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What does the “new Congress” mean for small businesses?

(Business News) Calls to raise minimum wage have been heard far and wide, but what does the success or failure of these referendums mean to your business?



New Congress, new biz environment?

Minimum wage has been a hot topic for quite some time. Republicans have opposed it; Democrats have enough power to prevent Republicans from cutting off or stalling legislation, so where does that leave businesses and their hard-working employees? Gridlocked. However, there may be new hope on the horizon.

For most employees, a good job means more than just liveable wages. A good job has a good overall package: health care, retirement plans, and a decent wage all come together to make a good job, great. For many people minimum wage, is no longer a liveable wage, due to rises in the cost of utilities, shelter, and food. This is where the “new Congress” could help.

While Republicans have opposed and stalled President Obama’s urging to raise the federal hourly minimum wage to $10.10, some individual states have taken this issue upon themselves and cast ballots in favor of a higher minimum wage. These states include Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota. If this trend continues, more lawmakers may be encouraged to support the same minimum wage at the federal level, if for no other reason than losing the support of their constituents.

Not to mention health care

In terms of health care, many businesses worry whether or not they will be able to afford the provisions required by federal law. Specifically, the part of the Affordable Health Care Act which states employers must provide employees who work more than 30 hours a week, an affordable health care coverage option, if there are more than 100 employees expected to work for the company in 2015.

More likely than not, the “new Congress” will not try to repeal the existing law, but rather change parts like the aforementioned that are hard on small businesses. Republicans are also expected to overrule some of the heavy regulations issued by the Obama administration, as they are now in a position to do so.

The takeaway

Regardless of where you stand on the minimum wage debate and health care coverage issues, one thing is clear: the “new Congress” has the potential to make some serious changes; only time will tell if these changes will benefit or hinder small businesses. The federal minimum wage has not been raised since 2009, but perhaps this will soon change.

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Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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  1. Pingback: What will Congress tackle next that matters to the Austin tech scene? - AGBeat

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