A new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that canceling the Obama administration’s expansion of overtime rules would result in a net increase of $2.1 billion in real income for families in 2017. The report said that while scrapping the rule would reduce worker earnings, they would still gain overall due to falling prices and rising profits.

“Real family income would fall for a small number of families because of the loss of overtime pay; rise for families with business income because of the increase in profits; and rise slightly for all families considered together because of the slight reduction in prices. Most of the increased income would accrue to families in the top fifth of the family income distribution, but average real income would increase for families in each [income group] in most years,” the report found.

The findings are certain to help fuel congressional Republican efforts to scrap the rule change, first announced in May. The rule is set to take effect on Dec. 1.

Federal law says employees must be paid time-and-a-half once they work more than 40 hours in a week. However, businesses may exempt workers from the requirement if their duties are “managerial” in nature.

Currently, one of the requirements is that the worker must make at least $23,000 annually before he or she could be exempted. Starting next month, the exemption level rises to more than $47,000, which would greatly expand the number of people who qualify for overtime pay.

The change was a major part of President Obama’s policy efforts to boost wages. The administration argued that too many employers abuse the exemption, labeling regular employees as “managerial” in order to get out of paying them overtime. The White House projected the rule would boost wages for workers by $12 billion over the next 10 years.

“Companies will have a choice to make: Either they pay their workers overtime or they cap the work week at 40 hours. Either way, the worker wins,” Vice President Joe Biden told reporters when the rule was announced in May. Labor Secretary Tom Perez promised to pivot into enforcing “100 percent compliance.”

Business groups opposed the move, arguing the rules change would rob employers and workers of flexibility in setting work schedules. Businesses would be more likely to cut overtime and shift more workers into salaried positions instead. Republicans have agreed and last month, the House voted 246-177 to delay by six months the rule’s implementation.

The CBO’s report argued that while the rule would increase worker earnings, halting it would be more beneficial because it would prevent harmful spillover effects. “Lower prices for goods and services would result in a slight increase in real income for all families, which would also offset the decline in earnings,” it said.

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The report noted that increasing business profits would also benefit some families because they own businesses. Canceling the rule would make little difference for the lowest-earning families because few of them include salaried workers that would make enough to be effected by everyone.

In a statement late Monday, the Labor Department ignored the spillover effects cited by the department, focusing instead on the effects on earnings. “Today’s CBO report confirms what we already knew: the overtime rule restores the promise that a long day’s work should be rewarded with fair pay. It will result in higher earnings for middle income workers. At a time when income inequality is already of great concern, the report also concludes that reversing the rule would primarily benefit people with high incomes.”

Because the rule was merely a reinterpretation of the existing Fair Labor Standards Act, the administration was able to circumvent Congress in enacting it.

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