Mitt Romney and Tom Cotton, both Republicans, announced the Higher Wages for American Workers Act on Tuesday, stating the proposal outlined a wage increase that would begin after the pandemic with a bump to $8 an hour from the current $7.25 an hour. By 2025, according to the proposal that CBS News noted in their report is “unlikely” to be met with across-the-aisle support, the federal minimum wage would be set to $10 an hour with inflation adjustments every two years.
In statements shared alongside the announcement, both Romney and Cotton went out of their way to draw attention to their proposal’s requirement for employers to use E-Verify to—in their words—“protect American jobs.” This, of course, has long been an omnipresent talking point among Republicans that simultaneously perpetuates a variety of policies often aimed at making life even more difficult for undocumented immigrants.
On Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized Romney and Cotton’s proposed plan by likening it to a mere effort aimed at preserving the poverty so many across the country are already enduring.
“The $15 [an hour] proposal with multi-year phase-in is already a deep compromise,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “$10 an hour is legislated poverty.”
And on Monday, Sen. Bernie Sanders appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live to discuss the importance of pushing as hard as possible for the $15 an hour plan. As previously reported, a pandemic relief package that includes the federal minimum wage increase is expected to come up for a full vote in the House this week.