Did Obama Help Produce Philly’s New Sick Leave Law?

USA Today suggests presidential agenda helped sway Mayor Nutter.

President Barack Obama

Did President Obama help produce Philly’s new sick leave law?

That’s what USA Today suggests in a story that assertss the president has done an end-run around Congress to produce progress on progressive priorities. The paper notes that Mayor Nutter vetoed two versions of the bill from council — but that Philly is one of several cities to pass a paid sick leave law since the president called on municipalities to do so in his State of the Union address.

What changed? Nutter said the economy was better, and the bill contained key compromises to accommodate small businesses. Nutter spokesman Mark McDonald said he was unaware of any role Obama had in getting the bill passed.

Bill Greenlee, the councilman who sponsored the measure, said Nutter “completely turned a corner” on paid leave when the president put it on his agenda. “I gotta think that when the president mentions sick leave in his State of the Union, and if you’re a Democrat and a supporter of the president’s agenda in general, that’s gotta have an effect,” Greenlee said.

Nutter did make a symbolic nod to Obama’s influence in signing the paid leave bill: He signed it with a pen Obama gave him — after the president used it to sign an unemployment compensation bill. The only other time Nutter used that pen was on an executive order raising the minimum wage for city contractors to $12 an hour.

Philly’s paid sick leave law went into effect earlier this month.