Democrats in Washington, D.C., are ramping up their push to fulfill President Biden’s campaign promise of implementing a $15 federal minimum wage.
Biden has attached the minimum raise wage to the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, and several prominent Democrats have openly expressed their support for the move — which they hope will pass through the Senate, where they have a 51-vote majority.
“With the economic divide, I mean, I want to see a $15 minimum wage. It should actually be $20,” Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib said this week.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders agreed with Tlaib, asking Democrats to use the Senate reconciliation process to accomplish the goal of a higher minimum wage.
“As you will recall, my Republican colleagues used reconciliation to give almost $2 trillion in tax breaks to the rich and large corporations in the midst of massive income inequality,” Sanders said. “They used reconciliation to try to repeal the Affordable Care Act and throw 32 million people off the healthcare they had. They used reconciliation to allow for drilling in the Arctic wilderness. You know what? I think we can use reconciliation to protect the needs of working families.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has said that a coronavirus relief bill with a $15 minimum wage included is achievable by March.
A Congressional Budget Office study in 2019 concluded that raising the minimum wage to $15 would boost the wages of at least 17 million people but would cost roughly 1.3 million workers their jobs.
“No one in America should work 40 hours a week making below the poverty line,” Biden said last week. “Fifteen dollars gets people above the poverty line.”
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