GOP leaders plan to raise the minimum wage in 2018
The House of Representatives will soon be considering a measure that would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2020.
But the legislation is unlikely to make it through the chamber without Democratic support.
House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are expected to unveil the measure during their weekly joint news conference Wednesday.
Republicans say the legislation will help bring the minimum hourly wage up to $15 an hour for many of the nation’s most vulnerable workers, especially those working in fast-food restaurants, retail stores, warehouses and restaurants.
The legislation would also allow employers to deduct overtime pay and take other steps to boost workers’ wages.
The proposal has support from Democrats, who have long pushed for a $15 minimum wage, while Republicans have focused on raising the federal salary threshold to $9.00 an hour, the highest in the country.
“We want to give our workers a raise and that’s where our bill will come from,” Ryan said in a statement.
The House measure would also provide an increase to the federal food stamp program, which has been struggling with high unemployment rates.
The program currently benefits about 4.4 million people, with nearly one in five receiving cash assistance, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“This will make it easier for people to earn a wage that’s right for them and give us a chance to get the economy back on track,” Ryan told reporters.
A bipartisan working group of congressional Democrats and Republicans have proposed raising the minimum to $12.50 an hour.
However, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has long said the minimum should be raised to $7.25 an hour and that it should be indexed to inflation.
“Raising the minimum will help lift millions of Americans out of poverty,” Pelosi said in October.
“Our bill does not just support workers, it also supports seniors, veterans and our kids.
We are committed to fighting for the American dream and making sure it doesn’t get too hard for the middle class.”
Republicans have said the House plan will help the middle-class.
“While we’re pleased to see the Senate vote on a $10 minimum wage bill, our proposal will do more to help the millions of hardworking Americans who are struggling to make ends meet, including millions of families who are facing stagnant wages or a higher cost of living,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas.
“The minimum wage has become the most important issue in this election, and I am confident that House Republicans will be able to work with Democrats and Democrats alone to create a bill that will lift millions out of extreme poverty and make sure every American has a fair shot at a decent life.”
The House and Senate have been working on a minimum wage hike since the start of the year.
But both chambers are still awaiting a final vote on the measure from their respective chambers of Congress.