June 4, 2017
Washington, DC – A coalition of Democratic and independent Congressmembers introduced a bill May 25 that would increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 by 2024.
The Raise the Wage Act is sponsored by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), and has 30 Senate and 150 House cosponsors. The federal government has not raised the minimum since 2009, Sanders said at a press conference, and it has lost more than 25% of its purchasing power since 1968. The idea “is a radical concept for our Republican friends,” he added, “but we believe in the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, that if you work 40 hours a week or 50 hours a week, you should not be living in poverty.” The measure would raise the minimum to $9.25 immediately, and phase out the lower wages for workers under 20 and tipped workers. The AFL-CIO estimates that it would directly lift the wages of 22.5 million working people and stimulate raises for another 19 million, including the parents of almost one-fourth of U.S. children. Although not a single Republican has backed the bill, Kansas City McDonald’s worker and Fight for $15 leader Terrence Wise said in a statement that the movement had taken the idea of a $15 minimum “from laughable to inevitable.” Read more