WASHINGTON – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement regarding the motion to instruct conferees on the 2004 Labor Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill regarding overtime regulations. The motion instructs conferees to accept the Senate-passed provision to block the Bush Administration’s proposed rule changes denying overtime pay to millions of American workers:
“Under the Bush Administration and this Republican Congress, our economy has lost more than 3 million jobs, including 2.5 million jobs in the manufacturing sector.
“President Bush has the worst record of job creation since the Great Depression. And with a new unemployment figure due out tomorrow, the Labor Department reported today that jobless claims rose last week to nearly 400,000.
“The fact is, working families have borne the brunt of the Republican Party’s failed economic policies.
“The poverty rate increased last year for the second consecutive year. The ranks of the uninsured swelled by 2.4 million. The median household income plunged for the third straight year. And while millionaires reaped an average tax cut of $93,000 from the GOP’s tax bill this year, this Republican Congress has failed to extend the child tax credit to 6.5 million working families or even consider raising the federal minimum wage.
“Now, as if to add insult to injury, the GOP is pushing new regulations that would strip more than 8 million workers of their right to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Labor Secretary claims that businesses are lobbying for the changes ‘not because they’re getting any particular benefit but because they just want clarity.’
“But firms that represent employers can hardly contain their glee, according to the Washington Post. Hewitt Associates, a human resources consultant, said that ‘employees previously accustomed to earning, in some cases, significant amounts of overtime pay would suddenly lose that opportunity.’ And the law firm Proskauer Rose told clients, ‘thankfully, virtually all of these changes should ultimately be beneficial to employers.’