GOP bill seeks to roll back Obama overtime rule

GOP bill seeks to roll back Obama overtime rule
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The GOP is looking to block a controversial new overtime rule backed by the Obama administration.

The Protecting Workplace Advancement and Opportunity Act introduced Thursday by Republicans in the House and Senate would handcuff the Labor Department as it looks to hike pay for those who work long hours.

The Labor Department says the new rules will raise millions of low-wage workers out of poverty, but Republicans say it would lead to reduced hours for employees and limit their opportunity for advancement.

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“This mandate on employers will hurt the lowest-paid American workers the most, by reducing their opportunities for a promotion or a better job and making it all but impossible for workers to negotiate flexible schedules,” said Senate Labor Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderChildren’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Overnight Health Care: Schumer calls for tying ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance | Puerto Rico's water woes worsen | Dems plead for nursing home residents' right to sue Schumer calls for attaching ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance MORE (R-Tenn.), who is sponsoring the bill.

President Obama called for the new overtime protections a year ago, the Labor Department sent the rules to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) earlier this week for final approval.

Currently, salaried workers who make more than $23,660 in a year do not qualify for overtime pay under federal law, even if they work more than 40 hours in a week.

The Labor Department proposed to raise the threshold to $50,440 per year, but it is unclear what the final rule contains.

The White House says this could raise pay for as many as 5 million workers.

Republicans agree the threshold needs to be lifted, but they say the proposal goes too far. Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottOvernight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open Senators grill ex-Equifax CEO over stock sales Wells Fargo chief defends bank's progress in tense Senate hearing MORE (R-S.C.), who is also sponsoring the bill, called the Labor Department’s overtime proposal “irresponsible."

"Our nation’s outdated overtime rules are in need of modernization, but it must be done in a responsible way that doesn’t stifle opportunities for working families to get ahead,” said Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), who is sponsoring the bill.

"Unfortunately, the administration’s overtime proposal fails this test and should be sent back to the drawing board,” he added.

The Republican legislation would not ban the Labor Department from issuing an overtime rule, but it would restrict the agency’s ability to do so.

The Labor Department would be required to consider the economic impact the rule would have on the business community. It would be blocked from “finalizing a proposal that will limit opportunities for employees and place significant burdens on job creators.”

The legislation would also prohibit automatic annual increases that are intended to rise with inflation.

House Education and Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) is also sponsoring the legislation.