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CEO DATELINE – Business groups decry House vote to raise minimum wage

July 19, 2019
By Walt Williams

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The Democrat-led U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour in a move some associations said would harm small businesses.

The House voted 231-199 to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2025, according to CNBC. The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 was last set in 2009.

All but six Democrats voted for the increase while only three Republicans supported it. Business groups have warned that increasing the minimum wage would lead to job losses—a message they reiterated in statements reacting to the vote.

“It is of critical importance that any minimum wage bill incorporates reforms that ensure a level playing field for local franchise owners,” said Matt Haller, senior vice president of government relations and public affairs for the International Franchise Association. “Without a level playing field, local owners are at an enormous competitive disadvantage when competing for talent”

National Federation of Independent Business CEO Juanita Duggan said the vote represented “a devastating blow to small businesses.”

“In states and municipalities across the country, a mandated minimum wage hike has consistently led to lost jobs, production, and income, and it must not be replicated on the federal level,” Duggan said.

The bill also phases out a lower minimum wage for tipped workers. The National Restaurant Association said the change could end up cutting the salaries of restaurant workers by $19 to $25 an hour.

The legislation “is the wrong wage at the wrong time, implemented in the wrong way, and as the Congressional Budget Office noted in its nonpartisan analysis, the bill could end up having the unintended consequence of eliminating up to 3.7 million jobs,” NRA Executive Vice President of Public Affairs Sean Kennedy said.

The bill may have easily cleared the House but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is unlikely to allow the legislation to move forward in his chamber. President Donald Trump also has threatened to veto the bill.