RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A bill to freeze Virginia’s minimum wage at $11 an hour and stop an increase set for next year passed the House of Delegates on a party-line vote Tuesday, but the measure will likely fail in the state Senate.

Newly empowered House Republicans approved legislation to stop Virginia’s gradual minimum wage increase that Democrats passed in 2020. A similar effort has already been voted down in the Virginia Senate, where Democrats maintain a 21-19 majority.

If no changes are passed in 2022, Virginia will increase its minimum wage to $12 per hour next year and will study the impact of increasing it to $15 before lawmakers vote on that change during the 2024 legislative session.

State law calls for the minimum wage to increase to $15 per hour in 2026 if the legislature approves the hike and would tie Virginia’s minimum wage to inflation beyond that point.

Before the vote on the House floor, Democrats reiterated their concerns that capping minimum wage at $11 an hour would keep people from taking key jobs in the community.

“These are our essential workers,” Del. Kathy Tran (D-Fairfax) said Tuesday.

During floor debates, Republicans and Democrats have cited a Congressional Budget Office study released in 2021 that estimated raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would cut jobs for 1.4 million workers but would take nearly a million people out of poverty.

Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper), who introduced the House’s bill, has argued that raising the minimum wage would put a strain on Virginia’s small businesses and would keep people from jobs they want because companies may offer fewer opportunities.

The legislation advanced the House on a 51-48 vote on Tuesday. It will still have to go through the Virginia Senate, where Democrats squashed Republican efforts already, to reach Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s desk.