House debates wage act

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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One of the first bills Democrats started pushing in Jan. 2019 is expected to be voted on by the House of Representatives this week. The Raise the Wage Act plans to gradually raise the national minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 by 2024. The last time the minimum wage was raised by Congress was in 2007 through the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which was 12 years ago. The act is sponsored by Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va along with 205 democrat cosponsors.

“No person working full-time in America should be living in poverty,” Scott said. “The Raise the Wage Act will increase the pay and standard of living for nearly 40 million workers across this country. Raising the minimum wage is not only good for workers, it is good for businesses, and good for the economy. When we put money in the pockets of American workers, they will spend that money in their communities.”

The Economic Policy Institute estimates that the Raise the Wage Act will give roughly 40 million Americans a pay raise– nearly 30 percent of the workforce. The institute also states that one-in-nine U.S. workers live in poverty despite working full-time jobs all year round as a result of their low wages. The bill has received plenty of support from data and Democrats. However, the bill has also received opposition from Republicans and data on the subject. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-AL disagrees with the act.

“The Democrat minimum wage bill is a job killer that would knock the bottom rung off the career ladder,” Byrne said. “We don’t need more government mandates and requirements. Instead, we should continue to cut taxes and red tape to unleash the full potential of the American people.”

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has said the Raise the Wage Act would cause 3.7 million American workers to lose their jobs by 2025 and 44,000 Alabama workers by as soon as 2020. CBO tested how raising the federal minimum wage to $10, $12, or $15 per hour by 2025 would affect employment and family income. CBO discovered that out of three options, $10 is the most possible.

CBO’s data showed that the $10 increase was the only option out of the three that would still give a raise to more than one million Americans while also having little to no impact on employment.

The bill has the support of almost half of the U.S. House of Representative, but even if the House does pass the bill, the bill still has to pass the mainly Republican Senate and then lastly, the President’s desk.