WASHINGTON, D.C. | June 9, 2016
Because of this rule, many Americans will soon realize they have fewer jobs prospects, less flexibility in the workplace, and fewer opportunities to climb the economic ladder. Thousands of salaried workers will be demoted to hourly status. These workers will feel as though they’ve taken a step back in their careers when they’re forced to clock their hours, and they’ll no longer have flexible schedules to balance work and family.
With this shift, workers will have fewer opportunities for on-the-job-training and career advancement. Last year, we heard from Eric Williams, who started his career working on the line at a fast-food restaurant and then climbed the ranks to become an industry executive. He testified how the department’s action will limit the ability of hardworking men and women to achieve the same success.
Younger Americans in particular will be hurt. At a time when rising college costs and student debt are a national concern, the administration is pushing a rule that will make matters even worse. Colleges and universities nationwide—including the University of Michigan in my home state—have warned this rule will force them to raise tuition or reduce services. This rule will make it harder for young people to pursue their education, and adding insult to injury, it will be even harder for them to begin their careers.
Nonprofit organizations with tight budgets face similar challenges. Every day, in each of our districts, these organizations are making a difference in countless lives, whether helping underprivileged youth, building good homes for low-income families, or serving the needs of individuals with disabilities. We should do everything we can to support and encourage these crucial services, but as one of our witnesses will testify today, this rule will do the exact opposite.
Finally, as is often the case with the administration, this rule creates new hurdles for startups and small businesses. Many won’t be able to afford this mandate, even if they wanted to. Some will have no choice but to hold back on hiring, lay off workers, or cut back hours. To make matters worse, they’ll continue to confront a confusing regulatory maze that encourages costly litigation.
The bottom line is that this rule hurts the very individuals the administration claims it will help. That’s why I introduced legislation earlier this year, along with Senator Tim Scott, to protect workers, students, nonprofits, and small businesses from the rule’s harmful consequences. Today’s hearing is the next step in our efforts.