Cassidy on pandemic help and minimum wage

Published: Jan. 28, 2021 at 7:26 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -Louisiana got a one-two punch in 2020 with the pandemic and the hurricanes. Now, the state’s economy is in question.

In a recent conversation with Sen. Bill Cassidy, he was vocal about a number of President Biden’s executive orders--specifically the ban on new oil and gas leases. However, that’s not all the senator talked about. He also gave his thoughts on another round of stimulus checks and the democrats revived push to raise minimum wage to $15 by 2025.

This week, Senator Cassidy gave his thoughts on the current executive policies making their way through Washington.

“I’ve had multiple conversations today as to how Louisiana could be at the forefront.”

That was the senator’s response to the president’s plan to make the U.S. carbon neutral by 2050. He also spoke about the proposed 1.9 trillion dollar stimulus package.

“If we’re able to immunize people quickly and are...then 1.9 trillion is clearly way too much...clearly way too much,” said Cassidy.

And the revised push to raise the federal minimum wage to 15 dollars.

“Sure, it would be great if everybody earned more money,” Cassidy said. “We have to recognize--with that policy. it’s going to increase unemployment by maybe 3 million, maybe even more. So, when you look at that, it’s much better to have a job than to not have one.”

President Biden is calling on Congress to pass an immediate increase in the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour to help struggling families, but congressional Democrats reintroduced legislation Tuesday to gradually raise it to that amount by 2025.

Eight states plus Washington, D.C. have passed a $15 minimum wage. The House approved the legislation last year, but the Republican-controlled Senate blocked it.

Cassidy argues President Biden’s immediate raise to $15 would cut jobs and close businesses.

However, Cassidy said a gradual wage increase “is something to be looked at.”

The bill would also end pay below the minimum wage for tipped workers, certain teens, and people with disabilities.

He also laid out plans to bring more relief to the state...aid that would help with recovery from Hurricane Laura and getting more doses of the vaccine to healthcare providers throughout the state.

“I had a conversation with David Kessler who is the head of Warp Speed for the Biden Administration. I strongly stressed the point as well as offering help in any way I could to get more shots into more people’s arms as quickly as possible.”

Sen. Bill Cassidy announced Wednesday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is awarding nearly $12 million in federal funds to Louisiana for assistance in recovery from COVID-19 and Hurricane Laura.

The City of DeRidder is receiving $1.1 million in federal funding for using contract labor for debris removal following the destruction caused by Hurricane Laura. It’s estimated that 350,000 cubic yards of vegetative debris and 50,000 cubic yards of construction and demolition debris were disposed of after the storm.

The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness is receiving nearly $3 million in federal funding for contracting with the American Red Cross to operate non-congregate sheltering at hotels for Hurricane Laura evacuees to comply with COVID-19 mitigation measures to protect public health. American Red Cross contracted with 41 hotels for 4,467 units. At its peak, the Louisiana non-congregate shelter program for Hurricane Laura sheltered 21,510 evacuees in 8,115 hotel rooms.

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