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Romney, Cotton Propose Minimum Wage Plan, Ensure Wage Increase Does Not Go To 'Illegal' Workers

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Two Republican senators are seeking to increase the federal minimum wage to $10 per hour — a lower number than the $15 per hour Democrats are seeking.

Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) announced on Tuesday they plan to introduce legislation to raise the minimum wage to $10. It would increase the minimum wage over four years “and then indexes it to inflation every two years,” according to the press release.

They also are seeking to mandate E-Verify “to ensure the wage increase only goes to legal workers” not undocumented workers, as the press release reads.

“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,” Romney said.

He continued:

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“We must create opportunities for American workers and protect their jobs, while also eliminating one of the key drivers of illegal immigration.”

They added that their increased minimum wage proposal would also create “a slower phase-in for small businesses with fewer than 20 employees” and prevent “any increase during the COVID-19 emergency.”

Mandating E-Verify would raise “civil and criminal penalties on employers that hire unauthorized aliens and/or violate I-9 paperwork requirements.”

Cotton also said in a statement, “American workers today compete against millions of illegal immigrants for too few jobs with wages that are too low—that’s unfair.”

“Ending the black market for illegal labor will open up jobs for Americans. Raising the minimum wage will allow Americans filling those jobs to better support their families. Our bill does both,” he added.

Democratic lawmakers are pushing to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025, as IJR reported on.

“Let’s be clear. The $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage is a starvation wage,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) previously said in a statement.

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He added, “No person in America can make it on $8, $10, or $12 an hour. In the United States of America a job must lift workers out of poverty, not keep them in it… The time for talk is over. No more excuses.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki indicated earlier this month that President Joe Biden is “firmly committed to raising the minimum wage to $15.”

“He believes any American who is working a full-time job, trying to make ends meet, should not be at the poverty level,” Psaki said at a White House press briefing on Feb. 8. “It’s important to him that the minimum wage is raised.”

The current minimum wage in the U.S. is $7.25 and has not been raised since 2009.

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