McBath Now Supports $15 Minimum Wage, Previously Said it Could Crush Georgia Small Businesses

Lucy McBath
Lucy McBath / Getty Images
June 11, 2019

Freshman congresswoman Lucy McBath (D., Ga.) told voters at a town hall she now supports legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, a policy she said earlier this year could cause Georgia small businesses to "go under."

McBath initially opposed the Raise the Wage Act, which proposes raising the federal minimum wage incrementally to $15 an hour by 2024, saying during a March event she was concerned with the impacts of such a hike on different areas of the country.

"My concern is there are a lot of small businesses within this district that have 10 employees or under, and we have to make sure that geographically we do what's best for every business, whether you are a large business, a corporation, or a small business man or woman, we have to make sure that we protect your ability to be viable," she said, according to video of the event captured by conservative group America Rising.

"I am looking at a geographically different kind of model for raising the minimum wage, one that would not force small businesses to go under if they are mandated by 2024 to pay $15 an hour for their employees," she continued, adding that $15 an hour in Georgia is different from $15 an hour in Washington, D.C.

At a recent town hall over the weekend, however, McBath told voters she reversed her position on supporting the act.

"Any legislation that will increase our workers' pay, I'm all for that," she said, responding to a question about whether or not she will support the act. She continued that she had signed up to support the act, which drew loud applause from the crowd.

She is not currently listed as a co-sponsor on the act. Her office also did not respond to an email inquiry from the Washington Free Beacon looking to confirm that she had officially reversed her support for the act.

McBath was part of a group of centrist Democrats pushing back against the act. Instead, the group pushed for legislation from Rep. Terri Sewell (D., Al.) titled the "PHASE-in-15 Act" that would create regional minimum wages dependent on cost of living.

Academics, small-business owners, and workers all expressed doubt to the Free Beacon earlier this year about the Raise the Wage Act's minimum wage hike and it's impacts on less wealthy states.

"The job loss would be greater in Mississippi than wealthier states like New York," Prof. David McPherson said.

Published under: Lucy McBath , Minimum Wage