Sen. Cassidy backs bill to raise federal minimum wage
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The last time the federal minimum wage was raised was back in 2007, which brought us the current $7.25 we have now. Republican Senator Bill Cassidy said he is supporting a bill introduced by Republican Senator Mitt Romney to raise the federal minimum wage to $11 over the next four years.
“It recognizes that under Biden’s inflationary policies, it’s been very difficult for families to keep up,” said Sen. Cassidy to reporters on Tuesday.
One of the ways to gain more Republican support is with a provision in the bill requiring employers to use the E-Verify system, an internet-based system aimed to prevent folks from hiring people who are here illegally.
“We coupled it with immigration reform, and so, that’s an important thing. We have to protect the jobs for Americans,” Sen. Cassidy added.
Though they hope this effort will do better than the ones in the past, It’s not without anticipation that some will say it doesn’t raise the wage high enough.
“There are some on the far left who will not accept this. And I would argue you can’t let your vision of the perfect be an enemy of the good,” Sen. Cassidy explained.
Democratic State Representative C. Denise Marcelle, from Baton Rouge, is one of the ones who’s tried to raise the minimum at the state level on more than one occasion. She says the bill proposed by Republicans in Washington is a start but it’s not enough.
“I do not think that it’s enough. You know, I filed my bill back in 2022 and what I proposed to do was raise it to $10 an hour initially and then go up to $12 an hour in 2024,” said Rep. Marcelle in an interview Tuesday.
Although a bill like hers has yet to pass the sniff test of the Republican-dominated legislature, she says she’ll keep bringing it back because, in her words, someone needs to.
“I think it speaks to how we feel about the people that serve us and really that’s the essential workers. In fact, I believe the federal government should raise it to at least $15 an hour because what I heard over and over again is that we’re already paying people more than $10 an hour. Well, if that’s the case, what is the problem,” explained Rep. Marcelle.
So, if Congress where to get this bill through, after it’s raised to $11 an hour, they would then index it to inflation every two years moving forward.
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