Democrat Anthony Brindisi and Republican John Katko meet in Washington in November 2018.

They are members of different political parties, but U.S. Reps. Anthony Brindisi and John Katko were on the same side of a vote to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. 

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill that would phase in a minimum wage hike over a seven-year period. The legislation would eliminate standards that subject tipped employees, new hires and workers with disabilities to other minimum wage requirements.  

The minimum wage hike received support from Democrats and a few Republicans. But Brindisi, D-Utica, and Katko, R-Camillus, voted against the proposal. 

Brindisi was one of six Democrats who opposed the bill. In a statement, he said he voted against the legislation because it "sets a timeline for a $15 minimum wage that ignores local economic conditions."

"Washington needs to be working towards bipartisan solutions that responsibly raise the minimum wage, invest in job training and take into account the economic challenges in rural areas," Brindisi continued. "I was sent to Washington to fight for upstate New York, and that means knowing what works for a steakhouse in Manhattan might not work for a diner in upstate New York. I'll always put upstate New York first." 

Brindisi's office noted that the bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, a Virginia Democrat, would eliminate the tip credit and require employers to pay tipped employees a minimum wage of $15 an hour regardless of tips. 

Katko didn't have a statement on the vote, but has said in past interviews that he opposes a $15 federal minimum wage. In 2016, he called it a "Band-Aid approach to a systemic problem in this country." He worries that a federal minimum wage hike would lead to job losses. 

The Congressional Budget Office estimated 1.3 million workers would lose their jobs once the $15 minimum wage is fully phased in. The agency's findings also project that 17 million workers would see increases in their average weekly earnings and 10.3 million more workers would potentially benefit from the hike. 

The federal minimum wage hasn't increased since it was set at $7.25 an hour in July 2009. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 29 states and the District of Columbia have minimum wage rates above the federal standard. 

New York is among the states that have higher minimum wage rates. As of Dec. 31, 2018, the state's minimum wage for large employers in New York City with at least 11 employees is $15 an hour. For firms with 10 or fewer employees in New York City, the rate is $13.50 an hour. It will rise to $15 an hour at the end of this year. 

For workers on Long Island and in Westchester County, the minimum wage is $12 an hour. It will increase to $15 an hour in 2021. 

The minimum wage for workers in the remainder of the state is $11.10 an hour. It will increase to $11.80 at the end of this year and $12.50 on Dec. 31, 2020. Beginning in 2021, there will be annual minimum wage increases determined by the state labor commissioner until it reaches $15 an hour. 

The House-passed bill to raise the federal minimum wage likely won't receive consideration in the Senate, which is controlled by Republicans. If it passed the Senate, the White House said this week that President Donald Trump would veto the measure. 

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Online producer Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or robert.harding@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.


Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at auburnpub.com.