Expansion of the the FMLA to cover leave for family members in the military was derailed by the President's "pocket veto" yesterday of the defense spending bill recently passed by Congress. The President's veto, however, was not due to his objection to an expansion of the FMLA. Rather, in announcing his pocket veto President Bush indicated his opposition to an amendment allowing civil suits against the Iraqi government for damages incurred during the Saddam Hussein era. President Bush indicated that the amendment would "imperil billions of dollars of Iraqi assets at a critical juncture in that nation's reconstruction efforts."
The Democratic leadership expressed surprise and disappointment by the President's action because the matter was not identified as a point of contention in discussions with the White House as the legislation was being drafted.
Congress has not ruled out dropping the offending language on its return in mid-January 2008.
Comment: The pocket veto of President Bush may have only delayed the expansion of the FMLA by a few weeks. In any event, the matter will undoubtedly be addressed anew in a few weeks because a defense spending bill needs to be passed to fund the military.