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Bill Filed To Raise Federal Minimum Wage To $12 Per Hour

Last updated on June 13th, 2024 at 05:24 pm

About a quarter of American workers would get a raise under a recently introduced bill on Capitol Hill. Co-sponsored by Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Virginia) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington), the bill would gradually increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $12 an hour over five years, and then index it to median wage growth.

For the past six years, the federal minimum wage has stayed at $7.25 an hour. The proposal before Congress would raise the minimum national hourly wage to $8 in 2016 and increase it by a dollar annually in subsequent years, until hitting $12 in 2020. The proposal also would gradually phase out the tipped minimum wage, which has held at $2.13 since 1991, raising it to equal the minimum wage, followed by indexing.

Proponents of the bill argue that a hike in the federal minimum wage is not only long overdue but has widespread public support. A survey earlier this year by the National Employment Law Project found that 75 percent of Americans favor raising the minimum wage to $12.50 by 2020, according to a report by CBS News. On the other aside of the argument, those opposed cite the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which last year established that any poverty reductions from a $10.10 wage hike would come at the cost of a half-million jobs, and a $12 floor would just compound that damage.

Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia, along with 21 cities and counties, have minimum wages above the federal rate, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Cities like Seattle and San Francisco have raised their minimum wages to $15.

In the Senate, 32 Democrats signed on as co-sponsors to the Scott-Murray bill, while 160 Democrats are co-sponsoring in the House. Given the lack of support from Republicans who hold majorities in both chambers, advancing the measure could be difficult.

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