Sanders, Democrats introduce $15 minimum wage bill
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal The Hill's Morning Report - ObamaCare here to stay MORE (I-Vt.) is teaming up with top congressional Democrats to try to raise the federal minimum wage to $15, a move that has divided Democrats for years.

Sanders, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Five takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision Senate confirms Chris Inglis as first White House cyber czar MORE (D-N.Y.), Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayPublic option fades with little outcry from progressives Senate GOP blocks bill to combat gender pay gap OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden suspends Arctic oil leases issued under Trump |  Experts warn US needs to better prepare for hurricane season | Progressives set sights on Civilian Climate Corps MORE (D-Wash.) — the top Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee — and 28 other Democratic senators introduced the Senate legislation on Thursday.

The bill would increase the federal minimum wage, currently at $7.25, to $15 by 2024, and tie future increases to national median wage growth. It would also gradually eliminate the current exception to the minimum wage for tipped workers.

“Just a few short years ago, we were told that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour was ‘radical,’ ” Sanders said. “Our job in the wealthiest country in the history of the world is to make sure that every worker has at least a modest and decent standard of living.”

ADVERTISEMENT

With Thursday’s legislation, a majority of Senate Democrats now support a $15 federal minimum wage bill. Reps. Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottVirginia attorney general survives primary challenge OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden suspends Arctic oil leases issued under Trump |  Experts warn US needs to better prepare for hurricane season | Progressives set sights on Civilian Climate Corps Progressives set sights on Civilian Climate Corps program: exclusive MORE (D-Va.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) also introduced the bill in the House with 152 co-sponsors.

Red-state Democratic Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Manchin is right on the filibuster, but wrong on the PRO Act Democrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal MORE (W.Va.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Jan. 6 commission vote delayed; infrastructure debate lingers into June Missouri Republicans move to block Greitens in key Senate race Democratic Kansas City, Mo., mayor eyes Senate run MORE (Mo.), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Centrists gain leverage over progressives in Senate infrastructure battle On The Money: Sanders: Democrats considering trillion spending package | Weekly jobless claims rise for first time since April MORE (Mont.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampEffective and profitable climate solutions are within the nation's farms and forests Bill Maher blasts removal of journalist at Teen Vogue Centrist Democrats pose major problem for progressives MORE (N.D.) and Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyRepublicans fret over divisive candidates Everybody wants Joe Manchin Centrist Democrats pose major problem for progressives MORE (Ind.) — each up for reelection in 2018 — are among the 17 Senate Democrats not signed on to the bill.

Democrats included the $15 minimum wage in their 2016 platform, but the issue sparked tension between presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Monica Lewinsky responds to viral HBO intern's mistake: 'It gets better' Virginia governor's race poses crucial test for GOP MORE and progressives such as Sanders.

Clinton said during a debate against Sanders that she would sign a $15 minimum wage bill if she won the White House, which seemed to conflict with her support for a $12 minimum wage. She added that she believes a $12 minimum wage should be the floor while also “encouraging others to get to $15.”

When Sanders introduced a similar bill in 2015, he only garnered five supporters. Murray introduced a bill in 2015 to raise the minimum wage to $12, in line with Clinton, which got the support of 33 Democrats.

Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, also voiced support for the bill on Thursday, saying Democrats are helping "American workers break free from a rigged economy that favors our wealthiest citizens while squeezing the middle class."

No GOP lawmakers have backed the push for a $15 minimum wage, and Schumer specifically called out President Trump to support their proposal.

"If Republicans and President Trump are truly serious about standing up for workers, they’ll join us in fighting for a $15 minimum wage. … We’re going to continue fighting tooth and nail for this,” he said.

Trump signaled during the campaign that he would support a $10 minimum wage but also indicated that the decision should be left up to states.