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DeLauro

House’s ‘flexibility’ bill a ‘sham’

U.S. House Republicans’ push for the Working Families Flexibility Act looks like an effort to win over the working mom’s vote, but critics are warning it’s not what it appears.

“The legislation is a particularly cruel hoax – a slick attempt to give employers more power and hourly workers much less,” writes George Zornick at thenation.com. “ ‘Flexibility’ is a word that should make hourly workers check for their wallets – employers hold most of the power in the relationship with hourly workers, which is all the more true if they are not unionized.”

The bill would give hourly workers in the private sector the same option available to many in the public sector: To take paid time off instead of collecting overtime pay.

“I think there is every incentive to penalize employees who want overtime because comp time is cheaper than overtime wages,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.

“This bill ... sounds good, but it is a sham.”

The legislation, supported in remarks on the House floor by Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, was approved in the House Wednesday but will have a tough route in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

On a Medicaid island

Kentucky becomes the last of Indiana’s neighboring states to sign on to Medicaid expansion, increasing the chance that Hoosiers could stand as “an island of the uninsured” if the federal government doesn’t OK Gov. Mike Pence’s plan to expand coverage through the Healthy Indiana Plan.

Democratic Gov. Steven Beshear announced Thursday that Kentucky will expand its federal and state Medicaid program to provide coverage to an estimated 308,000 residents without health insurance. He called it “the single most important decision in our lifetime” in improving the health of Kentuckians.

Illinois, Michigan and Ohio already have announced they will expand their programs. The latter two are led by Republicans.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal health care law last year, but left the decision on Medicaid expansion to the states.

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