Personal Liberty Poll
The House voted Thursday to strip Obamacare language that defines a full-time employee as anyone working 30 or more hours each week, a provision that some business advocates say is forcing companies to scale back the work time and paychecks of millions of Americans.
The Save American Workers Act passed in the chamber with a bipartisan vote of 246-179 following two days of arguments on the House floor.
“Obamacare places an unprecedented government regulation on workers, changing the definition of ‘full-time work’ from 40 hours per week to 30 hours,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said on Wednesday.
Seven Democrats co-sponsored the bill and were among 18 lawmakers on the left who sided with Republicans on the measure.
Other Democrats, however, argued against the measure, citing Congressional Budget Office findings that reducing full-time to 30 hours provided employer-based coverage for 1 million Americans.
“Essentially, what you are doing here today is saying to many, many people who are working hard and who need insurance that this bill will knock you off your employer-based insurance and increase the number of uninsured by half a million, while increasing the deficit by $74 billion,” Representative Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) said, blaming the bill on blind ideology.
Others said that the bill would allow companies to deny coverage to employees who worked 39 hours in a week.
“Now, they will only be forced to reduce hours from 40 to 39, as opposed to 30 to 29,” Representative Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said. “In other words, if you work 39 hours a week, you won’t have to be covered.”
The National Retail Federation, on Wednesday, urged lawmakers to eliminate the Obamacare 30-hour week.
“NRF greatly appreciates the bipartisan support for changes to the Affordable Care Act’s definition of full-time work for benefit eligibility,” NRF Senior Vice President for Government Relations David French wrote to lawmakers. “It is, after all, a common sense approach.”
French said that the bill would return flexibility to employers and is just one step lawmakers should take in helping to “mitigate the negative effects [the Affordable Care Act has] on the retail industry and retail employees.”
A version of the legislation is currently being worked out in the Senate by Senators Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine).