THE DAILY WHIP: TUESDAY, MAY 2, 2017

House Meets At:First Vote Predicted:Last Vote Predicted:

10:00 a.m.: Morning Hour
12:00 p.m.: Legislative Business

Fifteen “One Minutes”
1:30 – 2:30 p.m.4:30 – 5:30 p.m. 

H.Res. 299 – Rule providing for consideration of H.R. 1180 – Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017 (Rep. Roby – Education and the Workforce) (One hour of debate). The Rules Committee has recommended a closed Rule that provides for one hour of general debate equally divided and controlled by the Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce.  The Rule allows one motion to recommit, with or without instructions, and waives all points of order against the legislation. 

The Rule allows for Suspension Authority through the legislative day of May 5, 2017. 

The Rule also Waives clause 6(a) of rule XIII, the requirement of a two-thirds vote to consider a Rule on the same day it is reported from the Rules Committee, through the legislative day of May 5, 2017. Members are urged to VOTE NO.

H.R. 1180 – Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017 (Rep. Roby – Education and the Workforce).  This bill would take away the right workers currently have to overtime pay and instead authorize employers to provide compensatory time off (“comp time”) to private sector employees at a rate of 1.5 hours per hour of overtime employment. It would also require an employer to provide monetary compensation, after the end of a calendar year, for any unused compensatory time off accrued during the preceding year, while prohibiting an employee from accruing more than 160 hours of compensatory time.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) implemented the 40 hour workweek to allow workers time to be with their families and create a need for more workers for larger workloads. When workers earn overtime, they receive compensation during the pay period in which they have worked beyond 40 hours. This bill would effectively put an end to the 40 hour work week without any guarantee of proper compensation for extra time worked, and would strip employees of the flexibility to meet workplace and family needs.

The FLSA already allows employers to let their employees earn paid time off. However, under this bill, employers can take all of those wages earned above 40 hours and put them towards future time off controlled by the employer.  Employees would not get paid for the overtime work they perform during the current pay period.  Instead, they would receive time off later; if that time is unused, they would be paid back at the end of the year. This amounts to a no-interest loan to employers from workers and would encourage employers to demand longer hours because they would receive the benefits of overtime work at no additional cost. Further, there is no language guaranteeing that a worker’s compensatory time would be paid out in the event of bankruptcy or if a business shuts down.

H.R. 1180 also includes no guaranteed right for an employee to use saved compensatory time; employers’ only responsibility is to permit employees "to use such time within a reasonable period after making the request if the use of the compensatory time does not unduly disrupt the operations of the employer."  The bill includes no language concerning an employer’s timely response to an employee’s request. It also provides no recourse for employees if the employer deems the time off as “unduly disruptive” to operation.  This would mean that not only would employees be away from their families longer by be being required to spend more time at work, while being denied overtime pay, but also that employers would have complete control over compensatory time, even in the case of a personal or family emergency.

This bill has been considered several times since 1996, most recently in May of 2013.  That bill was passed almost entirely with Republican votes.  That vote can be found here.  Each time Republicans have brought this bill to the Floor they have claimed that it would provide working families with “flexibility,” but it would do the exact opposite.  It strips employees of rights that the FLSA has provided for nearly 75 years and reduces the flexibility they have to spend time outside the normal work week with their families.   House Republicans once again are using a misleading bill title to hide their repeated attacks on pay and benefits for middle class families.  Members are urged to VOTE NO.

Bill Text for H.R. 1180:
PDF Version

Background for H.R. 1180:
House Report (HTML Version)
House Report (PDF Version)

Suspensions (4 bills)

  1. H.R. 1665 – Disaster Declaration Improvement Act (Rep. Rodney Davis – Transportation and Infrastructure)
  2. H.R. 1679 – FEMA Accountability, Modernization and  Transparency Act of 2017 (Rep. Graves (LA) – Transportation and Infrastructure)
  3. H.R. 1678 – To amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act concerning the statute of limitations for actions to recover disaster or emergency assistance payments, as amended (Rep. Frankel – Transportation and Infrastructure)
  4. H.R. 1644 – Korean Interdiction and Modernization of Sanctions Act, as amended (Rep. Royce – Foreign Affairs)

TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK
The GOP Leadership has announced the following schedule for Wednesday, May 3: The House will meet at 12:00 p.m. for legislative business.  The House is expected to consider the Senate Amendments to H.R. 244 – HIRE Vets Act [Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017] (Rep. Frelinghuysen – Appropriations).  

 
The Daily Quote

“Democrats’ lopsided victory on the five-month deal, which is likely to be approved this week, means it will be very difficult — if not impossible — for the GOP to exert its will in future budget negotiations, including when it comes to Trump’s 2018 budget blueprint. That’s because Republicans are hopelessly divided over how much to spend on government programs, with a small but vocal minority unwilling to support such measures at all. That has forced Republicans to work with Democrats to avoid politically damaging government shutdowns. And that means Democrats are in the driver’s seat when it comes to budget battles, even with Trump in the White House… ‘We can’t pass anything without them,’ Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), a top deputy to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said of Democrats recently.”

    -    Washington Post, 5/1/2017