New York Democrat, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, rejected the GOP’s latest attempt to counter Democrats calls for a $15 minimum federal wage, saying any attempt to lower the hourly figure was “legislated poverty.”
“When members of Congress fight to set the minimum wage below a living wage, they are playing a role in creating and preserving poverty in the United States,” Ocasio Cortez said on twitter Tuesday.
“The $15/hr proposal with multi-year phase in is already a deep compromise,” she added. “$10 an hour is legislated poverty.”
The New York Democrat’s comments were in response to legislation rolled out Tuesday, by Republican Senators Mitt Romney of Utah, and Tom Cotton of Alabama, calling for a $10 an hour minimum wage under the Higher Wages for American Workers Act.
The Republican proposal comes as Democrats are pushing to raise the minimum wage over the next four years to $15 an hour as a part of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.
The Congressional Budget Office released a report earlier this month estimating that 1.4 million jobs would likely be lost if the minimum wage is increased to $15 an hour – a prediction that has Republican, and some Democratic lawmakers, concerned.
“Our legislation would raise the floor for workers without costing jobs,” Romney, R-Utah, said in a statement, adding: “We must create opportunities for American workers and protect their jobs, while also eliminating one of the key drivers of illegal immigration.”
Senate Republican leadership promised to push back on the coronavirus relief package put forward, calling it a “liberal wish list” Tuesday.
The package is expected to be voted on in the House this Friday, though should it make it through to the upper chamber, Senate Democrats may find that the minimum wage provision halts the bill.
Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Krysten Sinema of Arizona, have already said they disagree with a minimum wage agenda being included in the nearly $2 trillion relief package.
Megan Henney contributed to this report.