WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson plans to vote against a COVID relief bill making its way through Congress if it includes a provision to raise the federal minimum wage to $15, saying it would "hurt Iowa businesses and cost Iowa jobs."
Hinson, who was in Iowa this past week making several stops at businesses in her 20-county First District, noted she would vote against the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill mainly because of the proposal to raise the minimum wage -- something majority Democrats have been pushing but President Joe Biden has acknowledged had little chance of being included in the bill.
The federal minimum wage -- which Iowa also adopts -- is $7.25 a hour, and hasn't budged since 2009. The proposed amendment would gradually raise the wage over five years to $15 an hour.
"At this point, I'm planning to vote no on the package," Hinson said during her weekly call with reporters. "It will hurt Iowa businesses and cost Iowa jobs, and that's not something I can support right now given the pandemic."
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2025 would end 1.4 million jobs across the country as employers cut payrolls to make up for higher labor costs. That's less than 1% of a U.S. workforce of nearly 156 million. Around 5 million jobs were estimated lost in the economic recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 alone.
Hinson has the chance to vote twice, once in the House Budget Committee and then again if the bill reaches the House floor.
She noted she liked the bill's direct payments to those out of work as well as businesses and K-12 schools, but said she didn't support sending money to state governments, either.
"If (the bill) includes a $15 minimum wage and bailouts for states that can't manage their budgets, I will vote no on the package," Hinson said, noting constituents could "count on me to be vocal" about her opposition. "I can't support that in conjunction with these measures. We need to start respecting taxpayers."