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 ScottInfrastructure bill gains new steam as coronavirus worsens Democrats eye major infrastructure component in next coronavirus package House passes trillion coronavirus relief bill, with Trump to sign quickly 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 MurphyPelosi scrambles to secure quick passage of coronavirus aid Sunday shows preview: State governors and top medical officials prepare for next week of COVID-19 response Members of House GOP leadership self-quarantining after first lawmakers test positive MORE  (D-Fla.) and Mark PocanMark William PocanWork Share: How to help workers, businesses and states all at once Students with disabilities could lose with COVID-19 stimulus package Overnight Defense: 'Tens of thousands' of National Guard troops could be activated for coronavirus response | Hospital ships could take week to deploy | Trump says military to help Americans stuck in Peru 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.