House Dems to introduce $15 minimum wage bill

House Dems to introduce $15 minimum wage bill
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House Democrats are slated to introduce legislation on Wednesday aimed at gradually raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024. 

Under the legislation — spearheaded by House Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottThis week: House impeachment inquiry hits crucial stretch Overnight Health Care: House to vote next week on drug prices bill | Conway says Trump trying to find 'balance' on youth vaping | US spent trillion on hospitals in 2018 House to vote next week on sweeping bill to lower drug prices MORE (D-Va.) — the minimum wage would be indexed to match the changes to the median wage starting in 2025.

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It would also gradually eliminate provisions allowing tipped workers to be paid less than the minimum wage. 

"By gradually increasing pay for millions of workers, Congress can raise living standards and lift millions of Americans out of poverty," Scott and Reps. Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyBlue Dogs issue new call for House leaders to abide by pay-go rule Trump administration unveils new plan for notifying public on 2020 election interference Overnight Health Care: House Dems clash over Pelosi drug pricing bill | Senate blocks effort to roll back Trump ObamaCare moves | Number of uninsured children rises MORE  (D-Fla.) and Mark PocanMark William PocanPelosi reaches deal with progressives to avert showdown over drug price bill Armed Services chair calls defense bill 'most progressive in the history of the country' after criticism Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Progressives hope to avoid drug-pricing showdown with Pelosi | 'Medicare for All' backers get high-profile hearing | Dems take victory lap after eliminating drug protections in trade deal MORE (D-Wis.) wrote in a Dear Colleague letter calling on lawmakers to cosponsor the bill. 

The letter pointed to 2017 estimates from the Economic Policy Institute noting that raising the minimum wage to $15 would increase wages for over 40 million people, or nearly 30 percent of the workforce

The Democrats estimated that once a $15 an hour minimum wage is fully phased in, it would result in an annual pay increase of $3,500 "for the average affected worker," including "workers making just above $15 an hour whose employers will likely increase their wages to remain competitive. "

Proponents argue the bill would provide a  sizable boost for women and people of color in the workforce and ultimately increase economic growth.  

"An increase in the minimum wage will also benefit our economy.  Economists generally agree that low-wage workers are more likely than other income groups to spend extra earnings immediately," they continued. 

"Researchers estimate that a 10 percent increase in the minimum wage would increase sales by around $2 billion each year.  This new demand helps create an economy that works for everyone, instead of just the wealthy few."

However, critics of the legislation argue that substantially increasing the minimum wage will stunt job growth and put a strain on small business.
 
Some have also expressed concern that changing the way tipped workers are compensated could ultimately result in lower wages.