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Restaurant association says the industry will suffer from a minimum wage increase

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The National Restaurant Association is urging Congress against implementing the Raise the Wage Act, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

The association wrote a letter to congressional leadership Tuesday requesting Congress remove the act from the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan. They warned that restaurants would suffer from a wage boost amid the coronavirus pandemic and cited results from a February survey polling 2,000 restaurant operators, who said that the increase would lead to job losses, higher menu prices and restaurant closures.

The survey found that 82% of restaurant operations say the initial wage increase would negatively impact the ability of the restaurant to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

“The survey results make it crystal clear that the restaurant industry and our workforce will suffer from a fast-tracked wage increase and elimination of the tip credit,” Sean Kennedy, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs for the National Restaurant Association, wrote in the letter. “Restaurant jobs will be critical to every local community recovering from the pandemic, but the Raise the Wage Act will negate the stimulative impact of a worthy plan.”

Kennedy continued, “Passage of this bill this year would lead to job losses and higher use of labor-reducing equipment and technology. Nearly all restaurant operators say they will increase menu prices. But what is clear is that raising prices for consumers will not be enough for restaurants to absorb higher labor costs.”

The Raise the Wage Act, which Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced last month, would also eliminate the tipped minimum wage for restaurant service workers.

“Eliminating the tip credit will hurt millions of servers who rely on the current system where they earn between $19-$25 an hour with tips,” Kennedy wrote.

Kennedy understands the minimum wage issue in America, but thinks the Raise the Wage Act is “the wrong bill at the wrong time.”

“We share your view that a national discussion of wage issues for working Americans is needed,” Kennedy said, “but the Raise the Wage Act is the wrong bill at the wrong time for our nation’s restaurants.”

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy

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Economy

Biden spends $1.65 trillion taxpayer dollars while vacationing in St. Croix

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Joe Biden

While vacationing in the island of St. Croix for the holidays, President Joe Biden on Thursday signed into law the massive $1.65 omnibus spending package.

The whopping 4,155 pages was supported by only nine House Republicans and 13 Senate Republicans. Majority of criticism from the GOP includes concerns that the bill was rushed and crammed with wasteful spending by a lame-duck Democratic-dominated Congress. The recourse will punish American families by adding to the national debt and exacerbate inflation.

“Today, I signed the bipartisan omnibus bill, ending a year of historic progress. It’ll invest in medical research, safety, veteran health care, disaster recovery, VAWA funding — and gets crucial assistance to Ukraine,” Biden tweeted. “Looking forward to more in 2023.”

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell “praised the bill on the grounds that it represents a real decrease in discretionary spending. He presented it as a positive that nondefense spending jumped by only 5.5 percent, from $730 billion to $772.5 billion, amid an inflation rate of 7.1 percent” writes National Review.

“The bipartisan government-funding bill that Senators Shelby and Leahy have finished negotiating does exactly the opposite of what the Biden administration first proposed,” he said. “This bill provides a substantial real-dollar increase to the defense baseline . . . and a substantial real-dollar cut to the non-defense, non-veterans baseline,” McConnell insisted as negotiations were wrapping up.

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, however, stated his strong disapproval of the bill before it even advanced. Affirming a letter from 13 House Republicans, McCarthy demanded the bill is reckless, irresponsible, and a “purposeful refusal to secure and defend our borders.”

For example, it failed to incorporate protections for Title 42, the pandemic policy that allows illegal immigrants to be expelled on a public-health basis, which currently hangs in the balance at the Supreme Court.

National Review adds, “The funding in the bill, which averted a federal government shutdown before the new year, includes an allocation of $45 billion in defense assistance to Ukraine. Some Republican priorities, such as Electoral Count Act reform and a bigger military budget, were nested in with Democratic appropriations, such as increased funding for Medicaid and food stamps.”

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