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WASHINGTON, D.C. – With Democrats still working on a way of raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) have announced a separate bill that would not only increase minimum wage, but contain extra provisions barring employers from hiring illegal immigrant workers as well, reports say.
The last time the federal minimum wage was raised was on July 24, 2009, when it increased from $6.55 to $7.25 per hour; it has not been increased since, with many arguing that the current wage is too far out of step with inflation.
The bill being worked on by Romney and Cotton, if passed, would gradually raise the minimum wage once the COVID-19 pandemic ends – with a provision that would see it increase automatically with inflation – and would also require employers to verify the legal status of their workers. In addition, it would also include protections for small businesses.
“Congress hasn’t raised the minimum wage in more than a decade, leaving many Americans behind. I’m introducing a bill with @SenTomCotton that would increase the minimum wage while ensuring businesses cannot hire illegal immigrants,” Romney tweeted on Tuesday. “Congress hasn’t raised the minimum wage in more than a decade, leaving many Americans behind. Our proposal gradually raises the minimum wage without costing jobs, setting it to increase automatically with inflation, and requires employers to verify the legal status of workers.”
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Cotton also tweeted about the proposed bill, saying that the Senators have “an obligation to protect our workers and fellow citizens.”
“Today, Americans have to compete against millions of illegal immigrants who take illegally low wages under the table,” he said. “We can fix this by requiring employers to verify the legal status of every worker so they can’t undercut Americans on the black market.”
Specific details on the bill – including the amount of the increase – have yet to be revealed, but reports indicate that the full bill would be unveiled possibly as soon as next week.
Since President Joe Biden took office in January, there has been great support for increasing the minimum wage – which was one of Biden’s campaign promises – in light of the economic damage that the COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted upon the country.