United States Congresswoman Cheri Bustos of East Moline is co-sponsoring a piece of legislation which would exempt minor-league baseball players from federal overtime regulations.Bustos, a Democrat, and Congressman Brett Guthrie, a Kentucky Republican, introduced legislation last Friday which would amend the federal Fair Labor Standards Act to clarify that players in baseball’s minor leagues are not subject to a law designed to protect workers in traditional hourly-rate jobs.A pending lawsuit in a California federal court asserts that federal overtime laws should apply to minor-league players, something Minor League Baseball officials claim would threaten baseball’s player-development system with unprecedented cost increases which could threaten the existence of the sport in communities throughout the country.
The sporting press wasn't nearly so neutral in how it wrote about this piece of legislation. A sampling:
- "A stiff arm to minor league pay increases" -- ESPN
- "The 'Save America's Pastime Act' in Congress will do nothing of the sort" -- USA Today
- "Despicable 'Save America's Pastime Act' aims to screw minor leaguers" -- The Sporting News
- "Here's why the Save America's Pastime Act is a river of molten sewage" -- SB Nation
And finally, our favorite, from the always understated Deadspin:
- "Evil Congressmen Want To Make Living Wage For Minor Leaguers Illegal"
The consensus was simple: The bill would effectively take more money out of the pockets of underpaid minor-leaguers, who don't make nearly the fortunes of those who make it to the Big Show and who often can't survive on playing baseball alone.
Bustos has now dropped the bill like a hot potato, tweeting Thursday that she's withdrawing her support for it -- which, again, she introduced with Guthrie less than a week ago.
“In the last 24 hours, several concerns about the bill have been brought to my attention that have led me to immediately withdraw my support of the legislation," said Bustos, who happens to be the daughter of former Major League Baseball lobbyist and political aide Gene Callahan.
Update: Guthrie isn't backing away from the bill. The below is a statement provided by his office.
“Rep. Bustos’ office notified my staff this morning of her decision. I was looking forward to working with Cheri, but I respect her decision. I have always tried to make every piece of legislation I introduce bipartisan and am ready to continue to work on this issue when I return to Washington."