WASHINGTON, D.C.-The United States Chamber of Commerce expressed disappointment today with the U.S. House of Representatives for passing an increase in the federal minimum wage and encouraged the Senate to carefully consider its impact on small businesses.
"Any minimum wage increase will significantly affect the bottom line of the nation's small business owners," said Bruce Josten, Chamber executive vice president for government affairs. "Unfortunately, this bill completely ignores that fact, and as a result small businesses may be forced to eliminate jobs, reduce hours, and cut employee benefits."
Josten said the Chamber will work with Senate members from both sides of the aisle to ensure that any increase to the federal minimum wage contains provisions that will offset the negative impacts to small businesses and the economy. Such provisions might include allowing small businesses to recover their attorneys' fees when they successfully defend themselves against a government citation and requiring agencies to provide compliance assistance for small business regulations.
The Chamber has opposed an increase in the federal minimum wage because of the disproportionate impact it would have on small- and medium-sized businesses. The proposed $2.10 per hour increase, phased in over a two-year period, will likely result in a 40 percent surge in labor costs for such businesses. Those new costs would represent an enormous burden on a sector that plays a critical role in the overall vitality of the U.S. economy, according to the Chamber.
The U.S. Chamber is the world's largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region.
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