Just two weeks into Bill Clinton’s nascent presidency, the 1993 Family Medical Leave Act was the first bill he signed into law. Advocates said the FMLA, which guarantees certain employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off for family or medical reasons, would be a springboard to expansive leave protections. Instead, it proved to be a stopping point: More than 28 years later, Congress hasn’t passed significant legislation to broadly expand the family and medical leave.

As the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate workers — particularly women — a new generation of advocates are hopeful a more expansive iteration of the FMLA might finally have a shot.

On Friday, Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) reintroduced the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which would grant workers up to 12 weeks of paid leave, whether to recover from illness or childbirth or provide care for a loved one.

“Long before this crisis, there has been a desperate need for paid family and medical leave,” DeLauro said in a statement Friday. “This problem, made worse by the pandemic, must be addressed in a permanent way.”

Ellen Bravo, co-founder and strategic director for the progressive labor advocacy group Family Values at Work, told The Washington Post that the coronavirus has created a new urgency to pass the FAMILY Act.

“There’s no way we are going to stop this virus unless people can take time off to quarantine or isolate when they need to, and we can’t do that when they might fall off an economic cliff,” said Bravo, whose organization supports the legislation.

Gillibrand has introduced the bill in every congressional session since 2013. Two years ago, she reintroduced the bill with DeLauro shortly before announcing her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in which paid family leave was the defining issue of her ultimately short-lived campaign.

Under the 2019 version, the FAMILY Act would pay out 66 percent of a worker’s salary, with a monthly floor of $250 and a cap at $4,000, and would be funded by a 0.2 percent wage tax.

Bipartisan support for family and medical leave has grown since the pandemic began, though most Republican lawmakers oppose paying for it with taxes, instead favoring a framework that would allow workers to borrow against their Social Security savings.

Paid leave benefits for federal employees has already gained momentum: A 2019 expansion for family leave took effect in the fall, while a measure introduced last month would grant paid leave benefits for reasons other than birth, adoption, or placement of a foster child.

The initial expansion of protections for federal workers in 2019 left out swaths of employees, including those working at agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration, the Transportation Security Administration, and the U.S. Postal Service. The loophole was closed when the Republican-led Senate used it as a bargaining chip to facilitate the Trump administration’s creation of Space Force.

The absence of an expansive paid family leave policy made minor waves in Washington last week when several political appointees from the Trump administration vented their frustrations in a Politico report about being left without paid leave benefits when the outgoing administration ended Jan. 20.

The Trump aides, who had either recently given birth or had a spouse who did, did not have the same protections as career civil servants, whose pay and benefits typically span administrations. The Biden White House did not respond to requests for comment on the issue but told Politico it couldn’t grant the Trump-era employees’ requests because they were received too late. (Several experts on federal employee benefits and presidential transitions said there’s no precedent for honoring such requests. They also said that the Trump aides were seeking an exemption that was unlikely to be granted under any circumstance given logistical challenges.)

Bravo, the labor group advocate, said this was another example that shows that federal law is needed to cover workers so that paid leave is not dependent on an employer’s policies, or on a worker living in one of the handfuls of states that have enacted their own paid leave laws.

“It doesn’t matter where you work, or where you live, who you love, or why you need to give or receive care — you should be able to have [the safety net] when you need it,” Bravo said. “Being there for your loved ones, following doctor’s orders — these are fundamental values in the U.S.”