Friday, March 28, 2008

Ex-congressman disputes Clinton boasts on medical leave legislation

By Sam Youngman

The Hill - The former congressman who shepherded the Family and Medical Leave Act through Congress sought Thursday to debunk Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) claim to the legislation, saying she “never had anything to do with it.”

Former Rep. William Lacy Clay, Sr. (D-Mo.) is circulating an email disputing Clinton’s claim that the law is one of her more meaningful domestic accomplishments. The presidential candidate says she helped lobby for the bill’s passage and signing in 1993.
But Clay, who was joined by Senate sponsor Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), said the bill had already passed by large margins when it passed in 1990 and 1992 before it was vetoed on both occasions by former President George H.W. Bush.

“All we needed was a president to sign it,” Clay said. “The president signed it, and we’re grateful for that but there was no lobbying by him or her.”

The Hill has obtained a copy of the Clay email rejecting Clinton’s claims to have been instrumental in bill’s becoming law. The former congressman writes, “If Hillary played a role in its passage, it was without my knowledge.”

Clay conceded that Clinton might have helped Dodd in the Senate, but given the large margins by which the bill had passed before, Clay said Dodd “just wouldn’t need” the help. Dodd could not be reached for comment.

“She never had anything to with it,” Clay said. “I just don’t think you ought to play games with that kind of stuff.”

Clay said he is not supporting either candidate although his son, Rep. William Lacy Clay, Jr. (D-Mo.) is a supporter of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

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