The House voted 221-203 Thursday in support of blocking the proposed changes to the overtime rules for white-collar workers. The Houston Chronicle reports that while the vote is nonbinding, it raises further doubt about the future of the proposed changes.
Twenty-one Republicans joined with Democrats in opposing the rule changes.
The House vote follows a Senate vote in September in favor of stopping the revisions. The Senate measure, which came as an amendment to a larger spending bill, would deny funds for implementation of the proposed overtime rules covering white-collar workers. In July, a similar effort in the House failed and the House passed the spending bill without the provision that would block the changes.
The House's nonbinding vote Thursday signals that it has reversed its position.
The House and Senate will have to negotiate a final spending bill to send to President Bush.
While Democrats and labor unions are celebrating the House’s reversal as a victory, the future of their effort remains unclear. Bush has threatened to veto any spending bill with language that would block the changes, the Chronicle reports.
In general, employers have supported the proposed revisions to the overtime rules of the Fair Labor Standards Act, saying the changes are necessary to clarify antiquated rules and help reduce the number of lawsuits by employees.
The opposing sides of the issue debate the number of white-collar workers who could lose eligibility for overtime under the proposal. The Bush administration estimates that about 644,000 white-collar workers could lose overtime pay under the proposed rules.
Democrats and labor groups say as many as 8 million workers would lose their overtime under the proposed rules.