It's not likely the Senate will take up a bill approved by the House to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour – and a policy director at the Conservative Partnership Institute thinks that's a good thing.
On Thursday, House Democrats approved legislation that – for the first time in a decade – would raise the minimum wage. A hike in the $7.25 hourly wage has been a top Democratic campaign promise, and passage yesterday of the measure was the "right thing to do" – according to Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. But Rachel Bovard, policy director at the Conservative Partnership Institute, says $15 an hour is bad policy.
"According to the Congressional Budget Office, this legislation would cost up to 3.7 million jobs," Bovard explains. "That's 3.7 million jobs lost because of an increase in the minimum wage. So, some workers will get a small increase in pay, but 3.7 million will get 100-percent decrease in pay – as Congressman Dan Crenshaw [R-Texas] put it."
Democrats don't agree. Speaking Thursday to a crowded room of people, many of them with T-shirts expressing support for a higher minimum wage, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said this is about helping families:
"It's about their economic and financial security and today, today is a bright day because it affects so many people in our country."
Bovard responds: "It's a one-size-fits-all policy [that] doesn't take into account the great amount of nuance in our workforce, starting with the fact that many of the people working in minimum wage jobs are high schoolers and very young college students. They actually aren't families trying to support an entire family on that salary. There definitely are those people, but there are very many government programs designed to help them up and out of that."
Meanwhile, Bovard points out this was the first legislating the House has really done all week.
"They've spent an entire week holding members of the Trump administration in contempt, passing resolutions condemning tweets, and trying to impeach the president," she notes. "So, while I don't agree with the [$15/hour] policy, as last they're finally legislating like they're supposed to."
The House vote on H.R.582 was 231-199, with most of the Democrats and three Republicans joining forces to pass it. Six Democrats voted against the legislation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told the Fox Business Network he won't bring up the bill in that chamber, saying it would cost over a million jobs and "depress the economy at a time of economic boom."
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