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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 ScottDeLauro wins Steering Committee vote for Appropriations chair National reading, math tests postponed to 2022 amid coronavirus surge Trump officials approve Georgia plan to remove healthcare.gov as enrollment option 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 MurphyLawmakers move to oust extremists from military Democrats seize on GOP donor fallout Lobbying world MORE  (D-Fla.) and Mark PocanMark William PocanWatch Out: Progressives are eyeing the last slice of the budget Former Progressive Caucus co-chair won't challenge Johnson in 2022 Congressional Progressive Caucus announces new leadership team 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.