While Democrats in both houses of Congress are drafting legislation to basically double the federal minimum wage — from $7.25 to $15 an hour — Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Alexander Acosta told legislators that “we do not support a change in the federal minimum wage at this time.”
Appearing before a hearing by the House Committee on Education and Labor, Acosta did concede that “Higher wages are a good thing,” a reference to a recent strike at Stop & Shop, which led to increased wages for the workers. “We all benefit when wages go up.”
However, he also made it clear that he and his department were in no hurry to hike the minimum wage. Acosta said an increase in the federal minimum wage would impose “a cost structure” on those states that have not raised their minimum wage rates (three-fifths of states have).
In answer to a question, the labor secretary also said his department was working with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on a new fiduciary rule.
A previous fiduciary rule — crafted by the Obama DOL — would have forced retirement investment advisers to put their clients’ best interests first rather than recommend investments that paid them the biggest commission. That rule, however, was vacated by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals as being, in part at least, “capricious and arbitrary.”