A coalition of 60 conservative groups, activists and local officials says the Democrats’ attempts to raise the minimum wage through coronavirus relief legislation would kill millions of jobs.
Democrats’ desired minimum wage hike is a nonstarter for conservative Republicans who fear it will crush businesses already struggling to outlast the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions imposed by governments.
Democratic lawmakers have moved forward on a process that would allow them to pass a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package without GOP support, and President Biden has urged raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour as part of a coronavirus relief package. The federal minimum wage is now $7.25 an hour.
The 60-group coalition opposed to the new wage hike is led by Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist and includes conservative activists from groups such as FreedomWorks, Heritage Action for America and the Club for Growth, and prominent public officials such as former Maine Gov. Paul LePage.
“A $15 minimum wage would substantially raise the cost of labor at a time when small businesses are already struggling to keep the lights on,” the conservative activists wrote in letters to members of Congress. “Small businesses with thin margins would be forced to pass the costs onto consumers, which could lead to a decline in businesses, a loss of revenue, and layoffs. Businesses that have closed temporarily due to the pandemic may decide not to reopen at all in the face of a higher minimum wage, and many employers will forgo hiring new workers because they cannot afford them.”
The coalition estimated the wage hike would kill millions of Americans jobs and shutter thousands of small businesses and prove more damaging than at a regular time because of the pandemic.
Democrats are intent on advancing their agenda regardless of whether it has any Republican support. While Mr. Biden met with a faction of Republican senators interested in negotiating on Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer kickstarted the process for pushing a relief package without the GOP and said Americans “cannot afford any more delays.”
Conservative advocacy groups frustrated by Democrats’ agenda are preparing to score votes on the forthcoming relief legislation. The grades assigned by FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth will help determine how much support conservative advocacy groups provide to representatives and senators.
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