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How can elections affect employee benefits?

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Presidential changes

As history shows, the person in the Oval Office can have an enormous bearing on whether major employee benefits legislation is passed. The best example of that was the 2008 election of then Sen. Barack Obama, which helped to ensure the passage of sweeping health care reform legislation 16 months later. There are other examples as well on the impact of who is elected president and the fate of employee benefits legislation. For example, President Bill Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act shortly after he took office in 1993. The candidate he defeated, George H. Bush, vetoed the legislation while he was president. Of course, presidents have suffered defeats on benefit issues. President Clinton’s health care reform efforts got nowhere with Congress, while in 1989 Congress stripped a provision from a 1986 tax reform act championed by President Ronald Reagan that would have imposed complex nondiscrimination rules on group health care plans. The following are some of major employee measures enacted beginning with the presidency of Gerald Ford.