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

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersNew campaign ad goes after Sanders by mentioning heart attack Biden on whether Sanders can unify party as nominee: 'It depends' Steyer rebukes Biden for arguing with supporter he thought was Sanders voter 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 SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerLawyer says Parnas can't attend Senate trial due to ankle bracelet Senate Democrats' super PAC raised million in 2019 As the mental health crisis grows, Puerto Ricans need long-term care MORE (D-N.Y.), Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: Trump becomes first sitting president to attend March for Life | Officials confirm second US case of coronavirus | Trump officials threaten California funding over abortion law Top health officials brief senators on coronavirus as infections spread Administration to give Senate briefing on coronavirus 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 ScottHoyer: Democratic chairmen trying to bridge divide on surprise medical bills To support today's students, Congress must strengthen oversight of colleges Democratic lawmaker tears into DeVos: You're 'out to destroy public education' MORE (D-Va.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) also introduced the bill in the House with 152 co-sponsors.

Red-state Democratic Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump lawyers to offer closing arguments on day 7 Senators ready for question time in impeachment trial The Hill's Morning Report - Report of Bolton tell-all manuscript roils Trump defense MORE (W.Va.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillHow Citizens United altered America's political landscape #MidnightMoscowMitch trends amid criticism of McConnell's proposed impeachment trial rules The most expensive congressional races of the last decade MORE (Mo.), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterDemocrats cry foul over Schiff backlash Democrats feel political momentum swinging to them on impeachment Nadler gets under GOP's skin MORE (Mont.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampSusan Collins set to play pivotal role in impeachment drama Pro-trade group launches media buy as Trump and Democrats near deal on new NAFTA The Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same MORE (N.D.) and Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyGinsburg health scare raises prospect of election year Supreme Court battle Watchdog accuses pro-Kavanaugh group of sending illegal robotexts in 2018 Lobbying world 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 ClintonHill.TV's Krystal Ball: Failure to embrace Sanders as nominee would 'destroy' Democratic Party Clinton says she feels the 'urge' to defeat Trump in 2020 Can Democrats flip the Texas House? Today's result will provide a clue 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.