Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) announced legislation on Friday morning that would require companies that make over $1 billion in revenue per year to pay their employees a $15 minimum wage, less than 24 hours after Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said that he would develop his own plan to enact a $15 minimum wage at large companies.
“For decades, the wages of everyday, working Americans have remained stagnant while monopoly corporations have consolidated industry after industry, securing record profits for CEOs and investment bankers,” said Hawley on Friday. “Mega-corporations can afford to pay their workers $15 an hour, and it’s long past time they do so, but this should not come at the expense of small businesses already struggling to make it.”
Hawley’s proposal would also index the minimum wage at large corporations to the federal median wage beginning in 2025. Any company with less than $1 billion in annual revenue would not be directly affected by the bill, according to Hawley’s office.
According to Hawley’s office: “Small business employees earning less than $15 per hour would benefit from Sen. Hawley’s recently introduced Blue Collar Bonus, which would provide a bonus to every worker making below the median wage directly through an automatic, advanceable tax credit tied to hours worked.”
Various other minimum wage proposals have been floated over the last several days.
Earlier this week, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) announced a $10 federal minimum wage that would come with mandatory E-Verify. “For millions of Americans, the rising cost of living has made it harder to make ends meet, but the federal minimum wage has not been increased in more than ten years. Our legislation would raise the floor for workers without costing jobs and increase the federal minimum wage to $10, automatically raising it every two years to match the rate of inflation,” said Romney.
On the other hand, the Biden administration tried to introduce a $15 minimum wage in the COVID-19 relief package. The final product, however, will not contain the minimum wage proposal that was originally floated, as the Senate parliamentarian said Thursday that the wage hike would not comply with the rules of the reconciliation process.
In response to the Senate parliamentarian’s decision, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has teased his own version of a minimum wage hike that he suggests could comply with the rules of the reconciliation process, and as such, theoretically be included in the bill.
“In the coming days, I will be working with my colleagues in the Senate to move forward with an amendment to take tax deductions away from large, profitable corporations that don’t pay workers at least $15 an hour and to provide small businesses with the incentives they need to raise wages. That amendment must be included in this reconciliation bill,” said Sanders on Thursday evening.
Sanders did not release too many details about what his provision would look like, or identify what would be considered a “large, profitable corporation” under his bill.