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In another slap in the face to working families, the Bush administration threatened last week to veto a huge spending bill if it contained an amendment restoring overtime pay rights. In response, congressional Republican leaders killed efforts to restore overtime pay rights for some 6 million workers whose overtime paychecks are threatened by Bush administration eligibility rule changes. The final spending bill, which the House and Senate passed—344–51 in the House and 65–30 in the Senate—combines several appropriations bills. Both houses of Congress had voted several times to rescind most of the Bush administration changes that limit eligibility for overtime pay. Since the changes were announced in March 2003, workers sent more than 1.6 million messages to Congress and the White House to protest the action. Union activists in several states are expected to mount campaigns next year to win overtime pay protection laws at the state level. In addition to killing the overtime protections, another Bush veto threat resulted in the elimination of House- and Senate-passed rules and restrictions on administration efforts to outsource and privatize federal jobs.


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