Today, the Ed & Labor Committee will consider legislative proposals to comply with the Democrats’ partisan budget reconciliation scheme.
Democrats control the presidency, the Senate, and the House at a critical time in our nation’s history — millions of people around the country are suffering, facing eviction, closing their businesses, and out of work. But what have the Democrats in power done with this grave responsibility? So far, they’ve revealed their priorities lay with special interests, other countries, and appeasing their progressive wing of the party. In other words, everyone but those Americans who are struggling to get through the pandemic.
At this critical point, the Democrats’ big, creative response is to raise the federal national wage to $15 an hour — a move the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office previously found could cost nearly 4 million workers their jobs. Plus, these job losses would disproportionately hit already economically disadvantaged populations the most.
Democrats consistently try to impose blanket, one-size-fits-all policies across the country that eventually result in more harm than good. While a small business in New Jersey may be able to support a wage increase, that doesn’t mean one in rural Colorado can. That small business may be forced to cut hours or lay off workers to comply with the Washington mandate.
This isn’t a prediction, it’s a fact. It’s been tried before, and time after time, a minimum wage mandate like this has had the opposite of its intended effect.
- When Seattle, WA, implemented an incremental $15 wage mandate, employers immediately cut payrolls, reduced hours, and fired employees all together. Studies estimated the average lower-wage worker in the city lost $125 a month from the policy.
- In New York City, retail and restaurant owners did the same — forced to cut back as much as possible anywhere they could before the service began to suffer and prices got too high: “There’s only so much consumers are willing to pay for a burger or a bowl of pasta.”
- In Long Beach, CA, Kroger was forced to close two grocery stores after the city voted to require companies like it to give employees an extra $4 an hour in hazard pay during the pandemic.
It makes the Democrats’ push to enact this policy nationally all the more frustrating and regressive. We know it doesn’t work, so why don’t we put our time, energy, and resources into something that does? This job-killing push encapsulates the very worst of Washington.
Americans, now more than ever, deserve better. We need to create good paying jobs, not just move them around. We need to give people more opportunities, not just tell them what to do from afar.
House Republicans have made clear our immediate national priorities: get Americans back to work, get our children back in school, and vaccinate every American who wants a vaccine. We are measuring every appropriate proposal against these timely priorities by asking a simple question: “Will it help?” If the answer is no, then we will show what does.
This job-killing proposal fundamentally does not. But there is a better option. Before the unforeseen effects of the pandemic hit, 5.6 million jobs were created and unemployment hit a 50-year low with the help of Republican-led tax reform, smart deregulation, and other pro-growth reforms. This didn’t happen by accident. We achieved this because policymakers made an intentional choice to allow free enterprise to flourish and remove unnecessary burdens on families and businesses. For the sake of our workers, families, and small businesses, we can, and should, do that again.
The Democrats’ mandated wage increase will put more Americans out of work and deepen our national economic crisis. It will not help.