee to take up the paid family leave provision. The letter reads in part:  

It had been my intention throughout this process to put on the House Floor and pass a bill that would pass the Senate in the same form.  Because I have been informed by a Senator of opposition to a few of the priorities contained in our bill and because we must have legislation agreed to by the House and the Senate in the final version of the Build Back Better Act that we will send to the President’s desk, we must strive to find common ground in the legislation.  As we are reviewing priorities and at the urging of many Members of the Caucus, I have asked the Ways and Means Committee for its legislation for Paid Family and Medical Leave to be included in this morning’s hearing.

Paid Family Leave still faces opposition from Capito’s Democratic colleague, Joe Manchin, also of West Virginia. As The Daily Wire reported Wednesday, Manchin’s opposition has previously forced the Biden administration to lower its paid family leave proposal from 12 weeks all the way down to four, before it was cut entirely from the framework outlined by the administration last week.

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