Two Republican senators unveiled a minimum wage proposal Tuesday that would boost it to $10 an hour within 4 years, as Democrats’ efforts to reach $15 an hour in 2025 may have stalled.
Sens. Mitt Romney and Tom Cotton’s plan, Higher Wages for American Workers Act, would increase the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 to $10 an hour over the next four years. It would then be linked to increases in the national inflation rate every two years after that.
The increase would include a mandatory requirement from employers to use E-Verify to prevent the hiring of undocumented employees. E-Verify is run by the Department of Homeland Security and allows employers to check the eligibility status of potential employees to work in the U.S.
"We must create opportunities for American workers and protect their jobs, while also eliminating one of the key drivers of illegal immigration,” Senator Romney said about the bill.
In addition al requiring employers to use E-Verify, there would be higher penalties for anyone who hires an undocumented individual.
The timeframe for Romney and Cotton’s plan is a little uncertain. The plan calls for starting the first year’s increase “post-pandemic,” saying the plan “prevents any increase during the COVID-19 emergency.”
Congressional Democrats have been pushing to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 as part of the large coronavirus relief package they are considering. However, two Democrats have already said they do not support including the minimum wage measure in the $1.9 trillion plan.
The federal minimum wage has not increased in more than a decade. However, 29 states have passed measures raising their statewide minimum wage above the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour. California has the highest minimum wage in the country at $14 an hour.