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Congressman Ro Khanna

Representing the 17th District of California

RELEASE: Rep. Khanna Introduces the Corporate Responsibility and Taxpayer Protection Act

June 7, 2017
Press Release
Legislation Would Incentivize Large Companies to Pay a Living Wage

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Ro Khanna (CA-17) introduced new legislation that would tax wealthy corporations that do not pay their employees a living wage. The Corporate Responsibility and Taxpayer Protection Act would make large corporations, not the taxpayer, pay for the costs of federal programs that low-wage employees turn to in order to make ends meet, such as nutrition or housing assistance.

When large corporations underpay their employees, it hurts working families who are living paycheck to paycheck. It also places a burden on the taxpayer, who pay for the benefits and services low-wage workers need to help put food on the table or ease housing costs. In fact, low wages cost taxpayers $152.8 billion per year according to a 2015 University of California, Berkeley Labor Center study.

The reasoning behind the Corporate Responsibility and Taxpayer Protection Act is simple: An employee making minimum wage bagging groceries should not have to rely on nutrition assistance to put food on the table for his or her family. And taxpayers should not have to subsidize low-wage workers so wealthy corporations can get richer.

"Companies are short-changing their employees by not paying a living wage. These companies are creating a drain on the economy by underpaying workers and should be responsible for covering the cost of the programs their employees rely on to make ends meet," said Rep. Ro Khanna. "It is my hope that this bill will further incentivize these companies to pay their employees a living wage without cutting their hours."

"When people are working hard to support themselves and their loved ones, there’s no reason they should be living paycheck to paycheck or choosing between rent and feeding their family. By underpaying their employees, corporations force workers to rely on social safety net programs just to survive," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a cosponsor of the bill. "It’s time for these businesses to step up and do the right thing by paying their employees a living wage."

"Every American should have the basics: affordable housing and a livable wage. It is unconscionable that CEOs siphon off billions to line their own pockets while their employees struggle to make ends meet," said Rep. Barbara Lee, a cosponsor of the bill. "I am proud to cosponsor Corporate Responsibility and Taxpayer Protection Act, which puts the well-being of struggling families first and strengthens essential programs that are a bridge over troubled water for Americans in need."

"It's very simple. The public should not be in the business of subsidizing giant corporations when they take the low road and pay inadequate compensation to their workers," said Rep. Jamie Raskin, a cosponsor of the bill. "It's not fair to the taxpayers and it's not fair to the vast majority of high-road businesses which pay their employees a fair day's wage for a fair day's work."

The Corporate Responsibility and Taxpayer Protection Act would make large corporations pay their fair share. By levying a direct fee equal to the public assistance each corporation’s employees are eligible to receive, the legislation is designed to compel all employers to pay their employees fairly with the goal that ultimately no company would be taxed for underpaying their employees.

Covered public assistance programs in the bill include:

  • Medicaid
  • Section 8 Housing
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs (administered under Child Nutrition Act)

Read the Corporate Responsibility and Taxpayer Protection Act here.

Original House cosponsors include Reps. Nanette Barragán (CA-44), Pramila Jayapal (WA-7), Hank Johnson (GA-4), Marcy Kaptur (OH-9), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Gwen Moore (WI-4), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-Del.), Mark Pocan (WI-2), and Jamie Raskin (MD-8).

About the CA-17 Office

Congressman Khanna represents the 17th District of California, which covers communities in Silicon Valley. Visit his website at khanna.house.gov. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter @RepRoKhanna.

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