(CNSNews.com) – In a vote of 231 to 199, mostly along party lines, the House on Thursday passed a bill that mandates raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Three Republicans voted for the bill, while six Democrats voted against it.
The Raise the Wage Act (H.R. 582) requires the federal minimum wage to be increased “for regular employees over a 7-year period, for tipped employees, and for newly hired employees who are less than 20 years old.”
“The bill eliminates the separate minimum wage requirements for tipped, newly hired, and disabled employees. After a specified period, these employees shall be paid the same minimum wage as regular employees,” the bill’s summary states.
Alfredo Ortiz, president of the Job Creators Network – an organization of small business owners and entrepreneurs - which helped lead the fight against raising the minimum wage, condemned the bill’s passage, saying, “In another step in their socialist agenda, House Democrats pushed through an outrageous bill that will force up to 3.7 million Americans to lose their jobs and wreck our economy.
“There is no question that President Trump’s pro-growth policies are working, raising wages for all Americans, including those in entry-level positions. But instead of building on that progress, House Democrats want to appease the far-left and squeeze the 90 million Americans who work at or own a small business. According to JCN polling, 84 percent of Americans think it’s ‘likely’ that small businesses will have cut jobs if the minimum wage doubles,” Ortiz said in a statement.
“Instead of pursuing a $15 minimum wage, Congress should be fighting for $50,000 careers by addressing the skills gap. JCN has launched the ‘Fight for 50’ campaign to fight for careers that pay $50,000 or more. We encourage everyone to visit Fightfor50.com to learn more and join our campaign. JCN will continue to advance this campaign as part of our larger effort to promote the benefits of capitalism,” he said.
Ortiz sent a letter to House leadership on Tuesday warning, “As an organization of small business owners and entrepreneurs representing over 200,000 members, we know this bill will have a devastating impact on our businesses and our employees. We implore you to vote against it.”
Ortiz pointed to Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predictions that “a median of 1.3 million jobs – and up to 3.7 million jobs – would be lost by increasing the government-mandated wage floor to $15 per hour.”
“Of course, the biggest consequence of a $15 minimum wage is the one that’s hardest to measure: a weakened first rung of the career ladder, which is so important to teach employees the skills necessary to climb it. According to CBO, ‘Low-wage workers who are jobless because of a minimum-wage increase cannot acquire skills through formal on-the-job training or informal learning by doing.’ As a result, CBO concludes, career prospects would be negatively impacted,” Ortiz wrote.
“American employees are already getting a minimum wage increase, without a counterproductive federal mandate. According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just 163,000 workers aged 25 and older -- i.e. who aren't entry-level -- earn the $7.25 minimum wage out of 66 million hourly employees that are that age and older -- just 0.2 percent of this workforce,” he noted.
“Contrast this to the situation a few years ago, in 2014, when 550,000 workers aged 25 years and older earned the minimum wage out of a pool of 61.9 million hourly employees -- 0.9 percent of this workforce. This means that the number of established workers earning the minimum wage has effectively fallen by more than three-quarters in the past few years,” Ortiz wrote.
He credited the “massive drop in the number of non-entry-level minimum wage employees” in large part to Trump’s “booming economy.”
“By weakening the bottom rung on the career ladder, a $15 minimum wage threatens to destroy this opportunity economy,” Ortiz added.