CORONAVIRUS

U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson will vote no on COVID relief if it includes minimum wage increase, 'bailout' money for states

Ashley Hinson speaks with reporters in Cedar Rapids on Nov. 4 after being elected to the U.S. House. Hinson said Friday
Ashley Hinson speaks with reporters in Cedar Rapids on Nov. 4 after being elected to the U.S. House. Hinson said Friday she would vote against the new COVID-19 relief bill if it contains a minimum wage hike and “bailout” money for state governments, (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson said Friday she will vote against the COVID-19 relief bill making its way through Congress if it includes a hike in the federal minimum wage to $15.

Such an increase “will hurt Iowa businesses and cost Iowa jobs, and that’s not something I can support right now given the pandemic,” the Marion Republican said during her weekly call with reporters.

Hinson will have the chance to vote twice on the bill — once in the House Budget Committee and again if the bill reaches the House floor.

Hinson said she supports the bill’s direct payments to those out of work and to businesses and K-12 schools dealing with the pandemic, but she said she doesn’t support sending additional money to state governments.

“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. “We need to start respecting taxpayers.”

President Joe Biden has acknowledged the minimum wage hike has little chance of remaining in the bill.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, the same as Iowa’s, and hasn’t budged since 2009.

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The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2025 would mean a loss of 1.4 million jobs as employers cut payrolls. That’s less than 1 percent of a U.S. workforce of nearly 156 million. Around 5 million jobs were lost in 2020 in the recession caused by the pandemic.

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