House and Senate Democrats proposed legislation last week to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 by 2025.
The decision follows discussions from earlier January, when President Joe Biden proposed an increase in the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour as part of his pandemic relief bill. Biden called for a $15 hourly minimum wage during his campaign and has followed through by hitching it to a measure that, among other items, calls for $1,400 stimulus checks and $130 billion to help schools reopen. During a speech in Wilmington, Delaware, Joe Biden stated that, “No one working 40 hours a week should live below the poverty line”.
The idea has received mixed reviews: some conservatives maintain that raising the minimum wage will hurt the unemployed, or could cut jobs, and therefore is not an economically sound decision. However, many progressives are ecstatic at the prospect of one of their long-standing proposals becoming a reality, and the retail, fast-food, and home health workers associated with “Fight for $15 and a Union” have started staged strikes across the United States in recent weeks to demand Biden and Congress to follow through.
Mary Kay Henry, International President of the Service Employees International Union had stated that, “increasing the minimum wage would benefit many of the people who have been working on the front lines of the pandemic” (PBS). That’s why she supports including it in the COVID-19 relief package. However, fierce opposition from chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Neil Bradly, announced that, “There’s no question that raising the minimum wage, especially to $15, will put some small businesses out of business”. Most states also have minimum wage laws. Employees generally are entitled to the higher of the two minimum wages. Currently, 29 states and Washington, D.C., have minimum wages above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
ARTICLE: ERIC SHEQI
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: USA TODAY