Trade groups opposing efforts to raise minimum wage

A powerful group of trade associations are opposing Senate efforts to raise the minimum wage.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) on Tuesday called Senate legislation aimed at increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour “an anti-job tax” that would create higher labor costs and hurt young workers.

ADVERTISEMENT
"Raising the standard of living for low-skill, low-wage workers is a valid goal,” wrote David French, NRF senior vice president for government relations in a letter to all senators. 

"But there is clear evidence that mandated wage hikes undermine the job prospects for less skilled and part-time workers."

NRF said it will include minimum wage votes in its “key votes” annual scorecard used to measure support for the retail's policy priorities.

The trade group called the time the “least opportune moment” to mandate a federal wage increase, especially while employers are adjusting to the healthcare law.

“Policymakers have other tools, such as increasing the earned income tax credit, fixing the tax code, education improvements, immigration reform, transportation funding and strong trade alliances that will aid in achieving that goal without creating more unemployment,” French wrote.

The NRF letter on Tuesday follows a similar letter sent Monday by 20 groups, including NRF, urging senators to reject legislation that would raise the minimum hourly wage.

The letters hit Capitol Hill as the Senate is discussing a possible compromise that could fall below President Obama’s $10.10 minimum wage target.

Some Senate Democrats are signaling that they are willing to negotiate a lower wage level to attract more support.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has been talking to Democrats to work out a possible compromise, which is attracting Democrats despite efforts by leadership hold firm on the $10.10 hourly level.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who is a strong backer of raising the wage to $10.10 an hour, isn't ruling out a chance for a deal depending on the circumstances within his caucus.

More in Senate

Republicans block Sanders's minimum wage amendment

Read more »