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More Starting-Wage Increase Bills Introduced on Hill

February 19, 2001

Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Rep. David Bonior (D-Mich.) have introduced legislation that would increase the federal minimum wage to $6.65 per hour. The action follows on the heels of legislation introduced earlier this month by Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) that would raise the starting wage by $1.50 over 25 months, and by Rep. Jim Traficant (D-Ohio) that would increase the starting wage by $1 over two years.

The $1.50 increase in Kennedy and Bonior’s bill would be made in three steps. The first increase—to $5.75— would come 30 days after enactment of the legislation. The minimum wage would increase to $6.25 in 2002, and would reach $6.65 on Jan. 1, 2003.

Kennedy is pushing for early Senate action on the bill and Senate votes are anticipated to be held in the spring.

“Activity in the House of Representatives is more difficult to predict,” says NRA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy Lee Culpepper. “Furthermore, both Sen. Kennedy and Rep. Bonior have come out strongly against linking a wage hike to tax relief.”

Rep. Jack Quinn (R-N.Y.) has also introduced minimum wage increase legislation. His bill would increase the starting wage by $1 over two years, with the first 50 cents coming on April 1, and the second 50 cents on April 1, 2002. The Quinn bill also includes a number of tax provisions, and Rep. Quinn has urged President Bush to include a minimum wage increase in his tax cut package.

The NRA will continue to educate lawmakers that mandated wage hikes are detrimental to entry-level employees because they ultimately reduce job opportunities.

Source: NRA Washington Weekly

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