WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) have introduced the "Higher Wages for American Workers Act," which would gradually increase the minimum wage in the United States to $10/hour and ensure that the wage increase only goes to legal workers.
"For millions of Americans, the rising cost of living has made it harder to make ends meet, but the federal minimum wage has not been increased in more than ten years,” Senator Romney said in a joint news release “Our legislation would raise the floor for workers without costing jobs and increase the federal minimum wage to $10, automatically raising it every two years to match the rate of inflation."
If the bill is enacted, the gradual increase to a $10/hour minimum wage would occur over a period of four years, and wage increases would continue every two years in accordance with inflation. Under the act, wage increases would be prevented for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.
The bill would require all US employers to use E-Verify, a web-based government system for verifying employment eligibility, with an 18-month phase-in period. The bill would also require workers 18 and older to provide a photo ID to their employers for verification purposes.
Employers would face increased civil and criminal penalties for hiring unauthorized aliens and/or violating I-9 paperwork requirements.
"Ending the black market for illegal labor will open up jobs for Americans. Raising the minimum wage will allow Americans filling those jobs to better support their families. Our bill does both," Sen Cotton said in the news release.