A vote in the U.S. House of Representatives gradually hiking the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour is expected to face tough going as it moves to the Senate.
The measure, approved on a 231 to 199 vote, would effect an immediate mandated minimum wage this year of $8.40 per hour, up from the current $7.25.
The schedule, approved in what is being called the Raise the Wage Act, then calls for yearly increases of one dollar and ten cents for each year heading into 2025 when the rate would hit $15.
In praising the legislation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the legislation honors workers by “giving 33 million Americans a long overdue raise and lifting many out of poverty.”
The Speaker also said that the legislation “grows our economy and increases families’ purchasing power,” adding that it will create economic growth that “lifts up all communities.”
An earlier-released analysis by the Congressional Budget Office said that up to 1.3 million people could be gradually lifted out of poverty should the House proposal become law.
Tacking a different tack, the Nashville-based National Federation of Independent Business is predicting that up to 6 million people could lose their jobs if the new minimum wage bill is passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Trump.
In a statement, Juanita Duggan, chief executive officer with the NFIB, remarked: “In states and municipalities across the country, a mandated minimum wage hike has consistently led to lost jobs, production, and income, and it must not be replicated on the federal level.”
Construction sector analysts, noting that the average wage in the industry today is just a little over $30 an hour, expect builders to be minimally affected should the legislation become law.
A press release issued by the Associated General Contractors of America noted that in the last year “average hourly earnings in construction—a measure of all wages and salaries—increased 3.2 percent over the year to $30.73.”
The federal minimum wage has been raised nine times since it was first implemented in 1938. The current $7.25 per hour was passed by Congress in 2009.
According to Department of Labor statistics, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico have minimum wage rates varying between $7.50 and $11.10 an hour.
By Garry Boulard
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