House Dems to introduce $15 minimum wage bill

House Dems to introduce $15 minimum wage bill
© Getty Images

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 ScottCritics fear widespread damage from Trump 'public charge' rule Democrats: Trump plan could jeopardize 500,000 children's free school meals Lawmakers, press hit the courts for charity tennis event MORE (D-Va.) — the minimum wage would be indexed to match the changes to the median wage starting in 2025.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator Democratic leaders seek to have it both ways on impeachment Senate committee advances 'deepfakes' legislation MORE  (D-Fla.) and Mark PocanMark William PocanOmar says US should reconsider aid to Israel Trump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move Liberal Democrat eyes aid cuts to Israel after Omar, Tlaib denied entry 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.