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AOC: Republicans' plan for $10 minimum wage is 'legislated poverty'

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reiterated the need for a federal $15 per hour minimum wage for all citizens, documented or not.

AOC: Republicans' plan for $10 minimum wage is 'legislated poverty'
Image Source: Getty Images/ Sen. Schumer, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Call On FEMA To Grant Disaster Funeral Assistance. (Photo by Scott Heins)

Progressive Democrats continue to rally for a federal $15 an hour minimum wage as Republicans unveil their plan for a nation-wide $10 an hour minimum wage. Most recently, House Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called the proposal “legislated poverty.” The Higher Wages for American Workers Act, introduced on Tuesday by GOP Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, would increase the current national minimum wage while also ensuring businesses cannot hire undocumented individuals living in the United States. Ocasio-Cortez, nonetheless, reiterated the need for a $15 per hour minimum wage, citing that the progressive legislation was already in “deep compromise,” Newsweek​ reports.




The scathing response from the House Democrat came in a tweet. “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,” she wrote. “The $15/hr proposal with multi-year phase-in is already a deep compromise.” Ever since she first assumed office, the minimum wage was a top priority for Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive Democrats. However, in the face of an emboldened Republican Party in the Senate, little progress has been made at the federal level on this front. Now, President Joe Biden has the opportunity to bring the long-awaited law into effect.




At present, Congress lawmakers are “wrangling” over his $1.9 trillion stimulus package, particularly because the President has promised to include a $15 an hour minimum wage. The stimulus package was secured in the House of Representatives earlier this month after progressives rallied behind the deal. They were confident the package with the $15 per hour wage rate included via budget reconciliation would similarly pass in the Senate. Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders affirmed in an interview with CNN on Sunday, “I'm very proud of the strong arguments our legal team is making to the parliamentarian that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour is not 'incidental' to the federal budget and is permissible under the rules of reconciliation.”




Unfortunately, Romney and Cotton’s proposal has thrown a spanner in the works. In addition to implementing a $10/hour minimum wage across the country, the plan would require all employers to use E-Verify in order to ensure that "legally authorized workers" would benefit from increased pay "without harming the very workers it's intended to protect." E-Verify, developed in 1996, is an optional program to submit employee information to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Reportedly, their plan is supported by research that suggests that a $15 minimum wage would result in 1.4 million job losses, a claim which several economists disagree with.




Furthermore, Ocasio-Cortez argues that the Higher Wages for American Workers Act is doubly harmful as it would legally keep undocumented people working below the minimum wage. Due to the proposed act’s requirements for verification, only documented citizens would be able to benefit from the $10 minimum wage, should it be passed. In stark contrast, the Democrats’ proposal would increase minimum wages for all.



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