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October 12, 2004
Measure to Block OT Rules Dropped

House-Senate conference committee members dropped legislation that would have blocked many of the Bush administration's new overtime rules, which became effective August 23, the Des Moines Register reports.

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The blocking measure, proposed by Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, was attached to a corporate tax bill, the newspaper notes. Conferees dropped the amendment during negotiations before sending the corporate tax bill back to both chambers of Congress for a vote. The Harkin measure would require the overtime regulations to guarantee overtime eligibility to workers who had eligibility under old rules, but it would have allowed a rule that raises the salary threshold below which workers are generally guaranteed overtime.

In 2003, House-Senate negotiators dropped a similar amendment after facing pressure from the White House. President Bush has threatened to veto any legislation that has a provision to block the new overtime rules.

Democrats have criticized the new overtime rules, saying they strip too many workers of overtime pay. Supporters of the new rules say they clarify who is eligible for overtime and will reduce the number of lawsuits over overtime.

In September, the House approved legislation that would block enforcement of the new rules. That legislation was attached to a spending bill.


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