WASHINGTON (AP/WEHT) — For the first time in a decade, the House approved an increase in the federal minimum wage — to $15 an hour, including for tipped workers.
Passage was expected Thursday after centrists won concessions for a slower phase-in, over six years instead of five. They also won assurances the pay hike could be halted midway if a study shows job losses or other adverse effects.
A minimum wage hike has been a top Democratic campaign promise, intended to address income inequality that’s driving the 2020 political debate. Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland said raising the wage is the “right thing to do.”
Some 30 million workers would see bigger paychecks, according to a budget report.
All four Republican Congressmen from the Tri-State voted against the bill:
Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.)
Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.)
Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.)
Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.)
Bucshon released this statement on Thursday:
“Thanks to the conservative, pro-growth economic agenda put forth by the Trump Administration and House Republicans in Congress for two years, the American prosperity economy is flourishing. After nearly a decade of stagnation, family incomes and job opportunities are finally rising once again. In the past few months, the unemployment rate has hit near record lows, wages have increased – particularly for lower-income workers, and there are more job openings than there are unemployed workers.
This short-sided attempt by House Democrats to artificially raise the minimum wage will reverse the economic progress made over the past couple of years and hurt American workers. In fact, the American workers who will be hurt the most will be those looking to get onto or move up from the bottom step on the ladder of economic success – which are those that Democrats claim they are trying to help. The irreversible damage done by this bill could result in an estimated 3.7 million Americans losing their jobs and move our economy backwards and be a crushing blow to small businesses. Instead of focusing on minimum wage policies, we should instead be focused on policies that maximize economic opportunities for Americans.”
(This story was originally published on July 18, 2019)