The senses. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., And Mitt Romney, R-Utah, propose legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $ 10 an hour, coupled with an E-Verify system to ensure that employers only hire workers legally permitted.
Cotton joined Sandra Smith and John Roberts on “America Reports” Tuesday to discuss the proposal. He also weighed in on the $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill, which he said “only fulfills many Democratic wishes.”
SEN. TOM COTTON: [On COVID-19 stimulus] “There are a lot of goals here. Democrats are reporting unused spending and they are doing it with a vengeance in this bill.
REPRESENTATIVE. JAY OBERNOLTE: IF BIDEN’S MINIMUM $ 15 WAGE HAPPENS, FOR 1.4 MILLION AMERICANS THE ACTUAL WAGE WILL BE $ 0
The bill spends hundreds of millions of dollars on states that have not lost money. States that had surpluses last year. [It] spends tens of billions of dollars on schools, not this year, when schools may need it most, but in the years to come. It has nothing to do with the kids going back to school this year.
It was one thing to spend that kind of money a year ago, at the start or at the height of this pandemic. But now we’re about to take that step and get back to something that looks a lot like normal in a matter of weeks, not months. This money meets many Democratic wishes.
[On minimum wage proposal] What we are doing is offering a minimum wage of $ 10 an hour, phased in after the pandemic ends, and a mandatory E-Verify program that ensures that employers only hire legally authorized workers. . These two things go hand in hand. If you raise the minimum wage, of course, you encourage dishonest employers to hire illegal immigrants to work. Therefore, use the E-Verify system to ensure higher wages go to American workers. We think this is a reasonable compromise.
Obviously, the minimum wage of $ 15 an hour does not have the votes to pass the Senate because it would kill so many jobs. We think this is a constructive step that Democrats and Republicans, hopefully, can take.
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I would be willing to work with any Democrat who recognizes that $ 15 an hour is just too high in many parts of the country and is willing to work across the aisle. Now Democrats have so far taken a partisan approach to this bill. I’m not sure they’re going to reverse on this.
I am not going to negotiate here on TV, but I will say that I will work with any Democrat who wants to try to find a solution that helps raise the wages of American workers. “