After President Bush won re-election on Tuesday, November 2, and Republicans gained more
seats in the House of Representatives and Senate, Bush may have an easier path
for passing his legislative priorities, including those that would affect employers.
In the Senate, however, Democrats still have enough votes to filibuster legislation
Look for Bush to push a significant portion of his agenda in the first two
years of his term because mid-term elections could swing both chambers of Congress
in the direction of Democrats.
The following is a list of work-related items on Bush's agenda.
President Bush wants to allow younger workers to divert some of the money they
pay in payroll taxes to private investment accounts.
President Bush says he is looking to revise the tax code. While Bush has revealed
no details about changes he would like to see, Bush says current tax law is
In addition, President Bush wants Congress to make permanent the tax cuts passed
during his first term.
Balancing Work and Family
President Bush wants to allow employers to offer compensatory time instead
of overtime pay. Bush contends this would allow workers to spend more time with
their families. Under current rules, only public sector employers are allowed
to offer compensatory time.
Bush's healthcare plan focuses on promoting Health Savings Accounts (HSAs),
which let individuals accumulate tax-exempt money to pay for medical expenses.
Bush also wants to allow small businesses to band together to negotiate lower
health-insurance premiums through Association Health Plans.
In addition, President Bush says he will urge Congress to pass a cap on medical
liability awards. Bush contends lawsuits have a significant effect on the costs
Bush is pushing a plan that would give legal status for a three-year period
to undocumented workers if they already have a U.S. job. The workers would be
allowed to apply for permanent residency but would receive no preference over
Overtime and Minimum Wage
With fewer seats in Congress, Democrats may find it more difficult to pass
legislation that would raise the minimum wage or would block the Bush administration's
changes to the overtime exemptions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. President
Bush has threatened to veto any legislation that would block the overtime changes.
It is quite unlikely Bush will shift from his first-term's position on regulatory
action. In areas like workplace safety, Bush prefers voluntary efforts rather