WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after the House approved a Democratic Amendment to the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill that would block any funds from being spent to enforce a new Bush Administration rule that would strip an estimated 6 million American workers of their right to overtime pay. A unanimous Democratic Caucus was joined by 22 Republicans in voting for the Amendment, which prevailed 223 to 193:
“The vote on this Amendment today is an important victory for the rights of American workers, who have been in the crosshairs of the Bush Administration for 3½ years. But this victory could prove hollow unless President Bush now heeds the will of both houses of Congress and orders the Labor Department to suspend the implementation of this overtime rule.
“The House and Senate are both on record now opposing the Administration’s anti-worker overtime rule. So, every worker in America should ask: Will George W. Bush listen to the elected representatives of the American people, or will he continue to push a rule that unfairly favors employers and strips 6 million workers – including computer programmers, nurses and retail store managers – of their right to overtime pay?
“You really have to wonder whether President Bush and Congressional Republicans have any idea how their actions and failed policies are affecting hard-working Americans who are struggling to make ends meet. At a time when middle-class Americans are being squeezed by record high gas prices, falling wages, a weak job market and rising health care costs, the Bush Administration’s new overtime rule is nothing less than a slap in the face of workers. Democrats will continue to fight for fair, balanced policies in the employer-employee relationship, and we believe the American people agree with us.”
Since the beginning of the Bush Administration, real median household income has dropped by $1,535, health care costs have risen by double-digits four years in a row, and 1.7 million private-sector jobs have been lost. In addition, 4 million Americans have dropped from the middle class into poverty and 5 million Americans have lost their health insurance.