"Mr. Speaker, I rise in complete opposition to H.R. 582, a radical, risky, and unnecessary bill that puts party politics above the best interests of American workers and their families.
"Increasing the federal minimum wage by 107 percent is a harmful and unprecedented mandate that would result in millions of job losses for vulnerable Americans, small business closures, and significant damage to the U.S. economy.
"A detailed study issued this month by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates a $15 minimum wage would cause up to 3.7 million lost jobs. 3.7 million jobs! One job lost is too many. 3.7 million jobs lost is unconscionable.
"Those hurt the most by this bill would be female workers, young workers, and those with less than a high school diploma.
"In our committee earlier this year, we heard testimony from Ms. Simone Barron, a restaurant worker from Seattle, Washington, where the minimum wage has already been raised to $15 per hour. Simone said that after the City of Seattle raised the minimum wage, her employer moved her from a standard tip line to a service charge model which resulted in her taking home less pay.
"Small businesses will also suffer if this far-left policy is implemented. Without the cash reserves or profit margins to absorb the increase in labor costs, small businesses will have a choice of several bad options. Among their choices are laying off workers, raising prices on their customers, replacing workers with robots, or going out of business. The National Federation of Independent Business estimates that businesses with fewer than 500 employees will account for 57 percent of job losses, and businesses with fewer than 100 employees will account for 43 percent of job losses.
"Still my Democrat colleagues are trying to sell this radical wage hike by claiming it will redistribute wealth and provide poor Americans with a 'living wage.'
"Yet, the CBO predicts that by 2025 there would be a $9 billion net reduction in family income resulting from a $15 minimum wage. This so-called raise would reduce pay for many American families.
"Let’s not forget, the U.S. economy is booming. And lesser-skilled workers are benefiting. Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that 'wages are rising at the fastest rate in a decade for lower-skilled workers, and unemployment among less-educated Americans and minorities is near a record low.'
"And we know from the latest jobs report that pro-growth policies like the Republican Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and eliminating unnecessary regulations are raising wages, adding jobs, and reducing unemployment. With 7.3 million unfilled jobs nationwide, job creators know they must offer competitive wages and benefits to attract and retain workers.
"So, it is bewildering that Democrats refuse to acknowledge or celebrate the victories of our present economy and continue to call for socialist policies. Instead they want to pass this ill-advised legislation, which would wreak havoc on the economic progress we have achieved over the last few years.
"The cost of living in New York City is much higher than the cost of living in my hometown in North Carolina. With such disparities in the cost of living across the country, mandating a one-size-fits-all wage hike will cause job losses and harm entry-level workers in many regions around the country.
"Even President Obama’s former Chairman of Economic Advisers, Alan Krueger, argued in October 2015 that raising the minimum wage to $15 would 'put us in uncharted waters, and risk undesirable and unintended consequences.'
"H.R. 582 is deeply irresponsible. Workers, families, small businesses, and the U.S. economy will suffer as a direct result of this drastic mandate."