Dodd, Clinton Praise House Passage of their Amendment to Expand Family and Medical Leave for Families of Wounded Soldiers
Washington, DC - Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) today hailed House passage of their amendment, "The Support for Injured Servicemembers Act," which if signed into law will allow the families of wounded military personnel to take up to six months of unpaid leave. The Dodd-Clinton amendment expands the benefits provided under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which currently allows for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave annually. The measure, approved today as part of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) bill, will implement a key recommendation of the Dole-Shalala Commission on the Care for Wounded Warriors.
The Dodd-Clinton amendment has received widespread, bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House. The Senate cosponsors of the bipartisan amendment include Senators Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Ken Salazar (D-CO), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Barack Obama (D-IL). The amendment is also supported by the National Partnership for Women and Families, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the National Military Families Association, the Military Officers Association of America, the National Guard Association of the United States, the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States, and the Reserve Officers Association.
"Congress should have no greater priority than ensuring the safety and well-being of our nation's troops," said Dodd. "The Family and Medical Leave Act has provided job protection to more than 50 million Americans and I am pleased to see Congress working to ensure FMLA is expanded for those caring for our nation's military heroes. No one should ever be forced to choose between the job they need and the family they love, especially those serving our country. The fact is, military families face unusually difficult demands, such as caring for a loved one with traumatic brain injury, and it is essential that FMLA be expanded to accommodate those special needs. The brave men and women who serve our country deserve nothing less than the assurance that when they return home their family members will be able to care for them without fear of losing their jobs."
"The families caring for wounded servicemembers are facing extraordinary circumstances and it is our duty to make sure they have the care and support they need. Extending Family and Medical Leave to six months will have a significant and immediate impact for families who have sacrificed so much on our behalf," said Senator Clinton. "I am proud that the House has approved our measure and agreed that we should implement this critical recommendation of the Dole-Shalala Commission. I hope that we can take quick action on this bill in the Senate and that the President will do the right thing for our servicemembers and their families and sign this bill into law."
Senator Dodd is the author of the landmark Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which has allowed more than 50 million workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave if they are ill or if they need to care for a sick family member or new child. Dodd recently introduced the Family Leave Insurance Act of 2007, legislation that will provide paid leave to workers for the birth or adoption of a child, to care for a child, spouse or parent with a serious illness or to care for their own serious illness. Senator Dodd has been a long-time advocate for the health and safety of U.S. troops. From leading the effort to ensure that our men and women in uniform have the safety equipment they need, to fighting to restore National Guard readiness, Dodd has worked tirelessly on behalf of American servicemen and women.
Senator Clinton has been a champion of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which has helped more than 50 million Americans since President Clinton signed it into law in 1993. Senator Clinton has worked to build on this landmark law, cosponsoring the Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act and the Healthy Families Act. She has also introduced legislation to extend the Family and Medical Leave Act to flight attendants and pilots. As New York's first Senator to serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Clinton has made it one of her top priorities to ensure that our brave men and women in uniform and their families have the healthcare and support they need, most recently securing a series of measures in the Dignified Treatment of Wounded Warriors Act approved unanimously by the Senate.