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July 28, 2003
Democrats Vow to Fight Overtime Changes

Some Democrats in the Senate said last week they will continue to try to block the Bush administration's proposal to overhaul the rules governing overtime, even though a House effort failed earlier this month, the Associated Press reports.

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The senators say they have support among some of their Republican colleagues.

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, tells the news agency he wants to attach a provision to a bill on spending for the Labor Department that would block the rules from going into effect.

The Labor Department has proposed new rules for determining eligibility for overtime compensation. The Bush Administration says the proposed rules would simplify regulations and make 1.3 million lower-income workers automatically eligible for the overtime premium when they work over 40 hours. The administration estimates that about 644,000 white-collar workers could lose overtime pay under the proposed rules, the news agency notes.

Democrats say that assessment underestimates the number by millions. In support of their case, they cite a report from a liberal think tank that said over 8 million workers would lose their overtime.

"This proposal is anti-worker and antifamily," Harkin says. "Workers could be forced to work longer hours - time that is taken away from their families - without pay."

Labor groups, which have opposed the revisions to the rules, said they are optimistic that Senate effort to block the changes would succeed.

The news agency notes that the revisions do not require the approval of Congress.

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