Saturday, November 22, 2003

If you were ever in doubt as to who runs things

WASHINGTON (AP) - Lawmakers hope to iron out lingering disputes over an end-of-session spending bill now totaling close to $390 billion after the Bush administration won a fight over overtime pay that had been the toughest stumbling block. ...

But the biggest remaining problem was resolved Friday when Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., ended his effort to stop the administration from reducing the number of white-collar workers who qualify for overtime pay under federal law.

Specter, facing a strong re-election challenge next fall in a state where unions have muscle, abandoned the fight under pressure from the White House and House GOP leaders. ...

Though the Senate voted in September to block the proposed administration rules and the House used a nonbinding vote to express the same sentiment, the administration and its business allies prevailed in a battle with Democrats, moderate Republicans and labor.
The change in overtime rules could result in loss of eligibility for overtime pay for 8 million workers. The Senate was against it, the House was against it, but it still passed. That should tell you all you need to know.

Footnote: The White House claims that "only" 644,000 workers will lose eligibility for overtime while 1.3 million will gain it. That would seem to mean that business will pay even more for overtime under the new regulations than they do now. Which, I'm sure, is why business groups lobbied so hard for the changes.

I'm also sure the Tooth Fairy is the real deal.

Update: Edited for clarity, to correct typos, and to add the link for the 8 million workers statistic.

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