Republicans oppose Labor Department’s plan to extend overtime pay, potentially blocking wage increases for 4 million workers earning under $58,656 annually.

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Salaried employees who work long hours for low pay aren’t finding much sympathy among Republicans on Capitol Hill.

GOP lawmakers filed a resolution in Congress on Wednesday that would block the Labor Department from extending overtime protections to millions of salaried workers, a key workplace reform pursued by President Joe Biden.

Under federal law, only certain workers have a right to time-and-a-half pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week. Currently, salaried workers must earn less than $35,568 per year to be automatically entitled to the overtime pay.

A new rule from the Labor Department, finalized in April, would raise that salary threshold to $58,656 per year, bringing an estimated 4 million additional workers under the law’s protection. Employers would then have to pay those workers a premium when they work additional hours, whereas now they don’t have to pay them anything at all for that time.

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The Labor Department estimates Biden’s reform would transfer $1.5 billion a year from employers to employees in the form of higher wages.

But the GOP lawmakers have filed what’s known as a “resolution of disapproval” under the Congressional Review Act, which, if passed and signed into law, would nullify the reform.

Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) sponsored the resolution in the GOP-controlled House. Forty Republican colleagues have joined him as co-sponsors as of Friday. No Democrats have signed on to the legislation.

GOP Sen. Mike Braun (Ind.) is leading the companion legislation in the Senate, where Democrats hold a threadbare majority.

Republicans have used the Congressional Review Act to kill progressive reforms before, most notably at the end of Barack Obama’s presidency.

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This particular effort has slim chances of succeeding, since the legislation would face a Biden veto threat if it managed to pass both chambers. And regardless of the maneuvers in Washington, Biden’s overtime reforms face the possibility of being blocked in federal court. But the resolution still helps show where both parties stand on a key economic issue — worker pay — in an election year.

Business groups have come out strongly against Biden’s overtime rule and have opposed similar reforms for years, claiming they would force employers to cut jobs. But giving more employees overtime protections is popular among voters , much like the idea of raising the minimum wage.


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