Hillary and FMLA

Dana Goldstein notes the collapse of Hillary Clinton's argument that she played some kind of key role in passing the Family and Medical Leave Act:

Seriously though, a bigger story supposedly "uncovered" in the First Lady papers is that Hillary never held or attended any meetings on the Family Medical Leave Act, which was the first piece of legislation President Bill Clinton signed, 10 days after entering office. Having just written a piece about the FMLA for the upcoming print issue of the Prospect, I can tell you that anyone familiar with the law should have already realized Hillary's very limited involvement. The non-profit organization the National Partnership for Women and Families originally drafted the bill, which was then championed in the House by former Colorado Congresswoman Pat Schroeder and in the Senate by Chris Dodd and Ted Kennedy. These three were at work trying to pass the FMLA from the late-1980s on, while the Clintons were in Arkansas and running a national campaign.

Beyond that, my understanding is that the law actually passed before Bill Clinton was elected:

The bill reached its final form in 1991, passing both houses of Congress only to be vetoed by Bush, who said the bill would tie the hands of businesses. An attempt to override the veto failed, but Congress re-introduced and passed the bin without any major changes in 1992, at the height of the presidential campaign, knowing Bush would veto the bill again and leave himself open to charges that he was "anti-family."

When Clinton won, the law passed again, and he signed it. Given that history, it's just inconceivable that Hillary could have played a large role. Ezra Klein wonders if Ted Kennedy and Chris Dodd are supporting Barack Obama in part out of spite because they don't like Clinton claiming credit for their legislative achievements. I don't think you need spite to factor into it -- the essence of the case for Hillary, according to HIllary, is her experience so of course people in a position ot know how tenuous her claims to experience are don't find the case for Hillary all that compelling.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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