Democrats agree to sanction Trump's Space Force in exchange for paid federal parental leave

Trump unveils the Space Command
(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Trump wants to have a full-fledged Space Force to tout in his re-election bid and Democrats want 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal workers with newborn or newly adopted children, and if Senate Republicans go along, everyone will get their wish this holiday season, The Washington Post reports. Democratic lawmakers and the White House have tentatively agreed to a deal for a must-pass defense authorization bill that would give Trump his sixth branch of the military and Democrats the biggest expansion in federal benefits since Bill Clinton's presidency.

Over several months of negotiations on the defense spending bill, Democrats and Republicans reached agreement on about 1,300 provision, but "the White House cared most about Space Force," a person familiar with the negotiations told the Post. Democrats used Trump's fixation on the topic to get the 2.1 million civilian workforce in line with benefits the military enacted in 2016. About a quarter of private companies in the U.S. offer paid parental leave, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

"Negotiators gave conflicting accounts of the role of Ivanka Trump, a White House adviser and the president's daughter," the Post reports. "White House officials said she was integral in fighting for the extension of new parental-leave benefits, though Democratic officials minimized her impact in securing something that had long been a party priority." Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is said to be concerned about the cost, estimated at $3.3 billion over five or 10 years, and it's not clear the provision will have sufficient support among Senate Republicans, who aren't as excited as Trump about the Space Force.

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