WASHINGTON, DC—Today the House of Representatives will vote on a measure introduced by Congressman Todd Young, R-IN, called The Save American Workers Act. Proposed last year, the bill calls for increasing the threshold for full-time work to 40 hours from 30 hours, thus allowing more businesses to be exempt from the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
The measure does promise to introduce some drama in the Senate, even if events in the House and the White House’s reaction are almost a foregone conclusion, David Johnson, principal of Strategic Vision, tells GlobeSt.com. “Look it will probably pass the House. And President Obama will veto it.”
The Senate, though, is on the cusp of tipping over to Republican with about 14 races highly competitive, Johnson says. If Senate leader Harry Reid allows the bill come to the floor-and he can easily have it killed in committee if he wants-it could provide some inoculation to struggling Democrats, Johnson said. “It will be interesting to see if Reid makes Democrats walk the plank by sticking to the party line or if he will allow Democrats to vote in their best interest.”
Politics aside, there are some real world implications to this bill for both critics and advocates to consider. For starters, in a report released in February the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation found that it would cause 1 million people to lose their employer-based insurance coverage and would lead to the deficit rising by $74 billion over ten years. The bill also calls for the amount that the government can collect in penalties for not having insurance.
On the other side, there are the industries that would like to see a full-time workweek defined as forty hours, among them the hospitality sector.
The American Hotel & Lodging Association, for one, is hoping to see the measure pass the House today because it would provide stability for hotels, inns, and resorts, it said. Indeed, changing the full-time definition is one of the top three legislative priorities for the industry.
“The healthcare law’s existing-and arbitrary-30-hour definition severely restricts the scheduling flexibility so valuable to our industry’s workforce,” says AH&LA President/CEO Katherine Lugar in a prepared statement. It also hurts workers as well, she adds, noting that “in many instances, these employees may end up taking a second job in order to make up the income shortfall caused by fewer working hours.”