On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Raising Unemployment for Americans Workers Act (H.R. 582), legislation put forth by House Democrats, 231-199. The vote was nearly along party lines, with only six Democrats opposing while three Republicans supported it. The bill’s intent is to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour over a six-year period.

The Indiana Chamber believes market conditions pertaining to the supply and demand of labor for different occupations should drive wage levels. And that this proposed government interference into the marketplace for wage levels should be rejected. The legislation would have a devastating impact on lower-wage earners who could lose their positions with an increase to the minimum wage, as well as adversely affect local economic development.

Indeed, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently reported that more than doubling the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 to $15 could cost 1.3 million jobs when fully implemented by 2025, costing employers a staggering $51 billion annually. CBO also stated that this was a median forecast and would equal roughly 0.8% of the workforce. While wages could rise for as many as 27 million workers, in a worst-case scenario some 3.7 million jobs could be lost.

The silver lining here is that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is highly unlikely to take up the measure and President Trump is on record with a veto threat.

Congressman Larry Bucshon, M.D. (IN-08), who said the bill “would move our economy backwards” and voted against it, offered some advice for his colleagues: “Instead of focusing on minimum wage policies, we should instead be focused on policies that maximize economic opportunities for Americans.” The Chamber couldn’t agree more.

Resource: Mike Ripley at (317) 264-6883 or email: [email protected]