SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is one of 19 states still paying workers a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. However, that could gradually change over the next four years if Sen. Mitt Romney’s pitch to raise the federal minimum wage to $10 an hour passes Congress.
The Higher Wages for American Workers Act, brought by Romney, a Utah Republican, and Tom Cotton, R-Ark., is a counter-proposal to President Biden’s plan to increase the wage to $15 by 2025. Additionally, pay would rise to match inflation every two years.
“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 10 years,” Romney said in a statement.
“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.”
Furthermore, the legislation would provide a longer timeline to raise the wage for businesses with fewer than 20 employees. It would also prevent wage increases during the pandemic.
$10 minimum wage comes with strings attached
Not only would Romney’s push for $10 happen throughout the next four years, but it would also require E-Verify to prove the money is going to residents considered eligible to work in the United States. The reason for this, according to Romney and Cotton, is to prevent unauthorized workers from taking jobs from American citizens.
“We must create opportunities for American workers and protect their jobs, while also eliminating one of the key drivers of illegal immigration,” Romney said.
Cotton, the partner in the proposal, stated limiting back woods employment would give more career opportunities to US citizens.
“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,” said Cotton.
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