WASHINGTON— Today, House Democrats reintroduced the Raise the Wage Act, a bill that would raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2025. Over five years, the bill would gradually increase the federal minimum wage while incrementally phasing our subminimum wages for tipped workers, youth workers, and workers with disabilities.
“The current minimum wage is a poverty wage and reinforces income inequality,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva. “Raising the minimum wage is an issue I have championed for years. Anyone who works forty hours each week should be able to afford a home, take care of their families, and live a life with dignity. It is unconscionable that we continue to accept millions living in poverty, and this bill is an important step toward addressing systemic poverty and helping more families have the resources they need to not just scrape by to survive, but to thrive.”
Congress has not raised the federal minimum wage for over a decade. The Raise the Wage Act would increase wages for approximately 32 million workers, including millions of women and workers of color. During the COVID-19 pandemic, minimum wage workers have borne the brunt of the negative economic impacts as unemployment rates soared in the retail and hospitality sectors of the economy.
“We’ve applauded essential workers and rightly called them heroes throughout this pandemic,” said Rep. Grijalva. “Now it’s time to compensate them justly for their essential work. Congress must pass this legislation as soon as possible to provide our workers with a living wage so that working families can bounce back stronger than ever as the pandemic ends.”
As a former Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Grijalva introduced the original bill to increase the minimum wage to $15 in 2015 with former Representative Keith Ellison and Senator Bernie Sanders. Since 2013, he has led efforts to fight for a living wage including holding forums on the impact of low wages and has joined workers across the country calling for $15 minimum wage.