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U.S. Democrats Introduce Legislation to Increase Minimum Wage


Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and incoming Democratic Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) list raising the minimum wage as a top House priority for Democrats in the new congress. 

This week Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) announced the Senate and House versions of the "Raise the Wage Act," which would raise the federal hourly wage to $15 per hour by 2024. The current minimum wage of $7.25 was set by Congress a decade ago, and the last increase (from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour in July 2009) was a tough win for Democrats. It was part of an Iraq supplemental spending bill signed by President George W. Bush.

President Trump endorsed a $10 hourly wage minimum near the end of his presidential campaign, but he has not shown interest since then, and it's doubtful that an increase would be approved by the Republican Senate.

Scott will likely hold oversight hearings over the Labor Department and National Labor Relations Board, including a potential review of the pending joint employer rules, which would make it harder for businesses to be held liable for labor violations committed by their franchisees and contractors.

PMAA along with many Republicans and business advocates have concerns that a high wage hike could cause hardships for some employers and that market or state and local governments should set wages, not the federal government. An example of employers setting wages is Amazon which has increased the minimum for their employees. Furthermore, twenty-nine states and Washington, D.C. have minimum wages higher than the federal $7.25. 

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