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In a new TV ad, two barbers (actually Chicago actors) who like Chris Dodd give him credit for winning bipartisan support to pass the Family and Medical Leave Act.
We find the claim is accurate.
Dodd first introduced the bill in 1985 and it became law in 1993, more than seven years later. It allows workers to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child or the illness of a close family member.
It's fair for Dodd to say that he had to work hard to get the bill passed. It was stymied by a Republican filibuster in the Senate in 1988. It fared better in 1990, passing both chambers, but the first President Bush vetoed it. The veto was sustained, and the issue was off the table for the session.
Later, in 1991, Dodd found a critical ally in Republican Sen. Christopher S. Bond of Missouri. They negotiated changes that would make the legislation more palatable to the business community and bring on more Republicans.
The bill cleared in 1992, only to be vetoed again by Bush. Again, the veto was not overridden. Finally, in 1993 the legislation cleared for the third time and President Clinton signed it into law.
It took compromise to allay the fears of the business community and get enough Republicans to support it. When it passed, the States News Service quoted Sen. Paul Simon, D-Ill. saying "Dodd has been a bulldog on this."
1993 CQ Almanac, p. 389
U.S. Senate, Roll call vote, 71-27 (D 55-2; R 16-25)
U.S. House, Roll call vote, 265-163 (D 224-29; R 40-134)
States News Service, Dodd Wins Accolades as Family Leave Bill Wins Approval from Senate Chamber, January 26, 1993
Associated Press, Barbers help Dodd in Iowa TV ads Nov. 1, 2007
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