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Obama overtime plan already stirring controversy

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President Barack Obama, greets workers and supportive business leaders, after signing a Presidential Memorandum directing Labor Secretary Tom Perez to modernize overtime protections, Thursday, March 13, 2014, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Obama is bypassing Congress and orders changes in overtime rules so employers would required to pay millions more for extra time they put in on the job.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

President Barack Obama, greets workers and supportive business leaders, after signing a Presidential Memorandum directing Labor Secretary Tom Perez to modernize overtime protections, Thursday, March 13, 2014, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Obama is bypassing Congress and orders changes in overtime rules so employers would required to pay millions more for extra time they put in on the job. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s move to make more workers eligible for time-and-a-half overtime pay is being hailed by Democrats as a potent midterm election issue and condemned by Republicans and business leaders as presidential overreach.

Supporters say it will help the still-fragile economy, while critics say it will damage it further.

It is likely to affect millions of American workers.

Obama signed a presidential memorandum Thursday directing the Labor Department to devise new overtime rules, in his words, “to ensure that workers are paid fairly for a hard day’s work.”

Washington labor lawyer Tammy McCutchen, who oversaw the last overhaul of the overtime law in 2004 as a Labor Department official in the George W. Bush administration, warns Obama to expect lots of opposition from interest groups.

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