The House Republican bill H.R. 1406 is the latest in a string of GOP attacks on workers' rights. The bill would force an unnecessary choice between overtime pay that workers rely on and time off that they may never be able to take advantage of. H.R. 1406 -- the "Working Families Flexibility Act" -- would give employers the ability to offer compensatory time off in exchange for any overtime wages the worker has earned.
The Republican-led House of Representatives passed the bill on Wednesday that they say gives workers more time off - rejecting criticism from the White House, unions, women's groups and others that the measure is a sham that would force more work for less pay.
Backed by business (There's a shocker.), the bill is part of an effort by budget-slashing Republicans to project a "kinder and gentler image," particularly with women and working families.
On a nearly party-line vote of 223-204, the House approved the measure and sent it to the Senate where President Barack Obama's majority Democrats appear certain to kill it.
The bill would permit workers in the private sector, like those now in the public sector, to swap overtime pay for compensatory time off. They would get 1-1/2 hours time off for each hour of overtime, based on a standard 40-hour work week.
Eric Cantor told reporters that “There is no reason in the world for anyone to object to this bill.”
Democrats disagreed. One by one, House Democratic women stood on the chamber's floor to denounce Republicans for bringing up the bill days before Sunday's Mother's Day.
"More work, less pay for working mom. No way to say happy Mother's Day," said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi."
"Democrats predicted that the bill, like a number of similar ones in recent years, would not become law."
"Everybody on this floor knows that," said Representative Steny Hoyer, the second-ranking Democrat in the House. "But we are wasting our time on it."
"We ought to be working on creating jobs and restoring fiscal discipline," Hoyer said. "Not a partisan rollback of workers' rights, but a bipartisan compromise to help put more Americans to work."
Americans who need jobs are not a priority for the Republicans in Congress. They can't afford lobbyists.