House Republicans are pushing back on a Democratic push to nationalize a $15/hr. minimum wage.
The policy proposal will soon make its way to the House floor, Politico reports, after a Congressional Budget Office report released Monday showed it could boost wages for 17 million workers and alleviate 1.3 million families currently living in poverty. The report also found it could cut nearly 3.7 million jobs across the nation.
The Raise the Wage Act, backed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and several declared or prospective 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, would hike the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024 through annual increases. It would also end provisions that in some cases allow employers to pay workers under age 20 and employees with disabilities less than the wage floor.
House Democrats introduced the legislation Wednesday with 181 co-sponsors. A companion measure in the Senate has 31 Democratic co-sponsors, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. At a news conference Wednesday where Democrats touted the bill, the senator called $7.25 per hour a “starvation wage.”
And, from Politico:
The Democratic bill, which would phase in the $15 minimum over five years, only recently won enough support from across the caucus to reach a floor vote.
CBO’s finding that a $15 hourly minimum would result in 1.3 million jobs lost was a median estimate. CBO’s upper estimate of 3.7 million jobs lost poses another test for Democratic centrists, many of whom were skeptical about the impact on local businesses. (CBO’s lower estimate was that the number of jobs lost would be “about zero.”)
The nonpartisan agency also predicted a $9 billion drop in “real income” in 2025 — largely the result of a drop in businesses’ income, as well as price increases for goods and services across the economy.
Pelosi praised the bill in a statement, saying: “A $15 federal minimum wage affirms the bedrock idea of fairness in our country: that hard work deserves a decent wage. We will open up opportunities for working families and drive economic growth that lifts up all communities – because our economy works best when it works for everyone, not just the wealthy and privileged few,” Pelosi said
Virginia Democratic Congressman Bobby Scott also championed the bill in saying, “The benefits of the Raise the Wage Act for America’s workers far outweigh any potential costs.”
But, Republicans in the chamber are railing against it.
“American workers and families will lose their jobs if this bill is enacted,” said Republican Arkansas Congressman and Ranking Member the House Budget Committee Steve Womack. “I urge House Democrats not to advance a proposal that would unravel that progress and hurt millions of families in the process.”
As Fox Business reports, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise called such an increase “devastating” to middle-class families.
The report said the gradual move to a $15 per hour minimum wage could wipe out as many as 3.7 million jobs.
“Think about that, that’s the entire state of Oklahoma losing their job,” Scalise said. “The CBO report that came out should be alarming to everybody in America who believes in trying to become part of the middle class.”
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.
— POLITICO (@politico) July 10, 2019