Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) Is jumping on the minimum wage bandwagon and will introduce an alternative to the Democrats’ proposal Wednesday that would use federal dollars to boost incomes for low-income workers, Axios has learned.
Because it is important: Hawley, a Trump-style Republican who is considered a likely presidential contender in 2024, is breaking with the dominant orthodoxy of the Republican Party by suggesting that he believes the federal minimum wage is too low.
- He is now known for his role in opposing the certification of President Biden’s election, but as a likely candidate for 2024, his proposal is worth watching for what it says about changes in Republican ideas.
The politics: Hawley plans to present “The Blue Collar Bonus” as a populist pro-worker proposition.
- Hawley’s team estimates it would likely cost roughly $ 200 billion, something mainstream Republicans will resist, though it hasn’t been officially rated.
- Hawley told Axios that he would also support a $ 15 minimum wage for workers in large corporations that generate at least $ 1 billion in annual revenue.
- The measure would also benefit low-wage workers who have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
The invoice: Hawley proposes a three-year program that would increase workers’ wages in 2021, paid for by taxpayers rather than employers.
- Those making less than $ 16.50 an hour would receive a refundable tax credit worth 50% of the difference, paid in quarterly installments. The $ 16.50 could increase over time as it would be tied to the Consumer Price Index.
- The credit would only apply to 40 hours or less of weekly work.
- Only US workers with valid social security numbers would be eligible, meaning that undocumented immigrants and non-US citizens would be excluded.
Between lines: Hawley’s plan would be implemented immediately in fiscal 2021, which expires in 2024.
- The Democrats’ plan to increase the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour would be phased in by 2025. The same is true of a $ 10 an hour proposal released Tuesday by Republican Senators Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Tom Cotton. (R-Ark.).
- Biden has promised to promote a separate bill to raise the minimum wage.
What he says: “The bill is aimed at people who make between $ 34,000 and $ 35,000 a year and less,” Hawley said. “This is aimed at the people who have been the hardest hit, who are trying to recover.”
- “Federal policy has helped create, over the past 30 to 40 years, fixed wages for manual workers,” he added. “We need to have a broader discussion on several of those policy options. A lot of this has to do with our trade policies and the policies that we follow with globalization, which have been very bad.”
Foreseeable problems: The subsidy would disproportionately benefit those in states that have kept their minimum wages low.
- It’s also an incredibly complicated bill, which could make it difficult for workers to properly estimate what they bring home.
Whats Next: The Senate MP will decide as soon as today whether the Democrats’ provision can be included in the COVID stimulus package and voted on through budget reconciliation.