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Democrats vow to penalize massive firms that do not pay a minimal wage of $ 15

Senator Bernie Sanders (IV.T.), Chairman of the Budget Committee, speaks during a U.S. Senate Budget Committee hearing on large corporation wages on Capitol Hill in Washington on February 25, 2021.

Stefani Reynolds | Reuters

Top Democrats are drafting new plans penalizing large corporations who pay their employees less than $ 15 an hour after a Senate official ruled Thursday that the party would not include a wage increase in its $ 1.9 trillion economic bills could.

Democrats, led by Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., And Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Vowed to make changes to the existing aid package that would penalize companies that pay workers below a certain hourly rate.

Sanders swiftly rejected the decision of Senate MP Elizabeth McDonough, who found Thursday night that a proposed $ 15 minimum wage scheme did not meet the stringent budgetary standards imposed as part of the budget reconciliation.

“I do not agree with today’s decision of the Senate MP,” said Sanders in a press release on Thursday. “In the days ahead, I’ll be working with my Senate colleagues to drive a change that will help large, profitable companies that don’t pay workers at least $ 15 an hour have tax deductions and small businesses receive.” Incentives they need to raise wages. “

“This change must be included in this draft reconciliation,” he added.

On Friday morning, Wyden, who is working closely with Sanders on the change, announced more details on “Plan B”.

He said his change, if adopted, would impose a 5% penalty on a large company’s total wage bill for workers earning less than a certain amount. Wyden added that the penalty would increase over time and include safeguards to prevent companies from attempting to outsource workers to avoid paying living wages.

“We couldn’t get in the front door or the back door, so we’ll try to go through the window,” said Wyden of the new plan. “As the talks continue, I believe that this ‘Plan B’ offers us a way to move forward and to achieve this through the reconciliation process.”

The US last raised the minimum wage to USD 7.25 per hour in 2009.

Wyden, who also chairs the Senate Finance Committee, added that his amendment would give small businesses that pay higher wages to their workers a tax credit of 25% of wages up to $ 10,000 per year per employer.

A senior Democratic adviser confirmed Friday that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., is considering adding a provision to the bill in line with Sanders and Wyden’s proposals.

Although the Democrats made the MP’s decision clearer, Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri is working to pass a new law aimed at raising the minimum wage for workers.

Hawley, who has faced heavy bipartisan criticism for voting to overthrow President Joe Biden’s election, announced on Wednesday a bill that would give low-wage workers a “bonus” through an automatic, advance tax credit.

Hawley’s office touted the plan as better than a minimum wage hike because it “doesn’t pose a huge new burden on small businesses, many of which are still recovering from damaging closures.”

Senators will have the option to introduce changes to Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion stimulus plan after the House passes the legislation and a vote is expected in the lower chamber on Friday. Democrats hold a slim 50:50 majority in the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris having the decisive decisive vote.

Still, the Senate bill debate is expected to be full of pitfalls, as a single democratic vote against the plan would stall it.

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