Senate Votes to Block New Rules Taking Away Overtime Pay

"The Senate voted Wednesday to bar the Bush administration from issuing new overtime pay rules that Democrats and organized labor said would take money from the pockets of millions of workers.

The vote was 54-45, and left the fate of the controversial new regulations uncertain. The House blessed the administration’s proposal earlier this year, and congressional negotiators will have to untangle the disagreement In addition, the White House has raised the possibility of a veto if Congress tries to block the rules."

"A call to add $300 million for low-income heating assistance was rejected on a vote of 49-46, 11 short of the 60 needed. As drafted, the measure includes $2 billion for the program.

The vote on a call for an additional $50 million for a child vaccination program was 47-49, 13 less than needed."

$1 billion a week in Iraq but we can’t afford a few bucks for some decent programs to help po folks and chilluns? Of course not!

Looks like at least a few GOP senators thought this was too obvious a “fuck you” to hourly workers.

In related news, over 3 million folks have lost their jobs since Dubya took over. But they did get about $800 in tax cuts!

Bush’s $87 billion figure is the largest emergency spending request since the opening months of World War II, according to Pat Towell, a defense fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. The emergency spending act that followed the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the launching of the war in Afghanistan totaled $20 billion.

To put it in perspective, Bush hopes to spend more in Iraq and Afghanistan than all 50 states say they need – $78 billion – to finance the budget shortfalls they anticipate for 2004.

The request is higher than the $74 billion the Defense Department plans to spend on all new weapons purchases next year, and higher than the $29.5 billion the Education Department hopes to spend on elementary and secondary education plus the $41.3 billion the administration plans to spend to defend the homeland.

With $166 billion spent or requested, Bush’s war spending in 2003 and 2004 already exceeds the inflation-adjusted costs of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish American War and the Persian Gulf War combined, according to a study by Yale University economist William D. Nordhaus. The Iraq war approaches the $191 billion inflation-adjusted cost of World War I.


Sounds like typical senate behaviour, and it also sounds to me like it is pretty ironic for a flaming liberal (you) to come out against a more inclusive overtime standard which (OHMYGOD) is what Bush is actually proposing.

Did the Dems try to tack on a bunch of other proposals, likely targeted squarely at their constituencies (like every other move by either side)? You bet, and hence the current sidelining. But I can’t see a strong argument for being against Bush in this one, as much as I know you all enjoy adding “…BUT $87b FOR WAR IS OK” to every statement.

First of all, I’m a flaming moderate (which is liberal compared to you, of course) and second of all the democrat’s constituents are anyone who’s not a million or billionaire. (With some exceptions.) You can’t see a strong argument for being against Bush on this, eh? Do you have a few employees you pay OT to? Are they keeping you from joining a certain country club or something?

Inclusive? What the hell are you talking about? He’s proposing to reclassify a ton of workers as “non-supervised” or management or whatever, with the end result that they’ll no longer qualify for overtime. Some of them make stupidly low salaries and patently aren’t management.

He’s been sniffing Dubya’s press releases again…

First of all, I’m a flaming moderate (who is right wing compared to you, of course), and second of all, the Republican’s constituencies include everyone who isn’t a Hollywood star or broke. I’m glad we got THAT out of the way.

You’ll note if you read my earlier post that rather than inviting speculation about my status with the local country club(s), I was looking for an explanation of why you all were so opposed to the Bush proposal, since the partisan haggling and pork tacking beyond that is only a small part of it. What I meant by “more inclusive” was:

which sounds pretty inclusive when compared with the 800,000 artists (or whatever the hell “creative low income workers” are) which are being brutallly cast out by yet another cold-hearted Republican reform. That’s all.

Democratic opponents said their plan would not interfere with parts of the rules extending overtime protection. They took aim at sections that would strip other workers of eligibility they have long enjoyed. The precise number was a matter of dispute — an estimated 800,000 by administration allies, and as high as 8 million by Harkin’s estimate.

By “creative” they mean stuff like web developers.

