In a letter recently sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Bernie Sanders urged McConnell to immediately bring the Raise the Wage Act to the Senate floor for a vote. The bill, co-sponsored by 32 members of the Senate, would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024 and index it to median wage growth annually thereafter.
In a letter addressed to McConnell, Bernie wrote, “Millions of Americans are sick and tired of working longer hours for lower wages while almost half of all new income goes to the top one percent. The time is long overdue to raise the federal minimum wage, which is currently at the absurdly low level of $7.25 an hour, to a living wage – $15 an hour. People who work 40 hours a week should not be forced to live in poverty.”
Co-sponsored by 32 members of the Senate, including Sens. Cory Booker, Chuck Schumer, and Elizabeth Warren, the Raise the Wage Act seeks to gradually increase the federal minimum wage each year by at least a dollar with the target goal set at $15 an hour by 2024. The House companion to Bernie’s Raise the Wage Act, H.R. 582, has been favorably discharged by the House Committee on Education and Labor, enjoys 206 cosponsors, and is poised to receive a floor vote soon.
In his letter, Bernie noted that more than 20 states have recently passed measures to raise wages with states such as California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and the District of Columbia already enacting legislation to quickly transition to a $15 hourly wage floor. Even corporations like Amazon and Disney have already conceded to consumer pressure and are beginning to provide their workers with a minimum wage of $15 an hour.
“Workers in America have seen 40 years of wage stagnation,” Bernie concluded. “Roughly 40 percent of all Americans cannot afford a $400 emergency. One in nine workers are paid wages that can leave them in poverty even though they work full time. The Raise the Wage Act would give more than 40 million low-wage workers a raise – more than 25 percent of the U.S. workforce.
“I ask that you allow the Senate to take up the Raise the Wage Act to immediately begin improving the lives of working Americans across the country.”