'Stop BEZOS Act' introduced in Senate targeting large employers

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Sanders remarked that taxpayers should not be "subsidizing the wealthiest people in this country who are paying their workers inadequate wages".

The Vermont Independent introduced a new bill on Wednesday that would tax businesses whose low-wage employees rely on federal benefits.

An unusual public spat between Amazon.com Inc. and Sen.

During a speech over the weekend, Sanders called out Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos for the company's pay practices, despite the businessman's vast fortune.

Amazon has pushed back on claims made by Sanders in recent weeks, saying the senator made "inaccurate and misleading" accusations against the company. Sanders stated that thousands were forced to rely on food stamps and subsidized housing. "That's what a rigged economy is about", said Sanders, introducing the bill alongside California Rep. Ro Khanna (D). Sanders, the company says, has not seen one of the centers he claims is so terrible.

Sanders' office pointed out a report by the New Food Economy, which found 1 out of 3 Amazon workers in Arizona and about 2,400 employees in Pennsylvania and OH receive food stamps.

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The bill targets companies with 500 or more employees and would tax "equal to 100 percent of the qualified employee benefits" low-wage earners receive. Sanders has always been critical of Bezos, especially since reports earlier this year said many Amazon warehouse employees require federal assistance to put food on the table. During his press conference on Wednesday, Sanders noted that Bezos' personal wealth grew by $2 billion on Tuesday alone.

"Throughout the year on average, almost 90 percent of associates across the company's US fulfillment network are regular employees who receive full benefits", Lynch writes in an email. She and her three children also lived with her parents while she was working at Amazon because, as she told Sanders' office, "I could not afford to find a safe location for my family".

But some economists said they anxious such measures may backfire by creating incentives for companies to avoid hiring workers who may be likely to collect federal benefits.

"They could face "statistical discrimination" at work and if therefore it's harder for them to find a job, they risk not meeting a work requirement and losing the benefit that they very much need", he said.

The company highlighted that its average hourly wage for a full-time fulfillment center employee is more than $15 an hour, including cash, stock and incentive bonuses, but before overtime.

"Amazon is proud to have created over 130,000 new jobs previous year alone", the company went on to note in its blog post on the subject.