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September 11, 2003
Senate Votes to Block Changes to Overtime Rules
The Senate voted 54-45 on Wednesday to block proposed changes to the rules governing overtime for white-collar workers, raising uncertainty over the fate of the proposal to overhaul the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Six Republicans joined with 48 Democrats in voting for an effort that would stop the proposed expansion of white-collar exemptions under FLSA, Reuters reports. The Senate measure, which came as an amendment to a larger spending bill, would deny funds for implementation of those proposed overtime rules. The House rejected a similar measure in July.

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Reuters reports the effort to block the overtime changes faces a number of procedural and possible legal challenges. In order for the Senate measure to make it to the president's desk, the amendment must still pass through House-Senate negotiations, and even if it were to do so, President Bush has threatened to veto the entire spending legislation if it included an amendment to block the changes, according to Reuters.

In general, employers have supported the proposed revisions to FLSA, saying the changes are necessary to clarify antiquated rules governing overtime and help reduce the number of lawsuits by employees.

The opposing sides debate the number of white-collar workers who could lose eligibility for overtime under the proposal. The 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.


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