May 20, 2004 -- House Republicans have blocked a Democratic attempt to force a vote on the new overtime rules the Bush Administration has implemented. The new rules, which take effect this August, are touted by the Republicans as being much-needed changes to 50-year old laws.
"Updating these laws has been on the agenda of every administration for the past 25 years," Kevin Smith, House Education and the Workforce Committee spokesman said. "This administration is finally doing something about it."
Smith also points to the fact that the vagueness and ambiguity of the current overtime laws has caused an explosion of class-action lawsuits.
"These types of lawsuits are the fastest growing type of litigation in the country, and are costing companies time and resources," Smith added.
The Democrats, on the other hand, see the new changes as bad for the common worker, and add that when the changes are implemented, they will cause more confusion.
"These new changes have the potential of affecting millions of workers," said Tom Kiley, a spokesman for Congressman George Miller of California. "We just want to make sure the those who are eligible for overtime keep that eligibility."
The attempt to force a vote on the new rules was largely a symbolic move by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) and the Democrats, and will not affect the new rules the Department of Labor will put into effect in August.
Organized labor has lobbied furiously to halt the implementation of these new rules yet house Republicans label the move as politically motivated.
"This is a clear example of patrician politics," Smith said.