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192 House Republicans refuse to give workers a higher minimum wage

The House of Representatives passed a minimum wage increase, despite almost no Republicans supporting it.

By Dan Desai Martin - July 18, 2019
Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) speaking alongside Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019 in Washington.

The House of Representatives voted Thursday to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour despite significant opposition from Republicans.

The Raise the Wage Act passed by a 231-199 margin, with 192 Republicans voting against it and only 3 voting in favor. Six Democrats and Rep. Justin Amash, an independent who recently left the GOP, also voted against the bill.

The federal minimum wage has not been increased in a decade, according to the Washington Post. This bill would gradually increase it to to $15 per hour in 2025, and that is a reason to rejoice, according to Democrats.

“A pay raise for American workers is long overdue, and it’s time we raise wages for the people, as Democrats promised,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said before the vote. “Today we’re keeping that promise.”

“I will celebrate the passage of the first raise of the federal minimum wage in such a long time,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told the Post.

A recent study showed that raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour would help more than 27 million Americans increase their earnings, while possibly leading to 1.3 million lost jobs.

Republican leaders trashed the bill, lambasting the efforts of Democratic lawmakers to give a raise to millions of workers.

Republican House Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana complained that giving a raise to workers was part of a dastardly “liberal, socialist agenda.”

“House Democrats cannot in good conscience bring the Raise the Wage Act to the floor,” Scalise said in early July.

Immediately after the Democratic House passed the bill, Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy claimed in a press conference that Democrats were not doing anything to help the American people, ignoring the bill that had just been passed.

“There’s not one [thing] that I have found” to show “that the Democrats have done to help the voters around the issues around the kitchen table,” McCarthy said.

The Raise the Wage Act is not the first bill passed by House Democrats to address economic issues. In March, the House overwhelmingly passed the Paycheck Fairness Act to help close the gender wage gap, despite opposition from Republicans.

The bill now goes to the Senate, where it’s quite likely that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will not even hold a vote on it, as he has vowed to block all progressive legislation.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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