Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi: 'Comp Time' Bill Another Chapter in Relentless GOP Assault on Working Families

June 4, 2003

Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today at a news conference held to oppose the Republican proposal to take away comp time from hourly workers. The bill, H.R. 1119, is scheduled to be on the House floor tomorrow:

"Thank you all for coming this morning. I am pleased to be joined by two outstanding colleagues from California who are longtime champions of working families, Congressman George Miller, the co-chair of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, and Congresswoman Lois Capps, a former nurse.

"And I am also pleased to be joined by two women who will speak firsthand about the Republican proposal to eliminate comp time -- Joy Randolph of Ravenswood, West Virginia, and Tina Malloy of Washington, Pennsylvania.

"Once again, the Republican Leadership has launched an attack on working families. The target this time is one of the cornerstones of protection for American workers -- the 40-hour workweek. Under current law, if an employer wants an hourly worker to stay on the job for more than 40 hours a week, the employer must pay time-and-a-half cash wages.

"Overtime pay was a hard-won victory for workers’ rights in the 1930s. It protects hourly workers from unreasonable, unbearable workloads. It gives workers the opportunity to earn more income. It gives workers time off to spend with their families.

"Now the Republican leadership is turning the Fair Labor Standards Act on its head. They say it prevents workers from getting time off with their families. Their bill -- misleadingly called the Family Time Flexibility Act -- gives flexibility to the employers and lower pay to the employees.

"The Republican bill is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The only true incentive for employers to stick to the 40-hour workweek, which millions of Americans rely on, is the overtime pay requirement. This bill would allow companies to give workers comp time instead of paying them the cash wages they have earned.

"For workers who receive overtime pay, it accounts for about one-quarter of their total pay. For many, loss of overtime pay will mean the loss of health insurance, new school clothes, and even food on the table. This legislation is another chapter in the Republicans’ relentless assault on working Americans.

"Time and time again, this President and his Republican allies in Congress act against those who need help the most -- working families.

"Whether it is eliminating overtime pay, excluding working parents from the child tax credit, or refusing the pension rights routinely granted to corporate CEOs, Republicans are taking money out of the wallets of working parents. The Republicans are nickel and diming hard-working parents to give tax breaks to those who need it least.

"It is time for a new approach. It is time for real leadership. The Republicans have not led on the economy -- Democrats will.

"And now it is my pleasure to introduce Joy Randolph of Ravenswood, West Virginia, who works at an aluminum company and who relies on overtime pay. Welcome, Joy Randolph."


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