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The Future of Congressman Scott's Effort to Raise the Minimum Wage is Unclear

U.S. Congress

The House of Representatives is set to vote this week on raising the minimum wage. And, Virginia Congressman Bobby Scott is leading the charge.

Republicans and business groups hate the idea of raising the minimum wage. They say they’re concerned about workers losing jobs as a result, and they think the whole idea of having a minimum wage in the first place should be left to the states anyway.

Republican Congresswoman Virginia Foxx of North Carolina says a one-size approach won’t work. 

“The cost of living in New York City is 130% higher than the cost of living in Newport News, where the chairman is from,” says Foxx.

That would be Chairman Bobby Scott, who took control of the Education and Labor Committee from Foxx earlier this year. Now that Democrats are in charge, they’re ushering Scott’s bill through the House floor – a bill that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Now, that’s the first raise for low-wage workers in more than a decade.

“The studies show that at the minimum wage today, you can’t rent a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the United States," Scott explains. "I’m not talking about San Francisco and New York City. I’m talking about anywhere, a modest two-bedroom apartment.”

The bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate, where it might never make it onto the calendar. And then, of course, the White House has already signaled it would probably get a veto.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.