Debate among Senate-House negotiators over the inclusion of an amendment to
block the Bush administration from revising the rules governing overtime for
white-collar workers has stalled legislation that would fund future government
programs, the Associated Press reports.
Opponents of the administration's plan to revise the overtime rules say the
proposed rules would cost millions of workers their overtime.
"The regulation which the Department of Labor has is just going to eliminate
a lot of overtime for a lot of people, and with the economy being in its current
shape, that would be very, very unwise," says Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa.
Employers say the changes are necessary to clarify and update the rules and
to reduce the number of lawsuits filed by employees. A number of business groups,
including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have come out in favor of the changes.
Both sides of the issue disagree on the number of white-collar workers that
the new rules would affect.
Specter is trying to broker a compromise between congressional supporters and
opponents of the administration's plan, according to the AP. He wants a commission
to study the issue and propose new rules within 90 days, before the Labor Department
issues final rules, the AP reports.
In September, the Senate voted
in favor of a measure that blocks the proposed overtime rules covering white-collar
workers. Legislators had attached
the measure as an amendment to a larger spending bill.
At first, the House voted in favor of supporting the Bush administration's
proposal, but the House later reversed
its position and signaled its desire to block the changes, in a nonbinding
Congressional negotiators have been trying to agree on a final version of the
spending bill to send back to the House and Senate for a vote.
The White House has threatened to veto any legislation that includes a provision
that blocks the rules.