Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersUnder pressure, Democrats cut back spending The Memo: Cuts to big bill vex Democrats Democrats say they're committed to reducing emissions in Biden plan MORE (I-Vt.) is pushing new legislation to raise the minimum wage for all workers to $15 an hour.
The Democratic presidential candidate, who has made addressing income inequality a centerpiece of his campaign, will introduce the minimum wage bill Wednesday. Sanders has long called for a $15 minimum wage, but this is the first bill he is introducing to do so.
Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) will join Sanders at the press conference Wednesday, and are also expected to introduce identical legislation in the House.
It’s believed to be the highest minimum wage that has ever been proposed by legislation in Congress.
“The simple truth is that working people cannot survive on the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, or $8 an hour or $9 an hour,” Sanders said recently. "If people work 40 hours a week, they deserve not to live in dire poverty.”
Sanders' legislation would raise the minimum wage in increments until it reaches $15 an hour by 2020.
Democratic 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton backs raising the minimum wage and spoke at a rally with groups who back $15-an-hour, but has yet to officially endorse that figure. Former Gov. Martin O'Malley (D-Md.), another contender, backs a $15 minimum wage.
Sanders' minimum wage bill would go a step further than one proposed earlier this year by fellow Democrat Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), who suggested raising it to $12 an hour.
Murray’s Raise the Wage Act quickly garnered support from the Obama administration and top Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
It’s unclear whether they will back the even higher $15 minimum wage proposed by Sanders.
Sanders' bill is unlikely to get a vote in the GOP-controlled Senate.