WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) today joined Senators Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) to introduce the Higher Wages for American Workers Act, which would gradually raise the federal minimum wage to $10 and mandate E-Verify to ensure the wage increase only goes to legal workers. The bill will also index future minimum wage increases to inflation and includes protections for small businesses.

“This framework balances the needs of employers with opportunities for employees. This effort demonstrates there are long-term solutions that can be put forth and debated outside of a partisan process that has dubious merit in its implementation in the name of COVID relief,” Senator Capito said.

Summary of the Higher Wages for American Workers Act:

Minimum Wage Increase:

  • Gradually raises the federal minimum wage to $10 over four years, and then indexes it to inflation every two years.
  • Creates a slower phase-in for small businesses with fewer than 20 employees.
  • Prevents any increase during the Covid-19 emergency.

Mandatory E-Verify:

  • Mandates E-Verify for all employers, phasing in implementation over 18 months to allow small businesses additional time to comply.
  • Raises civil and criminal penalties on employers that hire unauthorized aliens and/or violate I-9 paperwork requirements.
  • Prevents fraud by requiring workers 18 and older to provide a photo ID to their employer for verification, which will be cross-referenced if a photo is available through the E-Verify system.

The full text of the bill can be found here.

# # #