“There is no sense to this.”
A bill to move the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour cleared a hurdle Wednesday, passing the House Committee on Education and Labor on a 28-20 party line vote.
“After nearly 10 years with no increase in the federal minimum wage, minimum-wage workers have suffered a 17 percent pay cut due to inflation,” said Chairman Bobby Scott, the Virginia Democrat who introduced the the legislation. “The result is that there is no place in America where a full-time worker who is paid the current federal minimum wage can afford a modest two-bedroom apartment.”
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But Rep. Virginia Foxx was less enthusiastic, warning the bill would result in “significant job losses for hourly workers around the country”.
“What happened to liberal pragmatism?” asked the North Carolina Republican. “There is no sense to this. We are here to mark up a socialist talking point.”
A higher minimum wage has long been a legislative goal of many Democrats, although most previous attempts called for smaller increases. In 2015, President Obama called for a $10.10 minimum wage. During the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton settled on $12. Bernie Sanders, who lost in the Democratic primary to Clinton, has long lead the charge for a $15 minimum wage.
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While Democrats argue that hiking the minimum wage will give workers a raise and boost the economy, some liberals worry that even more marginal increases would do more harm than good. “You will get a fair number of liberal economists who will say it will lose jobs,” Clinton campaign adviser Neera Tanden told Clinton’s campaign in a 2015 email.
In more progressive areas of the country like New York City and California, Democrats have been successful in pushing the minimum wage to $15. However, opponents of the raise point to business owners slashing hours and letting go of employees as evidence the hike is bad policy.
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