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National Restaurant Association - Pols offer minimum wage bill; NRA says now not time to raise labor costs

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Pols offer minimum wage bill; NRA says now not time to raise labor costs

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., joined together March 5 to unveil the latest version of a bill designed to raise the federal minimum wage.

This year's version of the legislation, which is similar to bills the two have introduced before, would increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour in three steps over three years. They also propose increasing the minimum cash wage for tipped employees to $7.07 over three years -- reaching 70 percent of the proposed $10.10 minimum wage-- and tying future wage increases to inflation.

The proposal comes just three weeks after President Obama proposed a $9 minimum wage in his State of the Union speech.

The National Restaurant Association said it could not support a minimum-wage increase at a time when the economy is still sluggish and small businesses are struggling to succeed.

“In light of current economic conditions and coming on top of the unprecedented uncertainty and costs that the 2010 health care law will impose on employers, a starting-wage increase will reduce hiring, weaken business growth and reduce opportunities for job seekers and employees at the margin of the workforce,” said Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association, following the lawmakers’ announcement.

According to Harkin, who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, a hearing on the proposed legislation will be held March 14.

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