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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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White House Confirms It Is Looking Into Shutting Down Oil Pipeline Amid Fuel Crisis

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Gas Pipeline

The Biden administration confirmed that it is considering shutting down an oil pipeline in Michigan despite the ongoing fuel crisis in the country.

“Revoking the permits for the [Line 5] pipeline that delivers oil from western Canada across Wisconsin, the Great Lakes and Michigan and into Ontario, would please environmentalists who have urged the White House to block fossil fuel infrastructure, but it would aggravate a rift with Canada and could exacerbate a spike in energy prices that Republicans are already using as a political weapon,” Politico Pro reported. “Killing a pipeline while U.S. gasoline prices are the highest in years could be political poison for Biden, who has seen his approval rating crash in recent months.”

Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked about the report during Monday’s press briefing, asking, “why is the administration now considering shutting down the Line 5 pipeline from Canada to Michigan?”

“So, Peter, that is inaccurate,” Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed. “That is not right. So, any reporting indicating that some decision has been made, again, is not accurate. … So, again, I would — it is inaccurate what you just stated, but —”

“What’s inaccurate?” Doocy asked.

“The reporting about us wanting to shut down the Line 5,” Jean-Pierre said.

“I didn’t say ‘wanting.’  I said, is it being studied right now?  Is the administration studying the impact of shutting down the Line 5?”

“Yeah. Yes, we are. We are,” Jean-Pierre admitted.

 

The news comes as gas prices have reached their highest since 2014, when Biden was vice president, and are currently about 50% higher than they were when Biden entered office.

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