Dems push for $12 minimum wage

Dems push for $12 minimum wage
© Getty Images

Democrats are getting behind a new push to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020.

ADVERTISEMENT
The Raise the Wage Act, expected to be introduced Thursday by Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayWeek ahead: Senators near deal to stabilize ObamaCare markets Policymaking commission offers a glimmer of hope in hyper-partisan Washington Dems call on DeVos to work with CFPB to protect student borrowers MORE (D-Wash.) and Rep. Bobby ScottBobby ScottDems call on DeVos to work with CFPB to protect student borrowers Dems offer alternative to Trump administration's child care proposal Air Force One is Trump’s new boardroom MORE (D-Va.), would raise the federal minimum wage for nearly 38 million workers.

The legislation would also eliminate an exemption for restaurants and other companies that allows them to pay tipped workers less than the minimum wage.

This comes after President Obama and congressional Democrats failed last year to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour for all workers.

Raising the minimum wage will “help more families make ends meet, expand economic opportunity, and help drive an economy that grows from the middle out, not the top down,” the Democratic lawmakers said.

But Republicans argue that raising the minimum wage would reduce the number of employees businesses could afford to hire, leading to unemployment.

Murray and Scott, the top Democrats on their respective labor committees, will host a press conference Thursday to introduce the bill.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Thursday praised the effort and, predicting that a majority of House lawmakers would support the measure, urged Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerSpeculation mounts, but Ryan’s job seen as safe Boehner warns Trump: Don't pull out of Korea-US trade deal GOP Rep: Ryan wasting taxpayers dollars by blocking war authorization debate MORE (R-Ohio) to bring it to the floor.

"Right now … minimum wage would be $10.80 an hour if it was the same 1968 level of funding. It is obviously $3.55 below that, which means the purchasing power of the minimum wage is 45 percent less today than it was in 1968," Hoyer said during a press briefing in the Capitol.

"There is no wonder that people are struggling and hurting, and … if we want people to work, which we do, they ought to expect that we pay them at levels that are sufficient to allow them to at least not be living in poverty," he added.

— Mike Lillis contributed to this report, which was updated at 12:04 p.m.