LOCAL NEWS

Sen. Romney Releases Plan To Raise Minimum Wage

Feb 23, 2021, 8:51 AM
FILE: Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)...
FILE: Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Sens. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Tom Cotton, R-Ark., announced legislation designed to gradually increase the federal minim wage.

The Higher Wages for American Workers Act would also mandate E-Verify to ensure wage increases only go to legal workers.

The act would not implement a $10 minimum wage immediately, instead raising the federal minimum wage to $10 over four years. It would then index future minimum wage increases to inflation every two years.

Under the legislation, small businesses with fewer than 20 employees would have a slower timeline to phase in the wage increase, and it would prevent wage increases during the COVID-19 emergency.

“For millions of Americans, the rising cost of living has made it harder to make ends meet, but the federal minimum wage has not been increased in more than 10 years,” Romney said in a statement. “Our legislation would raise the floor for workers without costing jobs and increase the federal minimum wage to $10, automatically raising it every two years to match the rate of inflation.”

The last time the federal minimum wage was raised was in 2009. Progressive lawmakers are pushing for a minimum wage increase to $15 and have included it in a recent relief bill that is expected to clear the House. However, it may have difficulty in the Senate where two Democratic lawmakers have suggested they would vote against the wage boost.

Romney and Cotton’s plan cuts the wage increase by $5 while also raising civil and criminal penalties on employees who hire unauthorized workers.

“We must create opportunities for American workers and protect their jobs, while also eliminating one of the key drivers of illegal immigration,” Romney said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Sen. Romney Releases Plan To Raise Minimum Wage