New Legislation Would Raise the Minimum Wage
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) today joined his colleagues to introduce legislation to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $12.00 by 2020. The bill, introduced in both the House and Senate, would also gradually eliminate the subminimum tipped wage system and index the Federal minimum wage to keep pace with the rising median wage.
“The federal minimum wage should be a living wage,” said DeFazio. “It’s unconscionable that millions of Americans work full-time and live below the poverty level. States like Oregon raised the minimum wage above the federal level and put to rest the fear that the increase would lead to job loss.”
In 2007, Congress enacted a law phasing in an increase in the federal minimum wage to $7.25. Since the minimum wage reached $7.25 six years ago in 2009, the minimum wage has not kept pace with inflation or the growth in the median wage, resulting in low-wage workers continuing to fall behind. In fact, the real value of today’s minimum wage is less than it was in 1956.
Under the Raise the Wage Act, the Federal minimum wage would start to rise almost immediately. Beginning January 2016 or three months after the date of enactment of the Raise the Wage Act, the federal minimum wage would increase by $0.75 to $8.00 per hour, followed by $1.00 per hour increases every year until it reaches $12.00. Starting in 2021, the Federal minimum wage would keep pace with rising wages overall through automatic annual increases to keep the ratio of the minimum wage constant with the median wage.