Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders and other leading progressives are rumored to be reintroducing a bill Wednesday that would increase the national minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Sanders has been a leading lawmaker pushing for the $15 minimum wage. He might soon be reintroducing a bill that would increase the minimum wage nationally. He is expected to be joined by Sen. Patty Murray, alongside Reps. Keith Ellison, Bobby Scott, and Raúl Grijalva.
Sanders first hinted his intent to reintroduce the bill Apr. 7. He posted online, at the time, that the current federal standard was an insult to workers. Bloomberg reporter Josh Eidelson posted online Monday that all five progressive lawmakers are expected to put forth the bill midweek.
“The federal minimum wage of $7.25 is an insult to the workers of this country,” a post on Sanders’ Facebook page stated. “Our job is to ensure that anyone who works 40 hours a week in America should not be living in poverty. We need to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and I will be introducing legislation soon to do just that.”
Sanders made the policy a critical component of his presidential run. He originally introduced the legislation in July 2015 with the intent of making the policy national. He has also participated in many rallies and speeches in support of the policy.
New York and California alongside a list of cities have already passed the increase. Seattle was followed by other cities when it first passed the increase in June 2014. Labor unions and other progressive advocates helped make the policy a national issue.
The Fight for $15 movement has been at the forefront of the minimum wage debate since it started in November 2012. The movement is primarily supported by labor unions like the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The Center for Union Facts found the union spent over $19 million on the Fight for $15 last year.
The Fight for $15 and other supporters argue the policy is a great way to lift low-wage workers out of poverty. They have argued the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is too low for people to reasonably live on. The increase might also spur economic growth as workers are able to spend more.
Those opposed to the increase warn it will actually hurt the poor by reducing employment opportunities. Employers could be forced to reduce their staff or increase prices to overcome the added cost of labor. Some critics have even expressed concern that the movement backers have alternative motives.
“This is a good idea for helping line the pockets of big labor bosses, but it’s a terrible burden on workers across the country,” America Rising Squared Communications Director Jeremy Adler told InsideSources. “Even though millions would lose their jobs and have their hours slashed, this group of unabashed left-wingers would rather appease the unions that funnel money into their campaign accounts, instead of working on common-sense policies to create jobs and expand economic opportunity to more Americans.”
America Rising is a nonprofit research group that promotes conservative policies. It has been highly critical of efforts to increase the minimum wage.
The National Bureau of Economic Research and The Heritage Foundation found the increase will have a significant impact on employment. They found the risk is especially bad for young and low-skilled workers. The University of California, Berkeley found any losses would be marginal compared to the potential benefits.
Sanders, Murray, Ellison, Scott, and Grijalva did not respond to a request for comment by InsideSources.