Seven states challenge Biden’s $15 minimum wage policy for contractors

Seven states sued the Biden administration last week over its new requirement that contractors pay their employees a minimum wage of $15 an hour.

President Biden announced the initiative shortly after taking office in January 2021, then followed with an executive order in April, which started the rulemaking process. The $15-per-hour minimum wage for contracts covered by the executive order began to take effect Jan. 30. The final rule also eliminates the tipped minimum wage for federal contractors by 2024, ensures that workers with disabilities do not earn less than the minimum wage and protects outfitters and guides working on federal lands, reversing a policy of the Trump administration.

On Tuesday, Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Nebraska and South Carolina filed a trial in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona challenging the salary increase.

“The coalition argues that the contractors’ minimum wage mandate violates the government procurement law and the spending clause of the U.S. Constitution,” said one. Press release from the office of Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “The Biden administration claims that the Public Procurement Act gives it the power to implement such a broad mandate. However, in reality, Congress passed the law to provide the federal government with an efficient system of procurement between its agencies, not to give it unlimited power over the minimum wage.

The defendants listed are the Department of Labor, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, President Biden, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and Acting Wage and Hour Division Administrator Jessica Looman.

The second trial was filed Thursday by Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas Victoria Division and has the same defendants as the other.

“With full awareness of the negative economic impact of artificially raising the minimum wage, and despite his failure to persuade Congress, President Biden chose to ignore the wishes of our federal lawmakers and instead forced an increase in the minimum wage by decision of the executive,” the complaint said. “By taking advantage of the federal government’s disproportionate bargaining power, the defendants have moved to coerce federal contractors into complying with a policy that Congress does not approve of, potentially affecting hundreds of thousands of businesses that employ up to one-fifth of the entire American workforce. Force.”

In both situations, the plaintiffs pointed out that in March 2021, the Senate defeated 42-58 an amendment to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

“The Senate parliamentarian had ruled that the salary increase could not be added to [Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid bill] and approved by a simple majority of senators despite the provision being passed by the House last week,” Politics reported at the time. “After Senate Democrats removed it from the Covid package, a group of progressive senators led by Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., forced a vote on the policy change anyway.”

The seven states that sued all have Republican attorneys general, and all but Louisiana have Republican governors.

When asked to comment on the lawsuits, the Labor Department referred the matter to the Justice Department, which declined to comment.

A White House spokesperson speaking on the merits said government executive that “the executive order will promote economy and efficiency in federal contracts, delivering value to taxpayers by improving worker productivity and generating higher quality work by improving worker health, morale and effort.” workers “.

Also, “the work of the federal government will be done better and faster,” said the spokesperson. “The President did indeed act within the limits of his legal authority when he issued this executive order.”

About Jefferey G. Cannon

Check Also

Court weighs dispute over online publication of voting records | United States government and politics

By MORGAN LEE – Associated Press ALBUQUERQUE, NM (AP) — A conservative-backed foundation that aims …