Just a few days after President Obama said he would more than double the wage level for workers before employers can legally exempt them from being paid overtime, business groups are already plotting to fight the rule in the few months the government needs to finalize it.
Their efforts will be focused on the proposal's upcoming "public comment period," the part of the regulatory process where the government solicits outside opinions before it decides on the final version of a rule.
The process is technically little more than a courtesy, since federal agencies can ignore the comments if they want. But it's nevertheless a key battlefield in all federal regulatory efforts, and the comment period tends to shape the legal and legislative fights that will follow once a final rule is out.
The comments essentially signal to the agency what interested parties, mainly business coalitions, nonprofit groups and lawmakers, object to in a proposed rule. An agency that doesn't take their concerns into account can be assured of either court challenges, congressional efforts to roll back the rule, or both. In the case of court battles, challengers will have stronger legal standing if they can show the agency ignored their comments.