Republican senators Mitt Romney and Tom Cotton will introduce legislation aimed at raising the minimum wage while addressing concerns about illegal immigrants taking American jobs.
In tweets posted Tuesday by both Romney (R-Ut.) and Cotton (R-Ark.), the senators revealed their plans to put forward a bill “that would increase the minimum wage while ensuring businesses cannot hire illegal immigrants. We must protect American workers.”
“Congress hasn’t raised the minimum wage in more than a decade, leaving many Americans behind,” Romney tweeted. “Our proposal gradually raises the minimum wage without costing jobs, setting it to increase automatically with inflation, and requires employers to verify the legal status of workers.”
“Today, Americans have to compete against millions of illegal immigrants who take illegally low wages under the table,” Cotton argued in a tweet on his account, “We can fix this by requiring employers to verify the legal status of every worker so they can’t undercut Americans on the black market.”
The increase, according to Cotton, will not go into effect until after the pandemic had ended. It will also include protections for small businesses, something sure to curry favor with Senate Republicans who demanded liability protections be included in any COVID-19 relief package.
“We have an obligation to protect our workers and fellow citizens. This common-sense proposal will give millions of Americans the raise they deserve,” the Arkansas senator closed the thread by noting.
President Biden included a $15 federal minimum wage hike in his $1.9 trillion economic recovery package, but has said as negotiations have continued that he does not expect that to be included in the final bill.
The White House engaged in negotiations with a group of GOP senators late last month, who came in with a $600 billion proposal as their starting counteroffer.
One of those senators was Susan Collins (R-Maine), who slammed the idea of the minimum wage being tied to coronavirus relief.
Asked during a White House press briefing Tuesday whether the commander-in-chief was open to expanding the amount of time it would take to raise the wage value, press secretary Jen Psaki said they would “let the process play out” in Congress.
“The president put an increase in the minimum wage in the initial package because he thinks it’s important. And I’m not going to negotiate what he’d be open to and not from the podium.”
The White House did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment on Romney and Cotton’s proposal.