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Thurman: On the Anniversary of Family Leave Act Congressman McCollum's Record Haunts Candidate McCol

For Immediate Release: Feb. 4, 2010
Thurman: On the Anniversary of Family Leave Act Congressman McCollum’s Record Haunts Candidate McCollum
On the eve of the anniversary of the signing of the landmark Family Medical Leave Act, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum faces questions about his opposition to this legislation in Congress: is Candidate McCollum still proud of this part of his Washington record?
For nearly two decades, the Family Medical Leave Act has guaranteed most Americans the right to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for health reasons, to care for a loved one or for the birth or adoption of a new baby. 
“Countless Florida families have depended on this law to protect them from being fired when they had to care for an aging and infirm parent, a sick spouse or an ill child,” Florida Democratic Party Chair Karen Thurman said.  “But if Bill McCollum had been successful in his efforts to stop it, most of those families would have been forced to choose between a job or caring for a loved one.  Candidate McCollum says he supports Florida families, but Congressman McCollum’s actions say otherwise.  Does he still stand by this record?”
Congressman McCollum tried to prevent and kill the Family Medical Leave Act from becoming law.  Just last week, McCollum said he was proud of his actions in Congress and stood by his record except for two votes.  He did not cite his opposition to the Family Medical Leave Act amongst his regrets.
McCollum Voted Against Medical Leave Act: In 1990, McCollum voted against a bill to require public and private employers to give unpaid leave to care for a new child, or a seriously ill child, parent or spouse, or to use as medical leave due to a serious health condition. The bill passed. McCollum later voted against overriding the President’s veto. (CQ House Vote 107, HR 770, 5/10/90; CQ House Vote 262, HR 770, 7/25/90)
1992: McCollum Again Voted Against Family Leave: In 1992, McCollum again voted against the medical family leave act to require companies with more than 50 employees to provide workers with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for family emergencies. Employers would have to continue health care coverage and could not hire a permanent replacement. The bill passed, but was vetoed. McCollum voted against overriding the veto. (CQ House Vote 390, S5, 9/10/92; CQ House Vote 443, S5, 9/30/92)
“I can tell you that I’m proud of my record and having been a congressman and nothing especially that I regret about my service in terms of what you may find there.  There have been any number of votes that I have taken that I look back, one or two here or there, that I would do differently if I could do it again, but overall I don’t regret the things I’ve done.  The Martin Luther King holiday, as I said last week, I respect and admire Martin Luther King, always have, wasn’t against celebrating his birthday.  At the time I naively, I think that’s the proper word looked at the budget impact of creating another paid federal holiday for federal employees when the alternative of eliminating a Columbus Day or Washington’s Birthday instead, substituting it wasn’t really on the table.  I think the honoring of Dr King is very important and we’re doing that now so, yea if I could go back with the experience I have today I would have voted for that Holiday.  I think I voted for the Reagan tax increase he proposed one year.  I never did that again.  I thought that was a mistake looking back on it.” – Bill McCollum, AP Forum, 1/27/10           

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