Senate passes budget bill with no ban on overtime changes

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The $328 billion spending bill for fiscal 2004 passed by the Senate Thursday allows the Labor Department to change laws that may make many nurses ineligible for overtime pay.

Although earlier versions of the bill blocked the Bush administration from making the changes, the one ultimately passed by the Senate 65-28 did not have a protective clause.


The bill includes $62.1 billion in discretionary spending for the Department of Health and Human Services, boosting the agency's total fiscal 2004 budget to $360.4 billion. The budget includes mandatory spending for programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.