Does Congress Deserve Credit for Amazon's Wage Hike? Rep. Khanna Thinks So

October 2, 2018

By Carlo Versano

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) wants some credit for Amazon's new company-wide policy to hike its minimum wage to $15.

The progressive congressman representing California's 17th district has sponsored a House bill to complement Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) "Stop BEZOS Act." Khanna said Tuesday in an interview on Cheddar he thinks his legislation applied more pressure to Amazon ($AMZN), which was already under scrutiny for the working conditions of its factory employees.

"It's a major, major victory," Khanna said. "I think [Bezos] has really set the bar."

Amazon's wage hike will go into effect Nov. 1 for 350,000 full-time, part-time, and temporary employees. The company said it will also lobby Congress to increase the minimum wage at a federal level.

To Khanna, whose district includes Silicon Valley, the move by Amazon ー based in Seattle ー will cause shockwaves and likely inspire other large corporations to act. "It's going to eviscerate the argument that you can't be profitable and pay $15 wages," he said.

"If Amazon can do it, a lot of other companies can do it."

Khanna also spoke about the federal government's injunction against California for its new net neutrality law. He said the position taken by the FCC and Chairman Ajit Pai undermines the concept of federalism, which Republicans claim to value. But the reality may be quite different.

"There is no jurisdiction to take away from what the state is doing," he said.

Pai filed suit soon after California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation establishing net neutrality protections for Californians over the weekend. Pai argued that the internet by its very nature constitutes interstate commerce and thus should be regulated federally.

For full interview click here.

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