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.
“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 AlexanderLamar AlexanderAuthorities link ex-Tennessee governor to killing of Jimmy Hoffa associate The Republicans' deep dive into nativism Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain 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 ScottDOJ announces agencywide limits on chokeholds and no-knock entries Lobbying world As Biden falters, a two-man race for the 2024 GOP nomination begins to take shape 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"Our nation’s outdated overtime rules are in need of modernization, but it must be done in a responsible way that doesn’t stifle opportunities for working families to get ahead,”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.