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Friday, September 10, 2004

House's respond to Bush's effort to take away overtime protection from 6 million workers: "Ney"

The House of Representatives blocked the White House's effort to deny overtime protections to six million American workers yesterday. Two hundred Democrats joined with 22 Republicans and an independent to block the proposed legislation.

Rep. George Miller (D) called the new, rejected Labor Department rules "the most sweeping anti-employee changes since the Fair Labor Standards Act was passed in 1938... It's the largest government-imposed pay cut in the history of this country."

The following work groups would risk losing overtime pay under Bush's proposal: foremen, assistant managers, nurses, workers in the financial services industry, journalists, and other employees who do a small amount of administrative work.

The White House claimed the new rules would expand overtime pay by guaranteeing overtime to 1.3 million workers making $23,660 or less. The House rejected that logic, passing instead an amendment that guarantees overtime pay to workers making $23,660 or less and maintains current protections for office employees. Bush is threatening a veto.

Despite the broad impact of this story, the L.A. Times chose to bury it on page A25. One can sympathize with them, though. Today's issue also had stories on the 11.2% rise in health insurance costs, the Republican plan to return assault weapons to the open market, and CIA efforts to hide prisoner abuse from the Red Cross. Add in the overtime story, and there could only be one choice for a banner headline: Bush is a complete and total idiot.

It has not been a good week for the 43rd president. On Wednesday, the Senate voted against a White House plan to outsource Homeland Security jobs. In an election year, even some Congressional Republicans are reluctant to be associated with Bush's "Agenda for the Millionaires."


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