GOP Leaders Must Stop Playing Politics With Minimum Wage

By AFL-CIO President John Sweeney

America’s workers need a real raise, not a vote on sham legislation that will not provide our nation’s workers with the relief they so desperately need.  As the House of Representatives considers legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage for the first time in 10 years, it’s absolutely critical that members vote to increase the minimum wage by $2.10 – from $5.15 to $7.25 – without “poison pills
The House must not disregard the wishes of a majority of Congress -- not to mention the overwhelming majority of Americans -- by only allowing only consideration of a sham minimum wage package designed to fail.
The Senate recently rejected -- by a vote of 45 to 53 -- just such a sham proposal.  The Enzi amendment would allow employers to cut a worker’s overtime pay by $3,000 per year by substituting an 80-hour, two-week work period for the traditional 40-hour workweek.  The Enzi amendment would cut pay by as much as $5.50 an hour for tipped workers by nullifying minimum wage protections for tipped workers under state law.  And the Enzi amendment would strip minimum wage and overtime eligibility from well over 7 million workers.  Another example of a poison pill would be the addition of the Association Health Plan (AHP) legislation  The Senate has refused to take up that same bill and even a compromise version failed to pass the Senate just two months ago.  The House should soundly reject poison pill proposals such as AHPs that cannot pass and are designed to prevent passage of a minimum wage increase.
Members of the House recently cleared the way to give themselves another $3,300 congressional pay raise, the ninth pay raise Congress has approved for itself since it last increased the minimum wage.  America’s Republican leadership needs to drop its shameful games and give America’s workers the $2.10 raise they deserve.