Bernie Sanders has announced that he will reintroduce his bill that calls for a raise in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour during the very first week of the new Congress.
Current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour and has not been raised since 2009. As Sanders has stated before, workers today make less than they did in 1973 (after adjusting for inflation) despite a growing economy and skyrocketing corporate profits and CEO pay.
“While the official unemployment rate is relatively low, too many workers in America today are making wages that don’t pay enough to make ends meet. Workers and their families cannot make it on $9 an hour or $10 an hour – or even less,” Sanders said. “We have got to raise the minimum wage in this country to a living wage – at least $15 an hour.”
Sanders bill calls for raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024 and indexing it to median wage growth thereafter. More than 40 million low-wage workers would see an increase in their hourly rate. The raise would also “generate over $100 billion in higher wages for workers,” a huge boost for local economies.
The bill also aims to eliminate loopholes that allow for tipped workers and workers with disabilities to be paid less than the federal minimum wage. It will also phase out the youth minimum wage, a rule that allowed employers to pay any worker less then 20 years old a lower wage for the first 90 days of work.
Since 1993 nearly half of all new income generated in the U.S. has gone to the top 1 percent. Sanders says that by introducing his new bill he aims to “end starvation wages in the richest country in the world.”
In the first week of the new Congress I will be re-introducing my legislation to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour. We have got to end starvation wages in the richest country in the world.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) November 9, 2018
Sanders’ bill ended up with 31 co-sponsors last year when it was introduced. This was a significant improvement from 2015 when Sanders introduced similar legislation that only received the support of five other senators. Sanders hopes that with the new changes in Congress after the midterm elections the bill can receive enough support to move forward.