Republicans have talked a lot in recent years about becoming a “workers party,” without having much of an agenda to match the rhetoric. A new Senate proposal aims to start changing that.
The bill would raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $11 per hour while also requiring employers to check that their employees are legally authorized to work in the United States. Both halves of the bill have faced Republican resistance in the past, largely because of business opposition. But the bill’s sponsors span the Republican spectrum in the Senate: Mitt Romney (Utah), Tom Cotton (Ark.), J.D. Vance (Ohio), Susan Collins (Maine), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) and Bill Cassidy (La.) are all on board. That group includes moderates, traditional conservatives and populists, Republicans who back Donald Trump and Republicans who voted to convict him and disqualify him for office.
The immigration portion of the bill reflects the priority the party has come to place on blocking illegal immigration. Republicans have in the recent past tended to emphasize enforcing the laws at our borders, but enforcement at the workplace must also be part of any immigration-control strategy. Many illegal immigrants came here legally but then overstayed their visas to keep working here.
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