by J.D. Davidson
With plans to include a $15 minimum wage in President Joe Biden administration’s COVID-19 recovery proposal quashed by rules procedures, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, has introduced his own wage hike.
Portman’s legislation calls for a more modest minimum wage increase to $10 an hour over the next four years and ties it to inflation every two years. It also ties the minimum wage to his recently introduced E-Verify Act legislation that helps ensure the increase goes only to legal workers.
“For years, I have supported the way Ohio handles the minimum wage by indexing it to inflation. This takes some of the politics out of the issue, provides more certainty for small businesses and workers, and prevents the sudden spikes that cost jobs,” Portman said.
U.S. Sens. Mitt Romney, R-Utah; Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas; Shelly Moore Capito, R-West Virginia; and Susan Collins, R-Maine, are signed on as co-sponsors of the legislation that Portman said also protects tipped workers, unlike the Democrats’ proposal.
The bill also creates a slower phase-in for the wage hike for small businesses with fewer than 20 employees, and it prevents any increase during the COVID-19 emergency.
If passed and signed into law, the plan mandates E-Verify for all employers, phasing it in over an 18-month period to give small businesses more time to comply. It also raises civil and criminal penalties on employers who hire unauthorized aliens and requires workers age 18 and older to provide a photo ID to employers.
“I’ve taken a lead on advocating for a workable E-Verify because of its proven effectiveness of deterring unlawful immigration and helping employers ensure they are hiring Americans,” Portman said. “Hiring Americans for jobs available across the country will be crucial as our economy continues to reopen and businesses get back on their feet.”
The U.S. House was expected Friday to vote on Biden’s relief plan with the minimum wage increase, but it will be stripped from the bill when it reaches the Senate. If it passed by the Senate, the new bill will go back to the House.
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An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. He is regional editor for The Center Square.