Jan 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Top Democrats introduce bill to raise minimum wage to $15 by 2025

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A group of top Democrats on Tuesday introduced legislation to gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour over five years.

Why it matters: The policy, which has widespread support among Democratic lawmakers, aligns with what President Joe Biden has called for in his emergency COVID-19 relief package. It would more than double the current minimum wage of $7.25.

  • Congress has not increased the federal minimum wage in more than a decade.

The state of play: The bill — sponsored by House Committee on Education and Labor Chair Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Senate Budget Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), among others — has the support of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

  • Sanders championed the policy during his presidential runs in 2016 and 2020. He told The Guardian the policy has a better chance of passing with President Joe Biden in the White House.
  • The Democratic-controlled House passed a similar measure in 2019, but then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked it from ever receiving a vote.

Between the lines: Sanders told the Guardian the Senate could pass the measure via budget reconciliation, which would only require the simple majority Democrats have in the Senate.

  • “It clearly has to be done by reconciliation," Sanders said. "That’s something I’m working very hard on."

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