A rare agreement among US Congressman Dan Lipinski and his primary challenger Marie Newman is being denounced by the US Chamber of Commerce as a job killer.
The US House voted in July on H.R.582, the Raise the Wage Act, which raises the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Lipinski supported the measure and his opponent Marie Newman and the Coalition for Change IL3 (CCIL3) expressed support prior to the vote in the House.
However, the US Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to all of the house members, noting
This legislation is crucial to raising wages for all. We cannot afford to water down the Raise the Wage Act. We must empower all workers, and this includes young people, tipped workers, and individuals with disabilities,” said Newman. “A $15 per hour minimum wage would help thousands of workers in IL03 and not voting for this bill would be an assault on workers’ rights across the country.
Raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour will be phased-in over the course of five years, and then be indexed to the median hourly wage thereafter. Nearly half of the states across the country pay the federal minimum wage in lieu of a higher state minimum wage, if a state minimum wage exists at all.
Newman, in a news release claimed that the income divide is this country has grown substantially for decades. Newman argued that by passing the Raise the Wage Act — which would raise the federal minimum wage for the first time in 10 years — workers across the country will benefit by earning fair wages.
Despite Lipinski’s vote, the Coalition for Change IL3, is committed to Newman’s candidacy. “Coalition for Change IL3 is proud to support Marie Newman because we know she will truly fight for fair wages, advancing workers’ rights, and empowering unions,” said Mary Ann Quinlan, one of the leaders of CCIL3. “By passing the Raise the Wage Act, we will see the federal government step in as many suburban communities have failed to protect workers — many in the southwest suburbs have opted-out of county minimum wage laws. There is a strong need for a minimum wage that is both adequate and which levels the playing field across localities.”
“I’m glad to see Rep. Lipinski co-sponsor this landmark legislation, especially as he’s been absent on raising the minimum wage for 10 years. We are asking he commit firmly to advancing fair wages for all,” added Abby McEntee, also of CCIL3. “As a coalition, we are energized by our grassroots contacts and will continue building power across IL03, ensuring we have accurate representation in Washington. We’ll keep working alongside Marie Newman and her campaign in the coming months because we know she will bring our voices, ideas, and power to Congress.”
CCIL3 is a network of progressive activists groups in the Third District with nearly 3,000 members. Marie Newman was endorsed by CCIL3 on July 10.
While the CBO report found that an increase to a $15 per hour minimum wage was too drastic, the same report stated that a more moderate, economically-based increase would create minimal economic disruption. For example, the report indicated that an increase to around $10 per hour would raise the wages for as many 3.5 million workers (based on the median estimate) and would result in few, if any, job losses.