In a stunning blow to the Obama administration's economic legacy, a federal judge in Texas granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday delaying implementation of a regulation that would extend overtime eligibility to an estimated 4.2 million workers.
The ruling puts in serious jeopardy the most significant wage intervention by President Barack Obama, who has been unable to persuade Congress to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour. The Labor Department regulation, previously set to take effect Dec. 1, effectively restored overtime pay to the middle class after decades of erosion had reduced it to a benefit available only to low-wage workers.
The Republican Congress has been so bent on halting the rule that the House may adjourn a week or more earlier than planned largely so that it may block the rule after Jan. 20 under the Congressional Review Act, a mechanism linked to the length of the legislative calendar. President-elect Donald Trump, despite his dependence on working-class voters in the presidential election, was thought likely to try to block the rule as part of his war on excessive regulation; in an August interview, he said he'd like to exempt small business from the regulation.