Sen. Bernie Sanders has reintroduced a bill to create a $15 an hour minimum wage across the country. The bill, co-sponsored by Sanders’ colleagues Chuck Schumer and 29 other Democrats, would give 20.7 million American workers a raise, according to analysis by the National Employment Law Project.
The bill is called the Raise the Wage Act of 2017 and would be the first federal minimum wage increase in 8 years.
Democrats Bobby Scott and Keith Ellison sponsored a similar bill in the House of Representatives, along with 152 other co-sponors.
The Economic Policy Institute found that in 21 states with a minimum wage of $7.25, more than 35% of the state’s residents would receive a pay increase as a result of this bill.
“The federal minimum wage is supposed to provide a meaningful standard to ensure that workers everywhere in the country are paid at least an adequate wage to meet their basic needs,” said Christine Owens, the Economic Policy Institute’s executive director.
“But with the federal minimum wage stuck now for eight years at a poverty-level of $7.25 per hour, it is falling far short of that critical role. Instead, at such an appallingly low wage level, it’s being used as a weight to suppress workers’ wages.”
In April, Sen. Sanders said, “The federal minimum wage of $7.25 is an insult to the workers of this country. Our job is to ensure that anyone who works 40 hours a week in America should not be living in poverty.”
The Democrats reluctant adoption of the $15 minimum wage is the result of years of organizing and activism by the Fight for $15 movement, which has received support from Sen. Sanders.