SHERMAN, Texas — It is a stunning blow to the Obama administration, and it could threaten the President's legislative legacy. A federal judge in Texas has issued an injunction on an regulation that would extend overtime pay to more than 4 million workers.
The measure was set to take effect next month. It would make it so employees who earn less than about $47,000 would automatically qualify for overtime. But that's more than double the previous benchmark of about $23,000.
Speaking for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, the Honorable Judge Amos L. Mazzant III, an Obama appointee, ruled that the feds had overstepped their authority by raising the salary limit by so much.
The injunction is only temporary until the judge can issue a complete ruling, but observers say the judge's language indicates that he'll strike the regulation down entirely. This jeopardizes the most significant action taken by President Obama to try and increase wages after failing to persuade congress to raise the minimum wage during his tenure.
The ruling is being celebrated by businesses and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who said the ruling would have "reduced workplace flexibility and opportunities for career advancement. Even the labor department admits that it would have cost U.S. businesses an extra $295 million a year. But the department says it "strongly disagrees" with the decision and is "considering all of our legal options."
So it seems President Obama could have one last fight on his hands as he heads out the door. That's some farewell gift!