What You Need To Know:
The minimum wage increase is center stage on a number of platforms. President Joe Biden is working his way through a complex maze of minimum wage increase proposals, including the plan put forth by presidential candidate Biden. The candidate supported the gradual wage increase to $15/hour by 2025. At a CNN town hall Tuesday, the President said a $12 or $13 minimum wage might have a “diminished” impact on small businesses while still generating economic growth. The question is how will the increase be implemented?
Progressive Democrats see the current coronavirus stimulus package as the best and quickest way to make the increase a law. Analysts point to the current political make up as a block to make the wage increase into law. With the Senate evenly divided, the proposal doesn’t have the 60 votes needed to make it as a stand-alone bill. Attaching the wage increase to the pandemic response bill would allow it to pass with a simple majority vote.
But even that’s not easy. Some moderate Democratic senators, including Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, have expressed either outright opposition to that high of an increase or said it shouldn’t be included in the pandemic legislation.
This week Republican Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Tom Cotton of Arkansas introduced their own proposal. Their curious plan “gradually raises the minimum wage,” without providing any numbers, and setting the increase with inflation. Secondly, the Romney-Cotton plan would begin after the coronavirus has ended. Lastly, the proposal “requires employers to verify the legal status of workers.” In other words, the plan bars the hiring of undocumented workers.
Why We Need To Know:
As much talk as politicians are currently giving to the topic of minimum wage increases, it could also fall by the wayside. That won’t happen if organizations like “Fight for $15,” have their way. Strikes were held Tuesday by home care, nursing home and fast-food workers around the country with a focus on Black communities. The communities have “faced generations of low pay and insufficient protections on the job,” the group said in a statement.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, “ A national minimum wage of $15, up from the current $7.25, would not only help one in five Americans earn more but also reduce income equality among women, minorities and frontline workers.”