Denouncing the current federal minimum wage as a “starvation wage” which never should have been permitted to be stagnant for the past decade, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was joined Wednesday by several congressional Democrats in introducing legislation to raise the wage over the next five years.
“It is not a radical idea to say a job should lift you out of poverty, not keep you in it. The current $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage is a starvation wage. It must be increased to a living wage of $15 an hour.” —Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)The bicameral Raise the Wage Act would increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour, where it’s stood since 2009, to $15 by 2024. The proposal would also bar employers from paying tipped workers below the minimum wage and stipulate future pay increases for low-wage workers to keep up with median wage growth and cost of living.
The House bill has 181 co-sponsors, while 31 Democrats joined Sanders in co-sponsoring the Senate version.
“Just a few short years ago, we were told that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour was ‘radical.'” said Sanders in a statement. “But a grassroots movement of millions of workers throughout this country refused to take ‘no’ for an answer. It is not a radical idea to say a job should lift you out of poverty, not keep you in it. The current $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage is a starvation wage. It must be increased to a living wage of $15 an hour.”
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The grassroots movement the senator referred to was the group Fight for $15, which began its fight for a minimum wage increase in 2012 and has since grown into a global movement in hundreds of cities. Fight for $15 celebrated the bill’s introduction, with members gathering in Washington, D.C. as the legislation was proposed.
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