U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly reintroduced legislation yesterday that could redefine a section of the Affordable Care Act.
Donnelly, along with Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Arkansas, introduced language that would change the current definition of full-time employee to a 40-hour work week.
Republicans are in charge of the Senate, but whether it has sufficient support to pass a possible veto from President Barack Obama remains to be seen. Donnelly says the bill would first need to make it through committee and a cloture vote, but he’s now more hopeful.
“We have a number of Democrats who are in favor of it, who are supportive of it, and we’re hoping to get to the numbers that can get it passed, and… if the President vetoed it, to override a veto,” says Donnelly.
The bill follows legislation introduced during the last Congress that attempted to accomplish the same thing.
According to a press release from Donnelly’s office, employers claim to have reduced worker hours in response to the Affordable Care Act’s 30-hour work week provision – affecting both businesses and school districts.
Donnelly says he believes Indiana residents know a work week is 40-hours.
“What I’m trying to do is put money back into paychecks so that people are working 37 and 38 hours again instead of 27,” says Donnelly. “So I’m hopeful the White House will take another look at this, will take a more open-minded look at this and I think if they do, they’ll see it makes plenty of sense.”
Donnelly’s Senate bill was introduced alongside a similar House bill.
According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the House’s “Save American Workers” Act would increase the number of uninsured by about 500-thosuand people, and reduce the number of people with employer-based coverage by about 1-million people. Donnelly remained skeptical of those figures.
The release says the legislation looks to help employees affected by the current work-week definition, and help employers better plan for future hiring.