Because, Mr. Millionaire, 7 to 8 million people will lose their overtime. Now you do the math. Oh, and it was described by Dubya’s folks as a $1.5B “benefit” for business.

I have seen some moderates and you, suh, are NO moderate.

The changes.

More here.

Basically, what they’re objecting to is that a bunch of white-collar non-management (but not necessarily high-income) workers won’t get overtime anymore.

For example, one requirement for an administrative employee to not get overtime changed from this:

Customarily and regularly exercises discretion and independent judgment.

to this:

Holds a “position of responsibility” with the employer, defined as either (1) performing work of substantial importance or (2)performing work requiring a high level of skill or training.

You could probably keep a manager’s secretary from getting overtime under the new rules, as the only other requirement is this:

Primary duty of performing office or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer’s customers.

Are you trying to encourage my active support of the bill?


I don’t trust either projection, but Harkin has a near pathological complex with blowing things out of proportion. Besides, how does that then justify the fact that Dems would have passed it if their pet bills had been attached?

I have seen some moderates and you, suh, are NO moderate.

Right back at ya, big guy. Are you seeing a pattern here? A moderate leftist on quarter to three is Lenin elsewhere. And the same (on the opposite of the spectrum) applies to the rightists. You know why? Because all of the actual moderates have the good sense to talk about movies or comic books.

I think a $30k web developer should get overtime (they exist, I know them).

Ok, have fun over there. :lol: (To Lizzie)

A good report summarizing the proposed changes and dangers.


The DOL’s proposed regulations would raise the salary level under which all employees are protected to $425 per week (i.e., any employee making under $425 would be eligible for overtime benefits). Under current law that level is set at $155 ($170 for professionals), a pay rate that has remained unchanged since 1975. This proposed increase is sorely needed and would raise the number of workers entitled to overtime pay by roughly 1.3 million. However, earnings of $425 per week equal an annual salary of just $22,100, and because the level is not indexed for inflation, it will protect fewer and fewer workers over time.


The many other rules changes the DOL proposes would remove millions of workers from overtime coverage and cancel out the benefit to employees of the higher salary-level test. For example, changes to the three duties tests would dramatically increase the number of workers who would be classified as “professional,” “administrative,” or “executive.” Current law stipulates that employees who do not have sufficient status and authority to exercise discretion or independent judgment in their work may not be so classified and should, therefore, be entitled to overtime pay. Under the proposed regulations, this requirement would be eliminated, and hundreds of thousands of editors, reporters, health technicians, and others who are currently entitled to overtime pay will lose it.

Equally significant, education levels required to be considered a professional or administrative employee are diluted, allowing employers to deny overtime pay to paralegals, emergency medical technicians, licensed practical nurses, draftsmen, surveyors, and many others who currently have the law’s protection.

Changes in the primary duty test and the redefinition of “executive” will allow employers to deny overtime pay to workers who do a very low level of supervising and a great deal of manual or routine work, including employees who do set-up work in factories and industrial plants. Employees who can only recommend—but not carry out—the hiring or firing of the two employees they “supervise” will be exempted as “executives.”

I’m already exempt, so it doesn’t directly affect me.

I own my own business and treat my people well. Clearly I’m no Republican.

Thank you. That was highly informative, and I am pretty sure I don’t like this idea on general principle. But I still fail to see why you all oppose it, especially seeing this:

Liberte! Egalite! etc…

You’re right – there are parts of this bill that I have no problems with, like the part you mention. Its the educational/role classification stuff that I object too.

edit: Waitaminute, I see why this is news! :lol:

…print reporters have generally not been exempt from overtime as professionals. But the proposed rule (541.302(d)) reverses years of court decisions and simply declares that news reporters are exempt creative professionals…

Well, yeah, I’m just surprised the proletariat getting a bigger slice doesn’t automatically trump that. That’s all.

Really low wage workers rarely, if ever, get offered overtime in the first place; walmart has hordes of people working 39 hours.

Unintended consequences are a bitch, aren’t they?