Feb 8, 2022 - Politics & Policy

5 states sue Biden over minimum wage hike for federal contractors


Joe Biden speaks on American manufacturing in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 8. Photo: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Five states sued the Biden administration Tuesday over its mandate to increase the minimum wage for federal contractors to $15 an hour.

Why it matters: The states — Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Nebraska and South Carolina — argue President Biden overstepped his authority when he signed an executive order mandating the minimum wage last April. The order went into effect Jan. 30.

The big picture: The coalition said the act violates the Procurement Act and the Spending Clause of the U.S. Constitution. In a statement, the states note that the Senate rejected a proposal akin to Biden's order before he signed it.

  • "The United States is not a dictatorship. Notwithstanding the President’s conviction that he—and not Congress—knows what the appropriate minimum wage should be, he can only act consistent with the law as set out by Congress," the lawsuit reads.

What they're saying: “President Biden always likes to get what he wants right away, with little patience for things like facts or the law,” said Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who is leading the coalition, in a news release.

  • “His minimum wage mandate is yet another example of attempted federal overreach that has become a pattern with this administration.”

A White House spokesperson told Axios Thursday that the $15 minimum wage would benefit workers, and serve to increase productivity, reduce turnover, and reduce supervisory costs.

  • The spokesperson said Biden acted within his legal authority when issuing the executive order.

The U.S. Department of Labor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Editor's note: This post was updated with comment from the White House.

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