House Democrats are moving forward with legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, despite concerns from centrist lawmakers about the impact on lower-cost areas.
Democratic leaders say they’re close to clinching the 218 votes needed to pass the bill, which they expect to bring to the floor in July.
All but 29 of the 235 Democratic lawmakers in the House have cosponsored the measure. Many of the holdouts are moderates who are concerned that a significant wage boost in a short period of time could have an unintended effect in more rural settings.
“I am concerned about the fact that $15 is an arbitrary number that means a lot more in certain parts of the country than it does another,” said Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), who flipped a seat in 2018 that had been held by Republicans for years.
“I believe there are better mechanisms by which we can ensure that by providing incentives to enterprises who take better care of people,” Phillips said, adding that he was on the fence about supporting the bill.
The legislation would raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 within five years and index future increases to median wage growth.
Raising the minimum wage has been a staple of Democratic policy for years. But Congress has only voted twice in the past two decades to increase the minimum wage, and it has been stagnant at its current rate since 2009.
Meanwhile at the Babylon Bee (yes, of course it’s satire, but it wouldn’t be funny if it weren’t fundamentally true): “Walmart Self-Checkout Machine Wins Employee of the Month Award Again.”